What You Need to Know before Signing Up for Self-Defense Classes
The ability to defend yourself will come in extremely handy when you’re in a situation where you’re about to be assaulted or worse. While having situational awareness and verbal skills to help avoid or diffuse a dangerous situation is helpful, in some cases, you have no choice but to resort to violence.
Knowing how to defend yourself is especially important to women who are usually much more easily overpowered because their assailants are bigger and stronger. Good self-defense techniques will level the playing field here and give you a massive advantage over bigger, stronger opponents.
If someone is trying to rob or steal from you, all you need to do is toss your belongings on the ground and run off for help. Do not struggle with your assailant. Your life is more precious than your valuables.
However, for situations where your attacker wants to rape, hurt or kill you, it’s almost always going to get violent. In times like these, knowing strikes, jabs, kicks and throws just might mean the difference between life and death.
Below we’ll look at a few points that you should take note of before joining any self-defense class.
This will help you choose one that is ideal for you.
1. Martial Arts vs Self-Defense Classes
The common mistake that most people make is that they assume that martial arts will help them in a self-defense situation. This usually applies only if you’re very well-trained and you’re not panicky in a critical situation.
In a dangerous situation, most martial arts techniques go out of the window because the moves are either too intricate or complicated to apply. One example would be Aikido which involves wrist locks and other sweeping motions.
In a real world situation where attacks are brutal, you will not have the opportunity to grab your opponent’s wrists or do fanciful circular sweeps.
You want to pick a self-defense course that is simple and effective to follow. Krav Maga is great. Other close combat training courses that use techniques such as palm heel strikes, throat punches, eye gouges, kneeing, elbow strikes, etc. are very effective.
These moves are basic and brutal. Surviving a violent encounter will require you to use these moves quickly and effectively. There is a difference between fighting in the real-world and sparring in a ring or on a mat. In the real world, fights are fast, dirty and dangerous.
The right self-defense course will teach you exactly what you need to know.
2. Is the Instructor Qualified?
Always check that the instructor is qualified and has the necessary credentials. Usually, most self-defense instructors have a background in different types of martial arts. They then take the simplest and most effective moves and structure their training around these moves. So, do ask the instructors where they received their training, etc.
3. Is Bag Work Involved?
The good self-defense classes have punching bags, boxing pads, kicking pads, etc. This is very important because it will give you an idea of what making contact with an actual object feels like.
Punching and kicking in air while effective for building speed and strength, will not help you to get the ‘feel’ of making contact. When you punch and kick a boxing pad or bag, you’ll feel the impact.
You’ll notice the jolts to your joints and will feel more exhausted because the force meets resistance. If your partner is moving the pad around, you’ll realize just how difficult it is to accurately hit a moving target.
This is real-world training because when you’re facing an actual attacker, they’ll be moving. When you hit them, the force will throw you back slightly too. You’ll only be ready for this if you have experienced it in practice. So, make sure your course has training that involves pads and bags.
4. Frequency of Classes
Twice a week is usually the norm. Anything more is a blessing. Mastering self-defense requires constant practice. You MUST repeat these moves until they’re seared into your mind and become second nature to you.
In a dangerous situation, your adrenaline will kick in and you will react instead of act. If you’ve trained enough, your body will do what it needs to in order to protect you. Your self-defense has become instinctive. You’re in a fantastic position to defend yourself.
So, try and sign up for a course that has at least 2 classes a week and when you’re not at class, spend about 30 minutes or an hour a day, just practicing. The more often you do the moves, the better and faster you’ll get.
5. Are There Males in Your Class?
Ideally, there should be male participants in your class so that you can feel what it’s like to execute the moves against a bigger opponent. It doesn’t really matter if the instructor is a male or female (pick one you feel comfortable with), but when practicing in a controlled environment, having a male opponent will keep the training realistic.
A wrist lock that may be easy to execute on a woman may be much more difficult on a man who is physically much stronger. So, what works in theory may not be effective in real life. You’ll only discover what works best for you if you have someone to test it out on.
6. Is the Course Adaptable?
The class you join should have instructors who can adapt the program to suit your age, fitness level, size, etc. If the class only caters to extremely fit participants, you’ll be gasping for breath and it will be torturous.
You want to join a class that helps you learn gradually and makes sure you get it right. Generally, smaller classes are better so that the instructors are able to give each student proper attention.
These 6 tips will help you choose a good self-defense course.
Do note that kickboxing classes done to heart pumping music at the gym or following some aerobic kickboxing workout on a DVD is NOT self-defense training.
Real self-defense training is about understanding individual moves and executing them in a devastating manner. They are learned slowly and carefully practiced till you can do them fast and effectively.
There is rarely any music in a self-defense class. This is serious training to equip you with serious skills… that you will need in an extremely serious situation.
Join a class today and get started.