Importance of self-defense skills for a safer future


Photo by Maple Leung

Having self-defense skills is crucial to student safety when faced with physical threats.

Amishi Chandra, Staffer

As students graduate high school, they’re often faced with unfamiliar and possibly dangerous situations and places as they journey through adulthood. Students should take it upon themselves to prioritize learning self-defense in preparation for moving out and becoming independent, as it gives them the ability to defend themselves if necessary and develops discipline of the mind and body.  

The use of pepper sprays and tasers is commonly associated with self-defense. Unfortunately, these gadgets are neither the most effective nor reliable self-defense weapons, as they tend to have slow response times and sometimes may not work at all. The best way to defend oneself from physical harm is by learning how to properly fight off offenders. 

“Martial arts is a form of self-defense and it is very effective,” Martial Arts Club Treasurer James Hsieh said. “You will always have martial arts in your head, but you’re not always going to have a taser or pepper spray with you. Even if it’s a little bit, everyone should have some experience in defending themselves.”

Martial arts is one form of self-defense in which people learn various combat techniques. Different forms of martial arts — the most famous being karate and taekwondo — teach people how to remain calm if they are ever being attacked and retaliate efficiently and effectively to ensure their own safety. Each form of martial arts emphasizes different parts of the body and is important to learn for any dangerous scenario a person may find themselves in.

“Martial arts has given me more confidence,” senior Iryna Iziumska said. “I know how my body moves and am more aware of my surroundings. If there’s an emergency situation, I know what to do and am not stuck in fear.”

Though Lynbrook has had many assemblies and advisories for students in which teachers and visiting educators speak about maintaining student safety and the prevention of cyber-bullying, it would be highly beneficial to have more school assemblies which focus on physical self-defense and what a student should do if they ever find themselves at risk of being harmed by anyone. 

In addition to implementing lessons about self-defense, students should also be encouraged to practice physical fitness in new ways, and physically engage in exercises that promote self-defense skills. The more that students practice, the more likely they would be able to successfully defend themselves when faced with a threat. One way for students to learn self-defense for free is by participating in Martial Arts Club which teaches various fundamental fighting skills. Students can also take the course Total Body Fitness, which covers a unit of kickboxing, in which students learn how to defend themselves in a different self-defense form. 

Another benefit of knowing self-defense is that it develops keenness, allowing people to be more aware of their own surroundings. People who train in self-defense learn how to control their mind and body, allowing them to respond efficiently to situations in which they are being attacked or threatened. In addition, people will gain more confidence not only in their abilities, but they will also improve their overall mental health, learning to give priority to their body and mind. 

Students would best benefit from learning about self-defense before they leave high school, whether it be taking total body fitness classes, participating in Martial Arts Club or taking free self-defense classes online, because these skills can potentially save their own or others’ lives and will last a lifetime long past high school. 

“While pepper sprays are a good measure of self-defense, you can’t always seek it out really fast,” Iziumska said. “If you know how to defend yourself you can be prepared for any situation. Self-defense has real life applications, so I think it would be really beneficial for the students.”