Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Review: Fierce and Female (DVD)

I've been teaching women's self-defense (WSD) since the mid-eighties, usually FIERCE AND FEMALE, Practical Rape Defense Tactics for Every Womanas  a free seminar to women in the communities in which I had schools. Later, after retiring from full-time school ownership, I still taught - still free. I've had a soft spot for teaching women how to defend themselves. My belief is probably old-fashioned: I believe that men have a duty and obligation to protect women. I think that started when, as a teen assistant in my Isshin-Ryu instructor's seminar, I encountered a lady that confided that she'd been raped, brutally. I didn't know how to handle it, other than to try to teach her how to defend that which still terrified her.

I was asked to review Melissa Soalt's DVD set, "FIERCE AND FEMALE, Practical Rape Defense Tactics for Every Woman," a few months ago, and I eagerly agreed. I'd heard of Melissa Soalt (aka Dr. Ruthless) mostly via Black Belt magazine articles, or ads that may have been in some martial arts mags. To be honest, I'd never looked at her material. Like her "bullet man" attackers, though, her ads were ubiquitous. Now I know why.

"FIERCE AND FEMALE, Practical Rape Defense Tactics for Every Woman" is simply the best WSD material I've ever seen. It should be required material for anyone who instructs women as a specialty, sideline, or who wants to tout his or her traditional, modern, or eclectic martial arts curriculum as WSD (it's not).

I've mentioned in previous posts that teaching WSD shouldn't be taken lightly, nor should you assume that you're ready just because of the dark belt around your waist or the trophy on your mantle. Instructing women requires specific skill and attributes on the part of the instructor. You need to be able to understand how to empower women who feel vulnerable - even terrified - that they need to take action - vicious action! You need to understand that your favorite techniques may be too complicated, or not effective enough. That may be hard to grasp or accept, so you need to remove your emotional investment (uh, ego) in your techniques, and focus on your audience. Their lives are in your hands.

Building on gross motor movement and proper mechanics to develop effective muscle memory are only a part of the effectiveness of this set. Soalt covers both standing and ground counterattacks (not defenses), as well as prevention strategies. In both areas, Fierce and Female stands out at the most effective material I've seen or learned, but more importantly, she backs it up by arming the viewer with something more important, the psychological preparation to make the physical techniques effective.

Sample material:

Overall Rating:
EXCELLENT (9 out of 10)

Purchase from:
Paladin Press

Melissa Soalt's home page
Resisting Rape: Teaching Women's Self-Defense (TDA)

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