Why Learning Self-Defense is Necessary, and How to Get Started.
There are many things in our lives that we have complete control over: How we want to start our day, what we want for breakfast, who we choose to hang out with. And in today’s day and age, we have even more control of our lives with technology such as smartphones, internet, and the ability to order nearly anything we want and have it brought to our fingertips within hours. These things give us the ability to be proactive and have some further stability in our lives.
However, there are other things that we do not have as much control over. The natural elements, the passing of time, and specifcally, the choices other people around you, make. The last one is especially impactful to our percieved reality. We all have had that disruptive person with his/her phone on in the movie theater, that disgruntled boss at work , that person that carelessly bumps into us in the subway and doesn’t even apologize to us. Bottom line: people make choices — many of which we do not like, much less are able to control. The only person we can truly control, is ourself. We can only decide how we react to these sorts of things.
As an example, imagine you are driving down the road. You have complete control of how quickly you accelerate, slow down, turn, and get to your desired destination. But you do not have control over how individuals around you choose to drive. Some drive slowly. Others, aggressively. And sometimes, those individuals cars collide with your car, or vice versa. And though we all have a driver’s license to affirm our on-the-road training, laws that incentivize our behavior on the road, and we try our absolute best to avoid colliding with one another, we still manage to do so. Which means injuries, damaged vehicles or property, and upset people.
In order to combat the possible risk of a collision, we pay certain premiums each month to an insurance company in order to INSURE that we won’t be unprepared legally or financially should we ever be involved in a car accident. We purchase insurance so that we have the ability to pay for whatever damages we cause if we are the guilty party, and have the ability to be properly compensated if they run into us. We hope to never use such insurance that we are paying for, yet we still pay the premiums for the very possibility that we could get into a car accident. And this is worth it to us.
When it comes to learning self-defense, the same is true: it is a form of personal insurance, a form of life insurance if you will. The goal is to never be in a dangerous or violent altercation with anyone, ever. But even though you have complete control of your own actions, obeying the law, being a good person, treating others with respect — Others do not always choose to follow this. As a result, someone who doesn’t want do be assaulted, robbed, or raped still has the chance of ending up trying to fight for his/her life or get away from someone who is trying to cause them harm.
This a reality that we all face. Though not nearly as likely to happen to you as getting into a car accident, you could still become a potential victim of someone else. Accidents are accidents; violent crime is deliberate. So with self-defense skills, god forbid, if the time comes that you get attacked, you will have the training, knowledge, and mental toughness to withstand the assault and get out with as little harm to yourself and others as possible.
So how do we acquire this insurance? There are several ways we can begin this process. Here are 3 Ways to start the process of getting your own form of Self-Defense Insurance.
1. Join a Martial Arts School
Join a martial arts studio or other training class, take classes on firearms, or even join a boxing or wrestling club. All these things (though not always created equal) are decent ways to start or enhance your journey to create the best “self-defense insurance policy” for yourself that you can acquire.
If I were to start from scratch and learn everything all over again, I would join a boxing gym, a Chinese Kenpo martial arts school, or take classes in Krav Maga. Then I would eventually move into learning the basics of Jiu-Jitsu/Wrestling so that I understand movement dynamics on the ground. Though I am not a subject matter expert in all of these disciplines, I have been around them long enough to know that they are a decent start in your learning process. Keep in mind, not all Krav Maga, Kenpo, Jiu-Jitsu or Boxing gyms will have the same level of experience, training, equipment, accreditation, or competence. So, do your research. For instance, if you go to a boxing gym and the instructors have trained several high-ranking active fighters, this is one gym to look at more seriously. Be careful, though, as boxing and jiu-jitsu are sports and have rules. There are no rules in the street when fighting for your life. These are still good skillsets to acquire as they help you learn combinations, footwork and distancing, escapes, etc. The positives outweigh the potential negatives so long as you remember the reasons you are training the things you are learning.
2. Study Self-Defense Online
If training at a martial arts school isn’t appealing, or isn’t feasible at this time, another option is to study online. There are several online video courses that you could utilize. These courses range from free to hundreds, and sometimes thousands of dollars, and are found everywhere from YouTube, to Udemy, all the way to actual individual brands. All are possibilities that are at your fingertips at any time through your laptop or smart phone.
Like researching a martial arts school, be sure to do your research on each instructor to ensure that he or she is someone with worthwhile experience — Where that instructor has taught, who they have taught, and what they themselves teach, etc., are all things to consider when selecting a worthwhile instructor.
For martial arts online training, one resource that I personally have used is the Chinese Kenpo video course provided by the International Karate Connection Association. The filming is old school (1990s), but the content is still extremely relevant, and has laid a very strong foundation for many a fighter and self-defense practitioner.
In the end, there is a lot of good material on YouTube in particular. Channels and video content from Tim Larkin, fightTIPS, and Nick Drossos, are good resources to start with also. Tim Larkin and Nick Drossos’ systems are formed mainly around the concept of reality based self defense, while fightTIPS is mainly geared towards general sport-fighting movements (boxing, muy thai, etc.). They are very knowledgeable in their respective fields and are recommended.
3. Read Books on Self-Defense
Another option is reading books, ebooks, and blog posts on self-defense (You are doing that right now by reading this post. Thank you). There are several books on self-defense that are worthwhile reads, many of which you can access on Amazon, even audiobooks on Audible, and many more options.
Some of the benefits to a book is that it allows our brains to process the information in yet another way, increasing our chances of retaining the information we are attempting to ingest. There is something important about not always watching the content we are consuming, but taking the time to also internalize what the content provider is trying to say through reading their words. These books can be on mental toughness, mindset, or play-by-play snapshot instruction of the techniques the author wants to teach.
There are several books on Krav Maga, army combative, and the like. All will have similar movements and techniques within their repsective styles of movement. You can find many books to purchase online at Amazon. Though many experts provide free information on their blogs or personal websites.
Personally, I recommend that you take the free information provided through blogs and platforms like this one. There is a lot of good info just in the free spectrum both in writing and video. Remember, not everything in self-defense is created equal. Some content will be useful to you, and other things will have you scratching your head and you will percieve that content as useless. This is more than okay.
Remember, you are building an insurance policy in self-defense with a goal of obtaining as much coverage as possible. Continue to shop around, research and then adjust, and you will be well on your way to being prepared for if ever the time comes when you will have to use the insurance you have provided for yourself. But we both know that none of us hope to use it.