In this day and age, times are tough and there are more people who are committing crimes and acts of violence. I feel that every woman should have some training in self-defense. Training that could potentially save your life. If you do not have the time or desire to take martial arts or at least some kind of fitness training then let’s take a look at the following several topics.
Many people think that self-defense means protecting yourself against someone who jumps out of the bushes at night and attacks you but the statistics tell us that a high percent of attacks, especially against females are not just from strangers but from friends, acquaintances, relatives or co-workers.
A perpetrator may seem like a nice person or friend or they may look like a lowlife of society. You cannot fully judge the potential of someone’s ability to hurt you by their looks alone. It can be helpful but not necessarily the truth. They could be a person who has been drinking and is acting inappropriate or they could be an experienced criminal. Many more children and young adults are abused or molested by relatives and family members than strangers for example so the enemy may be close to you which is scary to think about. Many times a perpetrator has low self-esteem, lack of money or predatory power deficiency which is feeling powerless and wanting empowerment thru violence against others.
Awareness is #1!
Keep your eyes and ears open whenever leaving or entering somewhere, especially at night! Stay off your phone and have your keys gripped between your fingers for defense. When you get in your car lock the door. Make it a habit. Trust your gut instinct. If something feels weird or you get a sickening feeling in your stomach, do not ignore it! It is our body’s natural, instinctual ability to forewarn us of possible danger.
People are creatures of habit.
We like to park in same place, develop a routine and go to the same coffee shop so we tend to drop our guard when doing everyday tasks. We are constantly on our cell phones. Criminals know this and prey on those who are unaware. Discuss these topics with family members and other females. Be more prepared because you are worth defending and we all want to go home, right?
Don’t place too much trust in others.
Try to be self-sufficient! Learn to be able to take care of yourself. Do you have proper shoes or jacket when you go out? You may want to wear your high heels to the club even though there is a snowstorm because you want you outfit to match, Right! What if it is cold or slippery or you have to walk a long way in the snow? What if you have to run away from an attacker? Have you been drinking? What if your car breaks down and won’t start and you are far away from anywhere to get help and your car won’t start so your heater won’t work. Having some things in your car like a jacket, extra blanket or tennis shoes or a first aid kit may be a lifesaver. You should also take measures to keep your car maintenance up and make sure your spare isn’t flat and so forth. Don’t get caught in a compromised position that makes you a prime target.
When you are watching movies think about the characters in the movie.
If they are in trouble or in a bad situation what would you do if you were in the same situation? You know when you are watching a movie and you say,”No, don’t go in there”! Just actually think of what your options might be in the same situation. This is another way to gain experience through visualization. You may think it can’t happen to you but when push comes to shove will you be prepared? Develop the mindset of possible worst case scenario awareness. You don’t have to go overboard but better be over prepared than in serious trouble.
Consider taking a CCW class.
People have different opinions about the subject but I’m willing to bet that if you were in a horrible situation where you were fearing for your life you would rather have a gun than nothing against a someone who was seriously trying to hurt or rape you. We had several horrible murders in my rural hometown and the local sporting goods store had the most gun sales in the entire US that week! Many opinions on gun ownership changed that week. So if you are considering a firearm don’t wait till something like that happens.
Criminals will use predatory body language like puffing their chest out or uncrossing their arms like they are going to do something or come at you. They may use a predatory interview such as asking what you are doing here, or asking questions or trying to feel you out to see if you are blinded by fear or if you are fairly confident. They don’t want to deal with someone who is not going down without a fight!
Their #1 goal is to instill disabling fear.
Predators feed on seeing fear or feeling fear energy. Secondly, they may try to invoke anger by challenge or wolfing their target. Wolfing refers to using verbal abuse or use invasive gestures like pointing in your face to intimidate and then possibly create a distraction for ambush or for an accomplice to join in. It is important to understand the psychology of a criminal.
They may act quite tough and scary to your face but most times they are just as scared and adrenalized as you are better at hiding it than the average person and know how NOT to look not scared. Confrontation causes fear and adrenalin, their best weapons. Adrenalin Stress creates fight or flight response. This causes auditory exclusion where it’s hard to hear someone talking to you and tunnel vision where one sees what is directly in front of them but not peripherally during an adrenalized state. One advantage of Adrenalin stress is a higher tolerance for pain so during an actual physical battle both parties will exhibit higher tolerance to being hit or hurt.
Be passive/aggressive and try to avoid their interview.
Don’t engage or escalate the situation, don’t’ instigate or encourage them but also be assertive in your position that you are not willing to be a victim. You may be doing these things but not realize it. You must learn to stay calm because a calm victim is less desirable. Don’t cross their space boundary and don’t let them into yours. Stay facing them in a defensive posture. Be aware of a possible accomplice your attacker may have close by. Recognize the person’s aggressive posture and try to analyze the situation to be able to react more appropriately. Keep your distance!
Some attack survivors have used their Warrior spirit to make it out alive. The “Pit bull” theory is the idea that although a pit bull may be small and weight only 45 lbs, everyone knows that if they get into a confrontation with one they are not coming out unscathed. The “Bee story” is another example of using all you have to fight back. There was a boy who was bullied and chased home each day after school and one day the bullies knocked him down on the grass and he fell on a bee. When the bee stung him he lunged up with a jolt of energy and a blood curdling scream which made the bullies disperse immediately and then they didn’t mess with him after that because they thought he was crazy. This may be a means to help you get out of a situation. Additionally if you work out and are more physically fit you will be stronger against an attacker and be able to fight longer or run away faster so just being more fit is self-defense! Running away is the first choice.
The principle of “False surrender” refers to the idea that if you catch a small sparrow in your hands he struggles violently until he exhausts his energy and eventually slows down and becomes calm and stops fighting but then, when you open your hands a little bit to peek at him, with a suddenly burst he flies away! In a survival scenario one might fight until you are exhausted or until you realize it is futile and you are in an extreme worst case scenario. If you become 100% exhausted and physically and mentally give up, you may get assaulted or worse. An opportunity to survive might be to stop and wait for an opportunity and reduce further physical abuse and not exhaust yourself completely or use up all your energy. Touch him and say,”I give up, don’t hurt me, I will do whatever you want, please stop!” Say it over and over. Breathe, let him feel you relax, you can think clearer what to do next. Then if the opportunity arises strike fast and hard or make a last ditch effort to escape.
Now when it comes to a friend, acquaintance or co-worker it becomes a different scenario. There is often intrusion possibly that keeps happening again and again. They will test your boundaries. Over time you may become desensitized and dismissive to the advances. You might say, “Oh he’s just an old perv” or you might feel bad if he says,” you’re just uptight!’. If he knows you won’t do anything he will continue to cross boundaries so you must set barriers preemptively.
Drugs and alcohol make it worse.
Talk to your sisters, friends and Mom about boundaries. Get support. get info from the internet. You must make a statement. Use eye contact and be serious, no joking, no misinterpretation. Be assertive and have conviction and be willing and capable to enforce what you say. Say,”NO, I said NO!” This may be outside your comfort level. He may try to talk in circles or use guilt or manipulation in clever ways so the sooner you set boundaries the more effective. You have to understand fully that “what you wear” doesn’t mean you asked for it and you can decide what someone can or cannot do to you! Period! Tell him the behavior that makes you uncomfortable and how it makes you feel. Assert what behavior you want him to stop! For example, “I don’t like you putting your hands on me! It makes me think you’re a creeper so DO NOT touch me again”! If you have to say it loud and in public and be vocal! DO IT before he eventually gets you alone somewhere and an actual forced attack takes place and it gets out of control.
De-escalate the situation well before it gets bad and preemptively assert yourself. Establish boundaries and have conviction and be comfortable enforcing the boundaries as a strong woman. If you set a verbal boundaries such as, “take one more step and we are going to have a problem” or “Stop!” and he keeps coming you must realize at that exact moment that you know his intentions are bad. You must now be prepared for his actions and this is where you have to be able to defend yourself.
The “level of defense” refers to the level of defense or degree of violence you need to effectively neutralize the situation but not going to excess. If they grab, you hit. If they hit then you break. If they break, you maim. If they maim, you kill! Generally, you have to meet and exceed the attack to neutralize and win. If you are at the Christmas party and your drunken boss touches you inappropriately you’re not going to feel inclined to gouge his eyes out or punch his throat but a solid slap to the face and quick exit to where people are may be appropriate.
Take a weekend self-defense course at least if you can. Effective self-defense usually boils down to 5 or 6 main techniques but just a few hour class on a weekend will soon fade so if you take consistent martial arts or Jiu Jitsu classes a few hours a week you will be more fit, learn self-defense, have fun and learn a lot about yourself and what your limits and capabilities are. The more you train the more you will develop the important life skill or self-protection for yourself and your loved ones.