5 Reasons Students Never Step Foot in a Class

We’ve all seen it – the news plays story-after-story about violence against women, kidnapped children, and gang attacks. As Krav Maga instructors, we understand the reality of the violence we face in today’s society. We understand we are not immune to attacks based on our income, neighborhood, or even our training. These stories stoke our internal fire into a blazing inferno – everyone should be coming to our classes, but why can’t they see that?

The truth is, the average person doesn’t believe it could happen to them. Sure, they might have had to sit through a mandatory 1980s-esque anti-assault video at work, but their day-to-day life is safe and comfortable. Until it isn’t.

Maybe someone they know was just attacked. Maybe they changed jobs and no longer feel safe walking to their car at night. Maybe they’re being cyber-stalked by an ex. Any number of factors could have them considering the idea of self defense training, but they will still have excuses that hold them back.

To help get these students started, here are 5 common excuses people give and suggestions on how to address them.

  1. “My [husband/boyfriend/police officer] will protect me.”
    This person feels safe because someone out there is willing (or paid) to protect them. The illusion of a knight in shining armor coming to their rescue is addictive and dangerous. It takes personal responsibility for their own well-being and pushes it onto someone else. While this idea may have been been fed to them for generations, it should no longer be the only option in their arsenal.Talking Points: What happens when your boyfriend is the attacker? What is the likelihood a criminal will attack when you are with someone or a cop is within shouting distance? Under this illusion and with no training, you are left without any alternatives if something happens when you are by yourself.
  2. “I’m not fit enough to do Krav Maga.”
    Self-defense of all kinds has been lumped in with “martial arts” by the general public, giving them a mental image of ‘roided-out muscle heads grunting and throwing each other across a padded room. Because of this stereotyped image, even people of average build may feel they are unworthy to start training or will be left in the dust made by other students.Talking Points: Krav Maga was designed to work at every level of physical fitness and our instructors don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all mentality. If you are attacked, it will not matter what your fitness level is, you will still have to address the situation and protect yourself. It is for this very reason that we offer a variety of class types – from Women Only and the Kids Division to customized training for disabled or visually impaired individuals.
  3. “There’s too many women/men in the class.”
    This is a double-sided coin, though the problems are essentially the same – training sends them outside their comfort zones. Women are typically more comfortable training with other women, which falls spectacularly short of real-life scenarios. Most women don’t physically attack other women – they are statistically more likely to be attacked by men in any country.On the other hand, while men generally have no problem beating each other up, the moment they are asked to attack a woman, they back off, hands held high in surrender. Through a combination of moral upbringing, religion, cultural beliefs, and a fear of being sued, men aren’t willing to take the chance of attacking a woman, even in training.Talking Points: Working with different genders, heights, weights, and skill levels is important – you never know who might attack you. We are here to help ease them out of their comfort zone in a controlled environment so they can react appropriately in a real-world situation.
  4. “I don’t need training. I know how to fight.”
    Overconfidence is deadly. Men in particular are expected to be able to fight in most societies, whether or not they’ve ever participated in even the smallest of schoolyard scuffles. To admit they don’t know how to fight (or have never been in one) is to admit a shortcoming, something no one likes to do. And while it’s probably true that they know how to throw a punch, Krav Maga can help them throw one without injuring themselves in the process.Talking Points: Krav Maga is more than just techniques for how to punch and kick. Even if a student knows every move in the curriculum, training allows them to train their body and mind. It’s wonderful if you can throw a perfect uppercut, but if you don’t train for the stress of a real-world attack, you won’t be in the right state of mind to throw it.
  5. “I’ll just shoot them.”
    Let’s just start off by saying this obviously applies to countries where civilians are allowed to have firearms. However, knives and other weapons could also be used with this excuse.With 62% of non-fatal violence and 79% of homicides1 being someone the victim knows, the victim’s determination to use deadly force as a defense is drastically reduced. Are they really going to shoot a friend or family member, or will they pause with indecision, wasting precious seconds to draw their firearm before the attacker is within arm’s reach?Talking Points: First, without consistent firearms training, the defender’s accuracy is questionable, creating the possibility of others being injured. Second, even if they do have firearms training, the unpredictability of their response to the identity of the attacker leaves too much to chance. Having Krav Maga skills to address the threat in a non-lethal way will give students an alternate method to hold off, subdue, or manage their attacker.

In the end, these are only five of the countless reasons people may be reticent to come into class. Maybe they’re “a lover, not a fighter” or maybe they’re afraid of having bruises all over their arms. Others may want to train but are worried that their PTSD or anxiety from past experiences will overwhelm them, causing an attack in the middle of a drill. Regardless of the reason, it’s up to us to address each student’s concerns and help them find the best way to protect themselves and those they love.

What other reasons have your students (or prospective students) given for not coming to class? How did you handle it? Help spread your knowledge to other instructors who may be dealing with a similar situation at their own school.

1 Violent Victimization Committed by Strangers, 1993-2010