How To Keep Self-Defence Students Happy


99% of Self Defence students and trainers are obsessed.

I am not talking about them having a slight passion; this goes far deeper. These people are ‘full on’ addicted to self-defence training, and if you are reading this, you could be as well.

OK so is it a bad thing?

Yes and no.

Because a lot of these students (and instructors) are not happy, a quick trip onto Facebook will prove this.

Training in self-defence can become something you do rather than something you enjoy. It becomes a requirement for you so you can satisfy an emotional need.

The result is you are never happy with what you learn, you might hop to a lot of systems, and you end up learning but never complete your journey.

This niggle follows you everywhere, and it always leaves doubt in your mind as to if you can actually protect yourself.

Today we will explain why you need to take a ‘chill pill’ but at the same time focus seriously on your training, it is all about finding balance in martial arts, and this article will help you to enjoy your training even more.

Most importantly it will give you a path that you can use to eradicate that nagging feeling that you are simply not good enough at self-defence.

But first of all, we need to understand why people are addicted to self-defence.


Emotional Content Is Key

I started self-defence training as a 12-year-old.


Because I got my ass kicked, and on more than one occasion.

As humans, we are built around our emotions and values. It was my negative experience of violence that made me think about my ‘security.’

Since that time I made a conscious decision not to feel the same way that I did then, and this lead me to martial arts.

In short, I did not want to get my ass kicked ever again, and if they managed to beat me, I wanted to make sure they knew they had been in a fight

This is one of the core issues with self-defence training that, so few understand.

You are not selling self-defence, you are selling a feeling of security.

Most people who go to martial arts or self-defence training do so out of a desire to feel secure. Don’t believe me, if you teach children, go and speak to their parents and ask them why they have chosen martial arts for their child.

I am willing to bet among the top reasons is based on the child learning to protect themselves.

That is another reason why children’s martial arts classes are often far busier than adults. It is because the parents love their kids so much they have invested in their security.

Choosing self-defence is an emotional decision for them, they love their children and want them to be safe and secure.

For adults, this feeling is harder to cultivate.

It often comes when a person has had a negative experience of violence, or they read about a news story where someone was hurt. This triggers their sense of security and forces them to ask the question;

“What if that happened to me?”

Once you realise that self-defence is an emotional decision you can start to find balance in your training.


How To Find Balance

You start training to feel more secure, possibly for yourself and also for your family.

But then something else happens:

Over time the training wears off.

You got that grade a little too quickly. In fact, you felt like you did not deserve it.

This is another reason so many people quit martial arts.

Easy gradings!

An instructor who grades their students and let’s them pass if they show up is setting themselves up for failure.


Because as human beings, we need certainty in our lives and for the self-defence and martial arts student you need to be certain that your skills are good enough!

Once you install that feeling of doubt, you will start to drift out of training, and the world is full of brown belt students that gave up!

The key here is that training should be tough, but not too terrible that it causes injury, and gradings should be challenging.

But there is an even easier way to find balance, and it lies in 4 things;

  1. Learn To Hit Hard
  2. Learn To Cover Up
  3. Learn To Fight On The Ground
  4. Learn To Deal With Weapons

In over 20 years of martial arts training, I have always felt that these four areas are the key to long and happy training. If you are progressing in these areas, you are going to be happy.

But why?

If you hit hard and are both practising and improving your punching/striking power, you will always feel great. There is no substitute for power, and you could spend the next 20 years focusing on this and still be happy.

This is why so many people have punch bags in their houses, sure the workout is great, but they want to feel that they strike with force.

The second element is covering up/ blocking. If you do not learn how to deal with attacks, you will always be wondering what you would do if you are losing.

Most martial arts never address the scenario of you being outnumbered on the street and taking punishment. By cultivating your defences, you will feel more secure.

Groud work/grappling and the transitions in between is another core area. In a world where MMA is a big deal, not being able to fight on the ground is an issue.

This again will nag you, even if you train in every other element you will still feel that you are missing out. The reason is that we all grapple naturally. Kids wrestle each other for fun in the house, yet a system that ignores this will always leave you with the question ‘what happens if I am on the ground?’

Our final must have component is weapons training.

If you never train with weapons, you will again have doubts about your own security.

So let us go back to you.

If you are training right now you might have started to ask yourself questions such as ‘do I hit hard enough’ or ‘what happens if the attacker has trained MMA?’

These questions are the ones that every martial arts and self-defence student will ask themselves.

Sometimes the student or instructor will tell themselves that their system covers the four key areas, and they might. But if they do not, that doubt will creep in, and you will feel less secure.

And over time you will drift out of training.



Martial arts and self-defence are all about the feeling of being secure.

You must be certain that you can defend yourself or are at least on the path to that goal.

Defence Lab has worked hard to develop a system that is both fun to train yet delivers practical results. It is that feeling which keeps students both on and offline coming back for more.

The key in self-defence training is to find the balance.

Now is the time to ask critical questions about your training, you might not like the answer, but that is far better than spending the next three years training in a system that leaves you with more questions than answers!

Thanks for reading.