I know what you’re thinking: self defense classes only teach you to shout the word “no” and kick men in the groin. Well, I’m not gonna lie, we did learn to kick men in the groin. But we did NOT stand around with our hands up repeatedly shouting the word “no.”
We got down and dirty and sweaty.
In the self defense class I took this past Saturday, I learned the foundation of how to avoid potentially bad situations (by not being a target), the basics of kickin’ butt, and got a mean upper and lower body workout.
The class was taught by Hank Hayes, founder of No Lie Blades (yes, he is as muscular and intimidating as his name sounds), and was hosted at a gym called Inlet Fitness. Just to preface, Hayes doesn’t usually teach self defense to civilians. In fact, this was his first time reworking his program for the us common folk. Hayes is used to teaching military and law enforcement personnel, and his classes cover all kinds of defense and tactical training.
In the class I attended, Hayes focused on teaching us how to lessen our chances of becoming a target, how to handle escalated situations and avoid violence or conflict, and how to defend ourselves should everything else fail (i.e. the worst case scenario).
Of all the things I learned, what I consider to be the main take away of my experience is this: learning personal protection skills is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done.
This class was filled with people of all genders––all of whom were ready to learn to defend themselves. We were divided into groups of six. Each group had their own dedicated instructor and punching pad. Everyone took turns practicing the defensive moves until we were comfortable performing them. The best part was how supportive everyone was. While we practiced, my fellow students and I roared and cheered for our peers, shouting encouraging words for those who felt shy or intimidated as well as words of admiration for those who didn’t hold back.
We learned where the most effective places are to hit an attacker, why those places are the most effective, and how to properly target and hit those key areas.
After an hour, everyone was sweating and smiling and sore from the exercise. By the time the class was over, several of us were ready to sign up for private lessons with Hayes–not just to learn personal protection, but for the incredible workout!
It was hands down one of the best workouts I’ve ever had. Not just because the skills learned are actually useful in the real world, but because during the class, I really felt connected to my peers.
The verdict: I would do it again–will do it again. I highly recommend it. It’s a practical workout that teaches real world skills and it will make you feel tough.
Have you taken a self defense class before? What was your experience like? Comment below!