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I'm 35, not actually fat but carrying some extra weight (maybe 20, 25 pounds). I have a sedentary job and my endurance isn't what it once was. I've never had any sort of training in any kind of self-defense and I've only been in one fight (which I won without throwing a punch - the attacker was a skinny guy who gave up after I ducked his punches and shoved him around a bit).

On the upside, I'm naturally large and powerful, and have been told I carry myself with authority. I have pretty good SA and have evaded a number of dicey situations simply by noticing which way the wind was blowing before the storm came on, so to speak.

So, with that background, I'm wondering what would be the best direction to go when it comes to purposeful training for defense. Obviously some basic physical conditioning, but other than that, I'm not sure how to begin. Should I look for classes that deal with mindset, or actual defensive techniques? Should I get some boxing or martial-arts training, or should I start with defensive weapons? What can I work on myself, and what is best done with a qualified instructor?

And so forth.

Would love any and all thoughts from those who know. :)
 

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If you have not shot a lot (read that as more than 1000-1500 rounds in the past 5 years), I would recommend a gun safety class first, then a CCW class second, and finally after you have reached the 1000-1500 round level, a Basic Gun Fighting course. That would be a two day course where you will shoot 500+ rounds total. Thru all of this you will need a reliable gun that functions all the time along with 4-6 spare magazines for the gun and a good CCW holster for the gun and two pouch mag holder.
The route is not cheap but rewarding when all things fall into place. Remember NO one Instructor has all the answers, but many can help with a wide variety of solutions. Good luck in your next road in life and may it be rewarding as you travel it.
 

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Start jogging or cycling for aerobics...that is the most important. Combine that with some kind of strengthening routine...crunches, pushups, bridges, etc. If you are not in shape, you cannot fight for very long.

Next, in today's world, the only realistic approach to self defense is to buy a pistol and learn to shoot. If you don't know anyone with a firearms background to teach you, find a good course. The NRA one is ok, but it is very basic. Still, you have to start somewhere.

As for martial arts, if you are a mindset type of guy and want something that will mentally challenge you and stay with you your whole life, a traditional karate class (one with a Japanese or Okinawa name). A good class that is well-run will keep you in physical shape, as well. If you mainly want to learn to fight, BJJ or MMA is the way to go.
 

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If you're looking for some hand-to-hand (H2H) self defense, MMA is the way to go. A good combination of standing-striking / ground-grappling techniques will make you decently well-rounded. Boxing for the striking and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the grappling. Boxing will give you great endurance, standing agility, and improved reaction speed. BJJ will give you overall flexibility, agility and endurance. There are different schools, some are more sport-oriented and other more defense-oriented. If you can't find the latter locally, you will at least get in good physical shape from a sport-oriented gym and still learn some techniques that are useful in self-defense. I like the MMA environment; you get a lot of motivation (I have a hard time motivating myself to exercise at home), and you have training partners of varying skill levels who are more than happy to put up some resistance to test your skill.

If you do find a place, don't get frustrated. I could barely make it through the warm up when I started, and I thought I was in decent shape. :redface: My doc says I have the resting heart rate of an endurance athlete now. :smile: You'll go through buckets of sweat, frustration, and times when you feel like you're not improving. Stick with it.

There are plenty of conditioning exercises you can do at home that do not require any equipment, just some floor space. Push-ups, burpees, sit-ups, mountain climbers, squats and bootstrappers are some.
 

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Get a gun, practice not shooting yourself in the leg or anyone else, while you learn the basics of hitting what you aim at from 5 yrds out to 25 yards. Draw speed will come with practice.
Carry said handgun at home and out all the time.
Then if you want spend lots of money on tacticool doodads and training schools. Or not.
 

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I think MMA, boxing and BJJ are great, but realize those are highly athletic and take a while to get good at. I think you really have to enjoy fighting arts to have the stick-to-it-tiveness to get anything out of them. I studied martial arts for 25 years and the best quick H2H training I found is none of the above. I would check into so-called "red-suit" training like Model Mugging, Impact Self-Defense or RAD. It involves a padded suit instructor who attacks you with violently and you respond, full force with a few simple techniques. They also work a lot on the mental aspects of a confrontation.

I took a resident weekend course after I was already a 3rd degree black belt in Karate' and I found it to be the most practical three days of training I'd ever had. You can actually get some real proficiency in a few days, both mentally and physically. You wouldn't be able to take on an MMA guy, but you would have a better than evan chance against the average street punk who wasn't expecting much resistance. My wife has also taken such a course.
 

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Gun-Fighting is something you're going to do a few times a year - the weekend class here, the evening class there. ....well.... unless you got a lot more money than I do anyway. :redface:
Those types of gun classes can (and should) be worked into your yearly budget for at least the next several years, possibly forever. My target right now with my family life and my budget considerations is two classes a year.
Between the entry fee for the class and the ammo you will shoot you should probably plan on each class costing ~$250.

Martial arts is something you need to commit a minimum of two days(usually nights actually) a week for a minimum of 18 months to develop any useful skills. Realistically, more like 3 years to become decently proficient. That's if you really commit to the 2+ days a week. If you skip a lot, miss classes, etc... it will take much longer.

Martial arts will give you the 2-in-1 of getting you in shape as well. Krav Maga is about as good as it gets for an aggressive, street-fight, self-defense orientated system. 3 days a week for 3 years at a good Krav school and you will have a serious "edge", and be it excellent shape.

Plan on any decent martial art costing ~$100-150/month.

if you can afford it, I would recommend getting into a good Krav or MMA school right now, and start buying and stashing training ammo and searching around for a good school to go take a shooting class at. Try to work a Basic Pistol class into your Fall Schedule. Plan for another around Christmas/First of the year. If you can maintain that pace for 3 years you'll experience changes you can't imagine right now... :wink:
 
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I'm 35, not actually fat but carrying some extra weight (maybe 20, 25 pounds). I have a sedentary job and my endurance isn't what it once was. I've never had any sort of training in any kind of self-defense and I've only been in one fight (which I won without throwing a punch - the attacker was a skinny guy who gave up after I ducked his punches and shoved him around a bit).

On the upside, I'm naturally large and powerful, and have been told I carry myself with authority. I have pretty good SA and have evaded a number of dicey situations simply by noticing which way the wind was blowing before the storm came on, so to speak.

So, with that background, I'm wondering what would be the best direction to go when it comes to purposeful training for defense. Obviously some basic physical conditioning, but other than that, I'm not sure how to begin. Should I look for classes that deal with mindset, or actual defensive techniques? Should I get some boxing or martial-arts training, or should I start with defensive weapons? What can I work on myself, and what is best done with a qualified instructor?

And so forth.

Would love any and all thoughts from those who know. :)
Honestly I think you're in a great spot. I would suggest that you realize that you're going to be traveling what is, most likely, a life-long path, so temper your eagerness with the knowledge that you've got a long way to go and a long time to get there.

I would personally suggest that you set up some near term and long term goals and work on those in simultaneous fashion. For myself, I would put physical fitness above just about anything else (though I accept that it's not as fun nor as glamorous as anything else). There will come a point in your life where physical training becomes a non-starter or unattainable; if it's doable now then get a move on. Trust me when I say that you'll feel a boatload better without that 25 pounds and it'll really pay off 10 to 15 years from now when you're not having to battle that along with the aches and pains that come with getting older.

Secondly, from my perspective, I'd get into a martial arts program. There's plenty to choose from and becoming proficient with anything will pay off in spades if you're ever in a bad spot. Plenty of places teach generic "MMA" now so they do a little of everything. There's also Krav Maga which is wholly about self defense in application and covers some defensive and offensive weapons use. You could go with something singular like boxing or karate but (and this is once again just my opinion) if you're going to focus on one specific thing I'd probably lean to Muay Thai for striking and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for ground combat. I'm not knocking other martial arts and I have a lot of respect for the finer points in darn near every one but I think those two probably translate best to street level violence; learning both would be the best option if you have the time and money to dedicate to being a student to them. Just remember that there are no rules in a street fight so practice groin strikes (not when sparring though) :yup:. The main reason I put this as my second place item is there will always be places where firearms are simply not an option but if you're fit and have some h2h skills, you're never fully disarmed.

Next I would add some basic firearm combative classes. Not knowing how much you already know, it's hard to say where to start but start with something that'll teach you how to fight with a pistol. Then learn how to fight with a rifle. Then you practice. Lots of practice. Then you take more classes. Vary up your teachers. No reason to learn the same thing from the same guy over and over. Then practice some more. You can certainly read many, many books that'll help you understand the 'mindset' but I don't think anyone, or anything, can actually teach you to own the mindset. If anything, proficiency and the internal understanding of your capacity will foster the mindset.

You can learn to live a healthy lifestyle on your own. Research and effort will give you everything you need. You can probably set up an exercise routine without any assistance. Start running, jumping rope and working on compound exercises to build strength and cardio. You don't need a personal trainer and a gym for any of that, though if you have one or really want one, you could go that route. Everything else you really need the personal attention that comes with face to face interaction with an instructor. Firearms combatives, like traditional martial arts, are not something you can simply read about, or watch a youtube video, and put into practice in any meaningful way. You can certainly use those to tools to expand your capacity to some degree but when you're working on your foundation, you really want it to be solid.

Finally, as I said at the beginning, always remember that this is a lifelong endeavor. Stay motivated by making sure you're having fun. It's all work but it doesn't have to be unenjoyable work.
 

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Losing those extra pounds, gaining flexibility and strength, look to yoga, specifically Bikram [ hot ] yoga. Once you've gained flexibility, then strength train further in any form you'll stick with.

Walk, before you run, so you don't injure yourself. If you've been sedentary, you stand risks of injuries without getting some flexibility and natural strength first, IMO
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the replies so far, everyone. Just the type of feedback I was hoping to get!

I've had guns for years, including three pistols that I am fairly proficient with. (My greatest weakness, strange to say, is with shotguns on moving targets.) The main problem with my shooting is that I don't have anywhere to practice where I'm allowed to "draw." So my practice in that area is just from dry-fire routines, without any instruction, so obviously far from ideal.

I should also mention that my goal for hand-to-hand skills isn't to be able to take down MMA experts single-handedly. I don't have the time or money to train to that level. Getting the upper hand on the "average street punk" is exactly what I have in mind.

One thing I'm specifically interested is the sort of training that would help me project "Alpha Male" to any would-be attackers. I read this thread and was impressed by Mike's presence of mind and confident bearing in the face of what would surely have been a losing fight had all three attackers been serious. I'm a peace-loving guy and almost always prefer to deescalate, but I'm aware that a good front is sometimes the best way to do that. So I'm interested in getting some similar training - along with enough actual skills to not be a total pushover if it really comes down to it.

As far as fitness is concerned, yes I've got some extra weight and I'm currently out of shape, but at 5' 10" and 210 pounds, and body fat around 18%, I'm hopeful that I don't have too far to go. I was lifting weights and running until about two years ago, when a series of injuries and health problems (mostly unrelated to my workouts) put me down for a while. Hopefully I can regain decent fitness pretty quickly now that I'm getting back to health. Then it will just be a matter of finding the money for some self-defense courses!
 

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Well, you cant train with firearms if you dont have the gun, and dont have the ammo. Get something rock solid reliable, (like a Glock 19), get plenty of ammo (Glocks will feed any ammo, and love a diet of steel cased cheaper commie block ammo), and do it quick.

Btw, one Fighting Pistol class requires 1,000 rounds of ammo. That should give you a clue about the amounts of ammo you need. AND I can tell you from my experiences today ordering more ammo, that I think there is a run on ammo again.

So once again, Id get on the hump buying plenty.
 

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Physical fitness makes for better results in just about everything. However, I suggest cardo-vascular exercise building endurance over muscle building. Having a strong heart and blood supply to the brain helps one in any crisis situation - from armed self-defense to getting one's wife to the maternity intake.

In terms of shooting, work on the basic skills of sight alignment and sight picture. One handed with some 'off side' work is beneficial. No matter what other handgun work you do relies in great degree to basic skills.

Do not worry too much about the speed of your draw. Very few defense episodes depend on 'clearing leather' like in the cowboy movies. You can work on getting a proper firing grip on your sidearm at home, without ammunition. Just concentrate on getting the hand in proper position - without finger on trigger - out of the holster and level in front of your body.

When selecting a trainer, look for an actual self-defense thinker. Too many trainers seek to instruct people in how to compete in a match atmosphere, not in a life or death problem. If your potential instructor keeps harping about "[fill in organization] rules require..." or specialized speed holsters or fast reloads, he's probably more interested in competition than preservation.

Oh. I can't shoot a shotgun on aerial targets either. Go figure.
 

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Yes it is time to stock up on all Ammo supplies from Ammo to components to make more ammo. This election is up in the air but I hope it Trumps the other side...
 
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Yes it is time to stock up on all Ammo supplies from Ammo to components to make more ammo. This election is up in the air but I hope it Trumps the other side...
Yeah, after topping off the ammo supply, Im now looking at components. Powder & brass, I pretty much have covered. Primers and bullets I need to restock.
 

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Any good martial arts skill set is a confidence builder. You don't ever want to believe you can single-handedly take down a group of armed terrorists with only your left thumb but it's very good to know what you really can do if needed. There's not going to be a class, or an instructor that's worth his salt, that's going to teach you about projecting 'alpha' if you're really not an alpha. That's what I meant about knowing what you're capable of leads to fostering a certain mindset. Play acting like you're the business is a quick way to get hurt, or worse. Most predators have been learning how to be predators their whole lives; thinking you can fool them may get you a pass but it's not something to bet your life or health on. When you know what you can do, you'll project that plenty without ever thinking about it. Anyone who claims they'll teach you how to talk the talk but doesn't care if you can walk the walk should be run away from as fast as you can possibly flee.
 

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I'm 35, not actually fat but carrying some extra weight (maybe 20, 25 pounds). I have a sedentary job and my endurance isn't what it once was. I've never had any sort of training in any kind of self-defense and I've only been in one fight (which I won without throwing a punch - the attacker was a skinny guy who gave up after I ducked his punches and shoved him around a bit).

On the upside, I'm naturally large and powerful, and have been told I carry myself with authority. I have pretty good SA and have evaded a number of dicey situations simply by noticing which way the wind was blowing before the storm came on, so to speak.

So, with that background, I'm wondering what would be the best direction to go when it comes to purposeful training for defense. Obviously some basic physical conditioning, but other than that, I'm not sure how to begin. Should I look for classes that deal with mindset, or actual defensive techniques? Should I get some boxing or martial-arts training, or should I start with defensive weapons? What can I work on myself, and what is best done with a qualified instructor?

And so forth.

Would love any and all thoughts from those who know. :)
With all of that said and done, I might suggest working on your mindset to actually kill another human being (by any method possible/at your disposal). In my opinion this is one of the most overlooked facets of basic survival. Winning a fight means you exist another day. It's not alley fighting or throwing a punch anymore. The only ones who walk away these days are the smart ones. No matter what your size or demeanor. These days a lot of folks on crack and you are not bullet proof. Even a sore looser can turn aroubd and kill you in an instant. There are very few fair fights these days. Those that are, are televised for your viewing pleasure across cable networks for profit. Real life is a whole lot different.
Buy a couple of books if you can still find them. One is 'In The Gravest Extreme' by Maasad Ayoob, and the other is 'On Killing' by Lt Col Dave Grossman. Read those and forget everything you think you know and your past experiences if they are not useful in your new world attitude. The best equalizer is the mind. Not your size nor how many times you've 'won' a fight.
Formal training? Sure. Once you have the basic concept, you'll get your money's worth out of something like that taught by people who think they know the best way to do things.
 

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Lot's of good advice here. Pick and choose what fits you best.

JDavisArk gave some excellent advice: Develop a mindset that you may actually have to injure or kill another human. Prepare for that mentally. It will help develop some of that alpha male confidence that may keep you out of a fight. And if you get in one, it may keep you alive.

Develop an attitude of action as opposed to reaction along with your situational awareness. Consider that most (all?) of those in the Orlando nightclub had no aggressive reaction. They ran, they hid, they waited to get killed. Any action is better than no action. Yes, you may die, but the odds improve in your favor as you act decisively. There was a recent occurrence of a 16 year old who was abducted. Rather than sitting in the car and waiting to get to where she was being taken, she jumped out of the moving vehicle. She lived. They caught the guy. Apparently, he had done this before. She was the first survivor; because she acted and took a chance.
 

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So, with that background, I'm wondering what would be the best direction to go when it comes to purposeful training for defense.
You've received some pretty good advice; I will add only one item...

COMMITMENT

Like anything important in life, if we are unwilling to commit to it; we not only fail miserably, we will get discouraged.
 

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How should I start my training?

I'm 35, not actually fat but carrying some extra weight (maybe 20, 25 pounds). I have a sedentary job and my endurance isn't what it once was. I've never had any sort of training in any kind of self-defense ... I have pretty good SA and have evaded a number of dicey situations simply by noticing which way the wind was blowing before the storm came on, so to speak.
As for anyone, but particularly in a lifestyle with a sedentary job much of the day, get a good handle on your nutrition. Nutrition as fuel, not social experiment. Tying that better to your physical activity will nix that 20-30 pounds fairly rapidly. Get to know what you're eating, what alternatives there are, what combinations make sense, and what portion sizes work for you, given your caloric needs. One starting place for that: ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Get your head wrapped around the mindset related to defending your very life. Are you capable of, and prepared for, doing what's necessary in order to protect innocent life? How far will that extend ... your life, your loved ones, neighbors, strangers, all situations or only some? Are you financially prepared for the risks and outcomes? One such discussion: http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum/concealed-carry-issues-discussions/14843-carry-not-carry-what-thinking-did-you-go-through.html.

Evaluate the physical preparations you want to go through, what sort of training would work best for you. A solid, "street" oriented martial art discipline might work very well, such as Krav Maga or similar. Daily physical exercise, involving cardiovascular, interval/sprints as part of it, along with strength and flexibility training. Self-defense oriented training, ideally including some active force-on-force challenges to test your preparedness. If needing the guidance, much of this should ideally be done under direction of a well-practiced and -trained eye (and instructor). Once you've got the handle on different elements, feel free to go it alone after that.

As for tools and weapons and techniques, everyone's different. What works for another might not work well for you. Find your sweet spot, with which tools and techniques are effective. Many of us leverage firearms because it trumps most other tools, when push comes to shove. But it's hardly a panacea, for all situations. Gotta learn effective hand-to-hand, for if you're disarmed, or without a tool, or caught off-guard. Gotta learn effective tool use, whichever tools those might be.

For all of this, too: read, read, read. There is a lot of good (and bad) material out there, covering all these areas. Pick up a copy of Massad Ayoob's book In The Gravest Extreme, or his newly-updated edition. Check out the books by Lt. Col. (ret) Dave Grossman @ Killology. Work on your mindset for doing what's necessary to survive. Learn to be explosive, merciless, when necessary. Learn the "gray man" principles, so you can largely fly under the radar. Work on your situational awareness and people-watching skills. Harden your home's entry points, to help buy you time if caught unawares at home. Eliminate certain patterns and easily-tracked behaviors from your life, where appropriate. Go for more training, yet again, when plateauing or needing another challenge.

In short: be strong, fit, capable, knowledgeable, trained, competent in application of those in tough situations. Takes a bit of prep to get there, as most of us have a number of weak points. At 35 years of age and not bad shape, you've got much to work with. Just need to focus, then identify those areas for improvement. Instruction can help, if it's quality instruction.
 

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I will leave it to others to offer self-defense and gun training advice. But as a long-time distance runner, let me put in my two cents about getting into physical shape. The first thing to realize and accept is that getting in shape doesn't happen overnight. It's best to start slow and improve in increments. One of the best programs I know (I work part-time in a running store and coach) is the couch-to-5K program (Couch to 5k - C25K Running Program). I've known more people who have done this course successfully and without injury than any other introductory running program.

Running is a great way to get in shape for other activities. I like to tell people that "without my sport, your sport is boring." I also say, "my sport is your sport's punishment!" :smile:

At the heart of running is core strength. Nearly every sport begins with a semi-crouch position. If you supplement your aerobic gains with simple core training (stand in the crouch and just push yourself to a standing position using your quads and hip flexors twenty times to give you an idea), you'll be amazed at how much you change.

The c25k program is nine weeks. That's just over two months. Be prepared for "stair-step" gains. You'll plateau a bit, maybe even a setback or two, but in the end, you'll shed your pounds, increase your VO2 Max, your resting heart rate will go down, and if you eat well, your cholesterol will drop, your blood sugar will stabilize and your mental outlook will improve.

There's a saying I learned about fitness years ago: In 30 days, you'll see the difference. In 60 days, your friends will see the difference. In 90 days, everyone will see the difference!
 
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