Most of the time when I say self defense people conjure up notions of beating up evil bad guys with their awesome kung fu skills. While that is certainly part of what self defense is, there is actually much more. Self defense is really preventing yourself from harm in any number of ways. This must therefore include more than a physical altercation.
Self Defense of the Mind. Refrain from allowing harmful, defeatist, thoughts to enter your mind. Your greatest enemy is your own personal fears and self doubts. Remember that what you focus on is what you will do, even subconsciously. Defend yourself by being careful about what you watch, read, and listen to.
Self Defense of the Body. Be very careful about what you eat. You may wish to check out www.DietarySelfDefense.com. Also, always use your body according to the principles we teach in class. Use correct musculature, correct skeleton, and correct internal power. Work on being melted and having steam power. Become predator movement. These things are more valuable than just fighting- they will ensure that you are always using your body with maximum efficiency. This means that you will retain core strength, your joints will not wear incorrectly, and you will retain good health. Also, train every day. As you do, consider the three aspects of exercise: Strength, Stamina, and Flexibility. All of this is self defense for your body from obesity, injury, illness, etc.
Self Defense of the Spirit. In our modern times it is easy to poison your spirit. We live in a society based on greed, jealousy, and a lack of compassion towards others. Combat this by reading spiritual and philosophical books that are of interest to you. Combat this by doing at least three acts of kindness towards others every day. I recommend that you check out www.globalonenessproject.org.
Self Defense needs to be complete. Think of self defense in these terms for yourself, your family, your community, and the world. The true meaning of self defense is to not be harmed, the true usage of the Martial Arts is to not harm others. The true mastery of the Martial Arts is to Master yourself so you can help others achieve.