Self Defense Classes Near You!

Click your state to see a complete list of Self-Defense training centers.



Over the past few decades, self-defense classes have become popular among the masses. Self-defense classes are not limited to a specific demographic. They are useful for military personnel, people in law enforcement and civilians of all ages looking to protect themselves. The techniques taught in self-defense classes can be applicable to many life-threatening scenarios.

Self-defense classes instill confidence in students and provide them with the tools they need to stay safe. Because there are many different ways to defend oneself, there are a variety of self-defense methods to choose from.

Martial Arts for Self-Defense

Krav Maga fightingThere are several forms of martial arts that teach students how to handle life or death situations in the real world. Currently, Krav Maga is a very popular system for those looking for self-defense classes. Krav Maga, originally used to train soldiers in the Israeli army, focuses on neutralizing attackers. To accomplish this, it uses strikes to vulnerable areas of an opponent. Eye gouging, foot stomps and groin kicks are all effective Krav Maga methods used to stun attackers and give the victim time to escape. Weapons training is a significant part of the curriculum, and students are taught to use any objects in their environment as a weapon. Defense techniques are focused on defending against various scenarios, such as disarming an attacker with a gun or knife. Some Krav Maga schools even prepare students to take on multiple attackers or to handle themselves in a hostage situation. The system uses techniques from a variety of other martial arts, like jiu-jitsu and wrestling, to give smaller individuals a chance against larger attackers.

Not as popular as Krav Maga but just as practical, Systema is a Russian martial art focused on self-defense. Now used by the Russian police, Systema was used centuries ago by Russian soldiers to keep invaders away. It teaches students to use the momentum of an attacker against them, which can be very useful when it comes to self-defense. Targeting pressure points, students can cause crippling pain to attackers. Knife-fighting, grappling and hand-to-hand combat are all included in the training,

Self Defense practice with friendsOften overlooked, Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) is another system ideal for those interested in self-defense. Much like Krav Maga, it was created as a combat art. Filipino soldiers developed FMA to prevent foreigners from taking over, and they became well-known for their fierce hand-to-hand combat. It has a strong focus on weapons, and students are taught how to handle weapons before they learn how to strike. Unlike many other older martial arts systems that use out-dated weapons, FMA teaches students how to defend against switchblades, chains and other weapons. Students are taught to use these objects, and any other objects in their surroundings, to protect themselves. Grappling is also part of the curriculum; students learn how to take down opponents and use joint-locking and bone-breaking techniques to disable them. Because it dates back for centuries and is really a combination of many different combat-driven martial arts, FMA has a wide variety of useful self-defense strategies.

Jiu Jitsu self defenseBrazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has developed a significant following, many of the followers using it for self-defense. One of the best things about this art is that size truly does not matter. Based on the ides that size is of no importance, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu uses leverage and technique to take on opponents. In the real world, most fights end up on the ground. With BJJ training, students are taught how to fight back from the ground. Joint locks and chokeholds are used to submit opponents. Although students tap out before damage is done in class, these techniques would break the bones of an opponent or render them unconscious. Arm bars, triangle chokes and guillotines are all highly effective and highly dangerous submissions when used properly. In classes, students train these techniques with opponents of all sizes. When the BJJ version of sparring- known as rolling occurs, students learn how it feels to be in a compromising situation. If a student ever has the need to defend himself outside of the gym, it won’t be a foreign experience.

Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA, isn’t only used for fighting in a cage. It can be a great asset for someone interested in self-defense. It is different from some of the other forms of martial arts in that it is a balance of groundwork and stand-up fighting techniques. Most MMA gyms teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and an assortment of other styles. Some just lump them all together in MMA classes. No matter the format, students learn how to use elbows, kicks, punches and knees to fight off opponents. They also learn how to take them down and use submissions to neutralize a threat. Similar to rolling in BJJ, MMA sparring allows students to feel the intensity of being in an actual fight on the street. Although there are weight classes in MMA, many gyms have students training with partners of different sizes. This is valuable training for a self-defense situation.

General Self-Defense Classes

Self Defense for middle aged womenThere are quite a few martial arts systems that offer great self-defense, and just as many places offering general self-defense classes. High schools and colleges often offer semester-long self-defense classes. Open to the public, some police departments put on self-defense seminars. There are even self-defense systems created by individuals and taught at gyms dedicated to self-defense. Although the curriculum of each self-defense school may vary greatly, there are a few basic principles of self-defense that are the same no matter where you go.

Self-defense is not about confrontation. The first thing that should be discussed at any self-defense class is avoidance. There are many ways to diffuse a conflict or completely avoid one. All measures should be taken to do so, and self-defense techniques should not be used unless there is real danger.

As the name implies, self-defense has a focus on defending. Self-defense classes should teach students defensive techniques that work in real-world scenarios. This isn’t limited to blocking punches and kicks. Students are taught how to get out of an attacker’s grasp and how to defend against weapons. There should be mock weapons in the class, which allows students to practice using weapon-disarming techniques. Knives and guns molded out of plastic give students a chance to drill techniques, and not just hear the theories of disarming an opponent.

Krav Maga self defense classesOffensively, self-defense classes teach students how to harm an opponent of any size. There are many different ways to do this, so the techniques vary greatly. Because there are no rules on the streets, students are taught to use whatever means necessary to harm an attacker. Sensitive areas should always be targeted, when possible.

Although demonstrations are extremely useful in learning self-defense techniques, there is no replacement for some type of sparring. A self-defense class should have some of the training does as if it were a sparring session, where the student does not know what to expect and must react with an appropriate counter-move. This is the only way to fully prepare for a real situation.

Self-defense does more than just teach students how to stay safe on the streets. It gives students confidence in themselves, a trait that helps them succeed in life. It’s fun, social and a way to get in good shape. As different as all the forms of self-defense are, they all accomplish the same goals.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *