Our guide to self defence

Our guide to self defence

First published date April 25 2014 Amended date May 27 2014

Though you may feel like it is something that you will never have to use in the real world, a course in self defence can only serve to help men, women and children across the country. Teaching involves covering  a mix of the physical side of things like martial arts and non physical approaches too such as body language and confidence, all designed to help you best protect yourself should you encounter an attacker of any kind.


The right to defend

UK law determines that self defence is the use of reasonable force against an unjust threat. Section 3(1) of The 1967 Criminal Law Act states that, ‘A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances in the prevention of crime, or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of offenders or suspected offenders or of persons unlawfully at large.’ 


Why should I learn self defence?

As safe as we may feel going about our everyday lives, you never what’s around the corner and you should be best prepared for any kind of situation you may be forced to deal with.  As the saying goes, you can never know too much, and that applies to learning self defence profoundly. Even if you never come to use it, it is such an important and useful skill to possess to help you feel safe and secure.


Am I ready for this kind of course?

You don’t have to be a black belt in karate to take part in a self defence course as they are readily available to all people regardless of age, gender or size. Courses aren’t there to train you to be a strong fighter, on the contrary they’re there to teach you be a smart person in times of potential conflict. So you don’t need to worry about your lack of experience when it comes to physical confrontation as self defence courses are there to teach you it all from right from scratch. 


What will I learn?

Self defence courses come in many different forms and varieties ranging from Krav Maga to jujitsu to others which are specifically designed for women or children. The variety of courses on offer means that one course is likely to be very different to another so choose carefully when selecting to find the best one suited to you.

Most courses will take will teach about street awareness and self defence know how as well as the actual physical training to get your body strong. Being strong minded is equally if not more important than being tough in a physical sense, and much of self defence relies on you being good with the former. Learning how to avoid a conflict is the best kind of defence you can learn.

Another important issue you are likely to be taught when enrolled on a self defence course will be the legal complications that are involved in defending yourself. You will be shown the physical limits which you can go to when acting in self defence, if you take a too strong or aggressive of an approach, you may find yourself in trouble with the law. It’s all well and good avoiding an attacker but avoiding a jail term is important too, so you should know your limits.

Physically speaking, courses will safely take you through the best techniques to use when defending yourself. The techniques that will be taught are likely to vary depending on which kind of course you decide to go on; for example, a Krav Maga course will be quite different to a general self defence one since this is a certain style that was developed by the Israeli military focused on quite brutal methods of defending yourself, and a general class will probably touch upon different styles and methods all in one session.  


Some types of self defence courses

General self defence – These will cover all the basics of self defence for both physical and verbal approaches. You will learn how to block, strike, take down and disarm an attacker as well as learn ways of alerting others for help.

Krav Maga – This is a form of self defence developed by the Israeli military and translates as ‘contact combat’ in Hebrew. Krav Maga incorporates many different martial elements with a focus on counter attacking and neutralising threats rather than making the first move. It trains you to avoid conflict.

Jujitsu – This Japanese form of combat focuses on throwing and pinning and other immobilising techniques to subdue threats so is slightly more aggressive than Krav Maga for example. It’s also very handy as it trains you to deal with aggressors who are either stronger than you or who may be armed.