It is said that there are two things you train in martial arts: that which is seen, and that which is unseen. Sometimes it is described as external and internal energy, or strengh/power and chi. But let's keep it simple, because it is hard to train that which you cannot see. The simple answer is that self defense takes hard work over time.
At Hung Tao Choy Mei we believe there is no easy way to learn self-defense. There are no tricks, or short-cuts to defending yourself. It takes time to get stronger, to learn how to take a hit and not go down, to move fast and efficiently enough to get away, or to be in control when making an aggresive move. It takes training to do what seems like simple movement when your adrenaline is coursing through your veins, making you physically shake, or to keep moving when you're physically and mentally exhausted. It is repetitive training that helps you tactically set up a bad situation into a close call, or to avoid what could be dangerous when stress is bearing down on you.
So we gear up and we spar. We learn how to be stronger but with control. We learn how to remain calm to be faster and smarter. We learn how to breath to build confidence and endurance. And that takes time.
For the average person it means coming to class 3 times a week, and working forms and meditation at home or elsewhere. Several months of training is required to build up the big muscles in the legs for strength and endurance. Half a year sees changes in your muscle-memory so that you reaction time shortens and you learn how to be relaxed and confident under stress. And in about a year the average person learns how to knit together the seen and the unseen to successfully defend against multiple attackers.