Self defense is something that is well worth learning. You never know when you may find yourself in a situation where you feel threatened, and without some defensive training, you will have a lot less confidence when it comes to dealing with it. However, while self defense classes – especially those aimed at women – are always taught with the best of intentions, often there are some things that are taught that don’t really apply in an actual violent situation. While things may work just fine in the gym with a cooperative opponent, it is important to take some of the things you learn with a grain of salt, and learn how to protect yourself best.
You Can Disarm an Armed Opponent Easily
If your self defense course is only a short term course, for instance a ten week course, as opposed to fully learning a martial art over the course of a few years, then you are unlikely to be able to disarm somebody with a weapon by the end of it. Even skilled martial artists don’t tend to try and disarm if they can avoid it. While it may look easy to manipulate the hand and arm of someone with a knife or blunt weapon when you do it in the safety of the gym, it is far too risky a move to attempt and it is also unlikely that the attack you face in real life will meet the conditions needed for the few disarming moves you’ll have time to practice on a short course. The best thing to do against an armed opponent is always to get yourself out of there – even if you are a master fighter.
You Can Use Your Opponent’s Strength Against Them
While this isn’t entirely untrue,and many martial arts such as Aikido do work on this principle, with just a small amount of training you probably aren’t going to be able to throw someone twice your size just by twisting their wrist or similar. That is not to say you can’t beat a stronger opponent if you are attacked, however if you expect the attacks to always match those you have trained for specifically (for instance being grabbed by the throat, or being grabbed on the shoulder from behind), you still won’t know what to do if a different kind of intimidating approach is used. If you are small or weak, the best way to protect yourself is to be in some way armed (in accordance with what is legal in your area), for instance with a collapsible baton.
All Fights Go to the Ground
People who specialize in ground fighting styles like Brazilian Ju Jitsu or wrestling tend to believe that all fights end up on the ground, so this is where you must be able to defend yourself. However, taking a fight to the ground can be a very bad idea in a lot of circumstances, and makes it hard for you to get away. Being able to make a few good strikes and escape grabs is far more important than ground fighting for those who simply want some basic self defense skills.
Self defense is fun, interesting and empowering, however if you really want to be able to take care of yourself in most situations, it can be better to properly study a martial art or boxing style.