We’ve talked about the common sense things you can do to try and avoid becoming a victim. We’ve also talked about the various products you can use to defend yourself. This week we talk about learning to defend yourself, because no matter how vigilant you are, you still may find yourself in the position of having to protect yourself.
There are a multitude of martial arts out there that you can learn that will teach you practical self defense techniques. Karate is a striking martial art using punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes as well as open-handed techniques to defend yourself against an attack. Melinda, Kathy, and I study different styles of karate. Kathy studies Isshinryu Karate, a much more tradition style of karate. Melinda and I study Kenpo Karate which is sort of a hybridized style to begin with that also incorporates elements of aikido, kung fu, and jiu jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is another martial art that can be especially beneficial to woman. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a self-defense system that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. It emphasizes the principle that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themself against a bigger, stronger assailant by using leverage and proper technique.
There are many benefits to studying a martial art such as:
- Increased reflexes and coordination
- Increased stamina and strength
- Increased flexibility and balance
- Improved concentration
- Stress reduction
- Increased self-esteem and self respect
- Increased confidence levels
Plus, the regular classes will help you build muscle memory. The more you practice the movements, the more automatic they become, and the faster you’ll be able to react in the event of attack. If you’re not sure what martial art will suit you, try a variety. Call various studios and see if they offer trial classes. Sometimes, local recreation centers will offer a variety of different classes relatively inexpensively.
However, if studying a martial art really isn’t your cup of tea. There are numerous self defense classes you can take. Check with local recreation centers and police departments. They may offer or be able to suggest local self defense programs. One especially good program is the Rape Escape program developed by self defense and women’s safety expert, Steve Kardian. This is a four part program that is designed for the real world. The first part entitled Fight Like a Girl(FLAG) teaches self defense techniques that the average woman can use in realistic sexual assault situations. In other words, you don’t need to have a martial arts background to learn and remember these techniques.
As Kathy discussed in her post on Being a Hard Target, most assailants look for the person that appears to be the easy, unsuspecting target. Whether you learn a martial or take a self defense class the one thing you will gain is the confidence of knowing that should the need arise you can defend yourself. This confidence will shine through and can help lessen the likelihood of you being victimized.