wikiHow to Choose a Self Defense Class

Two Methods:Finding a classChoosing between classes

Concerned about defending yourself? Not feeling confident when you're traveling alone? Why not try self-defense classes? They can be an enjoyable way to learn to protect yourself and boost confidence.

Method 1
Finding a class

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    If you know anyone who goes to self-defense classes, talk to them, as they may be able to point you in the right direction. If you have a friend who teaches, even better!
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    Find out whether local self-defense classes have to have approval or specific licenses. This should help in finding a reputable instructor.
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    Go to your local police station. They should have a list of reputable self-defense classes, or at least be able to point you to some good instructors, and may be able to direct you to classes well-suited to you (e.g. self-defense for women).
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    If you are still stuck for classes, try having a look in your local telephone directory, search online for local classes, or look on bulletin board at local fitness centers. Remember: the size of the advertisement (and presentation) is no judge of the quality of the class; it is only an indication of how well something is being marketed. Have a look around any classes listed in your area.

Method 2
Choosing between classes

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    Any instructor of worth will actively promote avoidance rather than confrontation. A physical intervention is not a good option and lots of things should be tried beforehand. Your instructor should actively promote and explain the early behaviors you should adopt to avoid the confrontation in the first place
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    When you find a class, go down when the lesson is on, and watch the class in progress. Don't just watch the instructor, pay attention to the people in the class, too. Remember that you may be training with them, so you should be comfortable being around them.
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    Talk to the instructor about the classes, and talk to those learning if you have the chance. They can give you an idea of what training will involve.
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    Go with the class you will enjoy most or think you will get the most out of. If you hate the classes you are going to or they are too hard for you it will only be a hindrance for you.
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    Get involved! Taking part will give you an idea of what the training is actually like.
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    If you like the look of a class, use any trial periods they may have; many schools offer a certain number of lessons at a reduced rate while you're deciding about the school.
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    Ask yourself a serious question. Would the techniques actually work in a real situation? Would they work against a non-compliant person? Some classes will increase your confidence and you will meet new people but are these the things you are looking for in a self defense class?
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    Does the instructor modify the class experience for the different people in the group? Not everyone is at the same level and some people will need a less challenging experience to start with. Equally enough, some people will need a more robust experience to be able to improve. There is no such thing as a one size fits all self defense class.
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    Most self defense classes teach techniques in a vacuum. If the class does not introduce at least some element of psychological stress then a real situation will overwhelm you and cause you to panic. A self defense class has to be supportive but it is trying to inoculate you in some way to the stresses of a real attack. Being nice to you is great in class but will be extremely detrimental to your ability to remain safe and effective in a real situation.


  • If you are not comfortable with the 'atmosphere' of the class, do not be afraid to walk away. You may have only picked up on something subconsciously, but 'intuition' is generally a good guide.
  • Learning to defend yourself does not have to be a chore! If you are not enjoying the classes, talk to your instructor. They may be able to adjust your instruction to your preferences. If they refuse, consider finding another class.
  • If you are not feeling confident about going to classes initially, ask a friend to go with you. Seeing a familiar face when you start can make the difference between sticking around and dropping out.
  • Be wary of fraudulent instructors; learning self-defense does not need to cost you an arm and a leg, nor does it require pledging eternal (or even temporary) servitude to them.
  • If you believe something is dangerous to you, do not do it. A good instructor will know that not everyone is as confident or as able as others, and will support you in your training. You are at their classes of your own choosing.
  • Talk to the instructor about what you're looking to get out of the classes.
  • You could also look up online videos for self defense if you cannot find a class you would like to join. There are many videos out there that could help you in these kind of situations.


  • If you are being physically threatened by a certain person or group of people, contact the police. This isn't a film where you train and return to get your revenge; real life is more complicated than that. The police are here to help you.
  • If you have any physical complications, consult your doctor before beginning a self-defense program.

How real do you want your experience to be?

  1. Some classes get you to really hit things. You have to decide what kind of experience you want.
  2. Visit (Dr Ruthless encourages the female warrior to emerge)
  3. Visit ('R' rated soundtrack - rap music some profanity) Self Defense group in Liverpool, UK. More aggressive and confrontational than most self defense classes!
  4. The two (classes) above introduce the fear of physical confrontation to the class by actually having you engage in a physical experience. For some this will be something to work up to.
  5. Read the 'Gift of Fear' by Gavin De Becker. great insight into how predators think.
  6. Understand that there there are psychological and physical elements to self defense

Article Info

Categories: Self Defense