My personal defense teacher said that there were a total of three other personal defense classes for different types of people. Yet each person is only allowed to take ONE?! He said this means we won't become advanced enough to do more than leave a situation. Is there a serious danger in teaching students more than one of these classes?

I ask this because I don't think taking four semesters of personal defense is going to turn a college kid into a Liam Neeson character. At the same time, what would he be hiding since he wouldn't tell me?

It seems like there's some obscene result the school didn't want. He directly implied that he'd be in trouble for doing so due to a "liability issue" and said to us that if he did so then classic finger throat motion, as if he'd have some serious legal trouble for doing so.

What would a personal defense teacher be hiding?

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is too localised to one specific unamed school. Feb 18, 2015 at 8:10
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    We are not a forum, we are a questions and answer site. There is a big difference. I edited your question to remove references to forums. Feb 18, 2015 at 9:11

3 Answers 3


I assume, though it's not clear from your question, that some of the other classes are for law enforcement and/or security officials. It would explain why he's not allowed to teach it to you. It's essentially for the same reason that citizens aren't allowed to own fully automatic firearms or certain types of ammunition: The government decided it's off-limits to peasants. Not necessarily because it's dangerous, but probably just because the government or whoever makes the rules at your school likes to play the I'm-better-than-you-because-I-get-the-cool-toys game.

  • That's also a good answer.
    – user2932
    Feb 18, 2015 at 7:20
  • Neutral vote for a good point about the possibility that some of these classes are limited to particular personnel mixed with a fair amount of conspiracy theory. Feb 18, 2015 at 15:55
  • It's not really a "conspiracy theory". The police are taught a brand of martial arts that they're not allowed to share with civilians. For the simple reason that they don't want you to figure out ways to fight back or resist arrest. Feb 19, 2015 at 6:35

I think either you or your self-defense instructor are misunderstanding something. If your instructor thinks it's too dangerous to take more than one class with him because of the possibility that you might learn something and try to use it for real, then it's the same as him saying that you should not learn anything from his classes. What kind of a teacher says that? Haha. That's ridiculous.

So I think you just misinterpreted him. I'm not sure what his reasoning would be, otherwise. He's probably kidding.

There are no such laws in the U.S. that I know of, requiring that students only get exposed to one self-defense class and nothing more. That would be crazy.

I thought you were going to ask what sort of legal issues there are with self-defense and martial arts training. That's a rather long and interesting subject.

  • Well no, he teaches various levels of karate. He said he was only allowed to teach enough personal defense to get out of SOME situations. He's accredited to teach a lot more, and has to the LA Police Department. I know one of the other self defense classes is a disabled person's self defense class. There are three more, including a regular one that I'm in, yet somehow he said the school only permitted the kids to have basic self defense. We can go as far in any MA they offer and have as many classes of any MA as we want. He said the school would get mad for advancing kids at legit self defense
    – user2932
    Feb 18, 2015 at 3:15
  • Why don't you ask him to elaborate? Because it doesn't make sense. If kids can take any of the other classes, then there's no reason why they can't take all of them if they want. Unless you're saying that some of those classes are for adults only. In which case, I can understand that. You can't teach kids the same way as adults, for the most part, depending on the age of the kids. Past about age 13 or 14, they're pretty well ready to take adult classes. Age 18 might be required for knife and gun training, don't know. Insurance is another issue. Feb 18, 2015 at 3:50
  • Have friend take one of the other classes, then share the training between you two. Feb 18, 2015 at 7:05
  • Its a college so everyone is an adult. I think Bankuei gave a probable answer. That said, I should ask him to elaborate. Maybe I'll get an interesting answer if the subject of such liability is related to the legal issues of such MA training though.
    – user2932
    Feb 18, 2015 at 7:18

You should get some clarification from your instructor, but my guess would be that this is a policy of the school and not necessarily anything about a legal reason. If this is a college or university, they may have weird arcane policies built up based on their own liability and insurance needs.

This may also have to do with avoiding getting sued if a student uses what they've learned and a civil suit is filed. This might equally be if they hurt someone with what they've learned, or they tried to get into a fight and lost and then sue the school for "misleading" them.

I don't know of any laws making teaching empty hands techniques illegal (at least in the US) though there's plenty of laws about what counts as self defense tools or weapons you can carry or use under given sets of conditions.

That said, many teachers or lineages choose to hold back on teaching certain techniques until someone has gained a level of control, or a level of trust and seniority in a given style.

Done poorly, you end up with an attenuated style with missing parts because people never got the full picture, or only people who can navigate the politics of favoritism know the techniques. Done correctly, you avoid things like people having their knee ligaments destroyed because students without proper control decided to "play around" with heel hook locks and now get to spend the rest of their lives with knee damage.

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