UPDATED February 10, 2022 This piece has been updated to reflect the emergence of new technology

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Christian Mathews Security Writer

Should you enroll in self-defense classes for beginners or any self-defense class for that matter?

To answer this, think about this for a moment.

Are you a senior citizen, a woman who has to work at night, or maybe have to get home late; or do you feel generally unsafe, be it at your workplace, or in the streets?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you should enroll in self-defense classes for beginners.

Why you might ask.

In most instances, this is the most targeted demographic, since perpetrators of these assaults perceive them to be weak and defenseless.

And before men in the audience start to get comfortable, here’s an alarming fact for you. According to the Canadian government, more men compared to women suffer serious violent/aggravated assault usually with a weapon as they pose more “risk to the attackers” since they’re perceived as able to fight back.

However, anyone is at risk of being assaulted. According to a press release by the Bureau of Justice, in 2019 alone, 5.4 million people in the US were violently assaulted (victims were age 12 and older).

So, even if you answered no to all the above, you should seriously consider enrolling in self-defense classes.

Or, as most people do with insurance, you could choose to ignore, and maybe pray or hope that it never happens to you. However, this is not recommended as you can never tell when you’ll find yourself in a tough spot.

Here’s what you can expect to find in this article:

  • Self-defense classes for beginners- What you should always keep in mind
  • Types of self-defense classes
  • Women’s self-defense classes for beginners
  • Online self-defense classes
  • How to choose a self-defense class

Self-Defence Classes For Beginners – What You Should Keep in Mind

First off before we get into self-defense classes for beginners, try to always remember this:

1. Self-defense isn’t always about fighting off the hostile party. As you’ll find out soon, it’s more about how you can first avoid the attack, and when push comes to … (well, if they push you i.e. appear intent on attacking you) you should be able to, using your self-defense tactics, fend off the attacker(s).

As such, only resort to fighting your attackers when all else fails. This brings us to the second point

2. As much as possible, try to avoid a hostile interaction if you can. A vital self-defense skill you’ll learn is being aware of your surroundings, with the goal being for you to easily identify, and get out of a possibly dangerous situation.

As one Jason R. Hanson puts it, get off the mark. Try to get yourself away from your attacker’s sightlines as fast as you can. So once you identify a dangerous situation, move, move, move.

3. Practice all you learn in self-defense classes. The beauty of this is that one, you’ll get accustomed to controlling your emotions while being attacked (a crucial factor that’ll determine whether or not you’ll be objective when defending yourself), and the other good thing about practicing self-defense techniques is it’ll become second nature to you. With sufficient, sustained practice, you should be able to achieve muscle memory, which simply means you’ll be able to act without having to remember a technique or even think about how to do it.

Types of Self-Defense Classes

Self-defense classes vary based on different factors, such as the delivery method, the technique used in self-defense, the skill level required/ prerequisites among others.

Based on the delivery method

Self-defense classes can be taught in person as well as remotely, via a video/e-materials, or books.

Which is the best of the two?

Well, it depends on your needs.

While in-person self-defense classes are better, in that you not only get to practice but also have the self-defense ingrained into you; there’s also the reality that in most cases you may training sites may be far from where you live, or maybe due to other commitments, you can’t make it to in-person classes. In this case, remote self-defense classes have the advantage.

However, if your situation allows it, you’re better off with in-person self-defense classes.

Skill level

Typically, self-defense classes can be of beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

For self-defense classes for beginners, this would mostly suit you if you’ve never had any prior self-defense classes, and you’re just starting.

As for the intermediate and advanced levels, these are for individuals who have had some basic self-defense training.

However, even if you’ve had some sort of self-defense training any of the various skill levels can serve as a valuable refresher, if not add to your already developed skills.

Technique used

There are many techniques used in self-defense, for instance, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Krav Maga, MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), Muay Thai, Karate, Judo, just to name a few.

Contrary to popular opinion, while there’s certainly the best technique to be used for a specific situation, no technique is better than the other.

All techniques have strong merits with regards to how they’re used in different situations.

Women’s Self-Defense Classes for Beginners

Why just women’s self-defense classes for beginners?

Self-defense classes for women are specifically tailored for women. And it’s not about being gender insensitive. Thing is, in most cases, men are “physically stronger” than women, and when in violent confrontations men easily have an upper-hand.

This is what women’s self-defense classes seek to address. Identifying strengths, and weaknesses, and showing women how to best ward off attackers (even if they’re big men, with physical advantage).

There are quite many women’s self-defense classes for beginners, both in-person training, as well as remote online self-defense classes.

Online Self-Defense Classes

If you can’t access an in-person class, or due to other commitments like maybe your job you can’t attend physical classes, online self-defense classes are your best option.

The best thing about online self-defense classes is that you get lifetime access to the training material, so you can always revisit the material.

To address the issue with practice, you can also ask a family member or a friend if they can be your sparring partner.

How to Choose a Self-Defense Class?

Now that you know about self-defense classes for beginners, how do you choose the best for you?

Here’s a quick rundown on how you can go about this.

  • Look for, or search on the internet on self-defense classes near you. As mentioned earlier, in-person classes work out best in the end, and you’ll be better off if you can find a self-defense class close to where you reside.
  • Ask for recommendations and referrals. This could be from your friends or family, or you could ask from your local police department.
  • Next, check whether the available self-defense classes suit your needs, based on gender, age, physical orientation (for those who are differently-abled).
  • Verify the trainer’s credentials. Often, trainers who have a background in law enforcement, military, or even protection details are best suited for such classes. They know what they’re teaching you, and probably have experienced and used techniques they’re teaching you, in real-life scenarios.
  • Once you’ve checked out on all these, attend some of the classes. Are you comfortable in these self-defense classes? Are you being pushed too hard? Do you think you could apply any of the techniques in real life?

In the end, just go with what you feel works for you, and your needs at the moment.


That’s it for self-defense classes for beginners.

Remember, self-defense isn’t just about fighting. It’s about doing everything you can to avoid being harmed, and the “fighting” part may, or may not be needed.