I have had numerous conversations in the last two weeks with parents interested in signing their children up for self defense classes over the summer before they head off to college. I think this is phenomenal. I personally feel it should be something A LOT more people should be considering not just before heading to college but much younger.
That said… that’s neither here nor there. It’s a complete different article.
So, during two specific conversations I began to outline how the gym works. Monthly tuition, classes run several times during the day, six days a week. We suggest 2-3 times per week as a baseline to begin to understand the principles in such a short timeline (i.e. three months in summer). They will start with our Start Up package which includes three personal training sessions with our head instructors to make sure we get a good baseline on context, physical ability, emotional state, as well as create a base foundation of movement and understanding so the students feel more comfortable when they enter a group setting.
At this point, normally the conversation shifts towards cost. However, that didn’t happen.
“We already belong to a gym so I am interested just in some self defense classes, not a monthly membership…”
Now admittedly, I am not surprised. No one truly understands what good self defense training looks like. We’re used to karate, and community safety lectures, and one time cheesy seminars.
This is no different then people that reach out for Active Shooter training but are under the assumption that means someone comes in and talks to them for 30 minutes. They don’t realize it involves a series of physical skills, stacked on top of an emotional hurricane, mixed in with an endless variety of variables.
There is a disconnect. One fueled by decades of misinformation, bad movies, and BS stereotypes.
I get it, but I don’t have to accept it.
It would be really easy to feed them a lie and charge them a bunch of money for a one time class.
But damn me and my moral compass hahaha.
So I try to educate. Here is one of my e-mail responses.
May I ask what the overall goal is for your son?
Are you simply looking to introduce him to the basic concepts of self defense?
Is there a specific situation he’s dealing with that needs addressed?
Are you looking for him to have the physical ability to defend himself if needed?
The goals and context will help me better answer your question and guide you.
The start up sessions are a great way to be introduced to some basic concepts. We can even gear them towards a specific situation. However, much like losing weight, gaining strength, improving at sport, or other physical ventures, legitimate progress cannot be made in three one hour sessions.
We’re happy to do the Start Up sessions and help anyway you’ll allow. That said, anyone interested in truly learning to defend themselves should look to commit at least two hours per week for 6-8 months to begin to gain competency. And that’s not a sales pitch, he’s welcome to train anywhere. There are several great facilities in Columbus.
I just want to make sure I’m very honest with you.
I get it.
I wish this stuff was easier too, but it’s not. You cannot guarantee safety with any amount of training, but you certainly can’t expect your 18 year old son or daughter to gain a level of competency in an area that is both physically and emotionally complex in one session… or even three.
Do I believe you can learn a lot at seminars? Certainly. We wouldn’t host them if we didn’t believe that, but if you are truly concerned with the safety of your children, don’t you think you would want to supply them with the best possible chance? The best possible training? Wouldn’t you want them to begin to at least semi understand it?
Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, I have not heard back from that individual. The other individual simply thanked me for my time and said they’d look for one of our free seminars.
If you don’t think the ability to defend yourself is a primary concern, that’s ok. Honestly. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and it’s best that we respect them. However, be honest about things in your conversations.
If you want your child to be safe, this is the best way to do it. If you aren’t interested in that, I respect that decision, at least admit that you don’t truly want your child to be as safe as possible. Because if you did, you wouldn’t be looking for the easy way or the sale price. You definitely wouldn’t simply dismiss the advice without further inquiry.
Nothing worthwhile comes easy, fast, or free.
Be good, train hard, stay safe