Are self defense classes worth it?

Millions of people across the world take self-defense classes every week. But are they just wasting their time and money? Wouldn’t you rather spend this with your friends, family or go out on a date instead? And after all this sacrifice – does it even work?

No-one can deny that there are a lot of charlatans involved in Martial Arts. Instructors with fancy names who ensnare students with belts, grades, titles and certificates. Maybe self-defense classes aren’t necessary at all. Maybe you can greatly increase your odds of survival without bowing down to an instructor with a funny name in an even funnier uniform.

All in all here at Shizoku Martial Arts we feel that you should give yourself the best chance you can in today’s world to survive. It is amazing how one little thing can be the difference between life and death or serious injury. In saying that there are some great ways to add to your training and increase your odds out there in the real world.

1. Get Fit!

Being physically fit has so many advantages and is vital to your survival. The best form of “Self-defense” is literally not being there.

“Running” is a great solution, and is always put forward by the more sensible instructors.

Being physically fit will help you live longer. It reduces stress – another “Master Killer“. It also increases your mental acuity. And let’s face it. A lot of self-defense situations are caused by stupid people making stupid decisions.

Finally, another benefit of getting fit is you look and feel fit. This is very important when thinking about why people are targeted for violence. They are not picked out at random. Usually, predators are looking for those who won’t fight back. Looking fit and strong can make them think twice.

2. How do you strut!

Research shows that walking shows how vulnerable we are to an attack. By changing our walking style we can significantly increase our personal safety. Amazing huh.


Walkers rated “Easy to Attack:

  • Had Short Stride Length relative to height
  • Had a “Gestural Walking Style”, a low-energy style with limited
    arm swing and lifting of the feet.
  • Weigh relatively little
  • Wear restrictive clothing like high heels and skirts

Walkers rated “Difficult to Attack”

  • Had a “Postural Walking Style”
  • Has Long Stride Length with Swinging Arms
  • A Swinging Foot Position
  • Energetic, Fast Walk
  • Weighed More

What the would-be muggers were looking for were snapshots of powerlessness. A victim. Somebody who offers sufficient reward for relatively little effort.

Self defense classes are great at giving you the self belief and confidence in your self to stand tall and walk proudly.

3. Learn How to Back-Down and Say “I’m Sorry!”

There is a theory on how violence happens and it has been outlined in “The Monkey Dance” theory, which has the following order:

  1. An aggressive, hard stare
  2. A verbal challenge, e.g “You got a problem with me?!”
  3. Closing to within arms-reach with increased signs of adrenaline (arms gesturing, chest puffed out, face turning pale)
  4. Escalating Violent Threats which are usually monosyllabic.
  5. Eventually, one of the participants will make contact with their index finger on the other’s chest. This can rapidly escalate into pushing and shoving
  6. Finally, one of the participants touches the other’s face, usually the nose with an index finger. This leads to a large, looping overhand punch being thrown, and the fight begins.

Sound familiar? If you’ve not been in one, you’ve probably seen plenty in the school-yard, outside bars and clubs or most places where alcohol’s consumed. And sadly, most men (and due to the differences in how adrenaline affects the sexes it’s almost always men) haven’t progressed emotionally beyond the school gates.

It’s not all our fault thought. The “Monkey Dance” is hard-wired into us. We also find it difficult to say “You’re right. My bad. I was being an ****hole.” It’s really hard when we ARE actually being an ****hole. Close to impossible when you’re “In the right”. Being “right” offers scant consolation if you’re beaten right into the local intensive unit…

Never underestimate the power of good people skills. By keeping a cool head when confronted by intense situations you stand a better chance of simply apologising and walking away intact.

Good empty-hand skills can allow you to create space to either get to a weapon or get the hell out of there. It also easier to prove “reasonable force” in a court of law. If you shoot or stab somebody (even in “Self-Defense) there’s a good chance that’s where you could end up. Again, this is something that is rarely considered in self-defense classes…

The Bottom Line

Remember, the best defense isn’t a good offense. The best defense is using your common sense not being there. Period… but why not give yourself a chance in case the worst happens.

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