By Rivki Levy
Getting punched in the nose is not an enjoyable experience, especially if it’s before eight AM. Your eyes start to water, your nose is on fire, and part of you (or most of you) wishes you were back in bed and snuggled under the covers. But you remind yourself it is all worth it in the end. It’s worth it because you are learning to defend yourself.
I first started taking self-defense classes when I was about ten years old, mostly because my siblings were doing it and it just seemed like the natural thing to do. I became a brown belt in karate, after which I started investigating other forms of self-defense like Krav Maga. Over time, it became something I enjoyed, unlike running or similar exercise. I do not find running stimulating, and I find myself extremely bored on the treadmill. Self-defense classes have multiple components to them that I found exhilarating. For example, there is one exercise in many of the classes I took where we stood in the middle of a circle of “attackers” and defended ourselves from all angles, which I found a lot more interesting and useful than running on a treadmill.
There are many advantages to going to a self-defense class in the early mornings before the school day begins, but waking up at six AM to get to the class by 7:15 is not easy. Your roommates will probably be sleeping and often it will still be dark out, which will make it even harder to get out of bed. When you finally manage to get dressed and you step outside onto the streets of New York City, though, you will have entered a whole new world. The streets will be quieter than they are during the day, and in the winter, it will still be dark out. You will find it calming to be outside at that hour, and you’ll get in a relaxing walk on your way. You will organize your thoughts for the day and just soak in the world. When you take the subway, you might even manage to squeeze in some last-minute studying.
The self-defense class itself is extremely rewarding. If you’re like me and don’t like the monotony of running or other typical exercises, a self-defense class can be a good substitute. Your blood gets pumping and your adrenaline gets moving and you complete your exercise for the day. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise improves your brain’s memory and your ability to think things through. So not only will you feel great that you exercised, but now you’ll also be able to concentrate better in your classes and do better on any tests that you have that day.
You will definitely benefit from the exercise, but you will also gain the most obvious benefit from the self-defense class: learning how to defend yourself. Just knowing how to defend yourself is very powerful for your confidence and safety. You will walk around knowing that you have the tools to be able to defend yourself should a situation arise where you may have to. And as an added bonus, having a self-defense class on your resume looks incredibly cool. There are many self-defense classes to choose from: karate, taekwondo, Krav Maga, and many more. Pick one that you think fits your needs and get started on improving your physical and mental states so you can maximize your time in college and beyond.