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Domestic Violence

There was a tragedy here in Hawaii in January. A young woman was killed in the street by her ex-boyfriend, a 340 pound man standing 6 feet 2 inches tall. He rammed her car first and then bludgeoned her to death with a shotgun.

A few weeks earlier, I had witnessed a tall man arguing with his girlfriend (apparently) in a parking lot at a shopping center. I would estimate that he weighed over 200 pounds and she weighed barely 100 pounds. He did not hit her, but they were arguing.

Whether an attacker weights 340 pounds or 200 pounds, a small woman is at a serious disadvantage. The attacker is taller, stronger, has a longer reach, can take a hit, etc. Honestly, there is little chance that a woman could defend herself in such a situation. Certainly, she could not trade punches with the attacker.

Please don't get me wrong. I know that there are many strong women and excellent martial artists. But when a woman is outweighed by over 100 pounds and the attacker is many times stronger... the best defense is to avoid the situation. By the time the attacker is punching, or hitting with a shotgun, it is too late for most martial arts techniques. The only hope is for the woman to escape or call for help.

In the case of the shotgun wielding attacker, a brave bystander did try to help. He was struck and seriously injured.

I know that some of you might be thinking that the woman could poke the attacker in the eyes, poke him in the throat, or kick him in the groin. I realize that these are useful techniques, but do you really think they would work? Maybe... but I am pretty sure that a shotgun wielding 340 pound man in a rage could not be stopped by a kick to the groin by a 100 pound woman. It is possible, but highly unlikely.

I try to teach Karate the very best that I can. However, my warning to my students, particularly my female students, is that Karate is a last resort. This does not only mean that it is something we should use with great reluctance. It also means that we should try to avoid having to use Karate techniques by avoiding the violent situation. By the time Karate becomes the last resort, our lives are in danger. We should do our best to avoid that last resort.

And realistically, a woman who is outweighed by 100 pounds or more cannot expect to "win" by punches and kicks. The best that she can hope for is to use a technique, such as a poke or rake to the eyes, that might buy her a second or two to escape.

It is good to spend time learning and practicing Karate, or any martial art. But when it comes to personal safety, the greatest effort must be spent on avoiding dangerous situations.

Here are websites with information about domestic violence in Hawaii:


Charles C. Goodin