There’s quite a range of things you can learn if you want to be able to defend yourself.  The first thing that most people think of when it comes to self defense is one of the Martial Arts.  A while back it was Boxing, Karate, Judo & Taikwondo that were best known, but a lot more disciplines have become prominant lately including Mauy Thai and Kickboxing. And there are self defense classes that are run concentrating on easy to learn moves and escape techniques, rather than longer-to-learn form and movement drilling.

There are several key aspects to self defense that you should look for in any training:

  • mindset
  • basic skills
  • fitness

Mindset

A key datum that applies completely to self-defense, is that the price of freedom is constant alertness and constant willingness to fight back ( L. Ron Hubbard – Founder of Scientology ).
A really important aspect of any self defence training is the mindset, starting with this price of freedom. The ability to stay calm enough to take useful action is also crucial in a survival situaton, and all self-defense classes – martial arts based or otherwise should drill this in. In a real situation, adrennalin pours out and your thinking can get blurred.  If the person threatening you is on drugs, or insane in some way ( which most criminals are ) it’s more than likely that they aren’t thinking straight, so your ability to think is a big advantage.

Basic Skills

A point you should take into account when you’re deciding what to learn, is whether you want to spend a lot of time learning a complex martial art, or whether you just want basic survival skills.  There is a difference.

A lot of martial arts are sports/tournament focussed, and while its still a distinct advantage to be competent in one of them, in a real survival situation they may not be the best choice.  This is because the moves and skill that get drilled in are for an environment where there are rules of engagement.  So then if you then find yourself up against someone who isn’t following any rules, this drilling can work against you. It may be far more useful just to know how to kick the guy on the knees or stick a finger up his nose.

Fitness

Fitness is a great advantage in keeping yourself safe and shouldn’t be underestimated. Would-be-attackers will usually have second thoughts before going after someone who looks fit and able to fight back.  The confidence you get from having some self-defense training also shows in your bearing and acts as a deterant.

The other aspect of keeping fit, is that you have the stamina to run, and the agility to dodge obvious punches and stikes.  It is a major advantage to have a blow miss you, or to be able to outrun an asssailent !

Another side-effect of being fit, is that it does seem to influence awareness of your environment.  You tend to look out more and notice things if your attention isn’t locked into moving a tired, weak body around !