The Art of War & Women’s Self Defense

Humans don’t rule the world because we are the biggest, strongest, fastest creatures on the planet – or have the sharpest teeth and claws.  We dominate the world because we’re the smartest.  We’ve had to adapt in order to survive in a world filled with dangerous animals that are actually very good at killing humans.  Within the human race, men are typically bigger, stronger, faster – and more prone to using violence.  Women are much more likely than men to be victims of violent crime.  It’s simply a nasty reality of human nature.  But that doesn’t mean women should accept victimization.  Women simply have to be smarter.

The Art of War is an ancient Chinese military text written around 500 BC. The work, which is attributed to the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu (“Master Sun”, also spelled Sunzi), is composed of 13 chapters. Each one is devoted to a distinct aspect of warfare and how that applies to military strategy and tactics. The Art of War remains one of the most influential strategy texts in warfare and has a profound influence on both Eastern and Western military thinking, business tactics, legal strategy and beyond.” (from Wikipedia)   What can a 2,500 year old book on military strategy teach modern women about self defense?  Quite a bit actually!

“Therefore those who win every battle are not really skillful – those who render others’ armies helpless without fighting are the best of all”

This is the most basic premise of The Art of War – to win without fighting.  Ladies… if you fight a man, you will lose.  Now I don’t say that to be sexist or to discourage you into accepting victimization.  I say that to get your attention.  If you fight force-on-force, your strength against his strength, you will most likely lose.

The art of women’s self defense is to see the spirit of danger and avoid it before it takes shape rather than engaging with a man in hand-to-hand combat.  It’s using your God given gift of intuition to know what’s going to happen before it happens.

“Deep knowledge is to be aware of disturbance before disturbance, to be aware of danger before danger, to be aware of destruction before destruction, to be aware of calamity before calamity.” – The Book of Balance and Harmony

Women have a gift of intuition and ability to sense things not comprehended by the physical senses.  You have the gift of being “aware of danger before danger”… except you often don’t follow your intuition because you don’t want to seem paranoid or give offense.  In The Gift of Fear, Gavin DeBecker wrote, “You’re in a hallway waiting for an elevator late at night. The elevator door opens, and there’s a guy inside, and he makes you afraid. You don’t know why, you don’t know what it is. And many women will stand there and look at that guy and say, ‘Oh, I don’t want to think like that. I don’t want to be the kind of person who lets the door close in his face. I’ve got to be nice. I don’t want him to think I’m not nice.’ And so human beings will get into a steel soundproof chamber with someone they’re afraid of, and there’s not another animal in nature that would even consider it.”  Trust your feelings and act on them.

The big problem with violence against women is not the ‘stranger danger’; it’s the violence you receive at the hands of men you date, love, and trust.  The large majority (80%-90%) of violence committed against women is from someone you know.  It’s from someone you opened your life to.  The most accurate prediction of how a person will act in the future is how he has acted in the past.  If a man has been violent with women in his past, he will eventually become violent with you.  A change in circumstance (a new woman in his life) will not change his character.  As amazing, kind, loving, and generous as you are… you will not change that defect in his character that allows him to be violent with women.  When you sense that in him, you need to get out.

Men use violence against women for one reason – to establish dominance.  Physical force is typically a man’s strong point and a woman’s weak point.  Like any creature, we rely on our strengths to achieve our goals, but only a defective man will resort to violence to get his way with women.  There is something wrong with men who behave this way and you simply need to avoid them.

But what happens if you can’t avoid it and you’ve been violently attacked?  What now?  If you go force on force with a man, you will lose.  You have to fight smarter because you probably can’t find harder.  All you have to do is defeat his plan and take away his ability or his desire to attack you.  You simply have to win a different battle.

“So it is said that if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

You must attack His Plan, His Ability, and His Will to attack you.

The man who attacks you is a human being; more similar than different to you.  He’s not a machine.  He’s a living, breathing, thinking human being.  He has a plan for attacking you.  He has abilities that allow him to carry out the attack and he has a desire to attack you and not get caught.  These are what you fight against.  This concept is nothing new.  It’s the Art of War.  It’s Col John Boyd’s teachings on maneuver warfare that have been adopted by the U.S. Marine Corp.  It’s simply fighting smarter rather than harder.  Let’s dive into these ideas and help you see what I’m talking about.

His Plan – When a man attacks a woman, he has some sort of plan.  He may of just thought it up, or he may have been planning it for months, but he has a plan.  Typically for his plan to succeed he needs to gain control over you and move you to a private location.  Additionally, he needs to be able to do this without getting caught or anyone seeing so it has to be done as quickly and quietly as possible.

You need to understand the man you’re fighting.  What is his goal?  If you can understand his goal, then you can attack his plan and ability to accomplish his goal rather than taking him on in a full scale brawl.  It’s most likely either rape or simply showing he’s the boss by beating you into physical submission.  I hate to discuss it, but a rape is actually a complex process.  He has to get you into a private place, remove your clothing, and get your body into a position to perform the act.  Anything you can do to deter, delay, alter, or destroy his ability to go through these actions is a win for you and a loss for him.

One of the most effective things you can do is yell.  Yell, not scream, at him.  Tell him to get away from you.  Get back.  This attacks his plan of not getting caught.  It makes him re-consider his chances of getting control of you and getting you to a private location without anyone noticing.  It makes him wonder if he picked the wrong woman to attack.  It changes the dynamic of the encounter and empowers you while removing some of his power.

Maybe you yell and he still gets a hold of you and wants you to walk to his vehicle.  Just go limp and drop to the ground.  If he wants to get you into the vehicle, he will have to pick you up or drag you – thereby increasing the time it takes and increasing the likelihood of someone noticing what’s going on.  It’s the process of understanding he’s trying to accomplish something and then thwarting his plans for accomplishing his objective.

His Ability – To continue his attack, he must be able to see you.  To continue his attack, he must be able to walk.  If you gouge your thumb into his eye sockets, he cannot continue the attack.  If you kick his knee and break it, or even just hyper extend it, he cannot continue the attack.  If you try pushing him away or just fighting it out with him, you will most likely lose.  You must attack his physical ability to continue his attack against you.  His eyes are the weakest, and most vulnerable target.  Take them out.  End the attack.

His Will – This is one of the easiest to defeat.  He wants you.  He has a plan for you, but if things aren’t going as planned, you’re yelling and fighting back, you’ve kicked through one of his knees and given him a knee strike to the groin, he begins to worry if it’s all worth it.  He begins to fear he might get caught.  He begins to fear you might take one of his eye balls out.  His mind begins spinning and his will to continue the attack decreases.  Attacking his plan and his ability automatically attacks his will to continue.  He is likely to realize he picked the wrong woman to attack and decide to run away.

This is the Art of War & Women’s Self Defense… you fight, but not force on force.  You take out his plans, his abilities, and his will to continue the attack.

Remain Conscious and in Control:

But the reality is that many women are raped when they are semi-conscious or totally unconscious.  Now I’m not going to tell you how to live your life.  That’s your business.  Don’t accept drinks from anyone you didn’t prepare or get yourself.  If you leave a drink unattended, throw it away and get a new one.  If you’re going out drinking, have a designated driver that’s also designated to make sure you’re safe when you pass out.  It’s almost guaranteed that an unconscious woman at a party will be raped.  You need someone who’s not going to be drinking to watch your back and haul you out of there when you become unconscious.  My advice would be not to drink to that point, but once again.. .that’s your business.  I’ve just taken more reports than I care to mention from women who realize they’ve been raped but have no memory of it because they were unconscious.  You must remain conscious and in control – or have someone you trust, who’s not drinking, watching over you.


So when I say “if you fight a man you will lose” it’s a bit of a play on words to grab your attention.  You must fight.  Col Boyd taught, “Machines don’t fight wars. Terrain doesn’t fight wars. Humans fight wars. You must get into the minds of humans. That’s where the battles are won.”  Attack his mind and his plan to get you where he wants you to be.  Attack his ability to carry out the attack and finally, play upon his fears and attack his will to continue the attack.  Remember, it’s not what’s in your hands that saves you, it’s what’s in your head and in your heart.

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