In Cranford’s experience of fighting crime, he learned that men attack women differently than men attack men. Most self-defense courses have been created from a man’s perspective on how he would fight an attacker. Cranford created our courses to specifically address the skills women would need to be successful in a fight.
Our Philosophy on Prevention:
We believe it is better to avoid (or escape) a dangerous situation rather than having to fight your way out of it. This is why 3 of the 4 courses we offer, focus on ways to do exactly that – avoid and escape danger. When society thinks about self-defense, they think their only choice is to fight. We want our students to understand that self-protection starts WAY before a bad guy has his hands on them. Our classes aren’t exclusive to criminal activity; they are also effective in teaching our students how to protect themselves and their families from fires, natural disasters, civil unrest, and more. This is why we refer to what we teach as “Self-Protection” rather than “Self-Defense.”
Our Philosophy on Fighting:
Even with focused efforts on “prevention,” we know that dangerous criminal activity is still a very real possibility. It is for these instances we teach our 4th course – Claws & Fangs. It is NOT martial arts nor is it a compilation of techniques. Both of these require YEARS of training before becoming even minimally effective. To make things worse, the majority of those types of courses are based on the SPORT of martial arts rather than the deadly combat skills they originated from.
When confronted by a dangerous criminal whose actions could cause permanent injuries (both physical and psychological) or even death, the intended “victim’s” response, regardless of her size, strength, or handicap, must still be effective enough to completely STOP the attacker. Her training must be effective the day she learns it, rather than after years of practice. This life or death need of immediately effective and memorable response to a dangerous criminal is exactly what we have created. It will work for women of all sizes, shapes, fitness levels, and ages, regardless of the attacker’s size. What we teach in the Claws & Fangs course is so effective and so dangerous to our students’ attackers, we only teach this class to ages 18+.
Our Philosophy on Training:
To be effective immediately, training must be useful enough to actually work, but it must also be simple enough to remember. To accomplish this, we have based much of our course content on activities practically everyone is already familiar with in their everyday life. Then, by reframing something that is already well-known, the student has a very easy transition to understanding how that same activity can be used for quite a different use. It’s like once you realize a pencil can be used to keep your hair in place, the simplicity of the transition makes it memorable forever!
Our Student Sensitivity:
Although we can teach mixed gender courses by special request, we generally teach “women only” courses for these reasons:
- To create a physically and emotionally SAFE space for the many women in our courses who have experienced violence in their past.
- To allow a space for personal sharing. Many times in our classes, women share their painful experiences, sometimes with quite a bit of emotion. Although we are certainly not therapists, we do believe that such sharing with the other women in the class (and the emotional responses) are part of healing and also create an incredible bond within the classroom.
- Some women feel intimidated by the “perceived knowledge” of males in the areas of self-defense or security and therefore choose to avoid asking questions to avoid looking like a “silly girl” asking “dumb” questions.” In learning how to save one’s life, we don’t want ANY question to be held back for ANY reason. That one answer may be the bit of information that saves someone’s life.
- Although we don’t get physical or threatening in the class, there are still many times a topic we discuss can be an emotional trigger for a student. When/if this happens, the presence of males in the class who don’t understand such a response could, unintentionally, drastically increase the stress, fear, or emotional pain being experienced by a female student.
To help our students stay comfortable, receptive, and connected, we avoid fear-based teaching and violent imagery. We also keep the class upbeat, light-hearted, and fun.
If a company or organization is intending to have co-ed classes, we recommend that they offer two separate courses – one “co-ed” and one “women only” to ensure their female members have the option of choosing which format they are most comfortable with.
Does it work?
We often get asked, “Have any of your students ever had to use what they learned in class?” Our answer is “EVERYDAY!” Because our focus is on prevention, we teach how to look for signs of danger, avenues of escape, and tools the students can use in their environment to help them succeed, giving them far more options than just self-defense. Many students have shared with us that, because of what we have taught them, they have avoided situations that could have been dangerous, they are more clear about enforcing their personal boundaries, and they walk with confidence, knowing that they have what it takes to be victorious – to win the fight for their life!