Top Reasons NOT To Take Self-defense

 By: Pam Adamchik
Having recently become certified to teach Women's Self-Defense, I want to offer the class to as many women as possible. When I tell people what we cover in the course and how it can help them, I am often met with one of the following responses. I would like to address them here:

"I just don't have time." This is one of the most common excuses I hear for not taking a self-defense class. I understand how busy everyone is these days. We multi-task and take shortcuts, and still don't get everything done that we need to. And then there are the kids' activities on top of it all!

It would be great if we could tell an attacker, "I'm sorry; I just don't have time for this right now," and walk away. Sadly, he doesn't care what your schedule is like. He's going to interrupt it....

Somewhere, there is a self-defense class just right for you. If you can scrape together one hour a week, a local college may teach the course, or a martial arts school may offer a class that's right for you. (Note: Be sure the martial arts school teaches a bona fide Women's Self-Defense system, rather than a martial art. There are crucial differences; see Women's Self-Defense vs. Martial Arts.) If you don't want to devote weeks or months to the process, look for a place that teaches in a workshop-format, such as a Saturday/Sunday, multi-hour, intensive program. Or check your local community center, Parks and Rec Department, or Y. They may offer something in-between, like a class that meets for a 2-hour session once a week for a month. We're talking about learning how to save your life. It's worth your time.

Other excuses I hear often are "I hurt my knee/back/shoulder" and "I'm not strong enough." Implied in these statements are 2 ideas: 1) that you must be in top physical condition to successfully learn to defend yourself, and 2) that a mugger, rapist, or murderer will leave you alone if you have a limp, an arm in a sling, or some other visible weakness. Both are wrong.

I can't speak for all self-defense systems, but I know that the course I teach is designed to be used successfully by the average woman in a life-threatening situation. Average people have injuries, weak points, vulnerable areas, etc. Here's something you might not have considered: so do criminals. Unfortunately, they don't let their physical issues stop them. You can't let yours stop you, either. You don't need previous experience as an athlete or martial artist. A well-timed, well-placed defensive move does your work for you without you needing to "muscle it out." RAD Systems is designed to work for women young, old, and in-between, no matter their level of fitness. The purpose of a good self-defense class is to show you how to save your life in an attack-not to make you feel like you've been through one.

"I'm too old." Too old to what? To do something good for yourself? To learn some simple but important skills? I believe you're never too old to help yourself. And if you think you're too old to show up on an attacker's radar, think again. A quick search of online news articles turns up page after page of reports of women in their 80s and 90s who were raped, beaten, and killed in random acts of violence. Thankfully, I have also found several stories of women in the same age group, who fought back against their attackers and prevailed. Which group would you be in?

"I don't go to areas where that sort of thing happens," and "I stay out of bad neighborhoods." Rapists, muggers, and those who commit domestic violence disregard personal boundaries as a matter of course. 'Think they're concerned about staying within particular geographic boundaries? Crimes against women happen 24 hours a day, every day, everywhere. In major cities, the suburbs, and in the country... in "bad" neighborhoods and "good" ones. A high percentage of violence against women is perpetrated by a husband or boyfriend. So, it can be fairly easy to trick yourself into thinking that, because you don't see any unknown men lurking in your neighborhood, you're safe. The fact is that we never know for sure when or if someone might target us for an attack. I believe that we're safest when we're prepared-just in case.

"It would make me uncomfortable." In my class, as in others, we talk about real-life scenarios. To do otherwise would be a detriment to the women I serve. We practice how to break a choke hold, which involves a partner putting her hands around the woman's neck. We learn how to block a punch to the face and disable our attacker so we can escape. And we do rape reversals, in which a participant finds out that she really isn't helpless when she's lying down, but can inflict enough damage on a rapist to save herself-and her children, if necessary.

If you're feeling uncomfortable, it's not because of the idea of taking a self-defense class. It's because you understand that there are dangers out in the world that you're not prepared to handle. RAD classes empower, build confidence, and reduce fear. You get the camaraderie of other women and the excitement of learning new skills. Give it a try, and see how much better you feel.

"I can't afford it." Ah, this is a biggie, right up there with "I don't have time." And it is a valid reason for not signing up for a class-except for one thing. Many courses are free. Others are offered for a nominal fee. RAD Systems has the added bonus of being the only self-defense course with a Free Lifetime Return Policy. That means that, once you complete the course, you can take it again and again, as often as you like, anywhere in the world RAD is offered, for absolutely no charge.

I look at it this way: if a rapist grabs you and you don't know what to do... how much would you be willing to pay at that moment for him to let go of you and walk away? A class will be much less costly. In so many ways.
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