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The Realities of Self-Defense Training

We often talk to people that are looking for self-defense classes in Pittsburgh. Some people reach out on behalf of their sons or daughters. Some inquire for themselves out of personal interest. And others want to augment their careers as security, military, or law enforcement professionals. For most Americans, an interest in self-defense classes comes about sooner or later.

When we get these inquires, and they often include a variation of this question: “Do you offer a self-defense seminar or course?”

While we teach self-defense in all of our martial arts class, we don’t offer pre-packed workshops because they give students just enough knowledge to get them into trouble. Even when we do a seminar or an event, we encourage everyone to pursue regular martial arts training under a qualified instructor. Here’s why:

  • Self-defense as a topic is too complicated to fit into a few weeks let alone a few hours.
  • If you are ever in a situation that requires self-defense techniques, you won’t have time to think, so you need to practice the movement enough times that it becomes instinctual muscle memory.
  • A little knowledge can be worse than no-knowledge if it instills a false sense of confidence.

The last point is what can make a self-defense workshop or boot camp dangerous. After two hours of learning how to escape wrist grabs and bear hugs, you might start to feel like you know something, like you could get away from someone that wants to harm you. Anyone that has trained martial arts for more than a year goes through a period of growth where they get incredibly humbled by the scope of complexity in self-defense and by the extremely fragile nature of our bodies.

It is really easy to lose a fight. If you make one mistake when it matters most, you’re done. That’s it.

When you train for months and months—or for years and years in the case of most of our students—you gain a whole new respect for what safety actually means. We have had a lot of tough guys and girls come through our doors, and martial arts changes them. They get a new appreciation for their health and for their families. They recognize that fighting, in many cases, just isn’t worth it, and they learn that if they are in a situation where they have to defend themselves, they had better be prepared. They have to be smart, aware, technical, and confident.

We believe very strongly that martial arts is accessible to everyone and a key part of self-protection. You do the best with the body you have, and you put in the time necessary to achieve your goals. You can’t shortcut your way to safety. It takes time. It takes practice. And it takes patience.

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