Hopefully this won't kill the debate going on, but having trained in Muay Thai, Krav Maga (fortunate enough to do gun defense seminar with Sam Sade), some boxing, BJJ/MMA stuff I would say that for a smallish woman, Krav Maga is the key.
For anyone that's looking for a practical application of force in a real life situation it's the way to go. A good instructor will use SPEAR techniques for defense, as well as teach proper punching and work on conditioning.
In the streets the only things that matter are: winning/staying alive, and doing it quickly. Would you rather root around for a key/pen/blade? Or would you rather knee strike to the groin, punch to the neck, stomp the foot, eye gouge, defend takedowns etc?
The fact of the matter is that in a real life situation, we don't have time to pull weapons when held up or attacked. But often our attackers will be armed. With proper defense training, you can give yourself a much better chance of disarming and incapacitating an armed attacker.
Add in the intense conditioning that a good instructor will instill in his/her students and you have one well prepared citizen.
And if you don't think kettleball squat cleans are difficult, I say, step up to the med-ball
- CJ Kim