If you live in an area with a high crime rate, you might consider taking a self-defense class. These classes are usually tailored to real-world situations, like being confronted by a mugger or a criminal trying to steal your car.
But do self-defense classes help you stay safe in real-world encounters with criminals? Or are they a waste of money designed to make you feel more secure?
Some self-defense classes are more useful than others. In the real world, it won’t matter much if you know how to do a roundhouse kick when a criminal threatens you with a weapon. Studying martial arts and practicing fighting forms makes for a great workout, and it can make you a tough opponent in a sanctioned match with referees and rules. However, martial arts won’t do much during a mugging or home invasion.
Self-defense classes that focus on avoiding dangerous situations altogether and surviving encounters with criminals are more useful for people who want to avoid becoming the target of a random crime.
In a martial arts class, instructors emphasize the proper form and physical execution of moves. In a self-defense class, it’s more important for students to learn to react to threats.
When people are confronted with muggers or other criminals, they often freeze in fear. Through training with an instructor, students can learn to control their emotions and react swiftly to dangerous situations.
While most courses will teach some basic strikes and the ways to break out of some holds, these are less important than the psychological training that teaches students to avoid danger in the first place.
Any physical confrontation with a criminal can be life-threatening. You never know when the person confronting you may be willing to commit heinous crimes just for the cash in your wallet. It’s almost always safer to just give the mugger your money and get out of the situation instead of trying to pick a fight with someone who might have a dangerous weapon.
Self-defense courses can teach you the warning signs of a criminal casing you as a potential mark. If you notice these signals, you can take steps to avoid becoming isolated and getting mugged or assaulted. Likewise, these courses can help you develop the confidence to scare off potential threats before they attack you.
So, in short, self-defense classes can be a stellar resource for people who want to avoid becoming victims. However, they’re more about mental preparation than physical prowess.