When it comes down to fighting for self defense, can you train yourself? Can you teach yourself anything? In today’s age, the answer is yes and no.
Most instructors and self defense experts will tell you no, you can’t train yourself. You need someone to teach you. I think they are only half right. Most instructors are very good at what they do and can teach people things very fast. But in today’s digital age do we really need someone there telling us how to do something. Everything is on YouTube. And even I have a firearms membership web site that teaches you how to shoot.
When it comes to hand-to-hand self defense or martial arts, can you just watch YouTube and learn what you need? I look up Marine Corps Martial Arts (MCMAP) videos to keep fresh. But I’ve already been trained and just use the videos as a refresher. Everyone puts out videos about different self defense and/or martial arts stuff online. But can you really learn to defend yourself and family with these videos?
I’m back to my first answer, yes and no. Yes you can use videos and the internet to train yourself on how to fight these days. All the information on how to defend yourself is online. Some of it is free and some of it you have to pay for. Whether you have to pay or not is really not the way to tell if it’s good or bad. Talk to the students of those people to learn if that person is any good. The problem with using these videos and books is the amount of time you will need to become efficient.
The no is that most videos don’t show all the little things on how to do something and if you miss something small when you are watching the video (like which foot is forward) you can spend lots of time training yourself wrong and then have to break bad habits later. If you actually go to an instructor, the instructor will pick up on that really fast and can fix a problem before it becomes an issue. If you practice it for a long time, you will eventually figure out your mistake. But that may take you hundreds or even thousands of hours of practice to figure out. Even then you may think everything else you’ve learned was wrong and want to start back at the beginning.
So my suggestion is that you start with an instructor. You don’t know what you don’t know. Once you do a couple firearms classes (from different people) and study martial arts for a couple years, then you can start learning on your own. But you should also go back to take training from time to time just to have an instructor look at what you are doing.
At the beginning of this year I went to a course by Fortress Defense Consultants. The course was worth the $450 just because the instructor was able to diagnose a bad trigger habit I had picked up over the last couple years of training myself (I did an interview with that instructor here). Now I’ve fixed that and starting on other things. It would have taken me hundreds, if not thousands of rounds, to figure out that problem when he saw it in a matter of minutes.
Start with good training. When you think you are proficient, take one more class. Then keep learning on your own. Go back once a year to take another course just to have an instructor look at what you are doing.