Yesterday, my wife and I took some free (as in paid for by the US taxpayer) training in identifying storms, presented under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security. It took two hours. At the end of the training, we were better able to tell the difference between dangerous and non-dangerous weather conditions (we even learned where the safe place is to get a good photograph of a storm or a tornado, neat ). This is a form of self-defense; we learned that the average warning for a large tornado is 12 minutes; and yesterday's deadly tornadoes in the US midwest had only 8 minutes warning. Many tornadoes go undetected by radar, because it takes five minutes for the dish to rotate 360 degrees; during that time, a tornado can form, do damage, and dissipate. We even learned more about the radar maps we all see on television and weather websites; we learned to spot the 'hook' that shows rotation that could lead to a tornado. Fascinating stuff! We are now considered to be 'spotters' by the government; we have access to a special phone number to give weather reports; no one has to do this to get the training, but it seems like a good public service to me. We also learned that because of the way North America is formed geographically, (specifically the Gulf of Mexico and the Rocky Mountains), the US gets the most tornadoes of any nation in the world; by a factor of magnitude! Canada is second; but we're talking thousands to hundreds; the rest of world gets less than Canada combined. You can get this training online; or you can attend local classes. https://www.meted.ucar.edu/training_course.php?id=23 http://skywarn.org/ You can learn to read the various things you see here: http://www.weather.gov/ If you're interested in self-defense, you have to think about what it really means; it's more than defending yourself and your family against muggers or burglars. It's about defending your lives and welfare from all kinds of threats; including weather. Consider taking a couple of hours and taking this training; online or in person. This is your tax money being spent anyway; you may as well take advantage of it and benefit from it. I think you'll find it worthwhile.