In a perfect world, knowing self-defense techniques would not be necessary. Men wouldn't attack women, women wouldn't attack men, strangers wouldn't attack each other, and so on.

Obviously, we don't live in that kind of utopia. If you find yourself, especially in light of recent national events, wanting or needing knowledge about self-defense, there are several locations in the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek areas that offer classes for both kids and adults.

Here are at least six:

1. Lightning Kicks Martial Arts

Lightning Kicks Martial Arts has been in the Kalamazoo area since 2001. According to their website, they use a realistic and practical approach to teaching self-defense to people of all ages. With that being said, they have a variety of martial arts classes for kids, teens, and adults. However, if you're a woman seeking self-defense, they do have specific classes just for you. It's a three-level course offered in three different classes. As well, Lightning Kicks just relocated to 541 Romence Rd in Portage. They're hosting a grand opening celebration on July 9th should you want to learn more about their facility. Find all updates on their Facebook page.

2. Southside Dojo

Southside Dojo, in Portage, is a family-friendly, non-profit school that focuses on Japanese martial arts. They offer classes for kids starting at six years old, adult classes, and classes for everyone in between. Their classes are available throughout the week with Saturday classes too. Find all the information you need on their website or Facebook page.

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3. Mushin Academy of Martial Arts 

Located in Battle Creek, Mushin Academy of Martial Arts offers Brazilian Jui Jitsu, Judo, Jeet Kune Do and Inosanto blend Filipino Martial Arts, according to their website. They offer both daytime and evening classes throughout the week and classes on Sundays too. See their full schedule, details about their instructors, and class schedules on their website or Facebook page.

4. Alliance AZO Martial Arts and Training Center

Alliance AZO Martial Arts Training Center, in Kalamazoo, offers classes for adults, youth, and classes just for women, too. They specialize in teaching Judo, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and MMA, according to their Facebook page. Most classes are offered in the evening but, they do have a few early morning classes as well. See the full schedule on their website.

Just Outside of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

1. U.S. Martial Arts - Plainwell

U.S. Martial Arts has a couple of different locations throughout Michigan. The Plainwell location offers Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Boxing, and more for kids aged 4 and up along with adults. Classes are taught seven days a week inside the Repz Gym. See details on their class schedule and more on their website or Facebook page.

2. Hastings Self Defense Academy 

According to their Facebook page, Hastings Self Defense Academy is,

Michigan's Only Kajukenbo Karate Ohana. Focusing on the Emperado Method with influences from Kajukenpo.

They offer two different programs. One for those aged 13 and up. And, one for those aged 6-12. Both programs offer the same curriculum at different paces. Classes are offered sporadically throughout the week. See the full class description and class schedule on their website.

The awareness that we, at some point in our lives, might be in a position where we need to defend ourselves can definitely be anxiety-inducing. However, not all of us are in a position where we can either take the time or spend the money on classes. There are some instructional videos online, like the one below. And, while in-person practice would better prepare you for a real-live scenario, having some knowledge is better than none, right?

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