Crime can happen to anyone, anytime. Anywhere in the world can be an unsafe place. It is a fact that it hard to accept, but it does not mean that you cannot do to change it or, at least, do anything to protect yourself.
This is true for anyone, most especially for a female. Women often come across as potential easy preys to a lot of male predators. Particularly when a woman is alone, she is more vulnerable to sexual assault and violent attacks. The more shocking reality is that many of these crimes are perpetrated by someone whom the victims know and are even related with. Worse, the “powers that be” that are supposed to protect the aggrieved parties, are instead the ones committing such crimes or protecting the criminals.
These are some of the reasons why a lot of people (especially women) are motivated to take charge regarding their own personal safety, which is a wise thing to do. People choose to carry weapons such as knives and guns, while others opt for the non-lethal weapons such as a peppermint spray.
But even as you carry those weapons, nothing still beats the ability to defend yourself. This is something that you have earned hard and something that can never be taken away. That is why it is a good idea to enroll yourself in self-defense classes.
There are a lot of many self-defense courses that you (and your loved ones) can take. Even though the choice of self-defense course still lies on your preference, there are essential points you should remember:
- Know which techniques you will want and need to learn
- Know what specific groups you are about to join – do you want to join an all-ladies class or a family class with the kids?
- Know if you want a male or a female instructor. There’s an advantage of hiring both of them to teach you self-defense. A female instructor, especially one who has survived the experience of abuse herself, will also serve as your role model who will better equip you with techniques that you need in self-defense. There’s also an advantage of having a male instructor because you have them to practice with (such as simulating an approaching attack by a male predator) which will definitely add to your knowledge and experience. Whether a male or a female instructor is better, it all depends on your decision.
- Another factor that you should definitely consider is the quality of school that offers self-defense courses. Determine if they carry particular licenses, certifications, or any other credentials that will confirm their credibility. It is also good to know if the school or the instructor is affiliated to organizations to know that they’re truly committed to their profession.
- When you have found a potential school, visit it and speak to the instructors about the classes offered. It’s also helpful if you also take time to watch the training sessions in action in order acquaint yourself with the feel and the method of their teaching.
- Many schools offer a variety of courses or classes. When you see and like a particular course, try enrolling for free classes or trials to get a genuine, firsthand training experience. It will also give you the opportunity to assess and to see if this particular course would be easy to apply to a real-life violent situation.
- It is necessary to feel comfortable in a class or with an instructor, or with the other students in class, as this will also make an impact on how well involved you are in learning the techniques.
Some of the self-defense classes that are often the most recommended especially for women and younger people:
Krav Maga, which means “contact combat” in Hebrew, has been gaining global popularity in recent years. First developed in Israel and officially used by the Israeli military, Krav Maga is also implemented by many law enforcement agencies in many parts of the world. These include the FBI and the SWAT teams, and several other US federal, state and national law enforcement bodies.
For less combative purposes, Krav Maga can also be a good workout, that’s why it’s popular at many high-end gyms.
Because of its reputed effectiveness in real life, Krav Maga can also be learned by civilians. Krav Maga’s foundation lies on the two key elements: the self-defense and hand-to-hand combat. The self-defense, as the name implies, allows the trainee to use techniques to defend himself against both armed and unarmed assailants. These techniques are practiced in unfamiliar situations (such as being in the dark), or situations that can limit the trainee’s movements.
The hand-to-hand combat, on the other hand, is basically the advanced level of Krav Maga. Here, the trainee learns how to counter and neutralize the opponent quickly and effectively, as well as to learn and master the psychological element of the attacks. Guns, sticks and other weapons may also be used.
Personal classes for women
For a woman, learning how how to fight back is not only a smart way for protecting herself. It can also make her feel good and empowered. Self-defense techniques for women include both physical and mental aspects in order to protect themselves in an event of an attack.
There are classes with only all female trainers and participants which tend to be conducive to talk over sensitive issues. Aside from that, all-women classes provide a safe and secure environment to learn self-defense techniques and get oneself involved in fitness and training.
Self-defense and karate classes for children
Sadly, children have increasingly become commonly targeted victims of violence – whether they are being bullied at school or attacked unexpectedly while playing outside. Self-defense classes for kids consist of all aspects of defending themselves not just physically but also mentally, while providing a safe environment for energetic and fun activities.
Although there are various types of self-defense classes designed for the children, karate seem to be the most common type. This popular Japanese martial art involves different styles of striking including kicks, punches, knee and elbow strikes, etc. It is also a good way for the kids to be engaged in physical activity, aside from learning about concentration and self-defense skills.
Children who have learned advanced levels of karate can even participate in tournaments, providing a competitive but enjoyable factor to this energetic extra-curricular activity.
For parents who are worried that their kids might be hurt or injured, they should rest assured that a considerable part of karate training consists of learning precise moves in a very slow fashion, under a controlled environment. The more combative aspects of karate are not taught unless your child is ready for them.
Children as young as four years of age and up can enroll in self-defense classes. It is a good idea to check out if a school you’re considering offers free trial courses to find out if the school, class and instructor are suitable for your children.
Personal self-defense courses and training in the US
Every major city in the US offers personal self-defense courses and training. A few of them include:
Female Awareness – a highly-recommended class based in New York City, it has been featured on several TV shows and other media outlets. It offers classes not only focused on the physical aspect of fighting and protecting oneself, but also psychological and verbal aspects of it.
Divas in Defence – Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Divas in Defence has gained quite an exposure recently. It is focused on training women with the focus on self-defense techniques and women empowerment.
Self Defense Centers – Based in Chicago, Illinois, focuses on the more street-smart approach in protecting oneself (since attacks can happen at unexpected scenarios such as walking alone on the street at night).
Impact Krav Maga – Based in San Diego, California, Impact Krav Maga is one of the most popular Krav Maga schools in the US. It is particularly praised for its patient instructors.