As a little girl I was warned not to talk to strangers. As a freshman in college I was told not to take drinks from them. Parents worry about their daughters staying out late at night. Women travel to the bathroom in packs. The threat of violence looms over a women’s life in a way that men will never experience. I remember in my sophomore year of college, there was a man who kept attacking women when they walked home to their dorms at night. Every store in my college town sold out of pepper spray that week. Luckily those women were able to fight him off or escape, but I couldn’t help but wonder what might have happened if the man wasn’t a drunk frat boy, but rather someone more sinister. My university (and many others) offers a beginners self-defense course for all incoming students to take for free, and while I urged all of my friends to go, not one of them did.
I have been a practicing martial artist since I was eight years old. I have primarily studied jukido jujitsu, a martial art that is a great blend of standard punching and kicking, joint locks and pressure point manipulation, and throws. Sometimes a martial artist can spend their whole life practicing their art but never have to apply it on the streets. Unfortunately, I have been attacked on multiple occasions, some circumstances more serious than others. Martial arts goes beyond what you do in the dojo and enters into your everyday logic and thinking. You don’t need 13 years of training to defend yourself or change your life for the better. In fact, just taking one self-defense class can improve or even save your life. Here are a few reasons why you should sign up for a class.
The Self-Defense: A beginners or basic self-defense class, especially one created for women, will be focused on teaching proper techniques and defense from attacks commonly thrown onto females. You can learn something as simple as releasing a hand from your wrist or waist, to learning how to get out from under someone who has you pinned to the floor. One class can make a life or death difference. It might be a hard concept to think about, but knowing how to release a choke or properly maneuver a technique so you can run can make all the difference. You don’t have to sign up to become a martial artist (although it is a great way to learn and exercise!) but you can devote an evening toward personal safety. It will go a long way to easing your mind some day.
Self-Awareness: A self-defense class or a study of martial arts doesn’t just teach you how to punch or kick someone, it also teaches one how to think about their surroundings and circumstances. Ever feel sketched out walking to your car after work? Besides asking for someone to escort you to your car, always try to park under a light and keep your keys ready in your hand. Once you’re in your car, lock the doors and drive away. The scroll through Instagram can wait until you get home. Have you ever left a party and had some group of guys catcall your girl gang? Look closely at the guys. What are they wearing? How tall are they? What color is their hair, eyes? Do they have tattoos? Do they favor a leg? While it may seem paranoid, taking in the details can make a difference, and taking a self-defense class can teach you tips and tricks to watching your back.
Confidence: Learning self-defense and how to take in your surroundings can go a long way to bringing some peace of mind. If you are more sure of yourself and your capabilities, your confidence will grow. You can stand up to a bully and face down an attacker. Knowing self-defense and applying what you have learned will make the jitters ease. Sometimes just being able to tell yourself that “you’ve got this” will be enough. No one wants to ever be in a circumstance where they have to defend themselves, but if it does happen, at least you will have the knowledge to care of the situation.You know what they say, “better safe than sorry.”
Have you ever taken a self-defense class? Let us know in the comments below!