Is A Little Self-Defence Better Than None?

by | Apr 30, 2023

self defence

Is A Little Self-Defence Better Than None? It Depends

“Is a little self-defence better than none is a hot topic with many in the self-defence industry. This is one of those topics.  

Many claim self-defence is of little benefit unless you train it for years, while others, including myself, have said that five minutes of self-defence can be valuable and offer life-saving knowledge. 

Indeed, the more you can train in a “quality self-defence program,” the better, but even then, the question remains: is some self-defence better than no self-defence at all?

This question arose after I posted a video of a high-level MMA fighter teaching ineffective and impractical self-defence techniques. While this is my opinion, it is ultimately a matter of individual judgment. 

I am confident that the world’s most well-known, quality self-defence instructors would agree with my position if they were to view the video. 

Many believe that even if it is not the best self-defence instruction, it is still effective in building a positive attitude or a feel-good environment in the young women the instructor taught. So, in a sense, I believe they are saying that what she was teaching is better than nothing. 

I respectfully disagree with this opinion, and it is even more important that the instruction is of the highest quality when limited time is available. This applies to preventative measures, conflict resolution, and physical self-defence instruction.

In that minimal time, if one teaches impractical, ineffective self-defence techniques or moves, the students they are preparing most likely have no experience with self-defence, so they leave “trusting” what they were taught as being effective. I worry that if it is all they know, that is what they will attempt in the unfortunate event of an attack. 

One critical aspect of self-defence I think is often overlooked by many instructors is teaching what they “might” be able to pull off, not considering who they are teaching and what can realistically be expected.

I often see instructors teaching moves or techniques that require a considerable amount of strength or athleticism. Or they involve many complex techniques that would require hours and hours of training, and even then, not practical to what the student can most likely expect in a real violent encounter. 

Yes, anything can work, but we must teach what has the highest chance of being effective based on the limitations those we teach might have. How does one determine what is most effective? By keeping an open mind, studying, researching, and, most importantly, observing those we teach and seeing how effective they are. We must be bold in changing what we teach if we find something better for our clients. 

Our loyalty should not be to what we teach but to who we teach. 

I would be much happier if one were to teach these impractical self-defence moves and follow up by saying something like, “Did what I show you look cool? What I showed you is not self-defence, so let me explain and show you why!” 

In closing, is a little self-defence better than no self-defence? It depends. 

Keep SAFE!

Chris Roberts