Archive for June 16th, 2011

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Recently I was asked about self-defense classes in Chicago and if I knew of any classes that led to further study in martial arts. I took Karate in High school but it’s been years since I took any martial arts, so I decided to do some research and see what I could dig up.

A Thousand waves Self Defense Classes

First off there is a fantastic post by Jesse Ouimet, “Top eleven – best self-defence martial arts” on his blog, These Go to Eleven. Click here for the full post. I found it interesting that in some of the comments, people said that what is considered “best” for Mixed Martial Arts self-defense and what is the best style for a woman trying to fend off a male attacker twice her size varies greatly. Commenters agreed that Israili Krav Maga and Karate were likely best for females looking to fend off attackers, while MMA fighters liked fighting styles that had more grappling and floor moves (since MMA fights usually end up on the ground). But a small woman would not fare as well if they fight went to the ground. Makes sense to me.

As a form of exercise, most martial arts can be excellent in providing cardio and strength training. At the same time, one reason I don’t practice martial arts is that there can be a lot of joint wear and tear. Hey, I like my joints! I want them to work for me as I get older, and as a massage therapist, I am very protective of my hands and wrists. So punching and sparring subjects my wrists and hands to too much abuse. (And yes I know that if my form was perfect I’d have less joint concerns. Yet who has perfect form when you are learning a new skill?

Mark MacYoung

Marc “Animal;” MacYoung’s No Nonsense Self Defense serves up some witty, funny and fitful food for thought about the difference between martial arts and fighting. To this writer, all types of martial arts are good for self-defense. He explains quite a bit about how to look at self-defense, what it is and the motivation behind it. It’s a good read. Click here for No Nonsense Self Defense. This is a great site for info on martial arts  in general, street fighting, and self-defense.

In Chicago, there are a number of different Martial Arts studios and styles taught. Link to Yelp listing here. Some of the more self-defense oriented classes are listed below.

Krav Maga Illinois
2200 Skokie Valley Rd
Highland Park, IL 60035
(847) 433-0405

POW! Mixed Martial Arts School

950 W Washington Blvd
(between Peoria St & Sangamon St)
Chicago, IL 60607
Neighborhoods: Near West Side, West Loop
(312) 829-7699

Offers Krav maga boxing, Muay Thai, and Jujitsu.

A Thousand Waves for Women has a self defense course AND offers ongoing classes in Seido Karate to men and women as well as children.

Thousand Waves Martial Arts & Self-Defense Center, NFP
1220 W Belmont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
Neighborhood: Lakeview
(773) 472-7663

Self Defense Centers
2151 W Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60618
Neighborhood: North Center
(773) 539-2900

Hours: Mon-Thu 9 am – 9 pm , Fri 9 am – 8 pm, Sat 9 am – 4 am

Yelpers say:  It’s practical, hands-on self-defense training that’s based on Kenpo, a type of martial art.  Not only do SDC offer very affordable private lessons and packages, but this includes UNLIMITED group classes Mon-Sat.

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