I mentioned in my Coffee Date post a couple of weeks ago that I had been looking for a self-defense class. I have a friend that works at 9-1-1 dispatch, and her husband is a police officer, so when she mentioned to him that I was looking for a class, they managed to set one up at the local station!
I'm not going to tell you all the things I learned. (The female officer who led the class said that they only offer the class for women, since they do not want potential attackers to know what tools you have in your arsenal for warding off an attacker.) But I will tell you that if you have not taken a self-defense class, you absolutely must.
The Top Five Reasons You Should Take a Self-Defense Class
1) Increased confidence. The class was only about three hours, but it increased my confidence times 1000. I sincerely hope I never need to use any of the practical tactics we learned, but whereas before I was afraid that I wouldn't have the cajones to get away from an attacker or fight back, I feel more confident now in my own strength, and in my ability to not freeze up in those brief moments when your body is deciding "fight or flight?"
2) Mental preparedness. We learned about the body's responses to dangerous situations, including ways to recognize a potential attacker and ways that you can behave to show that you're not a good or easy target. In addition, we learned that being prepared is, in a lot of ways, completely mental — imagining what you would do if you were to be approached at this very moment, what you would say in that situation, how you would behave. It was very inspiring.
3) Physical preparedness. I don't think of myself as a particularly strong person. But I learned that your ability to throw a punch or wrestle someone to the ground is not what determines whether you stay safe. Instead, we learned simple techniques for getting out of situations in which you feel threatened, and practiced moves that put distance between you and an attacker.
4) Practical application. In addition to showing us the moves, the officers also had punching-bag type things for us to practice on, so we could get used to the feel of the moves. We also got to practice on a real person (cop friend!) wearing a padded suit. Which was fun and also kind of terrifying.
5) It could save your life. Do I really need to come up with a better reason? Get thee to a self-defense class!