Recently I received some criticism from a woman whose project, surprisingly, doesn’t differ so much from my own. Read on!
“research has not proven that a one day workshop makes any difference on a
woman’s ability to defend herself when in a state of crisis. Memory from
something like this would be stored in the prefrontal cortex, that shuts
down when in crisis. From what I have read, a year to 2 years training is
necessary to create muscle memory/unconscious reflex. (don’t know if those
are the right terms) So I commend what this woman is doing, but I will wait
until I or someone else creates something that will be of more use.”
The first thing that I would like to say is that there is no such thing
as too much self-defence, and I encourage women who take my classes and
workshops to do what works for them and their bodies.
For some women, even making it through a one-day workshop is a feat and
is indeed better than nothing. I encourage women as well to practice
daily, so that the knowledge and the moves become accessible in times of
This said, there was a tae kwon do instructor who said that she felt as
though Wen-Do prepared her for self-defence in a way that her martial
art training never did. A woman who was a member of the military said
something very similar about her Wen-Do experience.
However, I understand that this woman doesn’t take issue with the
anecdotal stories (of which there are many), but rather with the research.
So, I will point you to a cutting-edge study that was released in June
2015 that followed two groups of women through university. There was a
control group who was given pamphlets on assault prevention and then a
test group that was given training including Wen-Do. The group that
participated in the training program experienced a relative risk
reduction of rape by 46.3%. That’s an almost 50% reduction of risk. For
attempted rape, the relative risk reduction was 63.2% for the women who
had received the training.
Of course there is only one guarantee in Wen-Do: if you yell you won’t
freeze. I know that my consistent practice of Wen-Do makes it muscle
memory for me. I hope that all of the women who take my workshops then make
it to a course and continue their training at the intermediate
level. At the very least, I hope that they practice the skills that I
share in my classes. I also hope that women who take Wen-Do move
through their lives with the confidence that I know they are capable of.
There is no guarantee as long as gendered violence is a reality – and
this is ultimately my project: to create a world that is safe for all of
us. Wen-Do is the most powerful tool that I have found to date in
Thank you for passing along this critique. I respect where this woman is
coming from and I believe I agree with her: We need more self-defence
training, not less.