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Self Defense Classes: How To Pick The Best Class

Updated on August 17, 2011

The sad truth is: many self defense instructors have little to no real world self defense experience.

This may seem like a wild claim but go ask a local self defense instructor how many times he has had to use self-defense in the real world (not on a sparring partner inside a dojo or gym).

Yes there are some great instructors out there, but majority are simply martial artists trying to expand their business by offering special self defense classes.

Being a martial artists does not make a person a self defense expert. Having a black belt in ‘xyz’ martial art means little outside of the dojo, unless it is backed up by real world experience.

The purpose of this article is not to beat up on martial artists. I am a big fan of many martial arts and I think they are great sports. But they are not to be confused with self defense.

Body Guards for Political Figures
Body Guards for Political Figures

Finding A Great Instructor:

A great self defense course should be taught by someone who has a lot of experience in violent conflicts outside of a controlled environment.

Good examples of the types of people qualified to teach self defense are police officers, body guards for high profile clients, military Special Forces soldiers, and bar bouncers.

These people have the real world experience with violent people you need in a self defense instructor.

Now that you know a little bit about who you should and should not be learning from let’s talk about the kinds of classes commonly offered and the best ways to train for self defense.

Weekend Classes Put On By Local Law Enforcement Agencies:

These can be great places to learn the basics. The instructors are officers who deal with crime every day, know how criminals act, and are constantly involved in subduing violent people.

The biggest problem with these courses is that they are short.

The police are can’t teach self defense all the time because they are out fighting crime.

People often go to these kinds of events learn a few tricks and an acronym to help them remember what to do and then never practice them again in their lives.

You may get some benefit from this but without practice and making your response second nature your chances of defeating and escaping an attacker are small.

Local Self Defense Course Through A Martial Arts Studio, YMCA, etc.:

Try to take a course which lasts a couple of weeks and more importantly one where you get to practice on human targets.

Once the course is finished find someone in the class who is interested in training with you and practice at least a couple times a month. This is easily done by incorporating it into your exercise routine.

Can’t Find A Great Course In Your Area:

Don’t waste your money on the ‘best place you could find in your area’ if you know it isn’t a great program. Settling is not just a waste of money, it is dangerous. You could be learning techniques that could actually get you into more trouble.

There are plenty of great learn at home self defense programs taught by highly qualified instructors (guys who have hundreds of fights and military combat experience under their belts) that can be as good or better than traditional classes.

Find a friend to go through the learn at home program with you and you now have the perfect learning environment (a great instructor at your finger tips and a partner to practice with).

Whatever route you choose make sure you get quality instruction and practice. It could save your life.

For some great free tips on self defense strategies, techniques, and moves from U.S. Special Forces Commando’s (Navy Seals, Delta Force, Secret Service) checkout While you are there be sure to get my free 15 Brutal Fight Enders

Stay Smart and Stay Safe,

Bob Pierce



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    • SpiffyD profile image


      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      The point that you made in the introduction is a critical one. Self defense is a different realm from martial arts and someone who has real world experience would know the emotions that are felt at that point and the unpredictably of the situation. They may be more willing to improvise instead of rigidly adhering to a script or pattern. Great hub. Voted up and useful.


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