A curriculum for women’s self defense

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If I had 3 minutes to tell a women as much useful safety stuff as possible, what would it be? This article is the result of that thought. I call it the 3 minute women’s self defense curriculum.


This is a curriculum for women starting their self defense journey. It’s an overview, but I might write more in-depth articles after this. I started off trying to think of 1 or 2 high percentage ideas that women could immediately implement that would actually help. Obviously this snowballed into many, many ideas and concepts. But If I had to limit myself to a few key points and be skimpy on the details, this is what I would say:


Women’s self defense curriculum:

1 – Learn to do uncomfortable things.

A Bad Guy will use your niceness against you. He knows your niceness means he can get inside your home or car (or be alone with you in your office/dorm room after hours) and you won’t physically stop him.

1.1. Practise by being rude to strangers.

1.2. Go to the gym and lift heavy weights, this is mentally uncomfortable to do (no, you won’t look like a man – look up Kayli Ann Philips) – google “strength without size”.

1.3. Notice when you offer unnecessary explanations when answering questions:

“Have you done such and such?”

“No, you see I was …”

Pick up on when you do this and cut it out as much as possible. You’ll be surprised how difficult and uncomfortable it feels. The who-has-the-power-in-this-relationship aspects of this are numerous and detailed so I won’t get into them here, but there are many benefits to not explaining yourself unnecessarily.


2 – Buy and carry a knife. Every day.

Carry it on your skirt/pants waist, carry it on your bra. Anywhere on your body that you can manage. Your handbag doesn’t count ‘cause a mugger who changes his mind and wants to rape you as well has already taken your bag away. Once more – the handbag doesn’t count.

Try the CRKT Pazoda for a folding knife. It’s nice because there aren’t sharp edges to rub against. And women tell me it’s pretty.

Try the CRKT Minimalist for a fixed blade (fixed blades are much better than a folder). It’s small and has a compact sheath. You can use some kind of cord to tie it onto your bra or a belt loop on your pants. Sow a belt loop onto your pants and skirts if needs be.. Plus this knife is comfortable in the hand.

Here’s where you can buy them:



And since a lot of my family lives in South Africa here are links to buy them if you live there:

Pazoda South Africa

Minimalist (international shipping)


3 – Practise pulling out your knife.

Do this randomly  a couple times a week, or pick a routine if that’s how you work. You don’t have to do it 100 times in a row. Just once or twice each time, and make sure you do this often. You won’t “find” the time to do this, and you won’t want to do this. So make the time, and do it anyway. While watching TV is a good time. Pull your knife every time a certain character appears (I did this with toy guns growing up – being a boy rocks).


4 – Take 10 minutes (tops) and figure out what Fringe Areas you pass through in your week (there are some lesser known ones too).

Then make yourself notice when you are in a Fringe Area. This will make it easier for you to resist checking your phone or thinking about work when you’re in one of these danger areas (because if you look like prey you will be eaten).


I usually prefer principles and concepts to discussing specific tactics, but if I had to give a woman immediately actionable ideas off the top of my head, these would be top of my list.

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