Women are given a lot of advice about how to stay safe in a dangerous world: Brandish your car keys like a weapon, carry pepper spray, don’t pursue a career in Hollywood or politics, etc.
Thanks to this BBC Three video from “The Social” we can now add a new tactic to the list: “Don’t ever do anything on this video ever.”
We already have some strong feelings at JJT about the value, or lack of value, in “Women’s Self Defense Seminars” estranged from longterm weekly training sessions over the course of several months or years…as in they don’t work because effective self defense is rooted in mastery, technique, and muscle memory, none of which can be developed in 120 minutes on a Saturday afternoon. But we’d still send every woman we know to Uncle Bob’s Wood-Paneled Basement Dojo for seminar training before we’d ever forward this compilation of nonsense to any woman we know in seriousness.
For anyone newer to self defense, or just unable to endure all 2 minutes of viral video ignorance, lets break down three of the most egregious pieces of advice given to women by our friends over at the BBC.
“Jag your nail in between their thumb and their index finger.” Leaving aside the bizarre assumption that all women have a set of polished talons growing out of their paw with which to “jag”…pressure points? It’s 2018. Elon Musk is ejaculating non-NASA space rockets over Los Angeles, submissive robots Alexa and Siri are displacing personal assistants in droves, and there are cars that drive themselves on the road right now. But we’re still telling women under attack to use some late-1960s Vulcan Nerve Pinch technique to disable an assailant who may or may not want you, you know, rape or murder them. Even worse, we’re advising that with the whole of the human body at their disposal for damage they should (blindly, PS) ignore all the collapsable soft tissue on their attackers and instead target the taint-sized bundle of nerves on one side of the fist trying to pull them down a dark alley. Totally logical.
“Aim for the solar plexus.” Yeah, uh…don’t do that. The solar plexus is a bocce ball sized bundle of nerves nestled just below the breast bone as it transitions into the upper abdominal cavity. It sits a little bit differently on every body, and is easily obscured by jackets/bag straps/big guts of adipose tissue/massive abs/pendulous moobs/etc. It is the 3-point shot of striking, a pocket of potential pain that top players can hit to run up the score…if they have enough space and time to set up that difficult shot effectively, two things that are at a definitive deficit in an attack situation. You’ll almost never see a UFC finish by “strike to the solar plexus,” because it’s a stupid place to target unless you’re holding a rocket launcher with a laser sight on it. Do not aim for the solar plexus. Aim for the eyes. (Like grapes, once they burst they pretty much stay that way.) Grab an ear and yank on that sucker like a rusted car door. (Less than 10 pounds of pressure can separate the human ear from a skull.) Or, if you’re really obsessed with something small and round, aim for a kneecap and stomp kick like you’re the Feds breaking down doors in Narcos. (It’s hard to chase a victim if you’ve got one concave flamingo leg.) Telling folks to aim for relatively tiny clusters of nerves for a single pinch or strike in lieu of disabling the structural body of the attacker itself is sabotaging their chances at survival.
“This last one is for anyone that may be getting hurt over the head with either a bottle or a knife! Just block their attack with your forearm…”. Does anyone else smell toast? I’m either stroking out or the BBC is telling gals to defend bladed weapons the exact same way they would a blunt object. (And then they’re demoing a cartoonishly ineffective defense maneuver for an untrained woman facing an armed rapist or mugger, but that’s besides the point.) To be clear, if someone is coming down at your head with “or a knife” you’re not at risk of “getting hurt,” you’re about to be stabbed. Like, punctured skin, torn human tissue, and heavy bleeding if you’re lucky. Ask any tactical weapons defense expert about knife fighting and they’ll describe to you with relish the statistical likelihood of exiting that situation stuffing tampons into your new wound en route to the hospital. (Spoiler alert: It’s high. Even John Wick got stabbed.) If someone pulls a knife on you and you don’t have a bare minimum of 6 months of in-person weapons training, run away or do whatever the f*** they ask you to do. That advice is from former Navy Seal Jocko Willinik himself. And if they’re not asking you to do anything and you’re definitely about to get stabbed by a madman, please believe…your body is going to instinctively throw your arms up to block that attack.
There’s a lot more wrong with this tarted-up trash fire of an instructional, but we’ll let you hash out the rest in the comments section. In the meantime, as responsible practitioners of martial arts, please stress to any woman, man, or child how dangerous this kind of content is and why. At the time of publishing this video had about 707,000 views, meaning over seven hundred thousand people are now that much more likely to do something totally useless in a life or death altercation…and that much more likely to tell someone they know, like their daughter, to try it. Ignorance is a virus. Be the cure.