Self Defense Classes

We often get asked about self-defense classes. What are the best classes to take, where can I find one, what are the differences between them…Well, I have asked all of these questions, too, and know that I am training to become an expert on personal safety and self-defense, I decided to do the research for you and share my findings on this lovely little blog!

So, I’ve heard alot about this thing called Krav Maga, an Israeli form of martial arts. People have told me that this is the only style of martial arts that applies to real world situations, so last week, I decided to check it out for myself. I contacted the Denver studio via their website and was invited to try a free class. I arrived at the studio, located in the thriving Five Points neighborhood, as the intermediate class was finishing up. While I filled out the typical sign-your-life-away paperwork that studios such as this require, I observed the class as it finished up. It seemed quite intense so I asked the receptionist if this was an intermediate class and when she responded that it was, I felt relieved. Clearly my beginner’s class wouldn’t be so intense, or so I thought…

We started, as many martial arts classes do, by lining up at the front of the room and taking a bow. Then we went right into jumping jacks (something that my muscles remember vaguely from high school) then alternated with push-ups and some basic blocks with a partner. I asked the woman I was attempting to punch if this was a self-defense class or more of a cardio-kickboxing class. She assured me that it is a self-defense class with a very intense warm-up. After this we moved to the floor for ab-work (another distant memory for my core muscles) and then did a little stretching. The tone of the warm-up was similar to what I picture boot camp to feel like; a super tough guy yelling at you and attempting to break you down. By the end of the warm-up, I was terrified, but I didn’t run.

Next we got with a partner and practiced hitting pads with our palm-heel. This was getting fun. As a student of FAST Defense, I have grown to appreciate my adrenaline as an important survival tool, and I love self-defense classes that give me an opportunity to channel it and make it work for me. Next we moved into some attack scenarios, first watching the instructor and his assistant walk through a frontal choking situation. He showed us how to get out of this and what not to do, then we broke it down into steps and practiced one step at a time with our partners. We started with a block, then added a palm strike, and finally added a knee to the groin. The order and speed in which we learned this was very easy to understand and really simplified the moves. Throughout the class, the instructor came around and offered feedback and criticism on our form and force.

We ended the class the way we started, with jumping-jacks, push-ups, and ab-work, but this time we had to move quickly from the floor into palm strikes and back again. This helped to prepare us for the idea that we may have to get off the ground and fight for our lives at some point, so we should be ready. The yelling and intensity of the class in general was also directly relevant to real-life situations. Most attackers will not walk up to you and quietly ask you to cooperate. It is much more likely that they will come in swinging or grabbing and screaming obscenities, so this type of training really helps to desensitize us. In addition to Krav Maga being a great way to get some practical self-defense training, it is also an AWESOME work out! I left the class completely in love and wanting to continue. Unfortunately, it is not cheap and I am financially challenged at the moment so I chose not to buy a membership, but if I could, I would.

The fortunate thing about not committing to one type of training is that now I can go take free classes in all sorts of martial arts studios and report back on how they differ. An artist friend of mine is an expert in Wing Chun, a form of Kung Fu. He approached me about building him a website and I agreed to trade my design services for his expertise. Last Wednesday was day one, so I don’t have alot to share yet, but as I learn more, I’ll keep you posted. So far, all I can really say about Wing Chun is that it’s main focus is on protecting the center-line of the body. It is a very slow and meditative practice and the polar opposite of Krav Maga.

That’s all for now, but check back next week for an update and take advantage of the free classes offered in your area (most studios will allow you to try one free before signing up). Peace.

Jenn Doe
Marketing Intern

13 Comments

  1. Sounds great! you should try Denver Wing Chun off of South Broadway the women in that class can surely hold their own. They teach more of an Applied Wing Chun and not so much the meditative. I have watch my wife become confident in the skill she has learned.

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    • It’s me n my three girls n I was raped when I was small n so scared for my girl just want to be able to b the rock

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  2. Well the reason why i wonna take this is because i have a bułly at my school.

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  3. I attended a class in Maryland in Sykesville Tae Kwon Do it was great! Definitely worth the cost, and super-beneficial. I feel much more confident since I moved to the city. Their website is here http://sykesvilletaekwondo.com/our-programs/self-defense-seminars/

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  4. I would like to see what u are about and see how much it will cost?

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  5. i want to learn to fight back

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  6. Hey! I’m a single mother-to-be looking for a place to start learning how to defend myself and my unborn child (after birth of course) so reading this definitely told me I was making the right decision, so thanks for writing it! As I told my dad earlier, I don’t have a man to protect me, so I’m gonna have to learn how to do it myself. Sounds like fun though ;-D

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  7. hi
    I jus wanna learn..
    .cause things do happen
    you’ll never kno till it does so
    so pls do you kno any classes on Kauai Hawaii
    that I can take ..

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  8. Im trying to find a self defense class. Im tired of the pain and suffering, im tired of running. Ive come to realize nobody is really there for you. Its you who has the strength. Anyone can become a hero for themselves if they take that step to change. I want to be stronger, much stronger. Not just physically but mentally as well. Taking that physical step can help me build the strength i need. So “HELP” i shout out deep within. Im determined to find a class. I dont really have much money, ill take anything i can.

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  9. A good Self defense class needs ground defense if they don’t teach you how to fight from the ground with the attacker on top of you it is a waste of your time and money. Many times a woman wakes up to her attacker already on top of her or he takes he to the ground before she has a chance to do anything about it. Lets face it why are you being attacked in the first place to be raped. One or two simple striking classes are not enough to create muscle memory, you just will not react fast enough to prevent the attack you will go to the ground.

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    • Tasha, you are so right that getting these movements into your muscle memory is super important and definitely, training in various scenarios (including ground fighting) is a helpful tool, too. I do think that even basic classes that cover verbal de-escalation and basic fight skills can be valuable even if they don’t go into some of the more advanced techniques you are describing. Remember that most perpetrators are looking for the easy target. Sometimes, just knowing how to use our voices and some basic training can raise our confidence enough to make us a harder target and that is definitely time and money well spent! – GFB Heather

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  10. Win Chun isn’t the best martial art\form for self defense.
    The stance and positioning in Win Chun leaves the “centerline” vulnerable vs a 45 degree of perpendocular stance.
    Additionally the front facing stance inherent in Win Chun does not allow for a far reaching jab to maintain distance or a “cocked” and more powerful main-handed blow.
    For female self defense, strikes to vulnerable areas should be the primary teaching. Eyes, throat, gonads. Ne rve clusters are a good secondary target teaching.

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  11. I help teach high school girls self defence and have access to quite a bit of data concerning attacks on women by men.
    In England protective cups are very rare, worn only for martial arts and cricket. As far as I am aware, no rapist has ever worn a cup during an attack on a woman in the UK. Rapists believe strongly in their physical superiority over women and choose their targets carefully, avoiding strong looking or athletic women, and it therefore doesn’t occur to them to wear such protection.
    The other reason that they are unlikely to wear one is that during an attack they need easy access to their penis: difficult when it is securely confined in a tight fitting and substantial cup!
    Whilst the testicles are the number one target in female self defence, they are not normally the first target you should attack. Males are acutely aware of their awkward vulnerability and protect them instinctively, so distraction is the key. Go for the eyes first, and a persistent attack to these will inevitably cause him to raise his hands to protect them. THEN go for his balls. Get a good hold of at least one of them and when your grip is secure, squeeze and pull down on it with all your might. If you do encounter a cup, grab the top of it and pull it down and away from his body. This will expose the testicles to an attack with the other hand. Whilst a two-handed grip will inflict greater damage, we strongly suggest that, once you are locked onto his ball with one hand, raise the other in front of your face to ward of any strikes if he begins flailing his arms about. You will need to protect yourself like this for about 15 to 20 seconds, after which severe shock will start to set in and he will be helpless. His body’s natural defence will be that his stomach muscles will contract in an attempt to double his body over to protect his groin, so be aware of his head butting into your face as this happens. This contraction of the abdominal muscles will also paralyse his diaphragm and he will be unable to breathe all the while you are crushing his testicle. This will cause a lack of oxygen to his brain and he will pass into unconsciousness after 30 to 40 seconds. Don’t worry that you might kill him because, once he is unconscious, his abdominals will relax allowing his breathing to recommence. Obviously you must maintain your grip until you are certain that he is unconscious or completely incapacitated.
    I sincerely hope that none of you are ever subjected to this sort of attack but knowledge is power and it is best to be prepared.
    If you wish to practise this defence, (and I doubt that any male partner will let you practise on him!)then get a couple of small hard-boiled eggs, unripe plums, or any other testicle-like objects and pop them in a sock. Tie this to a door handle leaving a scrotum like shape hanging, and practise grabbing them until it becomes instinctive.
    I understand most high schools are now teaching this to girls in our country, and would hope that every country will eventually ensure that all girls are given this potentially life-saving skill.
    Lets put an end to rape!

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