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How martial arts can help to curb violence against women

pacific international taekwondo brisbane

pacific international taekwondo brisbane

In a utopian world, everyone would be at peace with everyone else, and there would be no quarrel, fight, or conflict. However, reality is something different and the world is not a perfect world. Violence is a harsh reality and a worldwide phenomenon affecting everyone irrespective of gender, nationality, caste, colour, race, or creed.

Violence is experienced by children, youth, and the elderly, by both men and women. However, the percentage of women suffering violence is greater than men. This is a serious concern, since the various roles that a women plays, for example the roles of a daughter, sister, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma, and many other roles, directly affects the immediate and extended family, children, and the society-at-large.

asean secretariat video “Violence Against Women Throughout The Life Cycle”:

Defining violence against women

Violence against women may be emotional, mental, physical, or economic violence. It may include manipulations, harassment, threats, or assault, coercive or sexual, in the home, at the workplace, or on the street. The violence may be done by an immediate or extended family member, an intimate partner, a cohabiting partner, a colleague, a boyfriend/girlfriend/date or a complete stranger.

The United Nations defines violence against women in Article 1 and 2 of its “Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women”. The Article 2 states as follows:

“Violence against women shall be understood to encompass, but not be limited to, the following:

a. Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

b. Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

c. Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.” [1]

Statistics on violence against women

With respect to Australia, the Australian Bureau of Statistics provides statistical estimations. Generally, statistical estimates have a normal relative standard error of 25% to 50%; nonetheless, the estimates produce an approximate picture of violence against women in Australia.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics, for the reference period 2021-22 financial year, estimates as follows:

“Experiences before the age of 15:
– 1 in 6 women experienced childhood abuse (18%)
– 1 in 6 women witnessed parental violence during childhood (16%)

Prevalence since the age of 15:
– 2 in 5 women experienced violence (39%)
– 1 in 5 women experienced sexual violence (22%)
– 1 in 3 women experienced physical violence (31%)
– 1 in 5 women experienced stalking (20%)
– 1 in 4 women experienced violence by an intimate partner or family member (27%)
– 1 in 11 women experienced violence by a boyfriend, girlfriend, or date (9.3%)
– 1 in 6 women experienced cohabiting partner violence (17%)
– 1 in 4 women experienced cohabiting partner emotional abuse (23%)
– 1 in 6 women experienced cohabiting partner economic abuse (16%)” [2]

The above statistics clearly establish the need for women to learn self-defence. Defending one’s own self may be termed as “self-defence”. The aim of self-defence is to make the self, remain unharmed, or suffer the least possible harm from any emotional, or mental, or physical violence, which may take place in the home, the workplace, the street, or anywhere else.

Major types of violence against women

Violence against women can be classified in different ways. The most common classification includes:
—psychological violence
—economic violence
—domestic violence
—physical violence
—sexual violence

The following videos provide some insights about these types.

YALI Network video “Part 1: Psychological and Economic Gender-Based Violence”:

YALI Network video “Part 2: Physical and Sexual Gender-Based Violence”:

YALI Network video “Part 3: Addressing Gender-Based Violence”:

Rehealthify video “Domestic Violence – What You Need To Know”:

Martial arts for women’s self-defence

Women need to protect themselves from all types of violence. To do so, women need to be emotionally, mentally and physically strong. Martial arts help to obtain a state of an overall wellness along with a strong personality. The benefits of martial arts are numerous including increased physical fitness, enhanced confidence, and learning self-defence techniques.

All martial arts teach self-defence techniques with the basic premise that the perpetrator, who may be a male or a female, would be generally bigger, stronger and heavier than the victim. Hence, the perpetrator has the advantage of more weight, more size and more strength. Self-defence techniques that are taught in traditional martial arts utilize techniques that can overcome the advantage of weight, size and strength of the perpetrator. The following videos show some such techniques.

Fingyfin video “ITF Taekwon-Do Self Defence”:

Be Yourself video “10 Self-Defense moves You MUST Know | Aikido Martial Art”:

Joanna Soh Official video “5 Self-Defense Moves Every Woman Should Know | HER Network”:

Martial art goes a long way towards women empowerment. Almost all martial arts schools of the world offer three prime programs as follows:

1. Physical Fitness. This program is aimed at persons who want to simply get physically fit.
2. Self-Defense. This program is aimed at persons, both men and women, who want to empower themselves against real and potential threats.
3. Martial arts. This program is aimed at persons who want to learn a traditional martial art.

The following video shows some glimpses from a women’s self-defense program.

Pacific International Taekwondo video “Girls Move – Invitation to Girls to Try Taekwondo”:

Empowered women can fight violence against women

Women need to empower themselves with knowledge regarding what, where, when, why, and how violence against women takes place. For this they need to be physically fit, mentally strong and emotionally mature. They need to understand that no two situations will ever be the same and thus, their responses also will not be the same. Whatever the situation may be, women empowered with training always stand a better chance than untrained women. Different martial arts schools offer different kinds of training in self-defence. Nonetheless, between all the various trainings, a commonality is seen which includes the following:

1. Analysing the situation
2. Overcoming fear
3. De-escalating the situation and avoiding conflict
4. Defending against stalkers/ muggers
5. Defending against abusive partners
6. Defending against sexual assault and rape
7. Seeking help

A situation may have the potential of harmful intent, which needs to be analysed quickly. Situations may be pre-meditated or occur spontaneously. Situations with harmful intent may take place in the home, at the workplace, on the street, or anywhere else. In self-defence classes, various situations are presented, so that prior information is obtained, which helps to identify, avoid or fight somewhat similar situations, if they present in real life. In such situations, overcoming fear and de-escalating techniques may be employed. Fear can be overcome by having knowledge of different circumstances and how emotions play different roles in a spontaneous fight. Fear can also be overcome if one is empowered with the ability to use martial techniques, if required.

De-escalating techniques include staying calm, using a low voice, a low tone and talking slowly. Trying to talk down the aggressor without justifying what is right or wrong, and offering an amicable solution, if possible, might also de-escalate the situation. If verbal de-escalation techniques do not work, then it might be better to disengage and run away, if possible. If running away is not an option, then an empowered woman can fight back physically with punches, kicks and other martial movements learnt in the martial arts school.

Martial arts can certainly empower women of all ages, and every woman should take self-defence classes. The following videos show some martial arts techniques for self-defence.

Pacific International Taekwondo video “GM Dicks teaching release from rear grab”:

Pacific International Taekwondo video “Girls defense practise”:

Pacific International Taekwondo video “Taekwondo defense against right punch”:

How to end violence against women

The major cause of violence against women is gender inequality and thus, the first step towards ending such violence would be to attain gender equality. Today, the world is united to end all types of violence against women. The following videos offer some suggestions on how to end violence against women.

OCHR-Oman video “Ways to help stop violence against women #WomenRights #OrangeTheWorld”:

Womankind Worldwide video “Ending violence against women and girls – Meron’s story”:

Our Watch video “Let’s change the story: Violence against women in Australia”:

United Nations video “Spotlight Initiative – a partnership between the UN and the EU”:


Violence against women is a global concern. It is one of the most devastating, persistent, and widespread violation of human rights. Martial arts can help to curb violence against women. Women empowerment can be done in various ways, and martial arts is one of the effective ways. Pacific International Taekwondo offers classes on women’s self-defence for children, teens and adults, so that women and girls of all ages can be empowered and may effectively fight violence against women.

Pacific International Taekwondo video “Pacific International Taekwondo – Albany Creek Kids Class May 2013”:

Pacific International Taekwondo video “Pacific International Taekwondo – Toowong branch 9 7 12”:

Pacific International Taekwondo video “Black Belt Girls training session- pad work and Hwa-Rang”:

1. United Nations. United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner. (webpage). Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/declaration-elimination-violence-against-women [Accessed on 19 March 2023].

2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (webpage). Personal Safety, Australia. Rates of physical and sexual assault, family and domestic violence, economic and emotional abuse, stalking, sexual harassment, and childhood abuse. Available at: https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/personal-safety-australia/latest-release [Accessed on 19 March 2023].


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