This is Part 2 of 2, picking up from the last article posted - "You can't learn self defense in a fitness class".
Reason #3 - The objective of fitness training is to improve the condition of the mind and body through safe and effective training methods to improve flexibility, muscular conditioning, cardiovascular conditioning, etc. "Safe" is a key work. The potential for injury from movement pattern performance should be minimized or eliminated, if possible.
The objective of self defense training is to learn how to mentally, emotionally, environmentally and physically defend yourself. Physical self defense (used only as a last resort, after all other attempts to avoid physical confrontation are exhausted) training must progress to using quick, powerful, and accurate strikes, blocks and evasion movements. Avoiding injury, use of full functional joint range of motion, elevating heart rate, experiencing muscle fatigue, etc. are not self defense training goals (however, they may be experienced during self defense training).
If the claim was, "take this self defense course to learn to protect yourself and improve your level of physical fitness," I would be more agreeable with this marketing tactic. Any level of physical activity that is above and beyond what a person is accustomed to will serve to improve that person's physical conditioning, as long as it is implemented and performed according to standards that promote safe and effective training protocols. The intensity of the training must be progressive, starting out slow and easy, gradually increasing over time. First, you must learn how to properly execute each movement pattern (strike, block, evasion, loosening, escape, etc.). "Properly" is defined, for self defense training, as biomechanically able to generate the most amount of power/force, with the shortest (quickest) reaction time, as accurately as possible - for the specific individual.
You will improve your coordination through repeated performance of the movement pattern(s). As you become more proficient at movement performance, speed is gradually added to the movement execution and resistance is also gradually added against the movement pattern. Increases are made in both speed and resistance until you reach your greatest potential for both. Then, the training can begin to progress (increase) in complexity of movement pattern.
Instead of performing single technique movement patterns, the you would begin to execute combinations of technique movement patterns (i.e., starting with a 2-strike combination, then add another strike, then another strike, and so on......) - at this point, you may need to decrease intensity when first adding techniques, but as your proficiency improves, speed, power and resistance can again be gradually added to the movement execution.
Fitness training, especially anaerobic-type training, can definitely help prepare you for the physical work required for self defense actions. Yet, the best conditioned athlete in the world can be reduced to a heap of shivering flesh and bones when faced with a real threat against his or her personal safety, if he or she has never experienced the stress of a real life attack (or realistic simulated attack) and the resulting adrenaline rush. A normal fitness class or workout just does not prepare the body to respond to a real threat - and ignoring the reality of that can be very dangerous, especially in today's society!
So, I hope that you now have a clear understanding as to why a fitness class cannot truly prepare you for a personal safety threat that may require a mental, emotional or physical self defense response. And, I want to encourage you to start or continue to exercise to keep your body and mind strong. It doesn't matter how much realistic self defense training you may have - if your mind and body are not conditioned to handle the necessary actions, you will be in trouble!
Watch for the next Personal safety article coming soon! In the meantime, remember, "One Body, One Life, One Choice - Be Smart & Stay Safe!"