One of the most dangerous trends in we see in America are one day self-defense seminars. These seminars are usually marketed to women. The ad will reassure the potential client that they will learn from some self-defense expert. Once in the class they will learn a few basic defenses. They will hear about poking someone in the eye, striking them to the nose, and then the ultimate knee to the private region. So are these seminars beneficial? Most of the time people will attend these events just out of curiosity. What could it hurt? I believe personally that one day self defense classes are very dangerous. It would be like telling our kids that after one day in first grade that they are ready to graduate. Real self-defense takes time and practice. It also means practicing the proper style of fighting. I saw a funny video a while back of a guy dancing. While he was dancing people were attacking him and he was using dance moves to defend himself. People were just falling every where. 99% of Karate schools will have you practice katas or forms for the first few months. Eventually you will work your way up to attacking a small piece of wood. The board will break and you will be sure that if you punched someone that it would hurt. Katas or forms are dances. There was a time in history that it was illegal to practice fighting. So they put their fighting moves into dances to preserve the tradition. Now for some reason, karate schools in America still practice the dances with no understanding of what they are doing. This too is dangerous. Why?
First it is dangerous because statistics show that 90% of all fights go to the ground. A male attacking a female will want to put her on the ground and control her. Therefore the primary training should be how to manage distance, how to defend take downs, and if the fight goes to the ground, how to fight there. If 80% of your time is spent doing a traditional dance in front of a mirror, can you really say you are training effectively.
Second, the idea of standing in front of an attacker and striking is really silly. Anything can happen. In addition to that, the lie that a perfectly placed punch or kick can stop an attacker is told far too often. A few years ago one of my students who is a police officer told a story of hitting an attacker with the taser. He was shocked when the guy kept coming. It doesn't work like that. In Jiu-Jitsu men do not wear cups to protect that private area. Why? Simple, in a real life fight you can't stop just because something hurts. Simply put, punching and kicking an attacker is silly.
Last you have to consider practice. In order for something to work in a real life situation, you have to practice over and over again against an opponent who is really attacking. It will take years to develop the skill it would take to defend yourself in a real life situation. Does that mean that you should just give up and hope for the best. Absolutely not. That means that you should find a real Jiu-Jitsu school and start practicing today.