A lot of self-defense schools put out advertisements that their system is effective irregardless of age, size, & gender. That sounds great, but it simply isn't reality. Does anyone actually believe a 85 year old Woman has a real good shot of defending off a young Male attacker with Her bare hands? A gun or knife is usually a great equalizer, but in the case of the very old & frail,they may not have the strength or even eyesight to use those weapons.
Not to sound Male chauvinist, but it is usually very difficult for a Woman to defend Herself against a Male unarmed. This is even the case with Women who have trained in unarmed defensive tactics & is even true in cases where the Woman and attacking Male are the same size(although unusual). The reason is that the physiology of Men & Woman differ greatly.If you take a 150 lb Man & an 150 lb Woman the obvious difference will be that the Man will have usually have a greater percentage of lean Muscle Mass at that weight than an equal weight Woman. He will also have heavier, denser bone compared to the Woman and his tendons & ligaments will be thicker & stronger therefore allowing his Muscles to generate more strength.
What is not visible is the difference in their nervous system.In early embryonic development,we all(excepting actual Sex Chromosomes)start out essentially Female-like until the Male fetus undergoes a staged flood of Testosterone which is the turning point in the Fetus becoming virilized and exhibit Masculine characteristics. The flood of androgenic hormones not only has effects on the outer superficial features, but also rewires the Brain & nervous system differently from the female. These changes give Men their greater natural ability at spatial distance & timing applications,general athletic abilities and stronger muscle function due to the Brain & nervous system sending out more efficient nerve transmissions.
My first job when I was 16 was at a grocery store & there was a masculine Women who worked as a Meat cutter who was a Bodybuilder/Power lifter.She definitely LOOKED strong as She was fairly tall for a Woman and exhibited a large amount of Muscle as well ans weighed in at about 135 lbs.I also worked with a young boy who weighed in at about 125 and was about the weakest High School kid I had ever around. At the company picnic,I got the idea of pitting Her(the strongest Woman I knew) against him(the weakest Male I knew) in an arm wrestling contest.They agreed to the contest and after several minutes of both exerting all they had,the contest was ruled a draw.
"ZAP" from the American Gladiators was once a contestant on a game show hosted by Bob Eubanks. Zap was a Female Bodybuilder and Power lifter had as much Muscle as any Woman I had seen.Bob Eubanks was a late Middle aged thin Man with no training experience.They arm-wrestled on the show for fun and Eubanks slammed Her.
Just two examples,but this is the norm.I've trained in Martial Arts for nearly 30 years and have come across many Women who were 3 rd degree Black Belts etc. or trained for many years & not one of them could mount any real effective offense in a live sparring drill against a normal Male. I remember sparring one 3rd degree Black Belt Woman Instructor who asked me to "get down on my knees" when we sparred.Is that reality? Would that do Her any good in learning to protect Herself? The answer is a resounding NO!
The schools telling Woman that they will be able to defend themselves against a Male rapist after only a few defense classes with a few simple techniques are lying to them!Give them a better chance, yes, but Her odds for actually DEFEATING the Man are almost zero.And that's the problem since most Schools are teaching Woman to FIGHT when they should be teaching FLIGHT.Stun & run is their(actually every body's) best chance & course of action if they are unarmed and assaulted by a Male attacker.
The same applies to size. The Gracies and others used to claim that size doesn't matter, but I think most people know better by now.It's not everything,but size is a big factor. It's more an issue of size DIFFERENCE that matters the most and the degree of that difference. Five, ten even twenty lbs is that big of a factor,but if your are facing an opponent that outweighs you by 80 or 100 lbs,then that becomes a major issue.In those cases,you really have to look at the body composition & skill level of the two individuals.If I have a athletic 200 lbs BJJ Black Belt against a morbidly obese 230 awkward untrained couch potato,then I'd put my bet on the lighter guy.But,if were talking about a 175 lb BJJ Black Belt vs a 275 LB Powerlifting BJJ Black Belt and both have similar athletic ability and training,then the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the bigger guy.
But,don't discount the fat guy either.Fedor is pretty pudgy and he is the most dominant MMA fighter of all time.How about Tank Abbott back in the day or Roy Nelson.Igor Vovchancyn also comes to mind as does Dan Severn and Ron Hunt.Look at the actors Chris Farley or Kevin James. Both morbidly obese,but both guys can flat out move.James has trained trained with Bas Rutten and in BJJ for years.
In the traditional Martial Arts there is a bit of snobbery that intellectual tactics and techniques can overcome any size adversary & brute force.It's a nice idea that I wish were true,but it isn't always the case.A Silver back Gorilla isn't too bright,but I wouldn't want to wrestle one.The same goes for Human Gorillas. A big,dumb strong guy can steamroll you without much thought or techniques,so never underestimate a big guy simply because he's untrained. Bob Sapp is an absolute monster who devastates people simply with his size & strength. Mark Coleman dominated late 1990's UFC's by rather crude ground& Pound tactics simply relaying on his size & strength to dominate opponents.
A lot of traditional Karate schools teach that a touch is a hit & act as if ANY hit is disabling.They act like a reverse punch to the gut will drop anybody.The reality is that many times you'll hit a guy and he'll still keep coming.I've been hit with some really hard shots,but not one has ever knocked me out or even stopped me.When I lived in Chicago,I would leave my midsection open to draw the dropping reverse Punch that Karate stylists love so much.When they reversed punch,I would take their head withs hook punch since one side of the head HAS to be open.Their argument was they got there first and therefore "got the point".True,I would lose a game a tag doing that,but I would then invite them to hit me full force with their reverse punch to my gut. Not one ever dropped or disabled me.I would then say,will you let me hit you in the side of your head with my hook punch.I never got any takers of course and I made my point that there is a tremendous difference between sport & street. They get the point in the sport,but I knock them out in the street.
These comments are not meant to discourage or demean,but simply point out the brutal realities that you face in a real world scenario.You have to accept & understand the realities and your own limitations to able mount the best course of action when defending yourself or your Family.