I know this seems a little off the cuff considering it’s such a serious topic, but I want to make it clear that there’s no time like the present.

In July – September of 2002 Martial Training Systems trainers had the honor of conducting several free women’s self defense seminars in the Boston area. The seminars were packed; many times the rooms were over capacity. You see, during that time there were two serial rapists active in the Boston area. The local media had reports on every newscast every day.

Many women in the area were justifiably frightened – which led to the popularity of our classes.

I have also known many people to take up a martial art, or start to carry pepper spray, or some other tool after being exposed to violent crime. Without being too flippant about a serious subject, the words “too late” come to mind.

When does a person need self defense skills?

Obviously, one needs them the very moment that they have to use them, usually during the commission of a crime. So, why on earth would people wait to learn these valuable skills?

Having talked with many individuals about this, I have gotten many answers to that question: • I don’t have the time • It’s too expensive • I don’t think it would work (won’t fighting back make an attacker angrier) • I have been meaning to, maybe next time.

Deep down, I believe that the thought of confronting violence is scary for most people. This is as it should be. However, many people resist learning how to deal effectively with violence because they are uncomfortable thinking about being victimized.

This is sort of like going to the dentist, you resist because you know it’s going to be uncomfortable. However, if you never see a dentist, the risk is that your teeth are going to fall out.

I pray that nobody ever has to become a victim of violence, but I know that is unrealistic. The time to prepare yourself to stay safe is before you need to. You would not put smoke detectors up in your house after it burned down right?

Here is some good news to take to heart and pass on to your loved ones. First, studies by model mugging in LA show that women who took their course were 90% less likely to be mugged in the first place. I believe you would find this to be true of many self-defense classes that teach violence prevention. When you study self defense you become less of an attractive target to predators who sense your greater awareness and the confidence in your body language.

So, you can think of self defense training as less like seeing the dentist and more like brushing your teeth. It is preventative as well as curative.

Let’s deal with the “it’s too expensive” argument. Well I know that there are classes across the country that vary in price and some are even free. Here’s a question I want you to ask yourself now – how much would it cost you to be a victim of violent crime? Think about hospital stays, lost work, stolen property. Trust me, the financial costs are nothing compared to the potential emotional and physical costs.

So, how much is it worth in your time and money to prevent this? Wouldn’t it be worth any cost?

So how about the “it won’t work” argument? Well, studies show that the earlier you resist violence the less likely you are to be injured, and if you are the less severe those injuries will be. Most criminals are not looking for a difficult target, and many flee when confronted with active resistance. No, this is not always the case.

Many people ask me, “if I fight back won’t I just make the person angrier”. Well, anything is possible of course. I think that this scenario is most likely to occur with domestic violence, and not your average street or random crime. The thing you need to understand is that self defense is not about standing there and having a boxing match with somebody – your goal is to effect an escape to safety. This means you should be learning stun and run tactics. Sometimes a person only needs a split second to get away – this is where self defense shines.

So, maybe you’re not interested in taking up a martial art to study for the rest of your life. That’s OK (although I highly recommend it). But I do recommend that every man woman and child in the United States who is capable do some kind of self defense training. The more you get the better, why not try out different classes.

It is better to have something and never need it, then to need it and not have it.

Author's Bio: 

John Moore is a self defense and fitness instructor and co-founder of Martial Training Systems LLC, providing professional training in self defense and physical conditioning. Click here now to find out how to schedule a seminar at your workplace.