Is it self-defence?

As a woman, I am often asked whether my interest in martial arts is for self-defence and the answer is no. I was given three tenets of survival many years ago: 1) don’t act like a victim; 2) cultivate a bloodcurdling scream; 3) hit his balls with whatever can reach! Only the first appears (intentionally) in aikido…

Aikido is excellent self-defence for a woman, who is most likely to be attacked with grabs or choke-holds, because its power is not necessarily related to the strength or size of its practitioner, but, after two years, I still have a long way to go before I will believe that power would be mine against a strong man with malevolent intent. Those street tenets will be first for a while yet!

Some attacks on women may only loosely be considered to be so, particularly from those we know, but are nevertheless unwanted physical attention and may be in circumstances that could be very damaging.   I’m thinking of occasions when a colleague or friend’s husband developed wandering hands. A discreet nikkyo or kote gaeshi would have been a better option than decking him (not good for promotion or friendship) or smiling fixedly while trying to evade (not good for self-respect). I could do that with the aikido I have now: it’s almost a shame the need hasn’t arisen for twenty years!