On Women and Fighting

wshaffer linked to an interesting column over on McSweeney’s titled Bitchslap: A Column About Women and Fighting. The posts range around quite a bit, from actual combat-related thoughts like A Short and Potentially Hazardous Guide to Sparring Strategy (which might be of interest to the “writing fight scenes” crowd — I promise, I haven’t forgotten about that) to more philosophical things like “On Impact” to pretty good social commentary like “Dressing Up, Looking Down.”

Some of the things she says bother me, because it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that she acknowledges herself to be a woman with a shitty temper, and that her behavior is not necessarily a model you should follow. But it makes for interesting reading regardless.

0 Responses to “On Women and Fighting”

  1. hawkwing_lb

    As a karateka who’s recently started cross-training in MMA/jujutsu, I thank you for sharing this. It’s really interesting to see other people’s – other women’s, particularly – perspectives on fighting.

    • Marie Brennan

      Her training is clearly more about actual combat than mine, which definitely makes for an interesting contrast.

      • hawkwing_lb

        Yes. I’m reading with a certain amount of fascination – and recognition, because I’ve only just gotten into MMA/jujutsu, from a background in pure Shotokan that mostly emphasised kata and sport sparring, and the jujutsu lads I train with are introducing me to a much more in-your-face, up-close-and-personal style of fighting. (I pretty much suck at it, but the lads are really pretty, so the view is worth the pain.)

        In Shotokan, if you can connect with gyaku zuki or yoko geri kekomi, whoever you hit is really going to know they’ve been kissed. But much as I love the style, I’m coming to realise it’s not very flexible in terms of what you can use it for outside the dojo.

        …Which is my long-wided way of saying the column’s giving me new and interesting perspectives on physical violence.

        • wshaffer

          I would love to get back into studying a grappling art. I studied heavily jujitsu-influenced judo in college, and then did a brief stint of training at an sport-judo focused dojo, which was so profoundly different in culture that it put me off the sport for ages. (Pertinent example: A couple of the guys made it clear to me that they weren’t comfortable sparring with a “well-endowed” woman. It’s deeply demoralizing when your tits are feared more than your chokeholds.)

          Right now all my fitness time is taken up with running and weightlifting, but someday I’ll figure out how to make the time for martial arts again.

          • hawkwing_lb

            A couple of the guys made it clear to me that they weren’t comfortable sparring with a “well-endowed” woman.

            Wow. That is not what you might call an open or welcoming culture.

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