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Just cause I'm small, doesn't make me helpless right??

Question Posted Monday March 21 2011, 9:54 pm

So I'm sixteen, a girl, and I'm 5'4, 105 pounds. I've accepted that I'm small. I'm not really that strong either. My legs are well defined, and have always been fine. My arms... yeah. Not so much. Pretty much pathetic. My boyfriend is convinced that if I were ever to be in a situation where I need to defend myself, that I would basicallly be helpless. Just cause I'm not strong. But that's not true! I took loooots of classes, so I know a lot of self defense teqniques. If someone were to grab me or something, I could probably get out of a hold fairly well. I'm also very good at squirming! Haha. But seriously. It's a little condescending to me that he thinks so little of my ability to protect myself. It's not that he goes around telling me how weak I am, but... he almost is! He gets worried easily. He expresses his worries about how "breakable" or "vulnurable" I am. And he's not compleeeetely far off... I was attacked about a year ago, and it freaked us both out pretty bad. Nothing too horrible, just grabbed, pulled off into a room, but someone came to help me before the guy could anything more than my shorts off. My boyfriend is very protective now. It doens't necessarily bother me, but I wish I could just show him that he doesn't need to worry so much. I took those classes because of what happened a year ago, and I feel pretty confident in what I can do. I just wish he would feel the same way. Just cause I'm small, doesn't make me helpless right??

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WittyUsernameHere answered Wednesday March 23 2011, 1:27 am:
I'm 6'2 and played offensive line in high school. My wife is 5'1 and trained years longer in martial arts than I did at an older age.

She is utterly and completely helpless before me.

Self defense classes are...basically worthless. Almost harmful in the false sense of security they can provide for the tiny protective benefit they offer. The biggest problem is that you "know" your holds. They give you ideas which you will have to think about and implement in the middle of a situation where thinking is incredibly difficult.

At your size I could literally throw you over my shoulder and walk away with you, and there would be pretty much nothing you could do about it short of being able to hit me in a genuinely disabling way which would involve martial arts or military training.

That's a situation where you'd have a good amount of freedom of movement. Put yourself on the ground instead, where after you get out of an attackers grip you have to get out from under them and back on your feet before they can grab you again to be safe. Or in a confined area where you can't just break their grip and run like hell. Or in an isolated area where they can give chase.

It's not all that condescending. You are small compared to the average guy, you are weaker than the average guy, and you haven't been given anything like real effective hand to hand training which would allow you to disable an attacker long enough or thoroughly enough to ensure you can get away unimpeded.

You want to be 5'1 and tough, look into Aikido or Jujutsu. Learn how to break joints with a minimum of effort and force.

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Razhie answered Tuesday March 22 2011, 4:36 pm:
Alin is brilliantly correct. Far too many young ladies put too much faith into the 'self defence training' they receive - but it creates a false sense of empowerment which leads to a misplaced sense of guilt and shame if they do become victimized.

However, because you are physically smaller and vulnerable (like pretty much every woman on the planet when compared to the vast majority of men) doesn't mean the way he is addressing you is acceptable. It is condescending and it is part of what reinforces the idea of all women as potential victims and targets. It supports an environment of fear. It’s not okay to remind you of that, anymore than it would be okay for him to constantly dwell on the chances that you might get cancer tomorrow, or be in a car accident.

Tell him he needs to find a healthier way to deal with his negative feelings and fears about what happened when you were attacked. Reminding you of your constant vulnerability is NOT an acceptable way to deal with his fears and concerns. It is condescending and it is unkind.

It's condescending and unkind NOT because you could protect yourself. If you were seriously attacked, you would not be helpless, but your training would be of limited use, and it wouldn’t be your fault - trained or not trained - you’d be the innocent victim of violence.

It's condescending and unkind because it is not productive or respectful. He should be empowering you and respecting you ability to make smart choices and to ask for help when you need it. Beyond that, shit happens. And shit might happen to you. Shit might happen to HIM too.

He doesn't get to keep dragging you down just because shit might happen.

You are aware of your physical reality. So is he.
Your physical reality is that you are smaller than most people. That is not going to change.
Like someone whose physical reality is that they are blind or physically disabled - your physical reality comes with certain dangers.

But that doesn’t mean you should live in fear, or that he can live in fear for you.

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julie75 answered Tuesday March 22 2011, 1:47 pm:
I have to agree with a lot of what Alin said. The truth is. there's always going to be someone stronger, faster and better than the next person. Even if you were 5'10" & 160lbs with muscles, there's going to be someone that can beat you. The best advice a woman can get, is to never go anywhere alone if you can help it. Unfortunately, this world is full of creepy, crazy, unstable people that will take a vulnurable girl in a second. Don't be to hard on your boyfriend for looking out for your best interest but he probably should have used a little more tact. I hope this helps and good luck.

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Alin75 answered Tuesday March 22 2011, 12:41 am:
I am a bit torn with this question to be honest. On the one hand, I totally agree that your boyfriend should have more faith in you. I also used to know a girl (quite petite) who was a black belt in ju-jitsu, and she snapped a mugger's arm once.

So, no you are not helpless.

I just want to tangent a bit here though, and I hope you dont mind. You should know that self defence classes are next to useless unless you train regularly and for a long period of time. If memory serves they say it takes over a year of continuous, regular training for something to become instinctive. And if you are weak physically, not only must it be a reflex, but the technique must be executed flawlessly as well.

This is why most self defence classes are not useful. When faced with real danger, people forget unless its virtually 100% instinct. They ran some segments on this on television years ago... about the false sense of security and all that.

Now, one thing I noticed is that girls tend to put way too much faith in what they learn in martial arts. Please dont take offence, I am not saying you do specifically, its just an observation I have had that may or may not be relevant. Often they assume these things will work like they did in the dojo (I could tell you some stories here, believe me). Fact is, in most cases they wont work, or they wont fit to the situation, or the guy will ignore the pain that is supposed to disable him, and then one needs an arsenal of other techniques...

I know this is not quite what you asked, but I just want to make sure that you understand how it works so that you dont get hurt at some point.

Back to your question. If your boyfriend knows what its like to be in a fight (or similar situations), this may be a reason as to why he is over-protective. There is a huge, huge difference between theory and practice here - I cannot emphasise that enough.

I like the idea in the answer below of training with him. In time it may well give him faith in what you can do. It might also be a fun way for you guys to spend time together.

Otherwise talk to him, tell him that you appreciate that he cares but that you would like him to be a bit more supportive. Tell him that he is not helping your confidence by not having faith in you (which incidentally, was not my intention with what I wrote above). He means well, but its important that he understands where to draw the line. If you do it nicely, he will get it eventually.

Good luck.

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belieber14 answered Monday March 21 2011, 11:18 pm:
no, your not helpless. im super sorry what happened to you btw!! i think he's just being a good boyfriend and worry 'bout you cuz he loves you and he doesn't want anything else to happen to you. you should go to a self defense class with him and show him how you can kick butt if needed! this will give him more peace at mind and you'll feel better too knowing he doesn't think your weak ...hope i helped! =D

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