Women's Martial Arts and Self-DefenseThis section containing books relating to women in the martial arts. Both as beginners and as experts, these books discuss all types of topics that women deal with as martial artists.
First section: Beginner's Books
A Woman's Guide to Martial Arts, by Monica McCabe Cardoza.
Martial Arts for Women : A Practical Guide, by
Many people interested in starting martial arts are sometimes overwhelming by the number, variety, and type of schools out there. Many schools will say they teach self-defense, build cardio, AND allow competition. Others will say you can't do them all. Some say you must have full-contact sparring to learn self-defense, others will say you must do forms to properly learn technique.
Second Section: Women as Parents
Parent's Guide to Martial Arts, by Debra Fritsch and Ruth Hunter.
Parent's Guide to Children's Martial Arts: What's the Right Style
for Your Child?, by
Len Losik and Sandra Losik.
I have the first book, which is a good book for people interested in starting their child in a martial arts class. Very good info here. I have not read the second book, so if anyone has, and would like to email me and tell me about it...
Third section: Martial Arts Writing for/by Women
Women in the Martial Arts, edited by Carol A. Wiley.
Sharp Spear, Crystal Mirror, by Stephanie Hoppe.
Women in Aikido, by
These first three books are all compilations of essays or interviews written by various women in the martial arts. The first one, edited by C. Wiley, is probably my favorite. In it, the women who wrote essays were all practicing martial artists who had something to talk about relating directly to themselves and their growth in the martial arts. Very interesting.
I don't have this book, though it is on order. If anyone has read it, I would appreciate an email with any comments you'd like to pass on.
Fourth section: Women and Self-defense in the Martial Arts
Many martial arts classes purport to teach self-defense. However, not many actually do. While I do have a number of very good books on self-defense on my Self-Defense Books page, the ones below are particularly focused on women's self-defense.
Awakening the Warrior Within, by Dawn Callan.
Beauty Bites Beast, by
These first two are similar in that they specifically talk (in a emotionally understandable and gripping way) about active self-defense actions for women. Discussing both the mindset, the physical actions, and the emotional changes that self-defense training initiates, these books WILL make you think.
Real Knockoutes: The Physical Feminism of Women's
Self-Defense, by Martha McCaughey.
Similar to the two above, this book is a much, MUCH more scholarly and academic look at the same topic. A bit more dry (due to the precision of academic language) this book is highly recommended for people who are interested in a more intellectually rigorous treatment of women's self-defense.
Armed and Female, by
If you don't like guns, you should think about it. This book will help.
Strong on Defense, by Sanford Strong.
The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker.
Verbal Judo, by
These books aren't quite specifically for women, but nonetheless, I highly recommend them. The first and second ones hit perhaps the most important thing about about self-defense: the mindset. Without it, even with physical training, your percentage chance of safety just isn't high. With it, even without training, you have a chance.
I have some more books to add later, but my students have them, and
I want to re-read them before I add them here. If you have any suggestions
for me, please email me and let me
If not, you can use the below search box for attempt to find specific titles not listed above----good luck!