by: Jenn Vicious
Jenn Vicious is the rad-queer Agony Aunt, need advice on communications with multiple partners, what to wear to court, or just need general life coaching, Ask Jenn.
Question: How do I learn how to defend myself when I can’t pay for it?
A lot of my answer depends on where you live and what gender you are. In a lot of places around the country, there are free or low cost self defense classes, but they are mostly for women. I wish that wasn’t true, but not as much as I wish women didn’t get hassled constantly as they walk down the street, so there you are.
So, if you are female, check out your local parks & recs guide, and whatever other sorts of classes are offered in your city. Also, check out the local Martial Arts gyms; I know in my town, several of them offer self-defense classes for women for free or cheap from time to time. Try doing a Google search for the terms “self defense” and the name of your town.
If these resources are not available to you, it might be worth it to start your own self-defense group. Ask around to find out if there is anyone with martial arts or self defense training who is down to do an informal class for people. Ask them to include verbal self-defense and a few easy moves that anyone can master.
And if there is really, really no one to teach you, check out the links I’ve put below for using the internet to learn self-defense. If you are going to do it this way, you actually have to make time to practice!!! I can’t stress that enough. It isn’t enough to just read it on the internet. Get together with a buddy who is in the same predicament as you and practice the moves.
Online Resources for Self-Defense:
- Lifehacker: Basic Self-Defense Moves Anyone Can Do
- An article about a self-defense teacher that includes some basics for verbal self-defense. (full disclosure: she’s my friend).
- Functional Self-Defense. This website covers a lot of different stuff, and has some great tips on what makes a technique effective.