Short Self Defence Course or Martial Art Training

Short Self Defence Course or Martial Art Training

Short Self Defence Course or Martial Art Training

I often get asked, what is the best, a short self defence course say 6 - 10 weeks or ongoing martial art training?

The answer is no simple but I will give you some pro and cons.

Firstly let me say that many people who run self defence course often bag the martial arts and tell you how what they are going to teach is much better but then most of what they teach you are martial art techniques, go figure.

Ok so what is the best - the one you will do?

Things to consider

How much time to you have. Are you able to commit to a class once or twice a week ongoing or can you only spare a weekend or maybe one class for 6 to 10 weeks.

If you are only able to spare 1 hour a week for 6 weeks consider this.  What you learn in 6 weeks you will forget in 6 weeks. In the 6 week course you may learn some fancy or clever techniques that may help you to deal with attackers, however unless you practice a technique over and over it won't work for you simple as that.

You can't learn to play a piano or guitar to performance standard in 6 weeks from scratch, yet many people think that they can master a lifesaving skill in 6 weeks, sorry to tell you that despite the BS that an instructor happy to take you money will tell you, it won't work, when the pressure is on your 6 week course may let you down.

The BS line, you don't need to learn a martial art, the self defence course will be all you need. Before we get onto martial arts, there are different types of martial art but regardless one of the basic components of martial arts is practice, when you learn a technique like a front kick you practice until it will works for you. In a street situation the fancy moves won't help, the likelihood is that you will get 1 chance to execute 1 technique, you better hope you can do it right, with power, speed, good targeting and focus.

So what is the different between what you would learn in a 6 week self defence course as opposed to 6 weeks of martial art training. Now I can't speak for all martial arts, but what you would learn at Bukido would be basic techniques such as punches, elbows, palm strikes, groin, shin and front kicks, basic self defence techniques applying the techniques you have been shown and some basic street psychology.  You would probably have a lot more crammed into your 6 week self defence course however, the likelihood is that you wouldn't remember much of it. So the simple plan is learn the basics and do them well

Will you learn how to defend yourself with one lesson at Bukido - Yes.
Will you be a walking weapon - No - Why?

You will be able to defend yourself after one lesson as we have a very specific first lesson program that includes basic technique and awareness training combined with advice about how to avoid the conflict and how to react once it starts.

Why won't you be a walking weapon - It takes time to get good at anything and if you need to defence yourself you need to be good at it.

The main problem I see with short courses are these:

1. The course are a one stop shop, not tailored to suit individual needs. 2. You complete a 6 - 10 week course and think you can defend yourself - You may be proved wrong. 3. You get a lot of input but very little practice. 4. What you lean quickly, you forget quickly. 5. There are no quick fixes, despite the BS an instructor may sell you.

Having said that, a 6 - 10 week course if better than nothing, a one day seminar is better that nothing, but there are 168 hours in a week, if you cannot not devote 4 hours to learn to defend yourself you are not really serious about it. A great option is a weekend intensive course. Training for hour after hour over a weekend is a great way to ingrain the techniques.

Another interesting comment I hear made by the non-martial self defence instructors - "we don't wear uniforms", they usually like to disparage again by calling them PJs and "we don't wear belts", again often referred to a silly coloured belts. My answer to that is who cares what you wear in training.  The uniform or Gi and the belt is part of the tradition, at Bukido it is optional, however the belt system is useful from the point of view of instructor as a means of ensuring that students of various levels are able to fulfil the requirements of the grade level, a form of quality control. Plus a belt system gives you something to work through, to aim for the next belt, to achieve something.

So, it's a simple choice. I have run many many 1 day, weekend, 4-10 week courses at the request of various organisations, I travel all over the country delivering training, I always caution people that what you learn in a short time you forget soon  thereafter and remember, you may not get attacked today or tomorrow or many not for years later, would you get up in front of 100s of people and play a musical instrument if you had only learnt it for 6 weeks 3 years ago - the stakes are a lot higher with self defence training.

Now I am not saying that you shouldn't do a 1 day or weekend or a 4 - 10 week course, as I said it is better than nothing, but if you like it consider ongoing training that way you will have the best of both worlds, but given the choice join a martial art school that suits your needs.  If you want self defence make sure that the school specialises in street effective self defence, make sure that the instructor/s have actual street experience.

Personally I think 1 day or weekend courses are of most use when you have a solid grounding in basics and you are using it as a method of cross training to improve you skills or to learn new skills.

If you would like to try two free weeks of martial art training give us a call or check out our web site at

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Penrith Self Defence & Bukido Martial Arts

Penrith Self Defence & Bukido Martial Arts