Girl's Night
Written by Rachel

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Girl's Night syllabus

Rachel wrote the Girl's Night syllabus (in consultation with Sifu Waller) and is responsible for the framework of the women's self defence training.
The training involves:

  1. Purpose of attire
    - Tao Te Ching
    - femaleness
    - vulnerability
    - not being phased
    - psychological value

  2. Grappling
    - floor work
    - basic skills
    - back-to-back game
    - against a kicker
    - multiple opponents
    - tactics
    - use of knee
    - using legs to choke

  3. Slapping
    - using focus mitts and pads to increase power and accuracy
    - spontaneity
    - relaxing to increase power
    - using the body


  4. Kneeing
    - deception
    - proximity
    - controlling
    - opportunity
    - your goal
    - holding down the pillow
    - whilst on the floor: kneeling & lying
    - date rape scenario

  5. Kicking
    - accuracy
    - positioning
    - power
    - repetition
    - opportunity
    - your goal


  6. Standing
    - throat
    - neck
    - face
    - groin
    - arm
    - wrist

    - choking

  7. Kneeling
    - throat
    - neck
    - chest
    - groin
    - arm
    - wrist

    - using central equilibrium to increase body weight
    - choking


  8. Sitting
    - head
    - neck
    - chest
    - relaxing to increase body weight
    - using thighs
    - choking

  9. Chin na & shuai jiao applications

These are the preliminary concerns.


As a female student, the reality of women's self defence is going to involve shedding some inhibitions.
Talking about self defence is one thing, watching someone do it is another level, but doing it yourself is something entirely different... You need to put your money where your mouth is.


Realistic training involves drawing the man closer in order to control him and knee him well.
Having made the man's knees buckle, good self defence involves 'holding down the pillow' (Book of Five Rings) in which you follow the man down, control him and continue to knee until he gives in ('knocking out the heart').
This takes resolve/determination to be victorious and a recognition that it's OK to enjoy being dominant sometimes. This is good for your self-esteem.

Comfort zone

Girl's Night is all about stepping outside your comfort zone.
In Asia,
Girl's Night participants wear a skirt/dress and tights. Why? If an assailant hikes up your skirt, most women panic. Game over. You can't afford to care if an attacker does this.
Asian women overcome their fear by deliberately dressing in a manner that challenges the individual to accept that their skirt will get hiked up, and not care.

What should you wear?

In Newcastle Tai Chi, we aren't going to force anyone to wear attire that pushes them too far out of their comfort zone...
Girl's Night participants may choose to dress as Asian women do, or simply opt to dress the same as a workshop.
It's your choice.

Dress like a girl and you will fight like a girl

The absolute worst thing that a woman can do in combat is to emulate how a man operates. Our muscle mass/fat distribution is different, and we're not prey to testosterone and aggression.
You need to feel and function as a woman - hence Asian women dressing in skirt and tights - a physical reminder that they're not a man?

Overcoming vanity

Girl's Night requires women to come face-to-face with their own self-consciousness. It is necessary to reach a point where you no longer care so much about how you look.
In combat, you care only for success.

Dealing with fear

As women, we may worry about modesty, appropriateness and pride, but beneath that is fear. Fear of being exposed, of being hurt, of being weak, of being humiliated.
It is important to get past this...

4-6 people

Girl's Night represents a first rate opportunity to train closely with Sifu Waller. Although, we try to accommodate as many students as we can, we must be practical in terms of space.
6 female students is ideal.
Any less than 4, and we will not offer the session. Any more, and there is not enough room.

Time & cost

Girl's Night sessions start at 7:00 PM, last for 90 minutes and cost 15. The topics on offer are specifically tailored for female students.

Payment procedure

Please note that if you pencil in a Girl's Night, I require payment within a week.

Rachel regularly hosts Girl's Night workshops in which women are invited to wear typical work attire (skirt & tights) and see how they fare with realistic scenarios.
They get to practice kicking, kneeing, grappling, chokes and holds against a male attacker who is wearing protective shields.

I really enjoyed Girl's Night, it was a real eye opener - just seeing those techniques which don't involve much physical strength but are so effective was really empowering. I think you're right, learning how to do it almost 'instinctively' is the aim. A great class; the first time I've actually thought self defence was realistic and possible.

(Karen Laws)


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Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 6 December 2019