Things you should know before going to a self defense workshop

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but one self defense seminar is most likely not going to be enough to save your butt if the fecal matter hits the preverbal fan. Here is why, most self defense workshops are more technique focused than principal focused. Sure, a specific technique can get you out of a certain grab against a role player that does not have ill intent towards you. But a principal can be applied across a much broader spectrum of potential attacks. You simply do not have enough time in a single workshop to cover every position an attacker may place a defender in. However, you can learn a principal that you can apply standing, in the clinch, or on the ground. That’s why we teach a principal based approach to self defense.

Situational awareness trumps all techniques and principals you may learn at a self defense seminar. Situational awareness is the number one principal we teach our law enforcement and civilian students. Ultimately, avoiding a situation before it occurs is the safest approach to self defense. Yes, it is never the victim’s fault. Yes, you have the right to go anywhere you want at anytime you want. However, some very simple steps can prevent an encounter with a predator. Traveling in groups, parking in well lit areas, and not having your head buried in your phone like you are doing now, can help you spot a predator before she/he spots you. Be aware of your surroundings and address the potential threat before it becomes an active threat.

Cognitive recall under stress. We can spend a couple of hours working on a few different techniques in a nice, clean, and well lit facility with experts that are interested in helping you. However, the probability of those being the conditions when you are attacked is extremely low. When you are attacked your ability to recall the techniques you went over two months ago in an outing with your girlfriends will not just be hard to recall, they will likely disappear all together. Enter, muscle memory. The techniques you learn must be drilled hundreds of times if you desire to deploy them in an actual attack. The self defense seminar should only be an introduction to the technique and exposure to the finer components that make the technique effective. From there you should repeat the techniques at least 300 times before you attend the next seminar. If you had difficulty with a specific technique or position during your extensive practice, bring it up to the instructor, you can be shocked of how a simple adjustment can be the difference between a sweet technique and a flop.

Get out there and train. Encourage a friend to join us so you have a training partner between seminars. Keep your head up and listen to your gut feeling, if you have a bad feeling about a person, there’s probably some threat cues that you subconsciously observed and should probably listen to your gut.

About the author:

Amir Khillah is a retired professional fighter, holds a Master ' s degree in Human Performance, a Bachelor ' s degree in Exercise Physiology/kinesiology, a Police Academy Subject Control Instructor, a police officer, and the founder of Centurion Moderns Subject Control. For more information about officer Khillah or Centurion Modern Subject Control, please visit

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