I, like most men, have only tiny boobs. You may not know this, but the word “man” is sometimes used derogatorily for a person without boobs. I am one of those people. Tragically, my ovaries have also succumbed to gravity and actually prolapsed right out of my body, and my clitoris is hugely malformed. There is also an unfortunate amount of facial hair. Despite this, I’m going to talk about boobs. Even though I don’t own a pair, I have experience facing them. In all kinds of environments. I am that hardcore. …anyway…

I learned long ago to ignore boobs. Working with hospital emergency response teams, I learned a lot about being professional. The psych nurses had great stories. It’s one thing to do a careful takedown on a burly man, another to try the same move on a naked woman who is out of touch with reality and trying to seduce you…while you are trying to get her sedated. Working with these people, I learned some good lessons about keeping your mind on the job. You just shut off the part of your brain that sees things in a sexual way.

As a martial arts instructor, this is critical. Students are students. Neither men, nor women. Just students to be taught. It’s easy to say that, but sometimes a bit tricky to put into practice. Your job is to model behaviour, specifically student behaviour in class. You set the highest standard for class…everyone will act worse than you. So when that one student comes in that hits all your buttons? You have to deal with it. At first it will take some effort. With time it becomes so easy you are sometimes startled outside of class when you realize that good looking woman is actually a student of yours. You can get there with practice. Control your gaze…or less politely, pay attention to your fucking job. You need to be eyeballing your students posture constantly, and sometimes those body bits can be attractive. If you find them being attractive, you ain’t paying enough attention. There is never a student who hasn’t got some kind of flaw. Hell, no instructor is free of flaws! Watch and correct. Look for smaller details if you have to.

It gets easier. If you continue to be a good role model to your students, you will actually get support from them. When the students act professional about sexual differences, it supports you. If you have a weak moment, they will carry you through.

Humour can help too. With a predominantly female class, I could use humour to make fun of my occasional reactions. Defusing humour, the kind that makes everyone laugh and get on with the workout. I had one class in the middle of a scorching summer, with a group of uppity and attractive women. The atmosphere had turned playful, hot…and a bit sultry. I made a point of looking up at the ceiling whenever the workout got a bit visual. In this case it worked, because getting the group laughing at my dramatics pushed the energy level up, and got us all through a tough workout. Running a class is an artful, a balancing act of energy and focus. You need to find ways to turn your flaws into a benefit for the class.

From the student point of view…guys, don’t be distracted by the boobs and other bits. If you get all goofy, you’re gonna get a broken jaw. You are in class to learn. Especially in weapon arts, there is no such thing as an inferior opponent. A rank newb can get a lucky shot on the best, at any time. Follow your instructor’s lead, and learn from your fellow students regardless of physical attributes.

Ladies…Don’t be afraid to use the power of boobs to win. If some guy is stupid enough to be distracted by your shoulder shimmy, go ahead and waste him. You are helping him learn. It’s a good thing. A little known fact: Guys like boobs, whether they think they do or not. Also, size has no effect on the brain-control power of boobs. Small or big, the effect is the same. A smart male opponent will keep his eyes on the threat, but if you put the right shimmy in at the right moment, most guys will fuzz out for a beat. It’s a cheap shot, but any woman can do it with some practice and work on timing. I’ve known some women who were masters of it…and masters of not letting you forget about it, either…

And no, you will not get cancer from being hit in your boobs. I gather it hurts a fair bit, though. I’ve heard the little individual plastic breast cups work well, but I don’t recommend them for high-impact weapon arts. If you are doing armoured fighting, I really would advice against the fake-boob style armour. Armour is meant to deflect weapons…making a valley that directs a weapon center-mass is never a good idea. And no, you do not need boob cups sculpted into your armour because you are so massively endowed. You just need a well designed breastplate, just like the guys. Trust me on this. A post about armour is coming up some day.

Let’s wrap this odd collection of ideas with one clear advantage breasts have. There is a wrestling technique available only to women, and it’s nasty. Dirty trickery at it’s worst. We call it the Boob Lock. We start in an upright tie-up, working for a throw or a standing submission. The female wrestler pays attention and waits for her partner to get a good underhook. Once the opponent has the underhook, she makes sure the underhooking arm is over the breast. If it is, all she has to do now is use pin her arm a little more tightly to her side, and shift her posture to be a little more upright. Keep a little pressure on the underhooking arm with the bicep. What has just happened is that the arm is effectively pinned in place by the elastic tension of the breast. With a little work, the other wrestler can feel like their arm is glued  above the boob. Meanwhile, the boob-lock wrestler has, at the cost of an upper arm, freed both hands while tying up an arm. A good wrestler can turn that into a full on two-to-one advantage, and some submissions are immediately applicable. Use with respect.