Thought I would throw some thoughts/ ideas into the mix. Upon reading some of the Martial arts/self defense threads, ive noticed some important points missing. It seems that people tend to look for the one answer for all defense problems. And too many people are willing to come up with their opinion as the definitive answer to that persons concerns/troubles. More disturbing is the search and offering of "magic beans". The no bullshit answer is that there are none. It takes hard work, sweat, blood, and tears. It takes the willingness to admit weakness and search for truth. Just as we all know there are no magic pills for health, strength, or any sort of shortcut for these. It takes work. Hard work. There are no secret moves. It needs to be pointed out that complicated moves do not work. Due to many factors including stress factors in your own body when faced with a real threat..... And before someone points out that their friends brother defended themselves with a triple roundhouse kick to the temple of their attacker while at the same time disarming the second attackers knife with a wrist joint lock that left them begging for mercy.......lets have a real conversation about personal defense. I know people who have had NO training whatsoever, and have defended themselves. Just because a couple people you know have defended themselves with Karate(or whatever), does not mean by any means that it is the most effective thing to practice. There are many reasons why people are interested in and or practice the different martial arts. Some for the discilpline, some for the fitness, flexibility, beauty, art, history, culture......and self defense. unfortunatly the self defense label has been stuck to every art out there as if it was the answer. You can sign up and learn complicated disarms, joint locks, and whatever else against classmates who are not really trying to harm you, and you can walk out feeling empowered. I did this for many years. I felt I could confidently defend myself on the street if i needed to, and went on believing this. Then I did something most dont want to, I started examining what I thought I new. Then I went further....I challenged it. And found myself disheartned This can be done with any Traditional Art out there( this includes Kung Fu, Karate, Taekwondo, etc.....) It is EXTREMELY rare for any schools of those styles to actually test things with ALIVENESS. For years I pulled my punches and kicks and IMAGINED my classmates collapsing with the real impact of the strikes. I was in search of special secret moves that would help protect myself from bad guys. It is painful watching videos of certain martial arts out there that claim to be all about self defense, and watching the attackers stop upon first strike and then keel over upon the second strike....and then lay there!!!!!! If you pay attention to the videos you watch of "real self defense arts" you can easily see the misleading notions they imply. So fast forward to the question about advice for a female(or anyone!) that is new to personal defense, on what they should practice. Student A goes into a school where they will teach her a bunch of moves that will stop the attacker in his tracks. Then he will stand there while she strikes him the second time, allows her to grab his wrist, and then flip him over. After that he will stay down. This is not only misleading, it is downright dangerous to give someone the notion that they can now deal with someone who is actually intent on harming them. Student B goes into a school where aliveness is used. She walks into class and learns first hand what its like to be taken down, mounted, punched, choked....etc. Instead of having the false sense of security that the other school provided, she now KNOWS FIRST HAND what she needs to work on. She knows first hand that if she doesnt get her hands up, she'll get hit in the face....and that complicated small joint and wrist locks dont work when someone wont let you do it! Nor will someone simply hand over their weapon to her. NOR WILL SOMEONE TRY TO STAB HER ONLY ONCE WITH THEIR KNIFE. (it is usually a sewing machine action that makes it almost impossible for someone to try a complicated knife disarm) So what schools use REAL aliveness? Boxing, Muay Tai, Wrestling, and Brazilian Jui Juitsu are a couple. Are all of these applicable in all situations? NO. Most of the time if your alone, it is not a good idea to take a fight to the ground in a self defense situation(they might introduce a weapon or friends to the mix, and now that your on the ground with them can turn bad, very quickly..........) But is fighting on the ground very important to know? YES. The first time you realize your in a fight, you might already be on the ground. So to know your way around on the ground....and very importantly, how to get back on your feet....is extemely important. I want to address the inevitable argument that these arts dont allow eye gouges, pokes, groin strikes..etc,etc,etc in full on sparring. there are none to my knowledge that do, and for good reason. but ask yourself this....... who is gonna be better at poking someone in the eye..... a boxer who works on their jab for hours and hours, hitting a heavy bag, and REAL PEOPLES FACES. or... A traditional practicioner who pretends to hit their partner, pulling inches, even feet before impact. This is just one little example. Its almost a joke to hear people say that MMA isnt effective because they are not allowed to Knee a grounded opponents head, etc, etc. The logic is ridiculous. If someone who is a well rounded fighter ended up fighting for their life on the street, would they not have the ability to knee their attackers head?!?! Finally the important discussion that Fighting and Self Defense do not always go hand in hand. Self Defense is surving, getting home, and living another day. It is not always the best thing to stay and fight, sometimes you need to just get away and run. I saw someone post on a previous thread the need to be able to kick their attacker and run away. Good Advice! Just to note, sometimes, you do need to stay and fight.....it could sometimes be more dangerous to just run(if you dont know where you are running to,etc) or if you have someone with you who cant run, a child, elderly....etc etc So in short. there are no shortcuts. So many people out there dont want to test things fully, dont want to get hit, dont want to even break a sweat....... they want magic beans, a mysterious art that promises.... its a very sobering realization. when you realize they dont exist.