Self-defense, the importance of learning

Self-defense. Nothing feels better than knowing you can take care of yourself mentally, financially, and physically. However, for a lot of people, the physical part is just exercise. Being able to protect yourself in all situations is a confidence booster as much as it is a reassurance.

A reassurance that can only be gained through any form of self-defense training, there’s so many styles, all are good, just find the one that best suits you.

What Self-defense is about

Self-defense comes with so many benefits, and they’re all positive! Apart from the obvious skills you are learning, you will also achieve an understanding of self-discipline, self-respect, self-control and self-awareness. You are learning valuable lifesaving skills, what to do in case you are attacked, how to gain that momentary edge over your attacker so you can get away or find people who can help you.

Prevention is the best defense and being situationally aware is your first line of self-defense. By avoiding certain situations, you can minimize your risk of being attacked, such as scanning your environment for suspicious activity and being alert at all times instead of just blindly walking around. Avoid dangerous places like poorly lit, isolated, late at night, in unfamiliar territory, and stay away from people who might be prone to violence such as drunks or gangs.

What Self-defense isn’t about!

There’s a huge difference between Self-defense and fighting! If you are attacked your number one priority above all should be to get away as quickly and as safely as possible, your goal is not to try to win a fight but escape unhurt. Of course in order to escape you may need to disorient, distract, stun, and even disable your attacker. But once you see an opportunity to escape, take it and get out of there, don’t hang around and admire your handy work. Do not give your attacker a second chance to come at you, next time you might not get the chance to escape.

Self-defense should not be about teaching you how to `go the distance` in a street fight or how to `teach someone a lesson` and is most certainly not about using your skills in the wrong way such as being a bully or attacking others when unprovoked. Just because you know you have skills don’t misuse them! Self-defense training should have also given you the discipline, self-control and understanding concerning this.

You haven’t learned these skills to turn `psycho` or `put the boot in` and start kicking the attacker all around the ground or generally using excessive force, if you do this then you have taken this way past the point of self-defense and now have become the aggressor! Many attackers will happily play the role of victim and get you sued over something they started! So self-control is a huge factor. Do not go over the top!

Act quickly! Your life may be in danger

Unfortunately, even if you are street smart, there are too many incidents of random, unprovoked violence nowadays. If someone attacks you, your life may be in danger. You must react quickly and confidently. The longer you wait, the harder it may become to free yourself. There is no time for social graces, or being polite and reserved, you must respond as the situation requires.

Bottom line is do what is necessary to escape, after all, an attacker is not coming for your autograph! Do whatever is necessary to gain an advantage and get out of there quickly and as safely as possible.

Become situationally aware

I’m sure you’ll remember your dear old mom telling you as a young kid about not talking to strangers, getting in cars with strangers and walking down dark alleys alone, yet so many people forget this kind of advice years later and put themselves in unnecessary danger.

Many victims of assaults say afterwards that they saw it coming, so the problem is not being able to spot the danger they have put themselves in, but rather, unable to act on it once they see it coming. The thinking of `that kind of thing happens to other people, not me` is a very dangerous attitude to have.

The lack of common sense in avoiding these potentially dangerous situations is very evident by the choices people make. For example, Friday or Saturday after the bars close can be a huge area of concern, fast food joints are where you’ll see many fights, the drunks are out in force and many looking for trouble!

Poorly lit or lonely areas are very hazardous at night, some are well known and some even have a bad reputation, but yet people will blindly ignore these red flags if it means getting home a few minutes early by walking down a dark lane as a short cut, many times fueled by alcohol their brains are telling them “It’ll be ok, no problem just this once” and it might be ok just this once, but you can definitely reduce your risk of danger by avoiding these areas. Just a little thought can save you a lot of trouble.

Quite often, you might encounter a gang of teenagers hanging out on the street corner at night who are doing just that and don’t intend anyone any harm, but if you feel uneasy about walking past them then don’t, seek another route to take.

It is very easy to tell if someone could be trouble by their demeanor and attitude, if your instincts are warning you it’s for a good reason, don’t hang around if you feel threatened, if it’s at all possible to leave before any confrontation can happen, then it’s best to do exactly that. Always be scanning your horizon for possible dangers. Think ahead, be one step ahead of any possible danger.

Benefits of learning self-defense

1. It builds confidence – One of the biggest advantages to taking self-defense classes is the way it makes you feel afterwards. A lot of people are not confident with their abilities to protect themselves before they join a practice or take classes. This can be due to personal experiences, as well as driven by the news. We hear a lot about the negativity in our society, and this can leave people feeling unprotected. Self-defense classes will build confidence in yourself. If you are getting bullied, it is also a great way to protect yourself and grow confidence in yourself, ultimately molding you into a better person.

2. It works on your balance – Let’s face it, some of us can’t multi-task. These types of classes require a lot out of your body, including the ability to do two things at once without falling over. Improving your balance also means improving focus. Karate and self-defense classes teach you how to focus on your target while you control your body. Without balance it is almost impossible to fight. Through gaining your body control and balance, you will be better prepared to protect yourself.

3. It helps develop self-discipline – The only discipline that lasts, is self-discipline. In order to learn and grow with your self-defense abilities, you have to develop self-discipline. You have to be motivated and dedicated to the practice. In order to be better protected-you have to keep practicing. Actually, going to class and showing up on a regular basis develops discipline. Taking these types of classes will get you focused on your personal protection and on your surroundings. Like with any other sport, you can’t get better if you don’t practice.

4. It helps improve your physical conditioning- The whole point of self-defense classes is to prepare you for any situation that may bring harm to you. Physical conditioning is extremely important when it comes to self-defense. Training and practicing prepare you for the adrenalin dump when a situation arises that may require you to fight. When someone comes after you, you will experience what is called an adrenalin dump. It’s your body’s way of responding to the fight or flight situation. It only lasts a few seconds, so you need to be physically conditioned to appropriately deal with a dangerous situation. If you aren’t, your body will not work as well as you need it to after the adrenalin dump. Physical conditioning will work on your reflexes and your awareness of an attack. When you are fighting it is important to be focused both mentally and physically. If you are prepared, you will be more successful in a dangerous situation and the dump won’t take all your energy from you.

5. It improves your street awareness – Self-defense classes will make you more aware of your surroundings. You’re never planning to be attacked, but your attacker is the one with the plan. Self-defense classes will help you to be aware at all times and ready, should this type of situation arise. You might be shocked for a second, but you will have the necessary reactions to protect yourself. Self-defense training teaches you to think about where you can be attacked and where your attacker could be hiding. Always be aware of your surroundings.

6. It teaches you self-respect – The practice of karate, and many other practices like it, are centered around trust and respect. It teaches respect of each other, and respect for yourself. This is beneficial in life. If you don’t respect yourself, then how can you respect others? When you are practicing your self-defense moves you will be practicing with a partner. There needs to be mutual trust between the two of you to not hurt each other, but still practice well. If you do not respect yourself, it is unlikely that others will respect you and have that mutual trust.

7. It helps to develop a warrior spirit – We all watch the news and see how terrible it can be. Taking self-defense classes will help you develop a sort of warrior spirit. We all know that if we are attacked, the last thing we want to do is get in that car of our assailant. Self-defense classes can prepare you for battle and, most importantly, survival. If you are attacked, you don’t want to go to a secondary location, and having self-defense on your side will help prevent that from happening. You will have a sense of “I am going to survive here, not down the road.”

8. It helps you develop a fighter’s reflex – In a fight, movement is power. You can’t stand around and wait for your attacker’s next strike, you have to move! Self-defense classes will help develop your reflexes and you will gain a fighter’s reflex. A fighter’s reflex is different from your normal reflexes. In normal situations you respond to something that happens. When you are being attacked it is better to know how to respond. Fighter’s reflex will allow you to move quickly and smartly in the situation. You will know where to step and where to throw your punch. You will be prepared.

9. It will help you with goal setting – Self-defense classes help you to set goals. Whether you want to nail a specific move or work hard to feel like you can protect yourself, you are setting a goal. It gets you back in class each week and will help you in your everyday life. It helps you develop a drive that you may not have had before. If you take your goal setting seriously within your self-defense classes, it can roll over into your everyday life, helping you get through any tough situation that comes your way.

10. It has a positive influence on your life – Unlike a lot of things in life, taking self-defense classes will always have a positive impact on your life. Each and every one of the reasons above are proof of this. Taking self-defense classes can boost your spirits and make you a more confident and better version of yourself. It’s important to have things in life that we can rely on to make us happy- taking these kinds of classes does just that.

Author: Nigel Taylor

I`m Nigel Taylor – originally from England – owner of The Backyard Gym in Round Rock Texas. We specialize in personal training, kickboxing cardio and self-defense. With over 25 years experience as a personal trainer, I know what works! From weight loss to bulking up to toning up, I can help you get your desired look and achieve your fitness goals. I can also offer you the privacy of a 100% private personal training studio in which to enjoy and get the most out of your workouts.