It is arguably worse to involve yourself in a bad self defence training course than it is to stay at home on the sofa. This is because at least when you’re at home and not in training, you are not fooling yourself into thinking that you are tough and capable. When you have learned a host of self defense tactics from a martial arts course or self defense DVD you assume that you are better at fighting than you actually are. Too many of these productions have deeply flawed philosophies which will be brutally exposed when the time comes to test things out. And you better believe that the middle of a violent assault on your person is not the place to find out your techniques stink!
Although martial arts is an enjoyable and worthwhile pursuit, there are some variations which are infuriating to watch. You will see exhibitions where the student on display flawlessly executes various kicks and punches in a display of finesse that is awe-inspiring. Unfortunately, in practical terms it is absolutely useless. What’s worse is that there are self defence training courses that actually think this is an acceptable method of defending yourself. Do you really think that anyone with intent to do you harm is going to grab a seat and applaud you while you pirouette through the air? They are far more likely to wait until you leave yourself open before doing serious damage to you.
You may be told that sparring is an important part of self defense tactics. Although it is necessary to spar with someone to get the feel of actual combat, it is not particularly useful in a real life situation. Too often, either you or your sparring partner will pull their punches or deliberately miss so that you can perfect your repertoire of graceful evasive moves. The problem is that once again, your attacker will not be so kind and will delight in making contact with your face. Therefore, when sparring you need to inject a bit of spice and attack one another with venom, intending to do one another harm.
One thing that self defence training sometimes lacks that is seen in martial arts training is conditioning. In a street fight situation, the majority of the action takes place within the first 30 seconds. At that point the thug is usually almost exhausted but unfortunately so too is the intended victim. It is important to train your body to go for long periods of time. If you feel that the attacker is stronger than you, then perhaps it would be a good idea to drag the fight on for longer so that they get tired. If you are in good condition you can then wear them out and beat them. If you believe that you are evenly matched then a ferocious counter attack full of energy will be enough to overwhelm them.
If you decide to embark on a self defence training program then either choose one that follows the above principles or learn them for yourself. Showy kicks and punches have no place in a street brawl, sparring needs to have intensity and your conditioning must be top notch in order to give yourself the best possible chance of fending off the attack.