Better late than never. Back in November and early December, I hosted a series of self-defense classes. Fortunately for me, this was a trial run, as only a few students attended (for three of the classes, I only had one student present).
Although some would see it as unfortunate that I didn’t have a great turn-out, I looked at it as an opportunity for growth. This was my first experience teaching self-defense outside of my karate school without my instructors to guide me. And I’m happy to say that I did just fine—once I got over my nerves.
My student, a nutrition and dietetics major was such a trooper. More than anything, she proved my hypothesis from my capstone’s plan, that it takes multiple classes and outside work to truly grasp even that basics of self-defense.
One thing I noticed was that it took must more effort to teach a basic block than I’d expected. I always forget that beginners don’t have the coordination to step with one foot while blocking with the opposite hand. It just throws you off. Not only is the stance awkward but so are the motions.
I found myself thinking back to my time as a white belt as well as my time going up the ranks of Tang Soo Do. As I grew older, I learned that mirrors were my best friend, because they never lie to you. So, with that in mind, I led my student to the mirrors in the front of the Aerobics Room and we spent quite a large amount of time focused on our techniques in those mirrors. It helped her become more fluid with her transitions from blocking one side to the other and it helped me see what she saw when she didn’t realize she’d goofed up.
I also noted that it was difficult to teach a class with no pads for kicking or striking. While I learned most of my techniques by pacing up and down the floor, strking the air with my arms and legs, I acknowledge that actually striking a target helps with accuracy.
My student learned some basic self-defense moves to get away from wrist grabs and even chokes, but at the end of our sessions, I made it very clear that she needed to continue practicing if she hoped to use these techniques in real life some day.
In this series of self-defense blog entries, I’m hoping to discuss not only some basic things to keep in mind when it comes to self-defense, because it’s not all about technique. A lot has to do with simply being smart and avoiding dangerous situations altogether.