If you have the intention of learning self defense you have probably already considered martial arts training. Martial arts is often the first thing a person thinks of when he or she is considering learning how to defend him/herself. But is martial really good for self defense and in that case which martial art should you choose?
There is hardly any limit to the number of different martial arts you can find today. Especially from an asian origin. Martial arts is in all its different forms are has become popular for sports and leisure and has also contributed to many modern forms of combat sports such as Mixed Martial arts. Most martial arts are really good for developing your physique and your mind, but how are they for self defense? Is martial arts for self defense?
How efficient is actually Karate or Kung-Fu when you are facing a street thug? Well this really depends more on you and your martial arts school than it does on the methods being taught in a Karate or Kung-Fu class. Many of the kicks, punches, holds and throughs taught in various different martial arts classes really are effective, but you have to be able to use them on the street when you are attacked and under stress.
In a traditional martial arts class, various combinations of kicks, punches and movements are performed in so called forms. The forms helps to learn the movements and it also improves the students co-ordination, balance and also his/her memory. However for learning self defense forms are not useful. In real street combat attacks can come from anywhere and it is very difficult to see what your opponent will do next. Learning how to perform a serie of punches and kicks will not help if you are being attacked in the street.
Also, a lot of movements in traditional martial arts are too complex to work in a dangerous situation in the street. While the movement may be very elegant and work well in the dojo in the street under extreme stress it will be very difficult to perform the same movement. Also one must not forget that the conditions in the street might be very different from that in the Dojo (a dojo is where martial art is practiced for those who did not know). The street might be slippery or you might be in a tight spot where you do not have much space to move.
The moves used for self defense must be very simple and easy to perform and they must work under any conditions possible.
Often, when self defense is practiced in martial arts, you have an attacker who will attack in a certain way, you escape and counter attack. A predetermined move for a predetermined attack. This rarely works when being attacked in the real world. You might be attacked in a way that you were not trained for, or you might use the wrong move for the attack taking place, or you suddenly forget what you were supposed to do because of the stress of the moment.
However, certain martial arts school organise courses in self defense, where you really learn the moves you need in order to effectively defend yourself. Certain martial arts clubs also have really effective self defense training in their regular training sessions, it varies a lot between different schools and instructors. Talk to the instructor in the school you are intrested in and tell him/her that the aim with your training is self defense.
In certain schools you chose a direction, whether you want to train for sports, self defense or fitness. This will allow you to train what you really are intrested in the most.
So to summarize, if your aim is to learn self defense and you want to do this relatively quickly, a self defense course would be better than courses in martial arts. In a self defense course you will learn very basic moves which will very effective if you are attacked. You will also learn prevention, that is how to avoid being attacked in the first place. Self defense courses are often organized by martial arts clubs, so check your local club and/or the yellow pages in your area. If a course is not available where you live, there are also self defense dvds. You can learn by watching and then practice the moves the show.
However if you do want to learn more than just self defense, martial arts training with emphasis on self defense is a good idea. Then you will also keep in good shape and you will be able to practice your skills regularly. Check out the courses available where you live and talk to people who already train there. Maybe you can train with them for a session to see what it is like.
Which ever path you choose to take, learning self defense is a great way improve your self confidence as well as your safety.
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