You may think that setting up self-defence lessons in your school is easy. All you need to do is ask a local Martial Arts Instructor to come in and teach the kids some moves, what could be simpler? Well, unfortunately, you could be landing yourself and your pupils in a spot of bother.
Defending oneself against an attacker is a very high risk business and without the proper forethought, planning and preparation, the worst can easily happen. It is not overstating the situation to say that bad self-defence instruction can, and has, led to people being killed in the struggle for their own survival. This article will give you a few pointers to look out for to get the right person and course for your needs.
Knowledge, Skills and Experience (KSE)
A knowledgeable instructor is, of course, key, but they need the right knowledge. Being a Grand Master in a particular martial art means they have great knowledge about that specific martial art and they are probably really capable at defending themselves. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand how to select the techniques from their vast library of knowledge that will work for a beginner in a high risk scenario. The other aspect is that it also doesn’t necessarily mean that they can teach what they know effectively. The instructor must be engaging and interesting to hold the attention of the children. They must also have the right experience. Training in a martial arts studio for years on end or winning medals in competitions might make a martial arts instructor a legend in their own lunch break or among their students but what applicable experience do they have about engaging in real life high risk situations? Do they have a law enforcement or military background where they have had to face their fears and put theory into practice, and can speak from experience? The final element is humility. The perceived or actual ability to overpower another human being can create huge arrogance in some. Be sure not consider hiring an instructor that displays these traits; arrogance leads to an aim of retribution rather than de-escalation, retribution leads to a criminal record.
After focussing on the instructor comes understanding the course content. There are many factors at play during a physical assault from psychological and physiological to the physical techniques that are to be employed but what about everything before the point when the mugger stopped the victim? Comprehensive training starts with teaching students how to plan, what to look for and how to identify and avoid dangerous locations and situations. Many pub brawls start with a disagreement, so is confrontation management training included in the course? We all know that prevention is better than cure, but the vast majority of self-defence courses see prevention as the block of the punch that’s already on its way. The best courses prevent the punch being thrown in the first instance way before the confrontation has even started. When it comes to the physical techniques, are they just a collection of the instructor’s favourite techniques that they are really good at and make them look really awesome, or are they simple, effective and intuitive so that students will find them easy to learn and reproduce? When the latter is the case then the information will be easier to retain and recall in an acute stress situation. The final element of content to take a look at is whether the law of self-defence is discussed with the students. More importantly is this followed through to the teaching of the physical techniques? You do not need to be an expert in martial arts to assess this. If you feel that the techniques taught are an application of excessive force based on the attack or level of threat being applied then this is may be illegal. You are someone who may be called for jury service to determine this very question so your opinion is entirely valid and the instructor must be able to explain every action.
Ask for proof of insurance. Properly insured Martial Arts instructors should be issued with a card that proves that they have both Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance each to the value of at least £5m. Do not take the word of the instructor that they are insured, ask for proof.
Endorsement and Assurance
Knowing that you are getting a good product from an experienced and capable instructor is made much easier by looking at the testimonials and references on their website. Take the time to follow these up where possible. The last thing you want is to spend money on something that may cost more to undo if the course turns out to be dangerous. Social proof is very valuable. Is there another school or organisation that you trust that has had courses from this organisation or individual before that you can call to confirm the quality of the product?
Finally ask how the instructor is assured and by whom. This assurance should be by another high ranking instructor who is at least at Master level or above and should take place either continuously through frequent assessment of the instructor by the assurer or in a more formal setting at least once every two years. Again speak to the assurer to get their seal of approval that the instructor is capable of delivering good quality training.
To book the very best self-defence courses with properly qualified, endorsed, assured and insured instructors, contact us now for a free consultation.