As ever, we still believe this to be the case. The value of knowing self-defence can not be stressed enough. However we felt it was important to remind everyone that Martial Arts isn't just about defending yourself, it's also about having fun and learning new skills. It can be a great hobby and a more adventurous form of exercise, so it's not just about protecting yourself.
Self-defence is usually aimed towards women. Well today, we're going to go down a different route and tell you which forms of Martial Art are great fun for the ladies among us who just want to let off a bit of steam or have some fun!
Which Martial Arts Styles are best for Women?
With there being many different types of Martial Art, knowing which one is most suitable for women is difficult. Truthfully, any Martial Art is open to female participation. However there are some in particular that place greater focus on technique and skill rather than strength. Naturally, most women just aren't as physically strong as their male counterparts and therefore some styles are more appealing.
Judo has become increasingly popular with women since 2012, when Team GB's Gemma Gibbons slammed her way to a gold medal. Judo puts great focus in submission moves and grabbling with throws, rather using kicks or punches. Some strength is required in order to be able to take down your opponent, however it is largely the technique that makes this easier. Judo was originally a self defence based martial art - like most - however it has become increasingly used in competitive sport. Judo classes will focus on grabbing your opponent and trying to floor them. It will teach using your opponents weight against them, whilst also improve your balance to ensure you don't slam to the ground with them.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Brazilian Ju Jitsu, or BJJ, is very popular with women due to its focus on technique and leverage, rather than brute force and strength. With the right training, it becomes easy for any BJJ trainee to use technique to defend herself against or defeat bigger opponents. Most attackers work on the principle that they are stronger than your average women so are very aggressive in trying to apprehend a women. It is this that can leave them open to defensive BJJ techniques that can result in an attacker being grounded, chocked or even having injuries inflicted.
Muay Thai is arguably the best of the martial arts for women, especially those who do want to primarily learn self defence. It places key focus on striking with the hardest parts of the body - the elbows, knees and head. It is all technique based and not strength orientated. Muay Thai is quite hardcore and very close quartered combat, but it is one of the most effective standing fighting styles available. It's a great skill to learn and also it's a great form of self defence.
Wing Chun is a bit more aggressive than the previous examples. It focuses far more on the use of quick punch combinations which can be just as effective as one powerful strike. It's a great combat technique for those who are not particularly strong. It is a great workout for the upper body as continuous punching will build muscle and tone your arms.
Interestingly, Wing Chung was actually created by a woman, a nun in fact. She studied the movements of the Crane and the Snake to create a martial art that she taught too a girl named Yim Wing-Chun. The legendary tale states that Yim Wing Chun agreed that she would marry the local warlord if he could beat her in a fight. They never married.
The proof is in the performance
You don't have to look far now to see inspirational role models for women in combat sports. The London Olympics in 2012 did a lot for female athletes and as well as the aforementioned Gemma Gibbons, one who has thrived post-Olympics is Nicola Adams. Adams became the worlds first female Olympic boxing champion with her gold medal win in London. She was awarded an MBE and named sportswoman of the year for her efforts, and shortly afterwards was crowned European Champion. In 2014, Adams went on to become a double champion by winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Jade Jones is another great example. Jade competed in the 2012 Olympics as part of Great Britain's Taekwondo team. The 22 year old was crowned Olympic champion at an age of just 19 after defeating Hou Yuzhuo in the gold medal bout. In doing so, she became the first ever British athlete - male or female - to win gold in Taekwondo. She, like Adams, was also awarded an MBE. Since then, she has gone on to become a silver medallist at the European Championship and a gold medallist at the European games. She is more than likely to be part of the Team GB outfit at next summer's Rio Olympics.
One of the most prominent combat sport superstars in the world, happens to also be a women. Ronda Rousey has shot to fame worldwide following her success in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Although UFC tends to get the majority of it's audience from the USA, it is popular worldwide. Rousey developed her love of combat sports through Judo as a young girl. When she was only 17, she was selected for the American Olympic team and she competed in the Athens Olympics in 2004. Four years later, she returned to the Olympics and won bronze in Beijing. Following this, she made the move into Mixed Martial Arts and made her debut in 2010, winning her first fight by submission in just 23 seconds.
Since then Rousey has had a glittering career. She became the first female fighter to sign with UFC in 2012 and has gone on to become Bantamweight Champion. On the back of her success, she has become a huge personality in American celebrity culture. She has made appearances in TV Series and Hollywood films; most notably as herself in Entourage: The Movie, and she also appears in Fast & Furious 7. This has led to her training lead actor Vin Diesel's daughter in Martial Arts.
All 3 of these women are great examples that combat sports are not just for men. The great news is that the consequence of these performances is that the popularity of Martial Arts has shot up and now finding classes that are either specific womens Martial Arts classes or ones that will allow mixed gender, is a much simpler process.
How to find a Martial Arts Class for Women
Find a Martial Arts class is simple. Whether it's a Muay Thai class or a Wing Chun class, they can all be found on Martial Arts Near You. Visit the homepage and search using your postcode to find classes in your local neighbourhood.
If you're apprehensive about getting hurt, or getting yourself into something that makes you uncomfortable then simply speak to one of the Instructors or Martial Arts clubs before you go along. They'll be able to tell you exactly what the classes consist off and be able to quash any worries you might have.