Sunday, November 22, 2009


If you were in a hurry, you may have missed Jesse Crouch's response to my last post. That would have been a shame; it was interesting. I find what Jesse has to say quite valuable. As anyone who has spent any time in the martial arts universe knows, it attracts both the world's finest purveyors of Pure Spewed Horseshit (hereinafter PSH) and an exceptional number of people who inexplicably leave their powers of intellectual discernment at the dojo coat-check and forget to keep the ticket. The latter may easily be recognized. They remain earnestly persuaded that a marauding crack-addict bent on home invasion may be repelled by Chi Power.

Self-defense is not, in fact, entirely a black art. We do have some idea, based on real data, about what works and what doesn't; it is available for consultation by anyone who wishes to know.

Jesse, for example, has of late sent me references to a number of interesting studies, as has my reader Zosia Gorbaty.

Most people are unaware of these studies. Kyoshi Teddy Wilson and I were last night chatting with a woman who told us that she had heard it was best, if you were attacked, "never to resist." I know this idea is all too common. It is PSH of the most dangerous kind.

In fact, exactly the opposite is true.

A non-aggressive response to attempted sexual assault results, more than 90 percent of the time, in a completed sexual assault. (Zoucha-Jensen and Coyne, 1993). When women respond with "violent physical force," however, the numbers drop down to at least 45 percent, and as low as 14 percent. (Kleck and Sayles, 1990; Siegel et al., 1989; Ullman and Knight, 1992; Zoucha-Jensen and Coyne, 1993).

NB: "Striking was more successful than pushing or wrestling (Quinsey and Upfold, 1985)."

These findings, too, are extremely significant:

Research shows that physical resistance does not cause further injury to the resister. While there is a correlation between resistance and a somewhat higher rate of physical injury (at most 3%) (Kleck and Sayles, 1990; Marchbanks et al., 1990; Siegel et al.,1989), researchers who examined the sequence of events found that injury usually occurred before resistance. In other words, resisters were not injured because they had resisted: rather, being injured motivated them to fight back (Quinsey and Upfold, 1985). After the initial injury, forceful resistance did not increase the resister's risk of further damage.

Second, this argument overlooks the fact that a woman who does not resist is virtually guaranteed to suffer the emotional and physical injury of the rape itself. Even when resisters are injured, the injury is typically much less severe than a completed rape would have been (Kleck and Sayles, 1990; Marchbanks et al., 1990; Siegel et al., 1989; Ullman and Knight, 1991). Of those 40% of resisters who suffered physical damage, only 7% suffered injury as severe as a dislodged tooth. A woman who fights back incurs no demonstrable chance of additional injury, but she gains a 55-86% chance of avoiding rape altogether (Kleck and Sayles, 1990).

Here, as far as I'm concerned, is the most significant finding of all:

Women who used knives or guns in self-defense were raped less than 1% of the time. Defensive use of edged or projectile weapons reduced the rate of injury to statistical insignificance (Kleck and Sayles, 1990).

In other words, resist, with everything you've got.

And your weapon of choice is not Chi power, but a Glock automatic.


  1. "Glock automatic" is redunant, m'dear. Glock doesn't make a revolver.

    (Painfully pedantic, I know. But this is why you keep me around.)

  2. But you've gotto admit "Glock automatic" has a better ring than simply Glock.

    Nice post though

  3. They're mostly semi-automatic, strictly speaking, although it's apparently not that difficult for amateurs to convert them to fully automatic. The Glock 18 is manufactured as fully automatic, I think.

    Bill, you're unquestionably the expert.

  4. This immediately got my monkey mind working on some doggerel beginning:

    Hickory dickory dock
    It's good to carry a Glock...

    What comes next is a bit more challenging. How about:

    But you'll send them to Heaven with a 1911
    As it transfers a great deal of shock.

    Of course the flamewars on the gun boards are just as pyrotechnical as those on MA boards. Maybe you should nuke up another batch of popcorn?

  5. First gun nut to post a villanelle gets a platter of caribou fritters.

  6. That is some interseting finding. I agree that in the case of a rape risistance is the best polocy. But i'm interested in knowing more of the prevention to start. In other words my sugestion is not to get in that situation to start. though i know sometimes that is not evodable.

  7. tsk, tsk!!! My own sweet little girl talking gun-talk!! Oh my.....oh my......

  8. Not many places in the Land of the Free where a citizen may carry a Glock or a 1911 -- except driving to a firing range: and in New York, gun in the back seat; ammo in the trunk.

  9. While I don't dispute his findings (nor disagree with his opinion), keep in mind that Gary Kleck has a focus in the gun world, somewhat:

    Which is somewhat similar to martial arts and self defense instructors who try and dupe their students into thinking that they must study for a lifetime before they could ever possibly be effective. (They wouldn't make as much money if you only stuck around for a couple months)

  10. That is some interseting finding. I agree that in the case of a rape risistance is the best polocy. But i'm interested in knowing more of the prevention to start this idea is all too common. It is PSH of the most dangerous kind.