The importance of self-defense training cannot be stressed enough. It is valuable for both men and women. Men are more likely to be victims of violent crime, but women are much more likely to be sexually assaulted or become victims of domestic violence. Additionally, women’s smaller stature makes them seem like more of an accomplishable target for predators.
In 2015, violent crime occurrences increased by 3.9 percent in the United States from the year before, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. There were more than 1,000 more murders than in 2014, and more than 90,000 reported rapes versus 84,041 in 2014, although the overall rates of cases of sexual and violent crimes against women have declined substantially since the mid-1990s.
None of these numbers or statistics matter to those who have been assaulted or murdered—these individuals aren’t a number or a statistic. They are victims who in many cases lacked the know-how and skills to adequately defend themselves.
The Second Amendment has done much to protect the vulnerable from the strong and powerful. A gun in a smaller person’s hand makes for a fairer fight against a larger, quicker predator. But what if an individual is following an asinine gun-free zone law and not armed when an attacker approaches? Or perhaps costs associated with obtaining a concealed-carry permit prevented that person from purchasing a firearm in the first place. What does one do when about to become a victim of violence?
Whether one is packing heat or not, people should take advantage of self-defense training. Sometimes guns jam, sometimes in a panic they are dropped and slide out of reach. Sometimes a knife just doesn’t do the trick. Taking classes to learn how to use one’s own body as a weapon in the event one is disarmed can prove to be extremely beneficial. Preparing yourself for multiple types of scenarios is wise, and may very well save your life.
Where to Find Free Self-Defense Classes
Many Americans are unaware that most local police departments offer free self-defense classes. So do some colleges. For example, hundreds of universities and law enforcement agencies provide Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) training at no cost.
It is a 12-hour course, three hours hands-on, and is endorsed by International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, National Academy of Defense Education, the National Self- Defense Institute, and Redman Training Gear. It provides information about self-defense and allows students to practice physical techniques with a live simulation where an instructor dresses in full gear and impersonates a predator. R.A.D. is available to both men and women in separate courses.
A ten-week self-defense course has been proven to significantly reduce the occurrence of sexual and other types of assault. This seems like a common-sense conclusion, yet the University of Oregon also actually conducted a study that reinforces the theory. It found an in-depth self-defense course reduces the likelihood of sexual assault by a large percentage.
Over a period of a year, the researchers recorded the experiences of a control group of students who had not taken defense courses versus a group of trained students. Most notably, none of the 117 students who received training were raped in that year, compared to five of the 169 students who did not complete the training. Fourteen of the trained individuals experienced unwanted sexual contact, while approximately 50 of the untrained experienced it.
There are free online self-defense education resources as well. For instance, Situation Effective Protection System is a free online course you can find here. The more you know about self-defense and how to practice good situational awareness, the better-prepared you can be for any dangerous circumstance. These classes give great tips on how to determine, predict, and try to ultimately avert risky situations. This is accomplished by examining predator behaviors and trends, as well as assessing environmental risk factors.
Also: Get a Lawyer
Self-defense courses focus on physical techniques, but also prevention and empowerment. All are important pieces of the puzzle. Without confidence, students may not use physical techniques adequately, or at all. Furthermore, an individual who sets clear boundaries is not seen as an easy target. Therefore, he or is less likely to be pursued by a predator.
Another crucial tip to those who want to protect themselves: obtain a lawyer who is willing to fight for your right to self-defense. If you are put in a position where you must exercise your right to fend for yourself, you may end up in cuffs after the fact. You will most certainly be arrested if you kill someone while trying to stay alive. This is a matter of police investigation protocol, but to be safe rather than sorry you should have a pro-self-defense attorney in your back pocket for just such an occasion.
Remember: it can happen to you. Although the likelihood of becoming a victim of assault or murder may be small, it is wise to stay vigilant, and be prepared. With education and physical training, one even has a chance of avoiding becoming a victim or target in the first place.
A simple Google search can reveal free self-defense courses in your area, if other costly programs or martial arts classes are not in your budget. You may also contact your local police or sheriff’s department with any questions or concerns. They will be happy to help. After all, if we can defend ourselves, it makes their jobs easier.