You Must Train Continually To Be Proficient…
I received a phone call from a friend a few days ago. He seemed obviously upset and nervous. He was telling me that his girlfriend had been followed to her car by a strange man while leaving a gas station one night this week. She came away from the incident unharmed, but very shaken up. He proceeded to tell me that his girlfriends’ mother had offered to pay for a self-defense course so she could learn to defend herself if necessary. So of course, he asked my advice.
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And here it is. I do not believe in one-off self-defense seminars. I would never feel comfortable giving someone a certificate with my name on it after a 3-hour course of self-defense basics. As BJJ practitioners we’re aware of the amount of time it takes to become proficient with our movements, techniques, and body mechanics to facilitate our understanding of BJJ. This simply can not be achieved in a one-day mini course. Only through consistent training can the muscle memory required to defend yourself be cultivated.
For example. I have a female student, who from day one was a natural at BJJ. She is a successful competitor, and gives everyone at the school a run for their money during live training. After spending a couple years on the mat, she expressed to me that it took her until she was a blue belt before she felt she could defend herself against a much bigger, and stronger assailant. Keep in mind this is a woman that trains 5-6 days a week. It took her the better part of a year and a half of consistent training to gain the confidence she needed to feel shed be able to handle herself if the day ever came.
How could you ever gain this kind of confidence over a 3 hour period?
Back to muscle memory. In a real-life situation when you need to defend yourself you WILL do what comes naturally to you to try and prevent an attack from being carried out. You will simply react. Your reactions will be based on what your brain is most versed in. Without consistent training in self-defense, your reaction will not reflect the knowledge of it. There will be too many factors, you will be scared, you may be surprised, you may be injured. This won’t be the time that you call up a technique you learned in a short self-defense session last year. Consistency is the only way to instill muscle memory, so that you can react with a well-groomed autopilot.
When you fly in an airplane, and the flight attendant gives you the spiel about what to do if the plane crashes into the ocean, do you feel you’ll be able to hold it together and make all the right choices as the plane goes down and then hits the water? We hope so, but its not likely. Similar feelings surface within me when I think about someone feeling that should the need to defend themselves arise, they are comforted by an expensive certificate that says they’re ready to do so.
Moreover, I find these one-off seminars to prey on the fears that almost all women experience. Women can not be escorted through life, and in talking to my wife about this situation, she’s expressed that all women experience the “what ifs” in situations where they are alone. So, when this is a known fear that women deal with, it just seems like these types of mini training sessions take advantage of these fears and provide a false sense of security to those that invest in them.
Could you learn something that might save your life in a small self-defense course? Yes, you absolutely could, but the chances are that without consistent practice and revisiting of the techniques, what you’ve learned will not be likely to aid you in the case that you need it.
The bottom line is, that if you truly want to learn self-defense, you must make it a part of your lifestyle. With consistent practice, learning, and study you will develop a skill set that will make your survival much more likely should you ever need to defend your life.
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We may go our whole lives without ever encountering a situation of this magnitude, but being prepared for it will give you the confidence and knowledge to deal with it to the best of your abilities. Everyone that we love could benefit from BJJ training, and you don’t have to train 7 days a week to begin harnessing its power, and realizing its benefits, you just have to keep showing up.
The world can be a dangerous place and it’s important to take steps to protect yourself. Check out Dean Lister’s Alpha Male Self Defense series available from BJJ Fanatics! You can get it here.