Frequent Questions

Starting out with good instructors, or the right school is vital. It will provide your first view of the world of self-defense and set the foundation for your future training. If you don't start with a strong foundation, you have nothing solid to build on to. Here are a few questions to help you choose the right training for you. Give us a call to help you find the right training options.

What is Self-Defense?

Self-defense covers the concept, or topics of awareness, assertiveness, verbal confrontation skills, safety strategies, and physical techniques that enable someone to successfully prevent, escape, resist and survive violent assaults. A good self-defense course provides psychological awareness and verbal skills, not just physical training.

Does self-defense work?

YES! Self-defense training increases your options and helps you prepare responses to avoid, slow down, de-escalate, or interrupt an attack, and also empowers one to prevent violence. It is important that the strategies and skills deal with the potential violence from acquaintances and intimates, not only strangers. Women usually know their attackers; therefore it is essential that a person is training in how to deal with the violence that can come from someone you know.

Is self-defense training a guarantee that you will be safe?

NO. There are no guarantees when it comes to self-protection. Be aware of advertising hype, or exaggerated claims of success from marketers of guns, alarms, devices, and self-defense training programs. Be a smart consumer and find a self-defense training program that increases your choices/options and preparedness and is committed to helping you develop a wide range of strategies.

Must I train for years to learn to defend myself?

NO! A basic course can offer enough concepts and skills to help you develop self-protection strategies that you can continue to build upon. Self-defense training is not karate, or martial arts; although some of the techniques are derived form them. The skills and techniques do not require years to perfect. Certainly, practice is important and investing the time to review and perfect your skills can build confidence and increase your abilities. The key is to make a commitment to participate in your own safety and to do what is necessary to reduce risk and become empowered to act, rather than to be acted upon.

What is the difference between martial arts and self-defense?

Traditional martial arts is an art and sport that may have been effective in fighting centuries ago, but ill-suited to modern realities. Martial arts emphasizes forms or kata (the memorization and performance of a specific sequence of techniques) and perfect execution of techniques. Self-defense emphasizes awareness, de-escalation oral techniques, and if necessary, any physical means to stop the attacker and escape.

Do I have to practice a lot to be effective?

Not necessarily. Just enough for the techniques to become automatic in response to an attack. Make the training realistic and make it count. After you can easily perform the techniques without thinking too much, then spend some time every couple weeks to maintain your skills.

What about carrying a weapon like a gun, knife, or mace?

Any weapon, or device is useless to you unless you understand how to use it, and you have it in your hand ready to use at the time of the attempted assault. There is nothing "guaranteed" about any of these devices. None are foolproof. None of them can be counted on to work against all possible attackers (no matter what the labeling may state to the contrary). Realize that anything you can use against an attacker can also be taken away and used against you. While some of these devices have sometimes helped women escape to safety, it is important to be aware of their limitations and liabilities. You must be trained to use them and store them safely when not in use. For most people, weapons are not necessarily recommended due to the risks and training involved.

If I use physical self-defense could I get hurt worse?

The question to answer first is what does "hurt worse" mean? Rape survivors speak eloquently about emotional hurts lasting long after physical hurts heal. Studies show a physical self-defense response does not increase the level of physical injury, and sometimes decreases the likelihood. Also, going along with the attacker does not guarantee that you will not be brutally injured anyway. The point of using self-defense is to de-escalate a situation and get away as soon as possible. Knowing some physical techniques increases the range of possible self-defense options, but the decision to choose a physical option must remain with the person in the situation.

What should I consider before enrolling in self-defense training?

Different methods of self-defense require different types and degrees of mental preparation and/or training. If you want to improve your knowledge of self-defense and your preparedness to defend yourself, you may want to enroll in a self-defense training program. Here are some questions to ask when considering a self-defense training program:
- Have the techniques used in the class been adapted for street defense?
- Has the program been developed with attention to the training safety needs of the students?
- Are the physical demands of the class within your capabilities?
- Is the training likely to advance your self-defense abilities in the time that you can devote to it?
- Do you have the time to practice what you learn in the class?
- When learning the techniques, are you willing to use them in a real-life attack situation?

Should I resist physically and fight back?

YES. Physical resistance and fighting back is often your best choice in defending yourself against an attack. If yelling doesn't induce your attacker to back off, and you don't see a way to escape, you may choose to defend yourself physically. Research has shown that women who physically resisted and defended themselves did not increase their danger, but reduced the odds of completed rape and physical injury. The subjects of this research included many who fought back without any specialized training.

How common is rape?

It is a lot more common than most people realize. You probably know several women who have been raped, though they may not have told you. One in three women will be attacked with the intent of sexual assault in her lifetime.

What is the average age of a victim of sexual assault?

Eighty percent of victims of sexual assault are under 30 years of age:
- 15% are under 12 years of age
- 29% are between 12 and 17 years of age
- 36% are between 18 and 30 years of age

What sort of behavior may precede an attack?

Street rapists are looking for an "easy" victim ... someone they can sneak up on who is not paying attention or who doesn't look like they would put up much of a fight. Try not to look like an "easy" victim. Be aware of your surroundings and look like you know what you are doing and where you are going. Don't walk around with headphones on or when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

How much should I pay?

Paying a lot of money for a course does not mean that you automatically get better instruction. Going for the cheapest course may not be worth your time. Don't assume that all programs are the same. Invest your time and money wisely and become an educated consumer.

How can I tell a "good" course from a "bad" one?

A good course covers critical thinking about defense strategies, assertiveness, powerful communication skills, and easy-to-remember physical techniques. The instructor respects and responds to your fears and concerns. Instruction is based on the belief that we can act competently, decisively, and take action for our own protection. Essentially, a good course is based on intelligence and not muscle. It offers tools for enabling a person to connect with her own strength and power. These courses are out there. Good luck in your research. Taking a self-defense class is one of the most positive things a you can do for yourself!

Who's better, a male or female Instructor?

There is an advantage to having a female instructor in that it can provide an easier atmosphere in which to discuss sensitive issues. On the other hand, some women feel having male partners to practice with can add to their experience. The quality of a class depends on the knowledge, attitude and philosophy of the instructor, not necessarily on gender. The most important aspect is that the instructor, male or female, conducts the training for the students geared to their individual strengths and abilities. Feeling safe and building trust are key elements to a successful class.

What does "realistic" mean?

Words like "most realistic", "best", "guaranteed success", etc., are all advertising gimmicks. Choosing a self-defense class is a serious decision and is preferably based on some research. No program or instructor can replicate a "real" assault since there are so many different scenarios, and because a real attack would require a no-holds barred fight which would be irresponsible and extremely dangerous to enact. Responsible self-defense training requires control. It is important that each student is able to control her own participation in the class and never feel forced to participate.

Data from the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the NCASA Self-Defense AD-HOC Committee

Serving the Arizona communities of the East Valley; Gilbert, Chandler, Power Ranch, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Mesa, Queen Creek, Phoenix and Scottsdale.