Self-defense training is very tough. But I believe it’s also very necessary. We tend to think nothing bad will never happen to us — until it does. Doing the necessary things to train is part of protecting oneself. For me, seeing my friend as my opponent or foe, is part of the discomfort of protecting myself. If I’m ever in a dangerous situation with someone trying to hurt me, I need to know what to do. That person would not be my friend. Their motivation would be to hurt me or worse.
In the simplest terms, self-defense training is learning techniques that keep you safe all of the time. This includes scanning your environment for danger, hiding, when to do (or not to do) something, proper punching and kicking techniques, how to fall correctly, grappling, and other movements that reduce harm and allow escape from an attacker. But this kind of training does so much more than teach physical skills. There are emotional turning points and cross roads we reach in the midst of the physical aspects, like learning one’s worth and value.
In the most basic sense, fear of the unknown is a normal response to what we don’t know a lot, if anything, about. But staying in that fear and letting it rule prevents growth. If we choose to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations — like learning a technique involving close contact with other people, (like grappling) — we can grow from the experience.