Self Defense Classes; Buyer Beware!

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: Self-defense
9 Feb 2011

15 Responses to “Self Defense Classes; Buyer Beware!”

  1. Matt Klein Says:

    Wow, you are now a human fighting machine–you can do all the moves in slow motion, against a non-resisting crim who is just going to stand there and let you hit him. And without the need for actual sparring so there is no chance for, God forbid, a black eye or bloody nose.

    It is clear to me this appeals to the “instant gratification” society of today. Make me invincible in a weekend without the need to even sweat, breathe hard, or yuck, bleed. Sorry, but you cannot learn to fight in a weekend. You might as well have written the check to a charity for $1900–it would have at least gone for a good cause. Hope their students do not find themselves in a position where they actually have to defend themselves. I will admit, it does give them bragging rights; they are now “street fighters,” that can whup any black belt, lol. John, be careful with that cup, they sometimes break!
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  2. TheMartialArtsReporter Says:

    Another good one to think and talk about!
    I agree with Sensei Matt that in general one cannot learn to fight in just a weekend.
    I also believe with the appropriate training/instructors and with a martial arts background you could probably greatly enhance your fighting skills fairly quickly. The time period depends on a lot of factors.
    Somehow I have my doubts about total novices becoming totally adept within just a weekend. Maybe I’m just missing something here. I dunno.
    Thanks for the post, John.
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  3. Dr. J Says:

    Gee I wish Mr. Larkin would open a medical school so I could drop a large chunk of money and leave with an MD degree after a long weekend!

    I was talking with a doctor buddy just recently about patient care. He said we should strive to under promise and over deliver. Not the motto of this martial art!

    I wish newscasters could see what they have degenerated into. I really used to respect the profession, but no longer.

    Honestly, I hope these students leave with a confident air and NEVER have to be faced with an attacker for the rest of their lives.

  4. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Matt! I was trying to envision what those students would do if they got hit? As you know I am all for most ways of teaching marital arts and even short term self-defense classes but the slow motion and high cost seemed over the top. Thanks for your wisdom!

    Hi Tiger,

    You are supposed to suspend disbelief! Wait – this is not a movie. Ok you got me. :)

    I do applaud the students desire to learn self defense – I don’t think you are missing anything Tiger.

    Hey Dr. J!

    I’ve seen those “colleges” on the internet! I am with you on newscasters. There does not seem to be a benchmark anymore but they have sunk to the level of social media reporting. Wait is that me too? :)

    I’m with you. I hope the students will not have to use this but if they do – I hope they will get the first shot… that would be their best chance after this course.

  5. Ryan Says:

    Wow! 1900 dollars!

    I’m sure this is a great course, but way too much money for me.

  6. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Yes Ryan, one of the times that “you get what you pay for” is not true. Thanks for commenting.

  7. James BUlls Says:

    What’s most disturbing to me about this guy’s presentation is that he appears to be teaching only the most dangerous techniques and protecting himself under the thin shield of, “It had better be worth it if you use these techniques.” Giving his students only the most dangerous weapons puts them in serious danger of litigation – self defense can be both perfect and imperfect. Perfect self defense is only the amount of force necessary to deter or stop the attacker and matches the attacker’s level of force. Imperfect self defense is greater than the attacker’s level of force. For example, if one of these students maims, blinds, or kills an attacker, the prosecutor would have a field day making the case that the student’s training would have enabled him or her to de-escalate the situation or to choose a less-lethal technique. Martial artists are at a disadvantage in the courts when they use too much force – all instructors should be familiar with the terms mayhem, manslaughter, provocation, and imperfect self-defense.
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  8. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi James,

    Thanks for your excellent points. Let me try an address a bit. First off I do not want to seemingly be in the position to be an advocate for using deadly force unless there is no other way of dealing with it. You are very correct there may be a disconnect between what a student is taught and what (depending on the circumstances) a student can legally use.

    A self defender (SD) should not start a fight.
    A SD should try to deescalate where practicable.
    A SD should run (if they have a reasonable chance to escape).
    A SD should NOT let an assailant get close to them!
    If a SD cannot get away/deescalate/or otherwise avoid a confrontation AND the SD’s life is at risk (reasonable man standard in CA) – the SD should defend with ALL force needed and NOT a second more.

    Please note that often times when weapons/gang attacks/overwhelming attacks – pulling all of the stops WILL be required to get away with you life and ANY defensive/offensive/preemptive attack MAY be justified.

    However all of this must be tempered with existing laws but if one has NO other choice – pulling out ALL of the stops might be the only way to survive.

    Having said this – I do agree with ALL of your statements and students should be aware that the method they learned (such as an eye gouge) would lead to serious prison time unless legally justified (and legal may be a grey area – open to judge and jury).

    Thanks for opening up the scope a bit James!

  9. Cynthia Says:

    I love to learn self defense.. But the class is very expansive.. But it is worth a penny.. And I think I am too old for this..
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  10. Lauralyn Says:

    I also believe with the appropriate training/instructors and with a martial arts background you could probably greatly enhance your fighting skills fairly quickly. The time period depends on a lot of factors.
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  11. jellyace5 Says:

    Martial artists are at a disadvantage in the courts when they use too much force – all instructors should be familiar with the terms mayhem, manslaughter, provocation, and imperfect self-defense.
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  12. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi Cynthia,

    Never too old to learn a few new tricks. “Reasonable” self defense classes can help one learn how to do enough to get away.

    Hi Lauralyn,

    Totally agree… self defense is fairly quick – learning the art of fighting will take a few years but not required to learn how to get away in most situations.

    Hi Jellyace5,

    Agreed. Assuming one is responding reasonably to the situation – one still has to later justify ones actions. Thanks for pointing this out!

  13. domingirl Says:

    How I wish I can still continue with my karate class. After I was thrown down by a classmate during a class makes me all nervous to go back! Truly, girls need this for those male chauvinist in the office or for those weirdos on the street.
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  14. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi domingirl,

    Understandable if you had that experience. Karate schools are like any other school/store/club… you’ll find some that you can excel at and others that are mediocre.

    Just so you know sometimes the students are the problem. When I was a blue belt I was just learning how to spar. The guy I was fighting did not do just the point and stop… no he ran me over like a freight train…

    One of the black belts watching later took me under his wing and told me that that guy did not care if I got a point… he was going to run me over because he was bigger and stronger than me. The black belt showed me how to strike an move out of the way laterally and use movement.

    The next time I still got run over but not as much.

    The real funny thing is I ended up teaching the guy that ran me over about three years later… he was a green belt and I was a 2nd degree black belt. He wanted to spar with me… thinking he was just gong to run me over again. :)

    Well let me tell you I took it easy on him for a bit until he did not stop trying to run me over… then I finally just dropped him with a body shot. You see I had learned how to fight and he for whatever reason had not really progressed.

    So I don’t know if your school is worth a salt or not but I hope you find a school you do like if you have the desire.

    Best of luck!

  15. chikina Says:

    Great idea and very nice and helpful tips. Thank you for sharing.
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