Self-defense classes are available for women in martial arts programs and fitness centers across the country. Techniques and styles of self-defense and martial arts vary. Research different martial arts styles and seek qualified instructors who can help you get started. The benefits of taking a self-defense class are well worth the investment of time and effort and could potentially save your life.
Women gain more confidence in themselves and their ability and willingness to tackle their surroundings when they learn self-defense techniques. Because self-defense training helps you prepare to face the unexpected, knowing that you could defend yourself against a threat can give you the confidence to take on new projects or explore new places. According to a study in the journal "Violence Against Women," Jocelyn Hollander writes that women overall report a greater feeling of self-worth and empowerment after taking self-defense classes.
Above all, self-defense is about personal safety. The most important benefit from any self-defense class is to increase your overall safety in any situation. Most self-defense classes will teach you the techniques to disable an attacker, helping you escape quickly. Being able to face an attacker and disable him or escape, increases your safety in many situations from traveling to going out to working late at night. Of course, a major component of staying safe involves avoiding certain situations that increase the risk of danger -- something you will also learn in a self-defense course.
Most self-defense classes not only focus on emotional preparedness for an attack, but physical preparedness. An intense warmup to get your adrenaline pumping, followed by a variety of fitness techniques will improve your overall body condition while teaching you important self-defense techniques. Because women are also traditionally stronger in their lower body than in their upper body, many self-defense classes concentrate on using the lower body to your advantage.
Going out and taking a self-defense class can get you more socially engaged in your community. Because self-defense classes attract women of all ages and from all different backgrounds, it's likely that you will not only gain respect for people from different cultures or social status, but may find yourself more likely to engage in a group beyond your normal comfort zone. Learning a new skill can bond people together and women often find that they develop friendships out of their self-defense classes.
Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.