|The most important skill in choosing a good self-defense program is being able to act on your intuition without being stopped by feelings of confusion or fear. It can be hard to stay clear about what your needs are or what the needs of your children are when you are bombarded by often conflicting advice from experts. If something someone does seems wrong to you, even if you can't justify your feeling logically, walk away rather than staying in a potentially bad situation. Keep looking until you find the type of program that answers to your satisfaction the kinds of questions described above.
To make the importance of choosing the right training clear, I want to share with you a personal example from my own life. Many years ago, my husband, Ed, and I signed up for a class organized by our hospital to prepare prospective parents for childbirth. After the first session, Ed said emphatically, "We are NOT going back to this teacher!"
"But she was a nice lady and knew a lot!" I protested. "She must be okay if the hospital recommended her. And we don't have enough time to find another teacher! Besides, it will be embarrassing to stop after we started!"
"That doesn't matter," Ed said. "This woman spent more time talking in a graphic way about all the things that can go wrong with a birth than on practicing the skills we want to learn. You are extremely suggestible. I'm afraid that just listening to her stories will give you trouble. I'll call the teacher and make a polite excuse and figure out where to look for a better class for you."
We ended up finding a wonderful positive teacher who led workshops out of her home and we were lucky enough to be able to have natural births with both of our children. Years later, I learned that our hospital ended up asking their teacher to leave because an extremely high percentage of her students had problems with their births.
Whether you are looking for a self-defense class or any other important training, pay attention, like Ed did, to uncomfortable feelings you have about someone's approach, no matter how highly-recommended the person is and no matter how much you like the teacher as a person. Often very well meaning knowledgeable people try to teach through talking about what can go wrong rather than through helping their students practice how to do things effectively. Remember that what programs actually do is more important than what their literature or representatives say they are going to do.
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