Part of our mission at Self-Defense RX is to make self-defense, personal protection, and security accessible to everyone. Most of the skills we teach and the information we offer can be implemented in your life quickly, easily, and without a huge investment in either time or money. However, like all new skill sets, you need to practice, efficiently and often. So in keeping with our overall approach, let’s look at some ways you can train at home without losing your free time or draining your bank account.
As it turns out, some of the most important skills are the easiest to practice. Simply running some situational awareness drills helps. During your daily routine, keep track of the space you’re in, the entrances and exits, and the people moving through it. When you leave a space and return later—even in your home, office or a walk around your neighborhood—make note of what changed in your absence. It’s a variation on Kim’s Game, applied to self-defense. Do it enough and it becomes second nature, helping you spot threats or problems early on.
Speaking of your house and neighborhood: remember that family emergency plan? When was the last time you practiced that with your whole family? And while we’re on the subject: what about first aid? These are all perishable skills, so keep them up to speed.
Your physical health and wellness is a big part of self-defense and personal safety. I’m sure some of you are gym rats, but I hope all of you are getting some exercise every day. A brisk walk or jog followed by a no-equipment-necessary home workout routine can go a long way toward keeping you “fit to fight” as the saying is.
While it’s best to avoid a physical altercation if at all possible, sometimes trouble comes looking for you. Once you’ve learned some self-defense techniques, make sure to practice them at home when you can. This may involve an hour or two in the garage with a workout partner, or some time on a heavy bag. You don’t need a kung fu studio or full MMA gym; some budget equipment from Craigslist is enough. For those on a limited budget, wrapping some old carpet insulation or futon mattress around a scavenged 4×4 and mounting it in the dirt of your yard makes for a great practice target.
For armed techniques, either with purpose built or improvised weapons, my personal favorite target is an old tire tied to a post, tree, or other sturdy upright. A tried-and-true tradition from Filipino martial arts, you can wail away on this target with sticks, fist loads, or other impact weapons to your heart’s content. No need to get fancy: just practice basic strikes at full force and work on some simple footwork. You’re not trying to be the next Bruce Lee—your goal is to keep an attacker at bay or disable them long enough to make your escape. If you make your practice vigorous, it becomes a fun part of your workout.
And as always, research is free. While physical self-defense often the most fun and engage part of a personal protection plan, don’t forget verbal techniques and de-escalation. There are a lot of different approaches here, but understanding something as simple as the bystander effect is important in a crisis. Take the time to keep learning; knowledge is something you can never lose.