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Chong When you want to learn self-defense for yourself you must find a proper instructor and learn a variety of fighting techniques to be well rounded. You must do classes or a combination of classes, which teach you how to use yourself in every way you can. You should learn: -How to use your hands, elbows, knees, and feet for striking. -How to grapple, and wrestle, and fight on the ground. -How to exploit/take advantage of weaknesses in the body, what areas to target, how to manipulate joints, and pressure points. -How to do footwork, block, evade, and dodge. -How to deal with multiple attackers. -How to deal with weapons. -How to use weapons. -How to avoid trouble. -How to prepare yourself mentally, and how to think, and even how to communicate with your attacker. In addition to this you must also get in shape. This requires several things: 1. A good diet, with lots of fruits and vegetables, and milk, and eggs, and wholesome foods. 2. Meditation and relaxation, learning how to cope with stress. 3. Stretching, similar to what one might find in yoga or Pilates. 4. Tough work and internal conditioning. That would include things like battering your forearms and fists against wood -- in a controlled manner -- to toughen your bones and skin. (See: Wolff's Law.) 5. Sparring. 6. Shadow boxing. 7. Drills or katas. 8. Practicing against human substitutes, like a dummy, and/or a heavy bag and speed bag. 9. Competitive Fighting. 10. A combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Skipping rope, sprinting (doing interval training), and swimming. 11. Compound weight lifting exercises. The basics would be the squat, bench press, overhead press, barbell rows, and the dead lift. (See: Stronglifts.com.) Recommended martial arts: 1. Krav Maga - Developed by the Israeli army, for realistic self-defense, and if you have little time to train. (Make sure you go to a school that also incorporates grappling.) 2. Systema - A mixed Russian martial art, used by Russian soldiers. 3. Hapkido - Another mixed martial art that is traditionally Korean. (Again, like Krav Maga, find a school that incorporates grappling.) 4. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu - Mainly grappling, but it teaches you how to fight excellently on the ground, and even when standing, by using your opponent's major weaknesses. For completeness, combine it with anything below and vice-versa. 5. Boxing - Basic, easy to learn, and natural. This should be combined with something like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or even American Wrestling.
6. Muay Thai - Like boxing, but uses your feet, knees, and elbows. It can be very brutal. Again, combine with a grappling art. 7. Wing Chung - Fast and direct. Does not require much strength, but relies on speed. Combine with wrestling or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, since two thirds of fights go to the ground. A last tip: Take it slow. Don't push yourself too hard. Go at your own pace. Learn at a speed that makes you comfortable. You do not want to injure yourself while training. Be as realistic as possible. Fin.