Being a writer is hard. There’s a lot of self-doubts that can creep in. You start asking yourself, why am I doing this? Is what I’m writing actually any good? Which is why a book like Kung Fu For Girls: Self Defense With Style is so comforting. The author of this book clearly knows nothing about Kung Fu, or girls, or style. He’s just some guy who saw a Jackie Chan movie once and went for it.
It’s a good reminder that writing isn’t about talent. It’s about confidence, luck, and being the type of person who will dedicate your book to someone called “Mad Dave.”
Usually, when you pick up a book on self-defense, there’s a long bio of the author, including an itemized list of every ass they’ve ever kicked. It’s an explanation for why this person is qualified to write this book. A good bio for the author of Kung Fu For Girls would be something like:
Instead, the author of Kung Fu For Girl’s credentials remain a mystery. We’ll never know what clown school taught Simon Harrison that women can only learn self-defense if you treat us like morons or six-year-olds. The tips all assume that women will stop listening after five minutes if you don’t bring the topic back around to shopping or something cute.
Which is why the main principle taught in Kung Fu for girls is KISSIE KISSIE, an acronym for Keep It Simple, Simple Is Effective. The author advises women to “say KISSIE KISSIE to yourself over and over.” I like to imagine all Kung Fu masters are doing that as they crane kick dudes in the neck.
After explaining KISSIE KISSIE (the second KISSIE is silent), the introduction says, “Kung Fu For Girls can be your pocket bodyguard. Carry it around with you, and it will help you take care of yourself wherever you are.” I don’t know how this book is supposed to help you defend yourself. Are you supposed to consult it while fighting someone? If that’s the case, they really should have included a chapter on reading while being stabbed.
You might have assumed that the phrase “self-defense with style” was a metaphor, but no, this book literally tells you to attack a man with a tube of mascara, lipstick, or a comb. As if I wouldn’t understand that shoving literally anything into someone’s eye is painful. I don’t mean to say that stabbing someone in the eye with mascara is a bad idea. I do that shit to myself all the time, so I know it’s painful.
I love the fact that the end of number five on Handbag Kung Fu says, “try not to run into too many rapists, muggers, or murderers, in one journey!” Damn, I guess my trip to Sin City is canceled. Thanks for the great advice!
You might have noticed there’s an entire page devoted to beating a man with your cell phone. This book was written in 2004—the bygone days when a cell phone was sturdy enough to kill a man. Today the best you can hope for is blinding an attacker with the flecks of broken glass from your shattered attack phone.
This page also includes another list of the same stuff that a woman might have on her to fend off an attacker: pens, keys, pencils, combs, but it also adds bits of old wood. Who does he think is getting attacked here? Buffy The Vampire Slayer?
Don’t worry, Kung Fu For Girls isn’t full of advice that’s unhelpful because it’s so extremely obvious. Sometimes the advice is unhelpful because it’s so extremely specific. Like this page on what to do if you and one other woman get into a fight with an entire bar full of thugs who have never heard of ducking.
The only place this exact scenario makes any sense is in a ’90s Charlie’s Angels movie. All of the scenarios in the book have a weirdly descriptive quality. “You dozed off on the train. When you wake up, a scary man in a nylon tracksuit, white loafers, and no socks has placed his hand on your thigh.”
Why does what he’s wearing matter? This seems to indicate that the issue with the man placing his hand on your thigh while you’re sleeping is that he’s dressed like a real nerd. If he’d worn socks MAYBE, maybe this would be ok, but white loafers and no socks? This guy needs an ass-kicking.
If the scenario were, “you dozed off on the train. When you wake up, a scary man wearing a bespoke Armani suit, black loafers, and fancy black socks made by the sad Kardashian brother has placed his hand on your thigh,” would the solution just be, girl, you better lock that shit down now?
Another thing I don’t like about the examples is that the drawings are kinda horny. For most of the book, the woman illustrated to demonstrate movies is wearing pants, like on the cover, but as soon as we get to the part where she’s rolling around on the ground, they made sure to draw her in a skirt, with her underwear showing, which seems super necessary for educational self-defense purposes.
Also, every time the book advises to kick a guy in the dick, they really outline precisely where the dick that’s being kicked is. As if the reader needs to see the exact location of the dick in a diagram to properly kick it. Is he hoping we think the dick is located fourteen inches down his left pant leg?
Wait, he does? Oh, I get it! The author’s credentials are so clear now! This is the only book for women about fending off perverts that’s written and illustrated by an authentic pervert!