“Can I learn self defense online, at home?” A question that comes up in forums all of the time and is met with pretty strong argument, mostly from those stating that it cannot be done. The most common response is that you can only learn enough to get yourself hurt. I disagree, and I believe that a person can learn self defense techniques at home, online and through books, IF DONE CORRECTLY!
Now let’s be clear about your goals here. If you are wanting to learn a whole traditional system and intend on competing in tournaments, or plan on fighting MMA in a cage someday, then no, you cannot learn adequately online and will only learn enough to get yourself hurt.
HOWEVER, if your goal is to learn basic, effective techniques to give yourself an edge and be able to handle a confrontation on the street, it most certainly can be done! People have rebuilt cars, built homes and all kinds of things from watching videos and studying books. Learning how to throw a punch is not some mystical, secret skill, and you are not stupid!
You most certainly can improve your self defense skills through video and online classes. The key is that you must go about it in the right manner. You can’t just watch a video, throw a couple punches in the mirror or follow along using your wife or little brother as the guinea pig, then never practice it again thinking you’ve learned it.
Learning self defense requires repeating and training techniques thousands (Yes THOUSANDS) of times to build muscle memory and ingrain them into your psyche. This way, when you need them most, you will react instantly without thinking about it. You must follow the instructions to the letter, practicing in a mirror to ensure you are following proper form. Basic strikes and kicks can be practiced on your own, but you should be striking a heavy bag or some kind of pad.
Once you have a solid foundation of proper falling, stance, striking and kicking, you will begin to work on defenses against different types of attacks (grabs, punches, chokes, etc.) For these you will need a training partner.
The best way to proceed after learning the basic strikes and kicks is to find a training partner. This should be a friend or family member that shares the same desire to learn and build self defense skills as you do. It should also be someone with the right attitude and that you can trust, because the possibility for injury exists. You do not want a training partner that enjoys hurting people or lacks self control!
Once you have a training partner, it opens up various other training methods, such as focus mitt training, punching, blocking and evasion drills, as well as working defenses against specific attacks. This will just add to your training and skill level. Just make sure that you are following instructions carefully and start out slowly before you steadily increase power and speed.
Remember, safety in training is always first! If we injure our training partners, we cannot train and may even affect them performing their job and taking food off of their family’s table. SAFETY FIRST!
It is possible that you cannot find a training partner. I myself am having this problem right now due to a variety of things. What if you work off hours, like a second or third shift? You don’t live near family, or none of your friends share your passion for martial arts and self defense?
So many people love martial arts on the movie screen and TV, but when it comes to actually learning they realize it is work and not as fancy and flashy as they thought. Sometimes it hurts and they experience pain, bumps and bruises, and just don’t care to do it.
This is a tough spot to be in, and I am currently evaluating ways that you can train solo if absolutely necessary and still develop some skill in defenses. Remember, we are not training to win a world championship, we are training to cause damage to an attacker with no rules. Any skill developed is better than having no skill or knowledge and just being a victim.
There are drills to train various techniques, but being that I am also training with no partner right now, I am working on the situation and will post my findings in a future article.
Just like eating, work and sleeping, training your self defense techniques needs to become part of your daily and/or weekly schedule. It can be worked into your fitness routine or even be your daily workout. The neat thing about self defense training is that you can do some type of training anytime and anywhere.
You can train your punches, kicks and defenses as a physical workout, but on the days you may not have time to work out you can train your awareness, attention to detail and self awareness while you are going about your daily tasks.
Monitor your posture, are your hands free? Are you walking with and projecting confidence? Take notice of those around you. Does anyone look out of place, irritated or suspicious? Take notice of your surroundings. Where are the exits? If a situation broke out right now, what is close by that can be used as a shield or weapon?
It may sound a bit silly, but these “games” while you are out in public will develop your awareness and attention to detail and will start programming your mind to think defensively and take a proactive approach to your safety.
So to wrap up, can you learn self defense online. Can you learn from videos and books if you are planning on competing and winning titles and trophies? Absolutely not. There is too much involved in competition and a lot of sparring is required.
Can you learn effective, basic self defense techniques specifically aimed at defending yourself on the street? Absolutely! Yes, if at all possible you should find a partner to train with so that you get used to defending yourself against an actual attacker, but the basic strikes, kicks and defenses can be learned if they are followed carefully and trained seriously. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for all of our video content!
The objective is to give you skills to change the outcome of an attack on the street in your favor so that you can escape and return home safely to your loved ones. Keeping this in mind and training with this as the objective, you CAN develop skills to make a difference! For information on how to set up your home training area inexpensively, check out my article Setting Up Your Home Gym!
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Until next time, Be Safe, Be Aware and Be Prepared!
Hello, I have been a student of the martial arts since 1985 and have studied various styles, always focusing on the self defense aspects of the arts. I have taught in the military, privately and publicly and have been a certified personal trainer. I believe that everyone should know how to defend themselves and that this can be learned from home through videos and written material. I am dedicated to you, the reader, in helping you learn self defense so that you are able to handle an attack on the street.