Nothing feels better than knowing you can take care of yourself mentally, financially, and physically. However for a lot of people, the physical part is just exercise. Being able to protect yourself in all situations is a confidence booster as much as it is a reassurance. A reassurance that can only be gained through any form of self defense classes. Today, when people think about self defense classes, they tend to think about women and children. However, self defense classes (and practices such as karate, boxing, jiu jitsu, ect. ), are for everyone.

I believe in the power of knowledge and practice when it comes to self defense. In gathering the reasons why it is important for everyone to take these classes, I talked with a 6th degree black belt, Master Olson, who owns his own karate school. Through our conversations, I was provided with these 10 reasons why taking self defense classes is beneficial to everyone.

1. It builds confidence

One of the biggest advantages to taking self defense classes is the way it makes you feel afterwards. A lot of people are unconfident with their abilities to protect themselves before they join a practice, or take classes. This can be due to personal experiences, as well as driven by the news. We hear a lot about the negativity in our society, and this can leave people feeling unprotected. Self defense classes will build confidence in yourself. If you are getting bullied, it is also a great way to protect yourself and grow confidence in yourself, ultimately molding you into a better person.

2. It works on your balance

Let’s face it, some of us can’t walk and chew gum at the same time – myself included. These types of classes require a lot out of your body, including the ability to do two things at once without falling over. Improving your balance also means improving focus. Karate and self defense classes teach you how to focus on your target while you control your body. Without balance it is almost impossible to fight. Through gaining your body control and balance, you will be better prepared to protect yourself.

3. It helps develop self-discipline

“The only discipline that lasts, is self-discipline.” -Bum Phillips. In order to learn and grow with your self defense abilities, you have to develop self-discipline. You have to be motivated and dedicated to the practice. In order to be better protected-you have to keep practicing. Actually going to class and showing up on a regular basis develops discipline. Taking these types of classes will get you focused on your personal protection and on your surroundings. Like with any other sport, you can’t get better if you don’t practice.

4. It helps improve your physical conditioning

The whole point of self defense classes is to prepare you for any situation that may bring harm to you. Physical conditioning is extremely important when it comes to self defense. Training and practicing prepares you for the adrenalin dump when a situation arises that may require you to fight. When someone comes after you, you will experience what is called an adrenalin dump. It’s your body’s way of responding to the fight or flight situation. It only last a few seconds, so you need to be physically conditioned to appropriately deal with a dangerous situation. If you aren’t, your body will not work as well as you need it to after the adrenalin dump . Physical conditioning will work on your reflexes and your awareness of an attack. When you are fighting it is important to be focused both mentally and physically. If you are prepared, you will be more successful in a dangerous situation and the dump won’t take all your energy from you.

5. It improves your street awareness

Self defense classes will make you more aware of your surroundings. You’re never planning to be attacked, but your attacker is the one with the plan. Self defense classes will help you to be aware at all times and ready, should this type of situation arise. You might be shocked for a second, but you will have the necessary reactions to protect yourself. Master Olson was telling me about how his classes teach you to think about where you can be attacked and where your attacker could be hiding. Always be aware of your surroundings.

6. It teaches you self-respect

The practice of karate, and many other practices like it, are centered around trust and respect. It teaches respect of each other, and respect for yourself. This is beneficial in life. If you don’t respect yourself, then how can you respect others? When you are practicing your self defense moves you will be practicing with a partner. There needs to be mutual trust between the two of you to not hurt each other, but still practice well. If you do not respect yourself it is unlikely that others will respect you and have that mutual trust.

7. It helps to develop a warrior spirit

We all watch the news and see how terrible it can be. Taking self defense classes will help you develop a sort of warrior spirit. We all know that if we are attacked, the last thing we want to do is get in that van of our assailant. Self defense classes can prepare you for battle and, most importantly, survival. If you are attacked, you don’t want to go to a secondary location, and having self defense on your side will help prevent that from happening. You will have a sense of “I am going to survive here, not down the road.”

8. It helps you develop a fighters reflex

In a fight, movement is power. You can’t stand around and wait for your attacker’s next strike, you have to move! Self defense classes will help develop your reflexes and you will gain a fighter’s reflex. A fighter’s reflex is different from your normal reflexes. In normal situations you respond to something that happens. When you are being attacked it is better to know how to respond. Fighter’s reflex will allow you to move quickly and smartly in the situation. You will know where to step and where to throw your punch. You will be prepared.

9. It will help you with goal setting

Self defense classes help you to set goals. Whether you want to nail a specific move, or work hard to feel like you can protect yourself, you are setting a goal. It gets you back in class each week, and will help you in your everyday life. It helps you develop a drive that you may not have had before. If you take your goal setting seriously within your self defense classes, it can roll over into your everyday life, helping you get through any tough situation that comes your way.

10. It has a positive influence on your life

Unlike a lot of things in life, taking self defense classes will always have a positive impact on your life. Each and every one of the reasons above are proof of this. Taking self defense classes can boost your spirits and make you a more confident and better version of yourself. It’s important to have things in life that we can rely on to make us happy- taking these kinds of classes does just that.

-A note from the Master himself-

“After reading these reasons, you may be curious as to how to find an instructor. Location is the easy answer, but it is better to do some research before you make the commitment to an instructor. Do some investigative research online and find out who your instructor truly is. How long have they been in the practice? Have they competed at a high level? Do they have any street attack experience? Who did they train under? It’s not about sport- it’s about reality.”

Featured photo credit: John Olson via facebook.com

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