Understand that self defense is for all ages, all communities, all body types, all the the time. Your skin color, gender, neighborhood, workplace, income level and any other factor do not exclude you from being a victim of crime. If you present a soft target you will get chosen. This list aims to make you a hard target, a tough mark for a criminal to prevent anything from even happening but nothing is fool proof. In this case, no amount of training or awareness is “crime-proof” but it is helpful. These self defense tips will indeed cause more criminals to bypass you but the reality remains that there are still times when, even your utmost vigilance is still not enough to prevent a bad guys plans.
All knowledge and training comes from a law enforcement background through COBRA and offers insight into how a criminal thinks unlike any other training experience. Recommended reading is “The Psychology of Self Defense”. You can find it for sale on Amazon.
#1 – Lock and Relocate
You went in to the grocery store for a late night ice cream run. On your way back to your car in the parking lot you are thinking of the perfect status update to post with a goofy picture about your trip and subsequent plans to devour the entire pint. You reach your car, unlock the doors, place your goods on the passenger seat and find yourself opening your mobile app. You are a sitting duck and an easy target. Criminals like to watch and wait for their opportunity. They saw you walk in and judged you to be weaker and smaller than them. Then they stayed hidden within a close distance to your vehicle ready to enact their plan upon your return.
Always LOCK the door immediately upon sitting in your car and RELOCATE. Update your status at the next red light or stop sign. This starts our simple self defense tips and is one concept to live by.
#2 – Smart Social Media
Another social media example here, but be real you are using it and it is a major part of our culture today for everything from business to pleasure. Now I’m sure you’re not friends with a maniacal crime boss or evil henchmen but let’s say your son’s friend from across the street is able to see your profile and one of his friends is not the best of influences. See the connections that can be made here? Putting your location, that you will alone during a certain period of time, going on vacation or otherwise declaring your plans ahead of time is never a good thing. Ladies try to avoid this type of update; “Time to enjoy a bath and a movie on a lonely Saturday night with a glass of wine”. You don’t know that your seemingly harmless work acquaintance is obsessed with you, has found your address through a series of basic internet searches and is going to show up unannounced. You just gave the bad guy Time and Place for a prime opportunity. This leads us to our simple TPM formula that all bad guys control. Time, Place and Method of Attack. You can control your time and place to an extent but the bad guy will always have the drop on you when he takes action.
Speaking of social media though….you should definitely follow our Facebook page from more updates
#3 – Understand Intent
Criminals want something from you. The most common are “Property, Pleasure, Perversion or Revenge” This is their intent. I recently was asked about ATM safety and self defense and appeared on WTSP Channel 10 TAMPA. My advice was to be compliant and escape without any violence occurring. You can cancel your credit cards, recoup your cash or replace your jewelry at a later time because you will be alive! You never know what weapon that criminal has, how unstable they might be and if there is another criminal with him hiding in the shadows. If it is property then smart compliance, proper distancing and taking in a full description of the robber is the way to go. Now, if the crime is turned to any of the other categories of intent it’s time to fight with everything you have. This requires training. Any amount of reality self defense training is better than nothing. The key word there is REALITY. Make sure that you are training for reality based situations in a program that is based around those experiences. (Plug for COBRA Self Defense)
#4 – Assess Your Most Vulnerable Moments
Think like a criminal. I know it’s hard for us who obey laws and wake up in the morning to work a real job but it’s a must when looking to re-engineer a game plan to work against them. My wife was putting our newborn daughter into her carseat over a year ago and she was still getting used to the whole routine. There she was dutifully at work trying to secure an infant with her purse dangling off her outside shoulder, head buried in the car and her back to the world for a good 3 minutes. This is an opportunity. We quickly realized this and began practicing at home until we could scan the area, take care of securing the child and be ready to LOCK and RELOCATE in under 30 seconds. Where are you most vulnerable?
#5 – Don’t Fall For a False Sense of Security
A self defense app, a taser, pepper spray, a gun, years of martial arts training. These are all great self defense tools but they do not stop bad guys from beginning their plan. Have you ever had to use your taser in a real life attack? Have you ever used your martial arts training in street combat or just in sparring? If you have a tool like a taser, gun or other device then practice using it regularly. Take it from it’s concealed location and point it. Go to the range to shoot weekly. Always remember that reality and real time operates much differently than sport and theory. Having been a formidable athlete and trained in kickboxing I always thought I could handle a dangerous situation if it ever arose. After being a part of a COBRA demonstration 4 years ago I realized I was not prepared. Everything I thought I would do immediately failed and my strength and martial arts skill disintegrated into a big confused mess. Under stress the body begins to search our experience files frantically for a solution to the life-threatening problem. The heart rate elevates, tunnel vision ensues and fight or flight takes over. Even police officers/military still get a degree of this and they have been in combat situations! Imagine how you, with NO training would react? There is no reality based experience file for your stress response to find in that moment so it grabs onto whatever it can. Maybe that means you fall to floor and cover up. Try to scratch, pull and tackle. Worst of all you do nothing. You freeze. Don’t be lulled to sleep because you bought a device/tool that many people say is the “ultimate self defense”. Practice prevention daily and become proficient with your weapon or device.
MMACS Certified, COBRA Certified, Kickboxing Certified
BA Community Health Ed/Kinesiology