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Lets face it, writing about how to choose self defense classes when you have your own self defense course is a bit self serving and it kind of lack a bit of authority. So I was really pleased to come across this article form Kidpower.
The foreword is written by international security expert Gavin de Becker, best-selling author of The Gift of Fear and "Protecting the Gift" and it sets out 5 questions that you should ask when you are considering self defense classes.
A good self defense course should make you feel comfortable and give you tools that will stay with you for life. The content should be positive, accurate, comprehensive, and appropriate for the ages and life situations of the students. The teacher should be clear, respectful, in charge, enthusiastic, and importantly able to adapt. The approach should be more action than talking-oriented. And most of all the classes should be practical and not just focused on traditional martial arts.
All in all the article is a good read and I think you should get a lot out of it.