What is the one thing all women must know about self defense?

The recent reporting in TikTok and news channels of random, unprovoked attacks on women in New York City has sharply heightened public fear. While many people often view NYPD stats and news reports as a reflection of reality, they are overlooking the unreported events, which far outnumber those that make the news or enter the legal system. Justifiably, the sense of fear in the city is skyrocketing, and a significant number of individuals have begun seeking self-defense classes and safety training to feel safer on the city streets. 

Before we let panic and anxiety dominate us, it’s important to clarify that while these attacks are horrifying and alarming, they are isolated incidents within a broader spectrum of harassment and violence that, regrettably, is part of daily life.

Sadly, women are frequently seen as easy targets for harassment and violence, no matter their level of income, education, or status. This is a harsh reality that demands change in societal education in the long run.  In the short run, the response to violence requires that women learn self-defense, self-love, and personal empowerment. 

You might wonder why I mention self-love as a required response to violence. It’s because self-love is fundamental to learning self-defense—if you love yourself, you’ll fight for yourself to the full extent necessary to get home safely.

Many women hope to learn how to protect themselves within just one or two lessons. However, I cannot stress enough that no magic lesson can quickly alter reality. Learning self-defense requires time and effort, just like learning a new language. It includes developing physical abilities and understanding how to read various situations. 

The expectation that “one or two classes will teach me how to defend myself” is unrealistic and does more harm than good. Feeling equipped to defend yourself after two hours of training might be a sign of optimism but not a sign of having gained actual practical self-defense skills. 

Allow me to offer an analogy: If you aim to lose weight and decide to stop eating sugary snacks and eat a salad instead, would one day be enough to lose 10 pounds? Obviously not, and the same applies even if you’re aiming to lose just 1 pound. Implementing change and forming new habits takes time.

The most common excuse for not learning self-defense is a lack of time, but this reasoning is flawed. Is it better to live in fear than dedicate time to improving your personal security? When you can defend yourself, many daily situations that you might have considered threatening or uncomfortable will cease to feel that way. Imagine the relief that will come with having the skills to walk in peace!

Predators aren’t searching for the strong and alert, but for someone who appears to be an easy victim. You may be exploited if you don’t learn to improve your body language, situational awareness, and confidence. Without these, you are walking with a target on your back.

Weakness and fear are all too easily exploited by those looking to take advantage, and I am not brave enough to live in such a world without knowing how to defend myself.  I understand this message is difficult to read and embrace, but the upside of this reality is that when you prepare yourself to face violence, you are far less likely to become a victim of it. 

There’s nothing anyone can do against an attack they can’t see or predict. There’s no “one thing that women must know” or “one technique all women have to practice.” The question will be, what is the story you tell yourself afterward? I.e., your personal narrative – how strong or defenseless you believe you are. If I were a victim of such an attack, I would be angry if I got an unannounced sucker punch, but I’m not likely to develop PTSD from it. I am not defenseless, even if I lose.

Self-defense training will provide you with tools. The process of learning these tools will show how amazing you are, well beyond the training zone. As you learn punching and kicking, you will learn how strong and valuable you are. Self-defense is a bit like alchemy in that it transforms real, justifiable fear into a stronger, more empowered you. 

Do something amazing, for yourself.

Tsahi Shemesh
Founder & CEO
Krav Maga Experts


  1. Are women ever “too old” to learn self-defense techniques or take self-defense classes? I am asking because I have been trying to convince several of my “older” (60s, 70s, 80s) female friends to take self-defense classes and they believe they are “too old” to do so. They are worried that they will get injured in the classes.

    1. No one is ever never “too old” to learn self-defense. My oldest student is 82 years old.

      While joining an on-going group of younger, fitter students might not benefit everyone, the skills certainly will!
Classes can be tailored for any age and any type of population while emphasizing safe, appropriate techniques that enhance physical and psychological well-being. 

Professional instructors adapt methods to meet individual capabilities and needs, ensuring the classes improve all the right elements needed for such unique group, without a high risk of injury. 

      The expectation of what class looks like, and how the practitioners should preform is usually the main obstacle.
Starting with a private session could help your friends feel more comfortable and see the benefits firsthand.

I hope this helps!


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