I've already demonstrated the fact that it is definitely possible to learn to effectively defend yourself in a seminar or by watching an instructional video, assuming that the appropriate material is covered. Now I would like to discuss exactly what I mean by appropriate material.
The ten qualities that self defense training needs to be effective are:
1. A violent attitude-streetfights aren't pretty! Your instructor should know that and his most important task should be getting you to be comfortable with the idea of hurting other people.
2. Aggressive tactics-wars, chess matches and self defense situations aren't won by being passive or “defending" yourself! Your instructor should foster an attitude in you of always moving forward and injuring your attacker until he is combat-ineffective.
3. Concepts, not Techniques-how many techniques can you learn in a couple of hours and then remember in a couple of days? Get to understand an effective concept, like how to effectively headbut someone (be careful, you can hurt yourself, if you don't know how!) and a couple of other simple concepts and you'll be able to defend yourself for life!
4. Effective weapons-punch someone in the forehead and he'll laugh at you and your broken hand. A rule of thumb is that anyone who tells you to make a fist and strike with the knuckles has no idea of what combat effective techniques are.
5. Effective targets-hitting someone for the sake of hitting him never won a fight. You need to know where to hit to cause definite damage and definite injuries.
6. Effective delivery-don't believe anyone who says that you need size or strength to effectively damage an aggressor! A good trainer or video will teach you how to use very simple body mechanics to create maximum force in every strike. Couple that with the proper striking surface and the most effective target and the smallest defender can destroy even the biggest attacker with a few devastating blows.
7. Reality, not sport-based training and experience-even cage fighting has rules. Go to a wrestling instructor if you want to fight in the UFC. If you want to be able to defend yourself on the streets, go to a soldier, cop or bouncer for training.
8. Combatives, combatives and nothing but combatives-self defense laws, philosophy and stretching techniques are great things and should be learned, but not in the precious little time that you are spending to learn to fight! Especially in a seminar or video format, all that you should be learning is how to hurt an attacker or attackers without being hurt yourself.
9. Expect to be at a disadvantage-another problem with sport fighting is the fairness that is inherent in such systems. Training in a karate school will get you sucker punched because you were waiting for the referee to start the match when you got hit, but training with a bouncer will teach you when to use a pre-emptive strike to sucker punch the sucker puncher, how to deal with multiple attackers, to expect a knife to come into play and how to know when someone is armed and everything else that makes the difference between combat sports and street combat.
10. The 30-second rule-anyone who has been in or even seen a real street fight or mugging will tell you that real street violence rarely lasts longer than 15 sec and never more than 30 seconds. After that you've either won and are still alive or you're already dead! Save blocking, jabbing and taking blows for the tournament floor and concentrate on learning to “thump and dump" a would-be attacker to survive on the streets.
Christopher “Bob" Roberts is an ex-soldier who relocated to Europe and now earns his living as a tactics and close-combat instructor for military, police and private security companies.
For more information about armed and unarmed self-protection, subscribe to his free newsletters at http://www.extreme-measures-institute.com and receive access to an exclusive video interview series, where he explains the fundamentals of truly effective self defense.