What does it matter? I don’t intend to fight anyone.
You may not intend it but it may happen. You may have to fight if confronted with a dangerous situation. You may have to protect yourself or your family. You may want to step in to protect a stranger or child. Whatever the situation is, you may someday be put in a position where you have to fight to survive.
The one class you did at CKO won’t help. The time you picked up kickboxing won’t either. There are basic self defense techniques that will make a tremendous difference. But just learning them isn’t enough. You must practice them again and again to ensure you’re prepared. My journey to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu started with wanting to learn some basic self defense.
I didn’t want to be scared anymore.
As women, we steer clear of dark parking lots. We walk fast when going from the office to our car at night. We are conditioned to have fear. We are conditioned to fear being alone. What we often don’t realize is that we can condition ourselves to have a fighting chance. This kind of conditioning requires practice.
Recently I’ve seen so many videos of people not being able to protect their children. It’s terrifying. The last one I saw was of this woman who walked up to a child and smacked her. The parents looked at her in shock. The woman went back a second time and smacked the child again. The father ended up running after her and when the woman stepped forward to hit him, he cowered. Maybe he did so because she was a woman. But it is likely he did so because he had no idea what to do in that situation.
If we can’t protect ourselves, how can we teach out children to protect themselves? Children mimic our behavior. If we are scared mothers, we will raise scared daughters. That’s not my plan.
One of the reasons I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is to show my daughter how to defend herself. She watched me take class. She watches me have spars with men. She sees her mom struggle. She sees her mom succeed. She sees what I do so that she can understand how to protect herself.
Of course, seeing isn’t everything. In order to be able to have a chance, you must train. My daughter started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at 3. I’m glad she likes it but it is a requirement for her. The reason? In Jiu Jitsu, you learn how to defend yourself from the bottom. This means if she someday gets in a situation where someone is trying to assault her, she will have a chance at protecting herself.
Whether you want to learn to defend yourself, or whether you want your children to learn to defend themselves, I recommend starting in the order below. I’ve summarized how I got started below. If a 38 year old mother of two can do it, so can you.
Attend a self-defense seminar
These are often done at local martial arts schools. If you are interested in one and can’t find one nearby, I would pop in to a local school and express your interest. I attended a women’s self defense seminar at a local Jiu Jitu school. I walked away with more confidence than when I stepped in.
Self-defense is not just a set of techniques; it’s a state of mind, and it begins with the belief that you are worth defending. -Rorion Gracie
Pay for a private lesson with a martial arts instructor
I had a private lesson with the owner of a Jiu Jitsu school nearly an hour from me. He taught me basic self defense skills and was my preliminary view into Jiu Jitsu. I once again left with more confidence then when I walked in. He reinforced techniques I learned at the seminar and showed me new ones.
Train a martial art
Don’t let fear get in your way. After my private lesson, I wanted to start Jiu Jitsu. I had looked up schools nearby. I found one (coincidentally the same one I go to now) but I didn’t step foot into the school until a year later.
I was scared. It was so outside of my comfort zone that I didn’t want to attempt it. I had excuses. It took my husband starting in March of 2017 for me to start that November. Don’t be like me. Don’t be scared. Just sign up and do it. Most schools will accept you with open arms. If you can convince a friend to join with you, that’s even better.
I can’t count the shirts I see with “Mama Bear” on them. In a situation in which we have to protect our children, we think we will be overcome by a magical power that will transform us into mama bears protecting their cubs. It doesn’t happen. We don’t stand a chance until we condition ourselves.
I’ve been working on building my strength but I’m not strong. I am likely the weakest one at my Jiu Jitsu school. But the truth is, you don’t need strength. When you learn good techniques, you don’t need the strength to back it up. You just need to practice.