Hi there. I want to go over something I tell my potential students, as well as remind my current ones (and myself).
When fitting your self-defense training into your schedule you need to think about your current and future concerns, interests and responsibilities.
Some of you have families to support, some have school responsibilities, as well as others have simply other interests. You have a limited amount of energy, time and funds to spread out over your various areas of your life. You also are at a current level of fitness, including having perhaps some persistent old injuries.
You certainly need to be consistent when learning useful self-defense skills, but you also do not want to spend your valuable time trying to learn so many different moves that you: (a) have nothing deeply learned in a reasonable period of time, as well as (b) now start to find other parts of your life not moving forward.
Start by concerning yourself with one or two simple, yet realistic, self-defense situations (for your type of life) that you’d like to be better skilled at handling. Perhaps someone first applying a bearhug and then throwing you to the ground and then kicking you. That would be plenty to work on for a while. You might break this down and just work on: (a) pushing the attacker (if you can) before he gets the full bearhug on you, then practice (b) if he has the bearhug on you to some degree, getting into a strong posture to be able to stomp his foot and/or elbow his groin or face or gut. Of course this depends on body types and levels of intensity of the particular bearhug.
When you coach work towards your partner getting use to dealing with one level of a bearhug before you increase the intensity of the situation. It is important to train realistically, as well as work towards the partner gaining wins by correct practice.
Note: I will be writing a lot more on coaching (yourself and others). It is really a key in learning any practical skill. The more you truly understand (and apply) wise coaching the more your destiny in learning (for example) self-defense will be under your control.
You need to decide on what small amount of moves to understand and practice in order to get good at in a reasonable amount of time. These moves will need to help you to off-balance, control and then finish (end) the situation with the antagonist.
Note: In self-defense, a “finish” could be as simple as escaping, or injuring the attacker while holding him (or just holding him successfully) so you can dial 911 (police) on your cell phone.
Keep It Simple But Useful
It is much easier for most men and women to learn pushes, stomps, as well as elbow and palm strikes rather than punching with a fist and doing roundhouse kicks (including using your unconditioned shins to kick with).
It is easier to execute an off-balancing push or stomp than trying to set up and execute certain types of throws that require precision timing.
It is also easier to control another by wrapping tightly a limb into your torso and violently twisting or shaking, than trying to disrupt him by mostly using your hands to grab his wrist and elbow.
Note: Wrapping limbs, stomping, pushing, etc. do require understanding the mechanics, as well as practice to get to some reasonable level of skill.
Many Levels Of Bearhugs, Headlocks, Etc.
The truth is there will ALWAYS be levels of intensity of bearhugs, headlocks, chokes, tackles, etc. that will be above you, me and even the world’s greatest fighters. Bodies have limitations. You and your training partners CAN improve by learning good coaching habits.
Note: This is a good reason to carry mace or a loud whistle or perhaps a short stick. Of course don’t carry (as a self-defense weapon) something against the law in your neck of the woods. I strongly suggest you always carry a cell phone.
Maintaining Your Skills
Also remember that after your power and timing and coordination are pretty good on a move, you need to ensure you have a way to maintain and (if you have the time and interest) to improve it as well.
You will be able to get up to a useful skill level with such moves as pushes and stomps faster than by trying to learn more technical (and popular) moves.
In ending, keep to simpler moves that you can first learn to some useful level in a reasonable period of time, then practice to maintain them within YOUR lifestyle.
Train wise and keep your life balanced.