I Can’t Wait To Test What I Learned!
Ever ask yourself after completing a self-defence course, “I wonder if what I learned would work?” Of course, there is nothing wrong with that question, but I become concerned when people leave a course thinking, “I can’t wait to use what I learned.”
There are many reasons to want to learn self-defence. But suppose one seeks violence prevention and self-defence training with an authentic goal to learn honest, practical, and effective self-defence. In that case, they should leave the training with the mindset, “Okay, I now have some strategies to recognize, avoid, or deal with violence, BUT I NEVER HOPE I HAVE TO USE WHAT I LEARNED PHYSICALLY!”
In my experience, if one leaves violence prevention and self-defence training with anything less than that mindset, it is often the instructor’s fault. There are many reasons one might leave the training with a desire to test what they learned. Those include:
The instructor spent too much time making their experiences with violence sound glamorous.
The instructor glossed over the most critical aspects of training, which begin with the preventative content, not the physical. Hence, the clients leave with primarily physical training and few other options. Unfortunately, many do not know what to teach or give the preventive content lip service because they do not know how to teach it or make it interesting to learn and discuss.
Physical training appeals to the client’s ego rather than giving it a healthy wake-up call. And I do not mean teaching all drills in the “balls to the walls” manner. However, one can conduct preliminary drills that take clients out of their comfort zone without destroying confidence while maintaining realism. It is a balancing act based on the individuals, not the whole class.
Is it easy to do? Never. After the physical simulations, I would often ask one common question: “Did anyone find the simulated attacks easy?” If anyone replied, “yes,” I would tell them I had not done my job and ask them to redo it again.
I did not make that request to aid my ego, but if I have a client leave with a false sense of confidence, that is more dangerous than if they left feeling dejected and less empowered.
Empowering people is not about giving false confidence to make your violence prevention and self-defence program appear and feel amazing. Instead, empowering people is about giving them the most appropriate and responsible training with the goal that you never want them to have to use anything physically learned.