Most attacks, muggings and thefts are because people make themselves easy targets so the secret is not to look or act like one. Prevention is the best self defence knowledge you have. There are two rules of self defence; AVOIDANCE & SURVIVAL. You can't win in this situation, it isn't a competition. Here are some tips everyone should know to try and stay safe.
There are four possible scenarios for self defence.
AVOID IN THE FIRST PLACE. This is where you common sense prevails.
RUN. First rule of self defence. If you can get away, run.
TALK DOWN. If you find yourself face on with an attacker talking and your voice is your first tool.
SURVIVE. This is where the attack gets physical and you need to do what you have to do to get out of that situation as fast as possible.
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT TO AVOID A POSSIBLE SITUATION.
When in a public area or away from home you need to be more alert than normal. This includes not having your eyes on a screen or headphones in. Be aware.
Open your eyes and see what is going on around you and who is around you. Take everything in.
When walking never look at the floor, your PHONE or have your headphones in. Criminals will see you as an easy target.
Have strong positive body language, eyes up, chest out and back straight.
Always carry phone and money in pockets and not on show.
Loose handbags are easy to snatch so secure tightly.
Especially at night never take dark back alley short cuts, EVER. Never walk home alone or even in a pair, it is far safer to get a taxi to the door. Never walk through parks or places where there are no people.
Always lock your car doors once inside the vehicle.
Always wind your windows up at traffic lights.
WHAT IS FEAR AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU?
Fear is a natural response that triggers specific behaviour patterns telling us how to cope in adverse or unexpected situations that threaten our wellbeing or survival. It is a state we share with animals.
We can also feel fear when faced with less dangerous situations, like exams, public speaking, a new job, a date, or even a party - anything we might feel could be very difficult or challenging in some way.
When you feel frightened, your body injects adrenalin into your bloodstream and your mind prepares you to respond to the emergency or threat. It increases the blood flow to your muscles, increases your blood sugar and focuses your mind on the thing that's scaring you. This has a number of effects:
your heartbeat and breathing speeds up.
your muscles feel weak.
you sweat more.
your stomach churns also known as butterflies.
you find it hard to concentrate on anything else
you feel dizzy
you feel frozen to the spot
you can't eat
you get hot and cold sweats
you get dry mouth
your muscles tense up.
It's important to remember in an attack that these things are a natural process and not something to worry about. Secreting adrenalin into the bloodstream is your body's way of preparing you for this situation. So breathe, calm down and focus.
USE YOUR VOICE.
Your voice is a very powerful tool and you need to use it constantly to draw attention and also show the other person you aren't going to go down without a fight. Be aggressive with your voice. Tell them to back off, step back or shout for help or to phone to police. Anything to get attention to you quickly. Even if no one else can hear use your voice to signal your defiance to the attacker. It may make them think twice and realise you weren't such an easy victim after all.
HOW TO AVOID CONFRONTATION
Try and talk the person down. Getting them talking is the key. If they are talking they are unlikely to attack. If they don't attack straight away this is a good sign so keep them talking.
Give them money or personal possessions if they ask for them. Nothing is worth getting hurt over especially things. Your health is the most important thing you have.
Sometimes you have to make them feel as if they are in control. Most weapon attacks are because people are cornered. The majority of attacker’s carry weapons just to scare not to use. However if backed into a corner and panic sets in then people lose control. Always try and calm people down and let them have what they want.
Always try and maintain distance so they can't grab or hit you.
IF VIOLENCE IS UNAVOIDABLE THEN HERE'S WHAT YOU MUST DO
If they move forward towards you and get within striking distance then strike first.
Use your voice.
Strike hard and fast and multiple times. Don't stop until they drop.
At the first opportunity RUN. Get to a public place if possible with people and witnesses.
If you are alone and feel someone is following you, speed up your pace, if theirs speeds up as well, turn and face your attacker unless you can get to a safe public place quickly. This may make them reassess that you are maybe not as weak as they imagined. Keep your eyes on them and ask them what they want. Do not let them near you. If you are scared strike and run.
TOP TIP FOR IF SOMEONE WANTS YOUR BAG/JEWELLRY ETC
If someone comes towards you menacingly, maintain distance and ask them in a loud voice what they want. If they say your bag you are going to give it to them. However always try and look for an exit point, throw the bag away from you and the opposite to the exit. You can now tell if they want the bag or you. Hopefully they will head towards the bag and you can make your escape.
WEAPONS TO PERFECT.
You have got more weapons than you think on your body, however, unless you are trained, it's best to stick to ones that are simple to execute. Here are some to think about.
FINGERS – Poking someone in the eye causes lots of pain and doesn't require any formation.
PALM HEEL – From a beginners point of view a great weapon to use as it's extremely hard and already formed.
ELBOWS – Extremely hard and extremely versatile.
KNEES – Easy to execute but deadly.
FOOT – Superior kicking takes lots of practise but kicking to the groin and knee takes no real skill just accuracy.
TARGETS & PRESSURE POINTS
In martial arts we use hundreds of different points to attack. Some of these points are deadly, some can cause serious damage but will not kill and others can cause a huge shock to the nervous system and inflict pain and means attackers will no longer be able to attack us. At beginner level and for effectiveness it's best to stay away from the core and middle region. Finding a target becomes harder and your attacker may be able to take a significant blow relatively easily. Always go for targets that are easy to find and hard for your attacker to defend.
Main beginners points are:
EYES – Extremely sensitive and cause lots of pain. Attack with fingers, knuckles or any object.
NOSE – It is best to strike just under the nose with a palm heel strike. The target are the nasal bones.
NECK – The neck offers lots of options. Hitting anywhere on the neck and in particular the throat will cause lots of injury.
GROIN – One of the most vulnerable targets, especially for a man. One hit can cause huge amounts of pain and allow you to escape.
KNEES – Vulnerable from every angle and easy to kick without your foot being grabbed. Joints are weak areas so attack strong.
Remember anything can be used as a weapon; a bag, shoe, pen, magazine, umbrella. Think about what you have and use it. Aim for targets that will cause the most damage.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE OVERPOWERED.
If the worst happens and you are overpowered just relax a few seconds, fake compliance and make them believe you are no longer a threat. When you get chance to attack, then attack!
You are extremely vulnerable on the ground, your best chance is to try and get up at the earliest opportunity. If you are pulled to the ground, keep pivoting so you can use your legs to try and kick the attackers groin or kick joints. If you are successful get up at the earliest opportunity when you have the space to do so. Never look away from the attacker.
TOP TIPS TO REMEMBER:
If you can run, run.
Use your voice. It is a powerful tool at your disposal and can save your life. Always attract as much attention as possible and be forceful with your voice.
If someone gets physical with you, distract them with your voice and also by reacting quickly.
Move. It is harder to hit a moving target than a standing one. Keep moving until you are safe.
You have 30 seconds to do something. Everything needs to be achieved in them 30 seconds.
Remember fear is a good thing, our bodies are amazing, so trust your instincts and your body and don't hold back. You may get one chance so you need to finish it and commit.
Aim low or high not middle. Fancy techniques will not save your life. Simply effective ones will so always practise your basics.
Don't stop until they drop. One strike is never enough. Keep attacking soft spots until they hot the floor.
Fully commit to any attack and become the aggressor.
Never take your eyes off an attacker until you are sure the danger has passed or unless you are running away.
So find a martial arts club if you haven't already and practise, practise, practise. You can't expect to have enough skills if you don't practise them regularly. Martial art classes are a great way to keep you physically fit and hone those skills to save your life.