I am a huge advocate for both women and men to take self-defense courses. Not only do they help you learn at least the basics of protecting yourself, they also teach you self-confidence.
Self-confidence can empower an individual to no longer accept inappropriate behavior from others, especially, sexual harassment/assault.
Personally, it took me a long time to feel worthy enough to stand up and say "no" to harassers and abusers. My self defense course gave me back my voice. It made me no longer afraid to stand up to people who lack respect for my boundaries.
If you have never been to a self defense class before, you will want to make sure the studio/school you attend demonstrates these 11 signs of a great self defense class!
1. They are open to all ages, genders, and people with varied abilities. This can show they probably have a well-rounded practice and lack discrimination to who attends.
2. The teacher does not avoid or become uncomfortable when you share your life story or reason for being there. Especially, if it is a trauma related situation.
3. Training involves learning how to protect yourself with realistic scenarios. They are not teaching based on fairy tales or idealistic situations.
4. If you are in a group class, your classmates are willing to help you and match your speed. In other words, someone with more experience than you isn't going to go much faster than what you can handle or learn from.
5. They encourage their students to check their ego at the door. It is a place of learning - not to show-off.
6. Questions are welcomed during and after class. Not everyone learns the same way and they recognize this.
7. Padding is not regularly used unless absolutely necessary. Many will disagree with this, but it's important to remember that hitting a pad feels much different than hitting the soft tissue of the stomach. They both react differently and you will too.
8. They place an importance on how to take care of your physical health. Strikes, both receiving and giving, put tension in your body. You should be instructed in how to ease the tension afterwards.
9. You should be not only allowed but encouraged to find your own voice through your progress. Mimicry is not flattery.
10. Training with weapons is a regular occurrence. This could be with wooden, plastic, or dulled metal objects. Even if they are fake, it still is helpful for real life situations.
11. They are willing to teach you the "why" and "reason" behind what they are teaching. Just doing drills without understanding how the moves connect, or why you would do them in the first place, will create a disconnect in your practice.
Thank you for reading my 11 Signs of a Great Self Defense Class! Do you have any others you could add to this list? Drop them in the comments below!