Sunday, July 4, 2010

Ladies Self-Defense Classes

I found this today when I was browsing through old posts, looking for something else. It seems appropriate to repost it with the upcoming Teen Girls class.

First of all, "Are they necessary?" or "Why should I take a self-defense class?"

Statistically, women are more often victims of crime, violent and otherwise, than men are. Women's lib may have happened ladies, but let's face it - typically women are just not as strong as men; we don't have the muscle mass that men do. And we don't tend to be as physically aggressive as our male counterparts. How many men have you heard of being raped by a woman? I can't think of a single story with that scenario.

I don't want to be a fear-monger, but the news is full of stories of muggings, attacks, kidnappings, etc. And they happen everywhere - mall parking lots, wal-mart parking lots, in cars, in homes, in broad daylight as well as night. We do indeed live in a violent world. It would definitely be a good thing to prepare ourselves, and our teenage daughters, for the world we live in.

Next question is, "How do I learn to protect myself?"

The market seems to be flooded with Ladies Self-Defense Classes, as well as videos and books. While a video or book might be a good resource, nothing can replace a live teacher and actual guided practice, so I am definitely in favor of taking a class. But how do you choose one? Sometimes it might simply be a matter of convenience: I can get to this place at this time. But other than that, here are some things to look for in a self-defense class.

  • Beware of a teacher who knows everything and can guarantee that you will be able to handle any situation after taking his one day class. That is simply not possible.
  • Beware of a teacher that teaches techniques that are so complicated you cannot remember them. It may look really impressive, but what good will that be in a real-life situation?
  • Beware of a teacher who's techniques involve things you cannot physically do. High kicks to the head look really good, but the only way I am going to kick someone in the head without falling down is if I knock them on the ground first. I am not Billy Jack, Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, or Bruce Lee. I am a middle-aged woman!
A one-day self-defense class is simply going to be an introduction to taking care of yourself. It is going to teach you to begin to be aware of what's going on around you, to pay attention. It should teach you some very basic techniques and strikes that apply to a number of realistic scenarios. It should teach you where to target your attacker so your strikes are more effective. But this is only a beginning. If you do not continue to practice these things and think about what you are taught, they will not be much good in an actual situation where you are scared.

I am a student and a teacher of a traditional martial art, and I think that the benefits of studying martial arts long term are enormous. Only one of those benefits is self-defense. This makes me a bit biased - I'd love it if EVERYONE got involved in martial arts! Well, the good guys at least . But I realize that martial arts is not for everyone, particularly traditional martial arts. So the next best thing is to take a self-defense class and practice on a regular basis.

I plan to teach a one-day Ladies Self-Defense Class here in Hoover in a couple of weeks, and continue to offer the one-day class every few months. In addition I thought I'd offer a "refresher course" in conjunction with it, for ladies who have had the class but want to practice beating up on "Bob" (the man shaped heavy bag), or review the scenarios that were covered in class. It would be a good chance for you to bring questions as well. My intention is for these to be small classes, allowing for lots of practice and interaction.

Whether you take my class or someone else's, do start paying attention to what is going on around you. Paying attention is the BEST self-defense there is!
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