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Assertiveness vs Aggression

January 17, 2019

“Today, we’re going to hear stories about knowing when and how to fight. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to physical fighting, I’m not that up to the task.”


This declaration is how Catherine Burns began a recent episode of The Moth, one of the world’s most popular podcasts.


Those of us in the self-defense field hear comments like this all the time.


“I’m not comfortable with violence.”


“I don’t believe in fighting violence with violence.”


“Self-defense isn’t for me. I’m not an aggressive person.”


When we dig a little deeper, we often find that the women saying these things aren't interested in learning to deal with conflict, whether verbal or physical, because they’re afraid of becoming aggressive.


That was certainly the case for Batoul Saleh, a student who chose to not participate in a self-defense class that her high school was offering.


And then, there’s the other side of the coin. We also hear women talk about wanting to become aggressive.


Whether it’s to be taken more seriously at wo