I'm about 100 lbs (45 kg), small frame. No weight training experience. I'm very skinny, but in my previous discipline that allowed me to be the fastest in the studio. My weight has always stayed in the 90-115 lbs (41-52 kg) range with or without regular workouts

I have about 12 years experience in Tae Kwon Do, before I left my organization I was a 3rd Degree L4 black belt. Like the title says I want to focus on effective self defense for a small person. We did practice a bit of self defense and BJJ but nothing outside of the basics. We were also partnered with Hyper Martial Arts and I was in that for about a year, before I left. I'm interested in Krav Maga and Aikido.

Something that can be effective against stuff like

  • hair grabbing (my hair is down to my lower back) would be ideal.
  • fend off multiple attackers once mastered
  • fend single attackers armed with any variety of weapons like a gun or knife

I would also prefer something I can learn on my own but it's not a necessity.

I would like to learn something to protect myself in a place like lower Manhattan.

I also would like to add at my old studio we did train to defend against knives but not in depth, only how to disarm from a basic lunge. I'd like to learn how to use and defend against a knife. My daily carry will be a karambit once I have the funds to get a nice one

  • We are not a forum but a Q&A site. Visit the help center for more information. Nov 27, 2017 at 13:40
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    Pay attention to the sections on NNSD linked below about carrying weapons.
    – JohnP
    Nov 27, 2017 at 14:25
  • Usually this type of question gets asked by beginners with no experience. Having the benefit of substantial experience, you should have some idea of what can be accomplished with effort and time. Your goals are the type that do not have shortcuts, and definitely are not learnable on your own.
    – mattm
    Nov 28, 2017 at 3:59

2 Answers 2


Self defence

First, no nonsense self defence would be a good place for you to visit and read. It has many good advise on keeping safe, most of them are easy to learn and apply. Some require a little preparation, thought, and understanding.

Second, Rule 1: cardio will get you much further than you think. It is really hard to fight if one is running faster and longer than their attackers. Instead of wasting time learning a new martial art, start running. If you have nothing in your wallet/purse that you cannot replace within 24 hours, drop it and run. If not, remove all items that you cannot replace within 24 hours: none of them belong in your wallet/purse.

Finally, do look up statistics about muggings and assaults where you are. Those are freely available from your LEO and/or city hall and/or national databases. You will probably find that your chances of getting attacked are much less than you think. The Crime calculator: Find your personal risk of being a victim for example.

Martial arts

No martial art will protect you against all weapons and eventuality and anyone telling you different is selling something.

But martial arts help, right? … Yes, they do by giving you more confidence (thus reducing your risk of being pick out as a valid target) and give you some understanding of what it is to be in a fight -- if you ever spare. You already are a third dan (so you know, can do, and understand the basics) and any other art is unlikely to help much beyond that. you already have that card in your deck. Adding Aikido or Krav Maga or BullshitDo is not going to give you more.

You fight like you train. If you want to survive street violence, you are going to have to face it -- even if only in lots and lots of training situations. Look at the statistics you found above and ask yourself if this is a good way to spend your time?

Before choosing an art, chose a teacher. I have seen Aikido dojo that train in mythical manure and some that train active police and army. Same style, utterly different training regimes. The same is true of any art whatsoever: teacher comes first.

Carrying a knife…

⚠ I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV and this is not legal advise!

That said, carrying a knife to use as a weapon in self defence is unlikely to help in any way, shape, or form:

  • A knife will always escalate the situation, not diffuse it.
  • Any fighting which occurs afterwards will result in potentially fatal injuries. This could lead to either civil or criminal prosecution where you will be the accused, potentially answering murder with premeditation charges.
  • Whatever happens, LEO will not be amused at you carrying a lethal weapon and may well shoot you just in case.

More details here.

Anecdote time: I always remember (source) the words of a guy arrested for fatally stabbing his brother in law over a crab stick:

All he had to do was back down… All he had to do was back down…

  • My Escrima teacher generally told us to never carry a weapon, but to learn how to use those weapons, because otherwise all that will happen is you disarm the opponent and they pick it back up again. Nov 27, 2017 at 16:26

You will want to do some kind of grappling martial art that involves take downs, submissions and pins. To compliment the striking understanding you already have.

I would also suggest sparring with people who are from different martial arts.

I would also suggest going to the gym three times a week and to the sauna four times a week and taking cold showers. Basic things like practical strength, stamina, endurance, and your bodies ability to fight off inflamation and direct blood flow are essential in any fight. By engaging all the muscles and getting heat shock and cold shock proteins, you be able to have your body cooperate better and absorb more damage, and repair it self over time easier.

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