I find that people in general rarely think about how to defend themselves. Precious few have built structures and habits into their life for preparedness and awareness. Sadly, they often become a statistic!
I study and teach self-defense to help others have mindset and techniques to defend themselves. There are several mindset focal points and structures we can implement that will help us live with a greater awareness and live much safer lives! The following are some tips to help you achieve this. Burn these into your memory!
1] You are valuable, unique and sacred. Nobody has the right to hurt you or your family in any way [including physical, emotional, relational, etc]. You do NOT have to put up with harm or abuse in any way, so don’t be a jerk. Don’t let others treat you poorly! You have permission to stand up for yourself and defend yourself!
Saying this seems obvious, at first, but you might be surprised how many people will sadly accept abuse because they don’t believe in themselves, or somehow think they “deserve it.”
2] Nobody is coming to your rescue. Other people are unreliable and unpredictable – even loved ones!
Even if they were hypothetically “guaranteed” to react in a self-defense situation, they may not be with you at the time of the attack, or if they are there, they might not see it happening until it’s too late.
We must assume we are alone in this fight and that we will have to defend ourselves.
YOU must take care of YOU if under attack!
3] Think through how you present yourself. Some studies have said predators take approximately seven seconds to evaluate a target [you] as a “YES,” “NO” or “MAYBE.” How you present yourself has a huge effect on whether you will be targeted or passed by. Proper training will show you how to be seen and evaluated as a “Hard Target,” or a target that will be far more trouble than wanted. Be that “Hard Target” intentionally and deter predators!
4] Have a Warrior mindset towards threats. I always have one rule – “Do what I need to do to Get myself and my loved ones home safely!” You have one objective – injure, or disable, the attacker and escape. That’s it. There are no rules in a street confrontation except that one. Be prepared for violence and brutality – not because you want that, but because your attacker does! I teach students skills and drill them repeatedly to allow them to do so. That’s one of the primary reasons I train!
Interestingly, I have found that the more I train the less lethal my response needs to be. I am still capable and willing to do damage to defend myself or others if needed, but the better Martial Artist I am – the less lethal options become available. Of course, this still might not cover every situation.
5] Environmental awareness is the key to prevention! We are living in an age when people are increasingly distracted by everything around them – especially their phones! There are numerous reports of people walking into moving traffic because they’re texting and walking at the same time. How easy would it be for a criminal to attack one of these walking distracted zombies? Phones and other distractions make people sitting ducks and easy targets. Simply walking with confidence, keeping your eyes roaming and head up increases your effectiveness to respond if needed and your awareness of danger exponentially expands. It also helps you be the “hard target” mentioned earlier.
5A] Have a situational awareness level structure:
Have a system that you use for your levels of awareness. You can use a numbering system or color-coded system such as Jeff Cooper’s System. It goes something like this:
White: Relaxed/Unaware – This is when you are at home or in a very safe environment.
Yellow: Relaxed/Aware – This is when you are in public in general.
Orange: On Alert – Be on Alert when you are in a potentially vulnerable environment or have been made aware there may be potential danger like places where alcohol and drugs are consumed or heightened emotional events.
Red: Act! – This is the “Switch!” This means you are in danger and need to fight or take flight. This is the area that most people need to train themselves for much more consistently. You need to learn HOW to flip the “Switch” and WHAT to do when you do!
6] Have a short list of practices that keep you prepared and implement them as often as possible! They’re very simple but effective!
- Walk with a friend,
- Keep your head up and be observant of what’s happening around you
- be more careful after dark,
- don’t get in a car alone with anyone you don’t know.
- if you work at night, you should try to park in a lit area,
- be on Orange Alert (as shown above),
- keep your keys in your hand while you walk to your vehicle.
- FYI: I do not agree that keys should be used as a defensive weapon for striking unless it’s the only option you have. However, they are useful in several ways. You can use them as a diversionary tool (hitting your alarm button on your key FOB for instance) and having them in your hand allows you to get into your car undistracted [no fishing in your purse/pocket].
Of course, this is not even close to a complete list but following these mindsets and recommendations will help reduce risk and prepare you to react in self-defense if ever needed.
At Synthesis Martial Arts we train for self-defense using Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Kali to effectively defend ourselves and loved ones. We want to ensure that people are prepared to live full, safe, and productive lives and defend themselves against predatory behavior!
Contact us to set up your free class and start your training today!