Self Defence Psychology
We never know when we may need to defend ourselves against physical assault. Should the occasion ever arise, and hopefully it won’t, it is far better to know what to do in order to protect yourself than to not. But, what else can self-defense classes provide?
The answer to this question is: a surprisingly large amount, some of which may not immediately spring to mind when self-defense is mentioned.
Perhaps the most important quality it will bring to your life is confidence. A lot of people may feel uneasy about leaving their homes, especially if they are influenced by what they see or read in the news or if they live in an area which has a bad reputation.
Taking self-defence classes help to boost confidence and determination in people, as well as teaching them essential skills to protect themselves. As well as confidence, self-defence can aid people in building up their self-discipline. Commitment to the practice, whether it be karate or judo or any other martial art, is essential. Learning these skills doesn’t happen overnight.
Nor will they be able to maintain their newly-learned skills if they don’t practice regularly. Another potential benefit of self-defence is an increased level of awareness, particularly of personal surroundings. They may help you to pinpoint areas of danger and identify places where potential attackers may be lurking. A lasting personal benefit of self-defence is self-respect.
Most martial arts revolve around trust and respect, both towards others and to the self. Practicing self-defence moves with a partner requires a significant level of trust if injury is to be avoided. Self-respect is vital if we expect others to respect us.
Self-defence also helps with goal-setting. Maybe there is a specific move that needs to be mastered or a particular level of confidence which must be attained. This is a skill that can also be applied elsewhere in life and is important in developing planning and timing skills.
It could assist in developing a sense of motivation that has previously been dormant or non-existent and will prove to be useful in any challenging situation that presents itself in the future. Finally, self-defence can produce a feeling of self-worth within the self and a more positive outlook on life.
Among the most popular forms of self-defence that is widely available is karate. This martial art is over one thousand years old and is generally believed to have originated in the Ryukyu Kingdom, now a part of present-day Japan. The word “karate” means “empty hand” and emphasises the practitioner’s (known as a karateka) ability to defend themselves without the need for weapons.
The physical aspects of karate focus on defensive and counteroffensive movements. Gichin Funakoshi, who brought karate to mainland Japan in 1922, explicitly stated that “you never attack first in karate”. Today there are four principal styles of karate in Japan: Shotokan, Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu and Wado-ryu.
Judo is another widely-practiced martial art. It originated in Japan as a derivative of the martial arts practiced, honed and perfected by samurai and feudal warriors over centuries. It consists of techniques that require an opponent to be lifted and thrown onto their back.
Once they are prone, the opponent is pinned to the ground and controlled. Various chokeholds and joint locks may be applied during this process. Although it sounds violent, modern judo has been developed to ensure that the various techniques can be applied without inflicting physical pain. There is no kicking, punching or striking involved in judo. It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that the word “judo” literally means “gentle way” – which may seem strange when witnessing it in practice!
Jujitsu is among the most effective martial arts owing to its use of the attacker’s aggression and momentum against them. Developed in Japan as one of the essential fighting techniques of the samurai. Jujitsu translates into English as the “art of softness” and the majority of its moves consist of throws and joint locks. When used in combination and if used correctly, Jujitsu is an effective and deadly way of defending oneself.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art which originally consisted of nine separate kwans or schools. Each one boasted their own unique style and in 1955 the nine kwans united into one, thereby producing modern Taekwondo.
All practitioners are required to uphold the five Taekwondo tenets, namely courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and an indomitable spirit. Taekwondo teaches its students how to gain the upper hand over an aggressor in as few moves as possible and consists primarily of head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks and rapid kicking techniques.
Aikido is a derivative of Jujitsu in that it employs joint locks and throws with body movements. Aikido also emphasises the redirection and manipulation of the attacker’s energy. Aikido differs from its fellow martial arts in that its practitioners actively consider the safety and well-being of their opponents as much as their own and is generally viewed as a more peaceful martial art.
The goal of Aikido is not to defeat but to peacefully resolve a situation. Aikido’s founder, Morihei Uueshiba, was quoted as saying: “To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace.” The name Aikido is translated into English as “the way of the harmony of the spirit.”
These are by no means the only forms of martial arts in existence today.
Whichever art may be chosen, each one can instil in its practitioner a strong sense of self-worth, respect, awareness, trust in others and themselves, an increased sense in co-ordination and perhaps most importantly, each has the potential to bring about a drastically improved quality of life.
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