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Top 5 Reasons People Don't Take Self-Defense Courses

self-defense Aug 07, 2023

Violence exist everywhere. It will happen in your life at some point. You can be prepared, or not. The choice is yours. Even Disney has a death in every film. 


Rape, attempted rape, and assault happen every single day. One in 4 women and 1 in 26 men have experienced either a completed or attempted rape. Sexual violence starts early. More than 4 in 5 female rape survivors reported being raped before the age of 25 years old, and almost half were minors when it occurred. 


The consequences are physical, mentally, and emotional. The bruises may heal, but depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts may occur. These can also manifest into chronic health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and re-occurring reproductive, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and sexual health problems. Sexual violence survivors may turn to negative health behaviors, such as smoking, abuse of alcohol, drugs, and engaging in risky sexual activity. The trauma can affect the survivor's employment, and challenges in future professional and personal relationships. 


If all these possibilities exist, why then are there so few men and women who attend self-defense training?


Here are 5 common reasons people don't take self-defense courses. 


Reason #1. My partner will protect me.

This excuse can go many ways. You won't always have a protector with you. Nor should you have to rely on them all the time. Second your partner is just as likely to freeze up as you are. Knowing how to fight, and actually doing what needs to be done under extreme stress are not the same. Unless your partner has been trained how to protect you, there is still a good chance the situation will go bad. 


Reason #2 I'm too weak. I'm not strong enough.

This excuse needs to end. Self-defense starts with mental strategies and tactics and then worst-case scenario escalates to physical contact. Survival of the fitness isn't just strength, but also intelligence. Knowing what to say and how to say it can stop conflict from escalating. When it doesn't, fighting back physically needs to be an option for all. Knowing how to hit, where to hit, and what to do may give you just enough time to get away. You're not trying to tap a person out, or win a fight by decisions. You're trying to get away. Learning to fight starts there. Learn how to move and get away.  Size helps, but it's not everything. 


Reason #3 I've never done martial arts before.

You don't need to learn how to break bricks, pre-broken boards, or insane spinning kicks to defend yourself. Many of those showy skill sets are useless in self-defense.   Whether it's judo, BJJ, Muay Thai, or Kung Fu, learning to defend yourself is about controlling what comes into your space.  When it does you know how to defend yourself, regardless of the style.

When it's time to get physical that means learning and sweating. This is what scares most people. Putting in the work to learn something challenging. Think of it like an investment in yourself, and your future health and safety. No different than taking a drivers improvement course and logging hours, so you don't crash your car and hurt yourself or others. Time and training was required. 


Reason #4 I'll just shoot them.

Harvard school of Public Health stated guns are actually NOT used millions of times each year in self-defense. There may be millions of gun owners, but nobody is just shooting anyone in self-defense.  Reported cases of gun uses in self-defense are more for intimidation than actual use. Gun use are less than 1% of contact crimes, and in cases of sexual assault, women are not using guns to protect themselves. The victims who used a gun were no less likely to be injured compared to other protect actions.  This is not to say that shooting someone would not work. Rather the actual act of shooting someone is not natural, and even under duress and assault, most people are not able to intentionally pull the trigger and take a life. If you're in doubt of this, I challenge you to read Lt Col. Dave Grossman's book "On Killing: The Psychological cost of learning to kill in War and Society." The effect on human psyche isn't a natural response.


Reason #5 Self-Defense Doesn't always work

Actually having to fight back. Cause harm. Hurt someone else in protect or yourself or others is not an easy thing to do.  For this reason Self-Defense training that addresses the line we must cross to defend ourselves is paramount. A solid martial arts program or self-defense course can teach that. But it won't be in a single 1 or 3 hour course. That's just the tip of the iceberg. 


Thinking that you'll attend a single course and learn all you need to know to protect yourself is a false claim. No self-defense program should do that. Self-defense training needs to build over time, and help the individual understand how to protect themselves with mental tactics first, and then when push comes to shove, how to fight back. That open palm strike or slap isn't going to do it against someone holding you down, or kicking you. You'll need to learn how to move, how to block, and how to attack back, so you can get away. 


I'll add one more disclaimer. Self-Defense does NOT prevent sexual violence from occurring. Sexual violence is linked to other violence types, which have shared risk and factors. To address prevention of sexual violence it is a multifactorial approach that address social norms, empowerment and support, protective environments, and different skill sets to all people not just potential victims. 


Self-defense can be, and should be used as a way empower, teach mental and physical tactics, and improve a sense of control over individuals bodies and personal safety. 


We offer a basic Level 1 Self-defense workshop that focuses first on mental and physical tactics that are scaled, and then builds over time to help empower and improve their sense of control of themselves.

To learn more about our Level 1 self-defense workshop click here.  


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