Rape Escape Options:
Choosing a Self-Defense Class

Rape Escape Options are enhanced by learning basic self defense or a martial art. This guide will help you choose wisely. (Also see Fighting Options - Overview.)

A woman in Scotland was walking home when a car pulled up and a man got out and stabbed her in the face and head with a screwdriver. She used her martial arts training to fight and wrestled the screwdriver away from him. He grabbed her purse and fled.

Major Lifestyle Change

Martial arts are revered worldwide as glamorous, exotic, almost magical combat skills, yet there are few true devotees. In fact, only a tiny percentage of our population has ever reached the coveted black belt level. Martial arts’ training usually requires a major change of lifestyle with two to four or more strenuous sessions each week for many months or years, and it's financially expensive.

Most people simply don't have the time or inclination to study a martial art, and most beginners don't stick with it long enough to gain much benefit. Nevertheless, the students who do stay the course of arduous training gain many lifelong benefits. Martial artists, dedicated and superb athletes, are indeed special people exploring the limits of human capabilities.

Will It Work?

However, even martial artists argue among themselves about the effectiveness of various aspects of martial arts in real life. Does a style or maneuver actually "work on the street" in real life situations? Will it work for escaping rape?


Many experts get caught up in a never-ending quest for the Holy Grail of the ultimate self defense strategies. They pave their personal Path to Enlightenment with ceremonial rituals, costumes, foreign languages, and mystical trappings.

Trying to elevate what is essentially a dogfight to quasi-religious status, they tend to forget that the simplest maneuvers are the most effective, as expressed in the acronym, "K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple, Sweetheart." As simple as swimming or riding a bike, you can still effectively implement self-defense tactics 20 years after the last time you’d done it.

10% Skill + 90% Will

Complex self-defense techniques require obsessive practice to have any chance at all in the heat of a sudden, unpredictable street-fight. Most street-fights quickly end up rolling around on the ground, mainly wrestling with some punching, kneeing, and biting thrown in. It's not at all unusual for a black belt Karate-type (striking) martial artist to badly lose a typical street brawl to an untrained but frenzied, street-smart thug. Judo and Jujitsu are much more effective in such grappling.

Unlike the typical martial arts school of thought, the U.S. military doesn't have years and years to train elite Special Forces in hand-to-hand combat. They're quickly taught to blind, deafen, maim, and kill – using the no-nonsense K.I.S.S. rationale and embracing the motto: "Success in hand-to-hand combat is 10 percent skill and 90 percent will." See Willpower.

Which Style Should You Choose?

Many dozens of styles (with a all claim to be the best, although tournament or sport styles are less effective in real life combat. Many students wisely shop around for years, trying a variety of the bewildering array of traditional styles with ancient histories and legends, usually of Asian origin. They tend to feature Asian terminology and rituals. The more famous of these styles – Karate, Judo, and Kung-Fu – involve various elements of the following categories:

Boxing focuses only on punching, blocking, and evading punches, thus is unquestionably the king of those skills, and only those skills. Other martial artists often seek out genuine boxing training to improve those skills. Aerobics classes with a boxing theme will increase your stamina, and teach you basic punching skills but very little about actual fighting.

Kickboxing, as the name implies, combines boxing and kicking. Authentic Thai Boxing (Muai Thai), combining boxing with a few simple but brutal kicks, is often considered to be the most effective overall striking style. Aerobics classes with a Kickboxing theme will increase your stamina, and teach you basic punching and kicking, but again, very little about actual fighting.

Grappling (wrestling). Judo and Jujitsu are often considered the best grappling styles for self-defense.

Hybrids. Many martial artists, departing from ancient traditions, have created eclectic – and excellent – blends of the above fighting methods. (Many traditional martial arts, also "hybrids," are more rigid in philosophy.) Modern hybrids are usually more realistic for your needs and don't have as much ceremonial baggage.

The Ideal Choice

In all, the ideal choice for rape escape is a versatile, flexible hybrid style that combines grappling, punching, and kicking. Finding such a school may take awhile, but training in almost any style is at least somewhat beneficial. Some schools offer "street self-defense" courses for women separately from their regular classes. Completing a short-term program is better than dropping out of a long-term program.

All instructors sincerely believe themselves to be experts at teaching women's self defense, yet many have extreme attitudes or rigid political agendas. On one side are the macho, insensitive male instructors who secretly believe that women cannot truly fight. On the other side are the militantly feminist female instructors who not so secretly consider all men to be enemies (except for the most docile), and believe that only women can teach women's self defense.

Bigotry aside, a class without a male instructor, at least as an assistant, lacks credibility and realism. Ideally, a class would have both male and female instructors, yet not mix male and female students. The egotism of male students can hinder a female's education – a common complaint of female students. The best classes teach "boundary setting," optimal attitude control, effective communication, behavioral strategies, and fighting against padded male attackers for more realistic training.

Choosing Carefully

Remember that many martial arts schools (or "dojos") aren't necessarily meant for rape escape and instead emphasize sport competition, physical fitness, spiritual fulfillment, and so on. Shop around critically without getting wowed by razzle-dazzle showoff sales demonstrations and decor.

Beyond telephone interviews, personally visit as many schools as possible and interview a variety of women students or graduates before joining one. Beware of promises and grand claims. And be leery of male instructors flirting with you or otherwise seemingly affected by dealing with a woman.

Also remember that schools are in business to make money and will probably pressure you to sign a long-term contract. Most schools very much want you to join, but high-pressure salesmanship is your tip-off that the school is not for you.

Make sure you see written proof that the school is properly insured and that all employees have had criminal history checks. Make sure that all fees are clearly outlined in the contract.

Personal Safety Devices

Enhance your rape escape options and likely scare off a predator by carrying a Personal Security Alarm (screamer or noisemaker) & Pepper Spray in plain sight. Those pages show how to use them most effectively.

Pages related to Self Defense

Self Defense Techniques

Crime-Safety-Security > Rape Escape Options Overview > Defense Class