Learning self-defense from your iPhone may not enhance your street cred, but these apps can help keep your guard up.
Marines to the rescue
Just don’t rely on brawn alone. They may be few and proud, but those Marines can knock your lights outs with their eyes closed using their hand-to-hand combat training, which is why you should really start yours with Marine Martial Arts (99 cents). With more than 500 pages, this manual will walk you through the tactical concepts and fundamentals of how to turn yourself into a walking weapon. The interface comes with search and bookmark functions for easy referencing. There’s also a table of contents to help you jump to chapters with step-by-step advice on strikes, throws and ground fighting maneuvers, complete with illustrations to aid the reader.
There’s no price on your safety, so you might as well splurge for Grapplearts Submissions while you’re at it. At $3.99, this app will walk you through the grappling techniques of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu using the instructional video lessons of instructor Stephan Kesting. But with some 40 high-res videos of leg locks and choke holds, the app is 138 MB so you’ll have to clear some space. There’s also Grapplearts Sweeps ($3.99) with a range of ground fighting techniques to escape from underneath your opponent.
For those who learn better through imitation, Ultimate Fighting Championship streams live mixed martial arts matches straight to your iPhone, along with a library of highlight videos and UFC news. The app is only 99 cents, which is well worth your investment when you consider that many of these matches air on pay-per-view channels.
Still, nothing beats personal face-to-face instruction from a martial arts master. If you’re looking for a nearby dojo, iLocate – Self Defense & Martial Arts (99 cents) quickly searches the Web for local martial arts classes in your area, providing addresses and contact information.
Emergency help on call
If you ever find yourself in a tight spot, MyPanic is one useful iPhone app we hope you never have to use. At $4.99, the app will find you via GPS and broadcast your plea for help to selected e-mail addresses—as well as your Facebook and Twitter status—with reference to your exact location, though an Internet connection is required. It also helps you quickly call 911 and other emergency numbers, which we obviously recommend doing first.
Finally, Punch-O-Meter (99 cents) will evaluate the old one-two knockout. That is, this app records the velocity of your jabs, comparing them with previous punches so you can test your progress. You can also use it to intimidate other people by e-mailing them your high score. It's a great party game, too.