We now live in an age of smartphones in our pockets and cameras seemingly everywhere. There’s a constant feeling that someone is watching, so is there really a need to have physical self defense skills anymore?
The truth is that there is more to self defense than throwing someone to the ground or hitting an attacker. There’s a depth to this practice that importantly pushes us. We don’t just learn self defense to keep ourselves safe – we learn self defense to help us grow as human beings.
What is self defense?
Learning self defense means learning a system that will keep you safe from danger.
Self defense is a series of techniques and training in the ways to defend yourself against targeted violence. Someone could be targeted while walking in a dark parking deck after a long night at work in the dark, or in broad daylight while hiking on a mountain.
Training in self defense is all about building on techniques and gaining self confidence through that mastery. When they first start training, it’s common for people to feel awkward and unsure. Sore muscles are a part of the process because they haven’t been used in these ways before. Those physical realities can sometimes eclipse the driving force behind training and make it harder for people to connect what happens in the dojo with what’s possible on the street. It takes time and diligent practice to connect the dots and feel comfortable.
This is the reason it’s so important to stick with a self defense program for six months at minimum in order to internalize the techniques. A single session will certainly be beneficial, but the embedded nature of danger in the world means that consistent training is part of the solution. Self defense skills need to be internalized in order to be the most effective.
Skills that are learned in self defense include learning to defuse highly charged situations, take charge of them, de-escalate, and then physically defend yourself and those around you as a last resort. It’s a whole package that we’re learning here.
What are the benefits of self defense?
The benefits of self defense are centered in gaining mastery of yourself in the world. You can only control what other people will do to a certain extent, but you can always control yourself.
When learning specific techniques, you’re able to build a confidence that keeps potential predators at bay. Make no mistake – attackers target people who they think they can get the best of. The more confident you are, the more intimidating you are, and the less likely you are to be targeted. The driving force here is the confidence, not necessarily the skill in throwing someone around or pinning them to the ground.
A sharp mental focus is a major benefit of self defense training. You learn how to execute effective decision making in high pressure situations. That works beautifully if you’re keeping an attacker at bay, and it also works if you’re having a tough situation at your workplace or with your family. The fundamental nature of self defense skills means they translate across areas of your life.
There are also the physical benefits of self defense training. Krav Maga as self defense training is physically demanding, pushing your body to become better. Self defense classes are a great cardio workout, in addition to building muscle and increasing your movement acuity. Flexibility, improved balance, fat loss, and increased muscle mass are all physical boosts that you get out of this kind of training.
The relationships that you build with self defense training, even online self defense training, are important too. At ASD, our classes become a network of people supporting one another to grow. The community aspect of learning self defense skills in a positive environment supports increased confidence and personal growth. Learning from highly skilled coaches and in a group of like minded classmates is both joyful and productive.
It’s not just about defending yourself against an attacker. The benefits of self defense go far beyond that one dimension, even as that is the core that brings it all together.
Why we still need self defense
There are always going to be people who want to take what belongs to someone else. Sometimes violently in an attack, sometimes virtually through identity theft. It’s a reality of living in the world we all share. Predators will want to make themselves feel bigger by hurting or humiliating someone who is weaker than they are.
Self defense gives us tools to help us feel more in control of our environment, and that extends beyond physical attack. When training in self defense, you learn to be aware of your surroundings. Part of the point here is to teach you skills so that you can avoid situations that would put you in harm’s way. It’s parking your car in an area that you know will be well lit at night when you come out of the movie though it’s bright daylight when you walk in. It’s learning to sense danger so that you call for a different uber driver if the one who pulls up to get you from the airport feels a little off. It’s paying attention to the people who surround you in a crowded concert. It’s putting your phone in your pocket so you’re not distracted and are aware if someone approaches you in an unwanted manner. This grounding in environmental awareness makes life sweeter and engages you more in the moment, which is a wonderful bonus to self defense training.
Though the world we live in is arguably a safer place than it once was, at least mostly, that doesn’t mean self defense doesn’t still have a major place in our lives. There is always going to be an element of humanity that will use any means to get what they’re after, often at the expense of others. Being prepared can be the difference between walking away from a situation safely and not walking away. No one wants to live in fear. Training in Krav Maga for self defense means you don’t have to.
The bottom line is this: self defense will always be relevant.
Master self defense skills with Krav Maga
Learn real-life self defense techniques while getting a full-body workout with ASD's comprehensive Krav Maga training program. Classes available for all ages. Online, on demand, in-person. Sign up for your free 2-week trial today!