There is no substitute for live, in-person self-defense classes when it comes to learning the most effective techniques. Learn how to choose the best self-defense class with the following recommendations.

MAY 04, 2023


“Small group classes are ideal to learn from the self-defense instructor and others in attendance."

How To Choose a Self-Defense Class

Reading articles on self-defense and safety awareness is one thing. Defense Divas® educational resources are full of valuable personal defense tips in an easy to digest and easy to remember format.

But there is nothing like taking an in-person self-defense class to really apply your skills and be prepared to defend yourself. Luckily, some of the best courses are offered for a reasonable cost or even free! The following points should be considered when you are choosing the best self-defense class.

More Expensive Is Not Always Better

You may be surprised to learn that most local law enforcement agencies offer free self-defense classes several times a year to their citizens. Contact your local police department or city hall to find out when they are offering their next course.

Additionally, many police departments also offer a free firearm safety course. If you live in an area where firearms are legal, this course is a must for you. Even if you do not own a firearm and think that you never will, it’s important to be knowledgeable about how they work and safety with firearms.

If you are a current college student, check with the Campus Security Department. Most colleges offer self-defense classes at least one time each school year. Many offer it each semester. Pricing will depend on the particular school you attend, but many offer it for free.

No Substitution for Face-to-Face Training

While there are many online self-defense courses available, and we highly encourage you to learn from those as well, there really is no substitution for face-to-face training in a small group setting.

  1. The instructor is there in person to ask questions, provide feedback and offer improvements to your technique.
  2. A small group setting allows you to learn from each other’s interaction with the self-defense trainer. Questions may be asked by other students that you had not considered.
  3. You will not only learn the techniques but get the opportunity to practice them on a dummy attacker and/or the instructor. This face-to-face interaction between real bodies that resist or push back is far more beneficial than simply understanding the concept through an online tutorial.

Certifications Matter

Verify that the instructor of the self-defense class you choose has completed training and is certified in self-defense techniques and training. A certified instructor will be able to provide proof of certification and a general overview of the core curriculum they have completed.

Self-defense course instructors who are either active or retired law enforcement officers bring a special set of skills to your personal defense courses that make them excellent self-defense class teachers. They have not only been required to maintain superb skills and training as part of the job, they also have the added perspective of the criminal. The experience of being able to see things through a criminal’s eyes, allows a law enforcement officer to train you with that additional edge.

Beware of placing too much confidence in the training you receive at any self-defense product home parties. This is not to dismiss the valuable information they provide and the knowledge you will gain from attending such an event. However, the level of training that your hostess has received can vary widely based on their own level of dedication to training.

Placing too much self-confidence in your skills learned after attending such an event can put you in a misguided position. Training your self-defense techniques regularly and routinely are vital to how effective they will be in a real-life emergency.

“Your commitment to practicing will determine how effective you react in an attack.”


The 3 E's of Self-Defense

Every self-defense technique that is effective in everyday life will meet the three following requirements:

1. Easy to Learn

You are not going to become a martial arts movie action hero when a mugger grabs you. The self-defense moves you deploy should be simple and contain only one or two defensive motions.

2. Easy to Recall

The self-defense moves that you learn in a course should be easy to recall when you are under duress in an emergency with an attacker. At a time when your adrenaline is surging and your anxiety is peaking, you need to be able to react quickly and with force.

Dedicating the time to practice these self-defense techniques on a regular basis will create muscle memory. Maintaining this practice will ensure that your self-defense training is easy to recall when you need it most. Remember, your goal is to create a window of opportunity to escape.


3. Easy to Execute

The best self-defense techniques use the least amount of energy required to result in the greatest level of defense. As a general rule, this is accomplished with simple, forceful motions that are generated from large muscle groups, such as the groin kick or the elbow strike.

Easy to execute self-defense techniques are also effective to use by anyone of any age. Whether your are 18 or 78, you can perform a throat jab or foot stomp defense technique effectively.


More Than Just the Moves

De-escalation techniques and safety awareness training are both key components to self-defense training that are equally as important, if not more, than the self-defense moves themselves. These techniques may help you avoid needing to use your self-defense training. Make sure that the class you are taking also covers these modules.

While being the victim of crime is never your fault, learning how to de-escalate a confrontational encounter or avoid a high-risk situation all together is preferable to being attacked.


Pick and Practice

A typical self-defense course will teach you approximately 10-20 defensive moves that you can use to defend yourself. Pick five that cover you in a variety of grabs by an attacker and train, train, train yourself until they become second-nature. Again, you want to keep things simple and easy to recall when you are in shock.

The Takeaway

The increase in violent crime and domestic violence has made safety awareness and self-defense training more necessary than ever. While all the online education you gain will increase your knowledge set, there is no substitution for in-person self-defense training with a certified instructor.

Do your research and choose a personal defense course that teaches through active participation and includes instruction on safety awareness as part of the core curriculum. Some of the best training you can receive might be offered completely free in your community.

Defense Divas® wants you to be equipped to defend yourself not only with a self-defense weapon, but also with the practical knowledge of safety awareness and prevention.

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