Whether you want to develop skills for basic self-defense, or are interested in taking up martial arts for the art form that it is, a self-defense class at a local martial arts school is a great place to start. The world of martial arts encompasses several methods of practice, each with techniques of its own. We sent a couple of our team members to experience two different Corpus Christi self-defense classes to learn new skills and to interact with martial arts in its different forms.
Self-Defense at Corpus Christi Family Martial Arts Academy
The thought of taking a self-defense class is one that’s crossed my mind several times, yet I’ve never acted upon. I had imagined such a class feeling uncomfortable to participate in, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
I took an evening self-defense class at Corpus Christi Family Martial Arts Academy, whose self-defense curriculum consists of Karate, Japanese Jujitsu, Krav Maga and Kung-fu. Owner and Grand Master Mark Timmerman led the class, which started with a few laps around the gym and a series of warmup movements. Grand Master Timmerman has extensive real-world and teaching experience, which was nice to learn from for a beginner like me.
We then went into a series of partner exercises that focused on brush blocking. This type of blocking can off-balance your opponent without heavily interfering with your own equilibrium. A great aspect of the class is that it doesn’t just teach martial arts techniques; it shows real-world applications in self-defense and gives advice and guidance along the way.
Though the nature of the class might initially bring about uneasiness, the dojo truly maintains an inviting, safe and welcoming environment. The self-defense class is open to all ages and is beginner-level friendly. Taking this class allowed me to truly think about what it would mean to protect myself against harm – something I honestly haven’t put much thought or practice into but am glad I now have. One thing to note is self-defense certainly isn’t a one-and-done type of lesson, so committing yourself to several lessons is a good first step in gaining hands-on experience to defend yourself.
–Kylie Cooper, Editor in Chief
Women’s Self-Defense at Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Upon arriving at the self-defense class at Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, led by owner Leo Cantu, I joined a class of about 20 students to learn and practice the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I participated in a quick but rigorous warm up with the whole class and then another instructor, Arnold Garza, briefed me on the basics of self-defense that simulate realistic attack and escape situations.
We began with a series of submissions where I was paired up with another woman from the class. I learned the figure four armlock, in which I bent my opponent’s arm and elbow up toward the ceiling, while controlling their body and stopping the opponent from moving their arm.
I then learned the armlock, which aims to hyperextend the opponent’s elbow joint by using my legs, hips and hands to isolate the opponent’s arm while controlling their body. We practiced these submissions along with other isolated techniques and submissions several times over the course of the class.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, known as “the gentle art,” is designed to allow the weaker to defeat the stronger in a nonviolent way. The Gracie Barra Method is specifically designed to be inclusive regardless of gender, build, etc. This diversity was reflected in the class, creating an environment where students can be challenged by others and therefore improve their skills.
Once my orientation was over, I was able to observe the other students engage in a fight where they were able to seamlessly recall submissions they’ve learned and put them into practice with an opponent.
My experience at Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was eye opening. It is obvious that great amounts of time and energy are spent to master this craft. As for myself, the self defense class was a fascinating learning experience and just the tip of the iceberg of the various Jiu Jitsu skills I can learn to protect myself.
–Alexa Rodriguez, Managing Editor