Debunking Snake Oil “Women’s Self-Defense Techniques”

Beware fake teachers – they exist everywhere, but they are especially common in the martial arts world.

Why is a discussion on martial arts on a firearms oriented website? As discussed in the 3 components of surviving a gunfight article, proficiency with hand to hand combat is important for self defenders to know. Unfortunately, the snake oil teachers spread lots of bull in the martial arts world.

A woman’s self-defense “expert” did a video for Marie Claire that received quite a few views, but this video was pure snake oil. The techniques were complicated, demonstrated a lack of understanding of how criminals actually attack people, and depends on an un-resisting attacker.

These two martial artists attempt the techniques depicted in the Marie Claire video and… it does not go well. In the Marie Claire video, they literally show a technique where the lady knees the air, makes no contact, and the “attacker” throws his hands up like he’s surprised.

Beware the snake oil teachers

I’m going to say it yet again – beware the snake oil teachers. They exist everywhere, especially in the self-defense world. When selecting an instructor, be it for martial arts, firearms, or any other discipline, look to their demonstratable credentials. Do they win competitions? Do they have videos demonstrating proficiency? What certifications do they have? Do they come recommended from someone else you trust?

Diversify the good instructors

Even if you do find an instructor you like with demonstratable proficiency, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Just like how we diversify our dry fire and live fire training, diversify your instruction. I seek out as many different instructors as I can as they all have their own tricks for becoming faster – but they also have different ways of presenting information. Sometimes two instructors could be teaching the same technique, but one provides that lightbulb moment the other didn’t.

Finally, don’t forget to keep training.

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Brian Purkiss
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Brian Purkiss is a firearms instructor, competitive shooter, proponent for individual liberty and Second Amendment rights, and a web developer. He enjoys competing in and organizing Run and Gun Competitions, as well as shooting in USPSA, Outlaw matches, and 3 Gun.