How to choose personal protection/self-defense training

How to choose personal protection/self-defense training

“Top Tips”

I often get asked the question: “Is this a good martial arts school?”, “Is this good training?”, “How do I choose training” or something along those lines…

Let’s deal with reality. First there is no such thing as “best” in anything in my opinion, it depends on one’s goals and what they want in their reality. Second, as far as personal protection is concerned this is an arena that is like cars and professional sport teams; everyone has an opinion and all the points can be debated until the end of time. Last, this is just another opinion.

So here are my Top Tips For Choosing Training:

  1. Know your goal. Is the training for sport, actually protection use, or for fitness, or all three?
  2. Understand that personal protection training field is one where anyone can claim anything.
  3. Ask for references or a resume/C.V.
  4. Accept that while you will usually get what you pay for, you can also over pay.
  5. Understand that no matter where you go or what you train in it is up to YOU to be committed to doing the work it takes to obtain your goal and/or the skills, the instructor can only be a guide or coach.
  6. Do not mistake sport or fitness for actual survival skills under stress or vice-versa.
  7. Consider your life style and does your training fit within it?
  8. Don’t believe everything someone tells you. Verify as best possible.
  9. Be prepared to invest time, energy, and money into your goal no matter what it is. See #4.
  10. Quality self-defense training MUST have some reality based training component to it; especially into the intermediate or advanced levels.
  11. Last, but not least, do your best to train with someone who is knowledgeable about what happens in reality, before, during, and after you defend yourself (especially the legal ramifications).

Always be honest with yourself about what it is you are wanting and why.


No information in this article is intended to be nor should be taken as legal advice. This article is a professional opinion from a Use of Force training perspective and court certified Use of Force expert background. One should always consult a licensed attorney for legal advice. All rights reserved by 3Tier Services Inc. and Stephen Yerger. 2/2014