My son wanted to learn Aikido so I decided to accompany him in the class. Learning any kind of self defence is important.
Learning self defence is more than just learning how to fight. It is about how to observe and beware of our surrounding. It is also knowing how to avoid getting into threatening situation and what to do when we are not able to avoid the situation. Sometimes I wonder if I could have avoided getting mugged had I taken up the lessons earlier.
I learned how to position my body to avoid injury when falling. That knowledge might have helped save me from losing my teeth. In order for the training to be useful the movements need to become natural and be part of our instinct. This is the same like learning how to ride a bicycle. When we ride a bicycle, we do not need to think of how to balance or turn, we just focus on where we want to go and just go. In order for the movement to become natural (or second nature), frequent practice is necessary. It is also necessary to adapt the movement to ourselves. Each of us are different so what works for my colleague may not work for me (he could be taller, shorter, stronger, weaker, longer hands, shorter hands).
Learning martial arts does not mean that we want to fight but how to avoid fights. No matter how good you are, there will always be somebody better than you.
It is important when choosing a class is to have a teacher who can share how the skills learned can be used in real situations. Some martial art routines have been modified and are only useful as aerobic exercise routine.
Self defence is an essential skill, you never know when you need it.