3 Lessons in Self Defense and How to Choose Your Training Style

By October 5, 2015Self Defense
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Over the last decade or more of teaching self-defense, too many times have I heard stories from women (and men too) of being abused in some way. In fact, many women who start training in self-defense usually choose to begin after they have been the victim of some kind of assault, whether it be domestic violence, sexual violence or a random attack by a stranger.

I’m always so impressed by the courage it takes to face and sometimes relive one’s fears, and begin a self-defense program. I also love it when people start training in self-defense to prepare themselves and learn to defend oneself before anything like this does happen.

Regardless of where you are, the first lessons that I teach of self-defense take place off of the mat. Self-defense starts with your head. Here are my first three lessons in self-defense:

Lesson #1: Be Aware

Being fully present is something most of us struggle with these days. Talking, texting and headphones are just a few of the distractions that keep us from being completely aware of our surroundings at all times.

Lesson #2: Mark Your Territory

Everyone should have personal and physical boundaries that they set that become non-negotiable. These boundaries should apply to people that you date and other relationships, as well as physical space around you that nobody should enter unless invited into.

Lesson #3: Communicate Powerfully

Say it with me: NO! A two-letter word that is sometimes so hard to say, is now all it takes to legally accuse someone of rape in some states. In many cases of sexual assault it may take a lot more than using words to get someone off of you, but having the ability and confidence to stick up for yourself (in all areas of your life) is the first step of communicating powerfully.

Intrigued and want to learn more, but don’t know where to begin?

I’ve created the following as a guide to finding the right self-defense training programs for you.  Which of the following sounds like you?

1. I want to learn just the basics and I am a bit intimidated by the whole thing. I don’t want to wear a uniform, bow, or learn to count in another language. I want to learn the nitty gritty basics of how to defend myself without spending a whole lot of time.

If this sounds like you there are many options. Perhaps you’re a college student? Many colleges will bring in a speaker (like myself) to speak on personal safety and self-defense. Some will even provide a self-defense training workshop or series of classes. Not a student? Most martial arts schools will teach self-defense workshops from time to time that are open to the community. Read a book like Hear Me Roar, or learn from home on DVD or online (Stilettos and Self Defense is my at-home instructional video).

2. I want to submerse myself in learning self-defense for a limited amount of time from 3 days to 3 months.

For you I suggest looking into programs like IMPACT which are classes spread out over a few days. You get to practice on real people and are put in real life scenarios. Also, some martial arts schools in your area may offer programs that can go more in depth than just a 2 or 3 hour workshop.

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One Comment

  • It seems that little kids refer to their personal space as their bubble. When I read the section about making your physical boundaries clear, it made me think of this “bubble.” Having a clear line drawn in the sand is useful to you to know when to defend yourself if it is crossed.

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