What would you look for in a defensive class?

This is a discussion on What would you look for in a defensive class? within the Defensive Carry & Tactical Training forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've had most people tell me that martial arts is worthless for SD until years have gone by. (Makes sense. The focus is on form.) ...

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Thread: What would you look for in a defensive class?

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    Member Array Phoebe's Avatar
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    What would you look for in a defensive class?

    I've had most people tell me that martial arts is worthless for SD until years have gone by. (Makes sense. The focus is on form.)

    Some people have told me that even SD classes are worthless without years of training.

    I was looking at a member's site that does classes that look intriguing. Basically, dirty street fighting, with knives, guns, empty hand, etc. They aren't local and I wouldn't travel that far for class. but it seems like that's the kind of thing I'd want.

    I posted some vids from that site and a friend tore them apart, suggesting it was a crud mix of martial arts with some possibly fatal mistakes.

    I'm not necessarily buying it.

    But it brings up the fact that I have no clue how to evaluate SD offerings.

    I've looked at Krav Maga, figuring if it's good enough for the Israeli Army, it's good enough for me. But again, had people nay say it. (And KM doesn't include pistol, afaik.)

    Ideally, I'd like to find a place that is 100% focused on SD, rather than "art" or "tradition", and ideally it would include pistol as well as blade and empty hand.

    What would you look for if you were female or for a female in your life looking to improve SD skills and SD pistol?

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    Attitude.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Member Array Phoebe's Avatar
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    EVERYBODY has attitude!! That's part of the problem!

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    That is correct.

    Finding a teacher with the right one will not be easy.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    "What would you look for if you were female or for a female in your life looking to improve SD skills and SD pistol?"-Phoebe

    I will not attempt to answer this as from strictly a 'female' point of view, because, well, I aint one.
    But I will try to answer in what I hope is a useful manor.
    Relevance. I'd look for an instructor to teach relevant things. Not how to fast-rope out of a chopper onto a moving speedboat. But someone who can assess my skill, adaptability and weaknesses, and help me work on things that will allow me to detect, avoid, evade, de-escelate, confront, outsmart and overcome an adversary or adversaries. I dont think I'd necessarily look for an instructor who wants to put his name on all his new techniques. Nothing new under the sun. I'd look for someone who is teaching tried and true techniques regardless of who has their name on them.
    In order to determine potential instructor's relevance to my situation, I'd make a detailed list of what I perceive my needs are. Then I'd research my list of potential instructors and see who can come closest to bringing that 'package' of info to me. Once I had that list, I'd ask the instructor or school if they may have some contacts who have taken their courses in order to hear first hand accounts of what those people took away from that instructor or school.

    I hope this helps.

    dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdsumner View Post
    "What would you look for if you were female or for a female in your life looking to improve SD skills and SD pistol?"-Phoebe

    I will not attempt to answer this as from strictly a 'female' point of view, because, well, I aint one.
    But I will try to answer in what I hope is a useful manor.
    Relevance. I'd look for an instructor to teach relevant things. Not how to fast-rope out of a chopper onto a moving speedboat. But someone who can assess my skill, adaptability and weaknesses, and help me work on things that will allow me to detect, avoid, evade, de-escelate, confront, outsmart and overcome an adversary or adversaries. I dont think I'd necessarily look for an instructor who wants to put his name on all his new techniques. Nothing new under the sun. I'd look for someone who is teaching tried and true techniques regardless of who has their name on them.
    In order to determine potential instructor's relevance to my situation, I'd make a detailed list of what I perceive my needs are. Then I'd research my list of potential instructors and see who can come closest to bringing that 'package' of info to me. Once I had that list, I'd ask the instructor or school if they may have some contacts who have taken their courses in order to hear first hand accounts of what those people took away from that instructor or school.

    I hope this helps.

    dan
    What a great explanation...and Relevance is the 'key'.
    Last edited by RETSUPT99; October 11th, 2009 at 07:34 PM.
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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    I was in martial arts... not the tournament oriented martial arts that is present today. We did learn weapons, etc. I don't know if you can find good training like we got anymore... without serious searching.

    However, I taught my daughter several things when she was young that were solely to 'protect' or ward off an aggressor, and to take them down or out in a hurry. It must have worked.... she's 5'2" tall, and the guy who tried to grab her (6'1" tall & a long rap sheet for rape) got his rear kicked. When the police talked to me, they couldn't stop laughing, because the guy was rather messed up and bloody on the ground.... and he refused to get up .... he was afraid she'll get him again.

    The other thing you need is the "mentality and willingess" to do whatever it is you need to in order to protect yourself, including hurting and/or maiming them if needed.

    It takes finding the 'right' person with the knowledge, who's willing to teach you just those type of things...... they often do not like to do that. Some of the classes I've seen, were a joke. Here's how to flip a person attacking you. Ok, well that helps, but it isn't going to stop them from getting up either... so you have to know the rest too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebe View Post
    I've had most people tell me that martial arts is worthless for SD until years have gone by. (Makes sense. The focus is on form.)
    That's because the context and focus is different. That's not to say that some attributes don't transfer. There is going to be some physicallity involved in a good SD program that's lacking in some martial arts.

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    Member Array Phoebe's Avatar
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    Eagleks, that's a great story!

    I'm having some disagreements with friends who think I should study martial arts. The same group of folks seem to think an over-reliance on firearms is stupid. (These are not antis...and to some extent the point is well taken. The gun is not a magic talisman. I recognize that gun needs to go with training. But there seems to be some other issue the one friend has.)

    I have yet to find anything that sounds precisely suited to what I think I need.

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    "We shoot bad guys!"

    This should be the theme of a good class on self defense. That is what it is about, isn't it? I just went through a 5 hour class on Gunfighting in Urban Dwellings. WOW! To quote the old Malt-O-Meal comercial...."It's good stuff Maynard!" YouTube - Malt-O-Meal - "Good Stuff, Maynard!" (Commercial, 1983)

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    I took Krav Maga and in my class there was pistol stuff. It was also the only martial art that I took that really taught about situational awareness. I had taken other forms of martial arts that were all about the "sensei" and the "kata" and the "honor" and the "way." And I wanted someone to teach me down and dirty stay alive fighting. The first day at Krav Maga I was told "there only rule is: do whatever you have to do to stay alive!"

    I liked the emphasis on physical fitness, which I thought was important. Then I liked the drills. Everything changed when people were going at real speed, in the dark, or with the strobe light on, and you're getting pounded by pads and you have to find some way out and you're not given a formula to do it.

    We trained with airsoft guns. We would have to disarm, or to fire before someone disarmed us. We were taught to pick up someone else's weapon if they dropped it. We were taught not how to use the guns, but to use them if they were available and the best tools around.

    I got hit a lot in Krav Maga. It was good to learn how to take a punch, to stop worrying about getting hit so much and learning to just accept it and get back to fighting and going on the offensive as soon as possible.

    It was definitely illuminating, trailing with the airsoft guns, because you realize how fast you can get hit if you're not moving and finding cover.

    Krav Maga was all I had before turning 21. That and pepper spray. Just the other night I was in a dark parking lot. I looked around, looked under my car and in the backseat. Didn't see anything so I started to unlock it. Then I heard someone calling "hey!" and this guy was running across the parking lot at me. I automatically went into my fight stance from Krav Maga-- chin lowered, hands protecting my face but open, knees slightly bent. My open hand almost looked like a signal to stop, and he did, and then said he needed money. I said I didn't have any and he kept asking but I kept saying no. I didn't know if this was the interview process or not but eventually he left me alone. He was coming at me so fast though that it was my instant reaction, to get into that stance and be prepared.

    There are other times when I've used the fall breaks to help myself automatically. I do highly recommend Krav Maga, but with the right teacher. My first teacher was an ex-Green Beret and my second teacher was the highest ranked woman in the US who had trained in Israel and she had been in some nasty situations. It's not enough to have a trained instructor, I want one who's actually been there and had to live through it.

    One of the best things Krav Maga taught was-- you got it-- attitude. The "I'm gonna live no matter what" attitude. That when it comes to your life, you don't quit fighting for anything. To use whatever is at your disposal to defend your life, be it a firearm or a brick or your teeth.

    Kathy (my second teacher) told me that when you're in a real fight, you have to explode into violence, that that is what is going to win. That it ends in seconds, not minutes like the movies. That you have a "go" button and you need to figure out what that is before you get into the situation. I had already decided what those were before I applied for my CFP.

    Honestly? Crap may happen where you don't get to carry a gun. Maybe it's a campus where they've disarmed you, or a federal building, or maybe it's oversees. It sucks. But it might happen. And having additional skills, even if they're not as effective as a gun, may just be the difference between life or death.

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    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    Phoebe, I disagree that martial arts take years to be useful. If you find the right art you should gain in ability and competence from your first class! A good instructor will help you take your strengths and use them to your best advantage.

    I like Krav, and it is a brutal and combat tested art. For me, though, Krav takes too much physical strength. I want to be able to use my art when I am older and less able to muscle someone.

    I study American Kenpo in a school that is focused on self defense and situational awareness in AZ. I have been studying for about 3 1/2 years and I love it. We are more unarmed than armed, but in private lessons we work on armed combat of all types. Find a school like that in your area and take a few classes. See how it goes. If you don't like the instructor or the attitude of the school move on to another. Don't get discouraged if it takes a bit to find a good fit.

    I think if you expect to be able to be competent in armed and unarmed defense in a few classes you have set an unrealistic expectation for yourself, so commit to the process of improvement and get after it! As you improve your confidence will go up, and so will your learning curve. IMO martial arts are a vital component of a SD repertoire, so don't sell yourself short by relying on the "magic talisman" as you put it. :)
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    VIP Member Array Patti's Avatar
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    Phoebe,

    I've taken Bob (Thunder) Thurman's self-defense class, and it was very helpful.

    Bob take's his class on the road....so if you can get enough people to sign up, he might be willing to come to your area.

    Counter Attactics

    He also has a training video:

    Counter Attactics

    But I'd recommend taking some classes instead of just watching a video.

    You might also call your local P.D. and ask if they offer classes in self-defense.

    You might also call your local fitness gym. Sometimes they offer self-defense classes.

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    Phoebe, here's my two cents. It takes years of martial arts...to be able to fight effectively against other trained martial artists. Similarly, no weekend self-defense gun course is going to put you in a league with long-time competitive action shooters.

    But self-defense is usually more about defeating aggression rather than defeating skill. Oh, yes, there are hardened career criminals who do serious training behind bars or after they get out, and if you end up against one of them you have really gotten a short straw, but meeting up with one of those folks is a low-probability event in the already low-probability world of armed self-defense. If you read most of the "Drew My Gun" or "Close Call Tonight" threads around here, though, you will see that is not how most of these situations usually happen.

    Particularly if you are somebody who can come across as a 'soft target' (and I would, hopefully without being accused of sexism, figure that most women fall in that category for the average criminal), you may end up in a bad situation precisely because one of the common, garden-variety criminals who isn't ready for a real fight picks you out for an easy score.

    This is where the previous comments about attitude and relevance come into play, I think. If you can confront an aggressive advance with the attitude that you will not be easy prey, and if you have found a self-defense course that provides you with the relevant skills for a couple of quick and dirty moves to give you time to get away or draw your gun, you will be doing well.

    If you are thinking about ongoing training in some sort of martial art, you should be able to sit in at the salle/dojo for a few classes to get a feel for the instructor and his students. Ask questions there. That should let you figure out whether the training being offered is the sort of direct, street-effective skills you think you need. If you are looking at signing up for a three or four day seminar type class, there should be plenty of reviews around or even people on this board who have been there, done that.

    I've taken American Kenpo in the past and found it very easy to take from that some basic fighting moves to teach to women I know who were looking for some intro to self-defense. Everything I have read, heard, or seen about Krav Maga tells me that, with the right instructor, that could be very effective, too. Those would probably be my top two recommendations as far as styles go, but even a RAD class at a community college could be a good start to help you develop the skills for evaluating future training on your own.

    (Okay, must be inflation---that was more like fifteen cents, I think. )
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    Senior Member Array BRTCP88's Avatar
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    I took Yoshinkan Aikido for three months while I was in Canada last year visiting my sister who's studying art up there. I also dabbled in Jiu-Jitsu. I've been searching for a dojo to continue my training ever since.

    Aikido isn't as aggressive as Krav Maga. The Green Berets don't use it. But I still feel comfortable that I could use it in a SD situation. And as MinisterMalic said, Krav takes strength, in Aikido you use the force of your opponent's attack so even small women, the elderly, and overweight slobs like me can effectively use it, lol. I actually tried to get my sister to take Aikido with me, but she wasn't interested.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eagleks View Post
    Some of the classes I've seen, were a joke. Here's how to flip a person attacking you. Ok, well that helps, but it isn't going to stop them from getting up either... so you have to know the rest too.
    If you did some of the flips in Aikido or Jiu-Jitsu on an asphalt street instead of a padded mat, the attacker would either have a broken spine or his skull would get cracked open, so he's not getting up.
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