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Criteria and Philosophy of a Good Self-Defense Class

What is Self-Defense?

Does self-defense work?

Is self-defense training a guarantee that you will be safe?

Must I train for years to learn to defend myself?

What is the role of Mace, Pepper Spray or other 'devices' as self-defense aids?

Should I get a gun?

What kind of martial arts/self defense training should learn?

Where do I look for a good martial arts/self-defense training school?

What is Self-Defense?

Self-defense is a set of awareness, assertiveness, verbal confrontation skills, safety strategies, and physical techniques that enable someone to successfully prevent, escape, resist and survive violent assaults. A good self-defense course provides psychological awareness and verbal skills, not just physical training.

Does self-defense work?

YES! Self-defense training increases your options and helps you prepare responses to avoid, slow down, de-escalate, or interrupt an attack, and also empowers one to prevent violence. It is important that the strategies and skills deal with the potential violence from acquaintances and intimates, not only strangers. Women usually know their attackers, therefore it is essential that a person is training in how to deal with the violence that can come from someone you know.

Is self-defense training a guarantee that you will be safe?

NO. There are no guarantees when it comes to self-protection. Be aware of advertising hype, or exaggerated claims of success from marketers of guns, alarms, devices, and self-defense training programs. Be a smart consumer and find a self-defense training program that increases your choices/options and preparedness and is committed to helping you develop a wide range of strategies.

Must I train for years to learn to defend myself?

No. A basic course can offer enough concepts and skills to help you develop self-protection strategies that you can continue to build upon. Self-defense training is not karate, although some of the techniques are derived form the martial arts. The skills and techniques do not require years to perfect. Certainly, practice is important and investing the time to review and perfect your skills can build confidence and increase your abilities. The key is to make a commitment to participate in your own safety and to do what is necessary to reduce risk and become empowered to act, rather than to be acted upon.

What is the role of Mace, Pepper Spray or other 'devices' as self-defense aids?

Any device is useless to you unless you understand how to use it, and you have it ready to use at the time of the attempted assault. There is NOTHING guaranteed about any of these devices. None are fool proof, and none of them can be counted on to work against all possible attackers.

Realize that anything you can use against an attacker can also be used against you. While some of the devices can be helpful in some situations, it is best not to depend on them and to be aware of their limitations.

Your brain and your body are the best primary weapons that you have with you at all times. Everything else is a weapon of opportunity.

Should I get a gun?

NO. It is not advisable for anyone to "just go out and get a gun." Guns are often presented as the 'equalizer,' but actually guns can provoke more unintentional injury, accidents and unnecessary deaths than random car accidents. Ten children a day are killed by handguns, and several studies show that the most likely use of a firearm in the home will be against a family member or an individual known to the gun owner. There is a lot of debate surrounding the use of firearms as an effective self-defense tool, with little data available to support their effectiveness. Owning and operating a firearm should not be taken lightly, and if you are a person who is looking for a shortcut to self-protection, and are not sure about investing time in self-defense training, then gun ownership is certainly not for you. There are no shortcuts to self-protection, and guns are not a risk-free solution.

What kind of martial arts/self defense training should learn?

There are many styles of martial arts available to the public. Before choosing one you must first decide the main reason, or reasons, why you want to begin studying martial arts. If it is mainly for self defense then a practical Aikido school is without a doubt the right martial art for you.

Where do I look for a good martial arts/self-defense training school?

If you live in the Tacoma, South Puget Sound area you can contact  the Washington Aiki Dojo for local information concerning Aikido/Aikijujitsu. If you live outside of Tacoma, Washington, you can e-mail the Washington Aiki Dojo, and we will try to help you locate a good practical Aikido school.  You can also contact  your local rape crisis center or community college for a referral.