January is National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month. And as you may have guessed from what came before, “prevention” is the number one topic covered in most self-defense programs. In fact, recent findings reported by PepperEyes, a seller of personal protection products, suggest that more than 90% of all personal crimes could have been prevented if the victim took some relatively simple precautions.
I know there’s no way this number can be validated. But if it’s even close to being accurate this is amazing stuff!
So as a tribute to moms and slogans that prove to be true time and again, here are some tips assembled from self-defense instructors, blogs, the AMW Safety Center, The National Self-Defense Institute, plus Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid.
Although some of these tips may be obvious, I think they’re worth repeating…
● Be aware of your surroundings. Wherever you are—in a parking lot, elevator, or supermarket—stay alert. You’re much less likely to become a target.
● Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
● Take a self-defense education class. It’s empowering and fun—even more so if you attend with a friend. A good instructor will show you how to avoid dangerous situations before trouble starts. And when danger can’t be avoided, you’ll learn to use your physical strength (you have more than you think), your wits (ditto) and your attackers’ vulnerabilities to your advantage.
● Never leave the scene with an attacker. An attacker wants to isolate you by convincing you that going with him is in your best interest. Don’t! If at all possible, put as much space between you and him and RUN LIKE HELL!
● Keep your car keys at the ready. Always know where you parked and try not to enter your car overloaded with packages. This only makes you an easy mark. Especially in dark or deserted areas, look in, around, and under your car before getting in. Once you’re inside, immediately lock your doors.
● Keep 911 on speed dial. Even simple tasks are difficult when you’re stressed. Pressing one button instead of four can make all the difference.
● Avoid “set ups”. If you have doubts, don’t stop to answer questions. Harmless as they may seem, simple questions like “Do you have the time?” “Where’s the nearest gas station?” or “Can you give me directions?” can distract you and leave you open to possible danger.
● Be smart when posting online. Don’t talk about possessions. And don’t advertise when you’re going on vacation. (Obvious as this seems, it’s surprising how many people still do it.)
● If you’re exercising outdoors alone in an isolated area, don’t wear earphones. You want to hear approaching footsteps or other telltale sounds around you. Stay off your phone unless you’re being followed or see suspicious activity.
● Run. If a predator has a gun and you’re not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! If possible, run in a zig-zag pattern. Statistically, a predator will hit a running target only 4% of the time, and even then, he most likely won’t hit a vital organ.
● Call the police. If you’re at home and hear anything unusual outside your door, like a baby crying, or the sound of running water, call the police right away. DO NOT investigate. Tactics like these can be used to draw you outside so the assailant can gain access to your home. BE AWARE!
If you have self-defense tips you’d like to share, please let me know. I welcome your feedback.