Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Self-Defense Class - Is Twelve Hours Enough?

This summer, my husband and I taught private self-defense lessons. In previous blog posts, I discussed self-defense topics and how self-defense instruction can be tailored to individuals.

Monday was our last session.

Now...I wonder...was it enough? I ask myself this question at the conclusion of each session. We reviewed a lot of material. We taught six two-hour classes. The students are prepared for each session with questions and scenarios. My husband and I agonize and wonder if we have done enough. In our fifteen years of teaching self-defense, we always leave the sessions knowing we could have taught more.

We practice. We review. We practice. And we review some more.

....Grabs, Chokes (front, rear) , Knife defense, hair pulls, pushes, punches, pinned against the wall, pinned on the ground, choked on the ground, awareness, prevention, common sense, lapel grabs, head locks, bear hugs (front, side, rear), falling (side, front, rear, roll fall), slap, targets (eyes, throat, joints, head, ears, floating ribs, groin, solar plexus), distractions, strikes (elbows, knees, palm heel, four knuckle fist).....and so on....

My husband and I offer a follow-up or refresher class. All they need to do is call. Most never call. Do the students leave class feeling invincible? I hope not.

We want the student to leave with the awareness that they have options.

Self-defense is an ongoing process. It needs to be practiced.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's only so much you can do in only six classes. It's difficult when you have to cram the material you'd normally require of a yellow belt (about 6 months worth of training) into 12 or sometimes even less hours. Personally I don't think you can develop the instinct to react instantly and with aggression in so little time, not unless you're naturally gifted or had some previous experience. It'd be interesting to set up a study to see wheter or not self-defense courses enhance public safety and increase the chance of escaping dangerous situations relatively unharmed or not.

If I'd ever teach a self-defense class I'd offer a follow-up class for half the price of the original one, plus a written syllabus of all the material. that way they can practice at home or with friends, 12 hours without any extra practice may not be enough to properly absorb the material and sometimes fighting back when you're not able to inflict serious damage may land you in a worse position since the attacker will get mad and may want to hurt you more than he originally intended.

Have you heard stories about students of yours (in your self-defense class, not the dojo) who could succesfully defend themselves? In any case the mere fact you'd even ask whether you did a good job or not is a sign you actually care and take your job seriously, there are many instructors who hop on the bandwagon of self-defense purely for the money with little nor no regard to the actual safety of their students, sometimes even without the proper skills to teach anything useful.