Recommendation - Self Defense Class


January 2, 2006, 01:59 PM
As some of you read in a previous post, I was caught by complete surprise by the act of an individual who was looking to surprise someone I was walking with. I was caught so flat footed and the person was so close to me that I wouldn't have had a chance to draw if it had been an aggressive act. This has gotten me thinking that in addition to practicing with my CCW firearm of choice, I should also start training in non-firearm self defense.

I'm actually quite motivated now to start some kind of self defense / martial arts type training. My problem is that I've done a search in my area for whats available and there are many choices. Things like Karate, Joi-zkoydi. Kenpo, Taekwondo, Tai Chi etc that I have no idea what would be a good place to start.

I'm in pretty decent shape and I work out regularly so I'm assuming I could attempt any kind of these martial arts, but which one to choose.

I'm looking for some directional help on what you would recommend, are currently taking yourself and why.


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Baba Louie
January 2, 2006, 02:23 PM
My female room-mate has studied Aikido for the past ten years (5x's a week)and is quite proficient with re-directing any force/energy coming her way as well as knowing and utilizing pain pressure points.

Try as I might, she does not allow any sneaking up on her and can easily redirect my hands and upper torso in a most painful manner when she feels like doing so. Nothing like stepping into or away from an attacker and having them end up face first on the ground (did ya know that can smart?). :rolleyes:

She teaches beginners and says the first problem she encounters is the willingness to actually have the students violate their opponents' 3 ft clear space, place their hands on and channel their opponents attack (or lack of) away from themselves... Once they learn to do that with a partner of equal standing, doing the same to someone with more experience is the next box they must learn to step outside their comfort zone.

Does that make sense?

She said it takes awhile to actually develop Aikido into a "self-defense" concept and many students want immediate results; thus maybe 3 in 10 will stick to it. Those that do seem to like it.

Of course her first rule is to avoid situations where she would actually have to use those skills, so awareness of surrounding environs is an "Always".

She actually practices 3x a week on the Aikido. The other 2 days are classes in Systema, a Russian form of hands on self defense.

She's not too bad with her HK-USP9c either... tho I always end up cleaning the darned thing for her. :confused:

2 links to peruse at your leisure...

edited to add... Roomie just said that Systema would probably be a "quicker" route than Aikido (FWIW)

January 2, 2006, 02:47 PM
I cannot recommend Krav Maga highly enough.

January 2, 2006, 02:51 PM
It won't mean much to you Rockrivr1, but for anybody who lives in southeast michigan, the live safe academy is probably the best thing available for any type of combat training. They will also go out of state for large groups.

January 2, 2006, 03:11 PM
Jujitsu and Aikido are excellent if the opponent sticks any extremity like arms or legs out at you.

The wristlocks can make a grown man cry like a girl and the throws can take the wind right out of an opponent. Plus if the fight goes down to the ground you will have an advantage. Very rarely will 2 opponents stay standing, just watch football, baseball, rugby, hockey or just about any kind of no-holds-barred brawl and the fighters will end up on the ground.

Jujitsu is the more practical aspect (-jitsu means "art of war"). Hence you have kenjitsu (art of war with sword), kyujitsu (art of war with bow), etc... -jitsu is more concerned with killing or incapacitating your opponent by any means necessary.

Arts that end in -do (which means "way") are generally more geared towards sport or artform than the -jitsu. Judo (gentle way), Aikido (way of harmony), Kendo (way of the sword). Lots of -do are olympic sporting events.

Ancient samurai trained in the art of the sword, bow, spear, unarmed combat and horsemanship. The firearm would replace the art of the bow these days.

January 2, 2006, 03:22 PM
Go to as many of these places as possible and observe, you need to pay close attention to 2 things,
one, what is the teacher teaching, run away from someone that says "this will work all the time...", does the curriculum match what your goals are, feel free to "interview" the instructor stay awya from someone that does sport MA if you are looking for SD, many schools that teach sport will purpously exclude valid techniques because they arent allowed in competition.
Next look at the they look like they know what their doing? is the execution of technique good. good attitude, paying attention etc...

Now for you specifically...anyone in decent shape can become good in most styles of MA, that being said, it will take a long time (years) to become proficient in most Traditional Martial arts, but once your there, your there!
I always stress to people to be well rounded, so take that into account in the curriculum that schools teach....ground work, close in, distance weapons, and multiple attackers etc...
From what ive heard Krav Maga is an excellent martial art that is learned relatively quick...might be a good one to check on, Myslef Ive trained in Aikido (7 year) Okinawa-te Karate (7 years) Gracie Jujitsu (2 years) Judo (4 years) Shotokan Karate (3 years) and Iai-do (7 years) and Tae_kwon-do (1 year)...Im still learning..I tend to favor hard styles that stress self sport at the schools i went to.
some people will gravitate naturally to certain styles based on their personality.
Be prepared for hard training, bumps bruises, etc...It's so much fun!

El Tejon
January 2, 2006, 04:02 PM
Look for the instructor, not the style.

boofus, qin na does not make me "cry like a girl"! It makes me squeal and sometimes have the air sucked out of my lungs like a farm animal.:D :evil:

Mad Bodhi
January 2, 2006, 05:05 PM
Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiujitsu is what I train in and is a very formidable combination.I fought Golden Gloves growing up,wrestled in High School and briefly trained in Shotokan as well.If you can find a good mixed martial arts school it would be your best bet.All the arts have something to offer but here's my list
Western Boxing- The "sweet science" combinations and tactics.A good boxer can manuever his opponent,a boxing stance is very mobile and protected.

Brazilian Jiujitsu- Total domination in a fight on the ground.Chokes and joint locks which allow for pain compliance without causing damage,unconsciuosness,or death at your discretion.

Judo- Masters of the Takedown.A good Judo player will toss you before you can blink and you won't be getting up anytime soon.Some schools also train extensively with chokes and joint locks similar to Jiujitsu.

Muay Thai- Sheer aggresiveness and the use of every part of the body as an offensive weapon.

January 2, 2006, 05:40 PM
IMHO the best out there is Krav-Maga. It's simple, common sense, moves are very natural and easy to use. You will progress very quickly.

January 2, 2006, 06:07 PM
I would also recommend Krav Maga..

January 2, 2006, 06:09 PM
Welcome to the reality that most folks that use a gun as a self defense crutch may not wake up to in time to save their bacon. Real street violence usually happens as fast as you've experienced. I've had 3 violent street encounters without being seriously injured myself and only one of them permitted the time to get a gun into play (and that was before I carried). What you have to learn is that you are the weapon and the gun, stick, knife, hand, etc. are just tools. The gun is no more the only "best" tool than a hammer is for plumbing.

Look for the instructor, not the style.


I will say something that the "grapplers" may not approve of - look for an instructor that wants to keep you on your feet and get you back on your feet as soon as possible if down on the ground before concentrating on ground fighting (this ain't done in an octagon). Street attacks are not limited to one on one violence and grappling a knife wielding attacker or a member of a team is not the best solution to the problem of surviving a violent street attack. In all 3 of the aforementioned attacks I did not end up on the ground. In one of them a screw driver was used by my attacker. In another it was 3 on one. I will say that once you do get some training for the streeet you need to work with ground fighting so that you are used to dealing with the problem.

qin na does not make me "cry like a girl"! It makes me squeal and sometimes have the air sucked out of my lungs like a farm animal.:D :evil:

Funny, I thought too much wasabi did that last time you were here (or was that the waitress :evil: )?

January 3, 2006, 02:36 PM
Thanks everyone for the input. Hummmm, I think I'll look more into the Krav Maga. I did a search for my state and there isn't very many choices. I'll contact the few that are listed and see if I can arrange a visit.

Thanks again.

January 3, 2006, 04:11 PM
check out "bullshido" (.com and .net)

it's not the high road, for sure, and is infested by posters that would make our beloved mall-ninja look like a bastion of common sense.

even so, it's a pretty decent resource for identifying martial arts pretenders and places that are more interested in taking your money than teaching something useful or practical.

it's like what Consumer REports would be like if it was sponsored by MTV and the editor was a 13 yr old

Optical Serenity
January 3, 2006, 04:17 PM
Also check with your local police department, many of them have free self defense classes. Great way to also get to know the officers who would respond if you beat the hell outta someone. :)

January 5, 2006, 03:46 PM
Thanks everyone for your posts. I started looking into Krav Maga classes and there are not to many in my state. The one that is strictly Krav Maga is to far away from me to attend. I did though find a class pretty close to me that works Krav Maga into a larger self defense class.

According to the instructor I talked tom, the self defense class incorporates Kenpo Karate, Thai Kickboxing and the Krav Maga. He also indicated that it has a strong lean towards self defense with physical fitness being a positive after effect of the training.

Since I'm new to this type of thing, does mixing these three different types of training into one class sound good to you or should I keep looking?

Let me know your thoughts.

January 5, 2006, 03:59 PM
My thoughts ......

1. Do NOT study Tae Kwon Do, aka Take My Dough.
2. Do not sign a contract. Signing a release form is acceptable.
3. Observe a few classes. If the instructor will not allow it, find another school.
4. Observe the instructor very closely. Do you think you could study with him/her?
5. Get your doctor's opinion. Do you have any old injuries, illnesses, bad heart, high blood pressure, etc., that could prevent you from working out? Be honest with yourself.
6. There is no BEST style.

Good luck!

January 5, 2006, 04:08 PM
Mixing martial arts in a self defense program allows the different arts to support each other and make a more complete self defense program.

January 5, 2006, 04:13 PM
My experience leads me to believe Aikido is the best "real" art available. I have been hearing great things about Krav Maga though and need to look into it.

Bottom line about Aikido... it is pure physics -- it works and it doesn't matter what the size or fitness level of the person using it is.

January 5, 2006, 06:31 PM
OK either Google sucks at finding things or I do.

Can someone please point me to a good Krav Maga instructor in the Houston area (prefereably in the north west side) that teaches the real thing? If the "real thing" is farther away I'd be willing to drive farther.

January 5, 2006, 09:51 PM
Systema. Do it, youll love it. Handgun and knife disarming, hand to hand along with ground fighting.

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