Choose the right self-defense class

By John North - Contributing columnist

Are you looking to get in shape, build confidence or protect yourself? A trustworthy self-defense school may be the answer. Statistics show that about 31 million crimes are reported in the U.S. annually. That’s about one crime per second. Better Business Bureau offers help for choosing a self-defense school.

Self-defense classes teach more than knowing how to fight back against a physical attack. They encourage you to think in terms of options and choices, develop your awareness and assertiveness skills and provide practice for physical self-defense techniques. A good self-defense class will expand the way you think about violence prevention, help you deal with your fears and enable you to feel more empowered in your life.

Over the last year, your Better Business Bureau recorded more than 6,000 inquiries about self-defense schools across North America. When selecting a self-defense school, BBB offers these tips:

• Get recommendations from friends and family.

• Don’t be afraid to ask the school for references and call them.

• Research and compare several self-defense schools and/or classes.

• Find out how long the school has been in business.

• Check the instructor’s qualifications. Be sure the instructor promotes avoidance rather than confrontation.

• Keep location in mind. Try to find one close to home, work or school.

• Inquire about attending a class in progress. Check if the school offers any trial period. And, watch how the instructor interacts with students.

• Make sure you feel comfortable with the instructor. If you don’t like him or her, you’ll be less likely to attend again.

• Talk to the instructor about what you want to get out of the class. Check to see if private lessons are offered.

• Ask if the self-defense school is bonded and insured as appropriate.

• Make sure the facility is clean and well-maintained and ask how often equipment is sanitized.

• Find out if the instructor is a member of an association like the Self Defense Association (SDA).

• Get everything in writing, including cost, number of classes, etc.

• Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Remember, you can also ask your local police department for a recommendation on a self-defense school. In fact, many police departments hold self-defense classes.

If you have any questions regarding self-defense schools, you can always get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB-accredited self-defense schools and business reviews of ones you’re considering. For more information, visit or call 937-222-5825.

By John North

Contributing columnist

The writer is the president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Dayton.

The writer is the president/CEO of the Better Business Bureau in Dayton.

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