Choosing a personal self defense class for women

Posted by Anoop Madhavan of Survival Instincts
on MAR 15, 2013


Much like a stream of study or a choice of professional school, picking a martial art and a school, that fits your self defense objectives, is also an important decision - to be carried out pragmatically.

Here is a comparison of the various steps involved to reach the 'Black Belt' level of the most common martial arts. A Black Belt indicates a high level of proficiency within the Martial Art and a demonstrated ability to employ the art for combat, competition, or self defense, as the case may be.

Judo originally introduced the concept of belts as a grade / level for the skill sets students achieve. Each belt indicates a 'Kyu'. Shown in the picture is the Kano's Original Kyu-Dan grading system that consists of 4 kyus before a student achieves a black belt.

Some Kung Fu schools also follow the belt system. Shown below are the 'Ji' belts that indicate the grade of a student. Central Shaolin Martial Arts schools use a 6-ji grading system before a student is awarded a black belt.

Muay Thai schools generally do not follow a belt system. However, some schools award singlets to indicate achievements by students.

The Bob Jones Martial Arts schools awards 7 colored singlets to their students before they are considered of the 'black belts' stature. Schools that teach Shotokan Karate, adapted the Judo belt system with some modifications. They have 10 belts before a student is awarded a black belt.

Taekwondo schools adapted the belt system to indicate Kups (levels) of students. The International Taekwondo Federation awards 11 kups to their students before they complete the black belt. Many organizations that teach Kravmaga in and outside of Israel use a grading system based on a series of patches. 16 grades are to be completed before a student is deemed to have a black belt.

What is important here is to note that the total number of grades that students pass through is NOT indicative of the total time taken to achieve a Black Belt. In other words, although in the picture, Muay Thai has 7 grades and Judo has only 4, the total time taken by the student to achieve a Black Belt in either of these arts will vary from school to school and student to student.

There is no single martial art that is suitable for all of us or for all purposes. A martial art that fits you may not fit your spouse or your child well. Many who start out martial arts often choose the wrong one and end up discontinuing it in the middle.

So while choosing a martial art, it is imperative that you attend a trial class. All good schools will provide you trial classes ABSOLUTELY FREE. Trials will help you choose one that will suit your needs, fit your body and mind, and achieve the self defense, fitness or competitive goals you seek.

It is also important that you be vary of long-term fee requests, for weeks, months and quarters together in lumpsum. Most martial arts teachers are ethical practitioners of their art - but there are black sheep everywhere, including in the field of martial arts.

We at Survival Instincts work closely with several exceptional martial arts schools and masters across the country. If in doubt, please contact us and we will be glad to give you a list of schools you can check out in your city.

A common question inquired post our women's safety sessions - both corporate and other - is "which martial art is best for me / my school going son/daughter?". While we refrain from specific advise on this topic, we would gladly recommend some excellent martial arts schools that we closely work with. You can take a trial class with them and make your own choice.

Self Defense Chennai: A common notion prevails, that self defense and martial arts class are same, it is imperative to understand the difference before joining any classes. Self defense evolved from martial arts, when martial arts are focused on the fighting techniques alone self defense focuses on applying various techniques in real life scenario to protect self. Survival Instincts conducts Chennai based non profit organization EVADE (Extreme violence & Aggression-Defense & Escape) program, which is the only program in India with simulated crime attacks that would not only prepare women to respond to dangerous situations to defend and escape but also help them identify and avoid situations which could be dangerous.

Please inbox us any such requests for recommendations.

Thank you and hope you all stay safe!

About the Author

Anoop Madhavan is the founder of Survival Instincts. He is a practitioner of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Wing Chun Kung Fu. He is familiar with many other martial arts.

Mr. Madhavan, a safety expert, has provided survival training for the Indian Army and various units of Army and Navy National Cadet Corps along with first aid & disaster response training for the Indian Red Cross.

He is certified by the American Red Cross both as a health & safety training instructor and an emergency medical responder. He also holds a Wilderness First Responder certification from the Center for Wilderness Safety and a Professional Lifeguard Certification from the American Lifeguards Association.

He is a member of the Fairfax Country Community Emergency Response Team, and the Fairfax Medical Reserve Corps. He holds memberships in various international safety organizations such as Canadian Society for Safety Engineering (Canada), Safety Institute of Australia (Australia) and Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (UK).

His expertise in personal and institutional safety stems from over 14 years of experience in the United States contracting for agencies such as the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

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