The most important aspect of self defence is awareness. Below is my top 10 self defence awareness tips.
1. Evaluate where you are and where you’re going. Look around at your surroundings before using an ATM machine, walk down a street and so on. Is it well lit? Is there anyone hanging around the area that makes you feel uneasy? Trust your gut.
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2. Stay alert. Don’t walk or go jogging around with earphones in. Don’t walk around engrossed in your text messages or checking social media. Watching the latest cat playing a piano video or replying “LOL” to a friend’s status can wait.
3. Maintain your personal space. At my self defence school in London I teach my students that no stranger or hostile relation has the right to get closer than 5 feet to you without your permission. Maintaining your personal space allows you time to evaluate the situation and also provides you with a decent amount of peripheral vision to see the person’s hands. Any closer and you risk not being able to see that weapon they pull out of their pocket, or that punch or kick they throw at you and being able to react and defend yourself as effectively. If the person refuses to respect your personal space then you can perceive this as a threat and preemptive striking can be used. According to UK Law, you don’t have to wait for someone to physically attack you, if you genuinely feel threatened you can act first.
4. Walk wide around building corners. When walking around corners, walk around the outside at the widest distance you can. Some people hide behind corners in order to jump you, since most people ignore this tip and walk close to the wall/building they are walking around.
5. Watch your drink. Someone could slip a knock out drug in your drink. Typically used i abduction/rape/murder cases but also often used to drug men in order to rob them. I have heard many cases of women targeting wealthy business men in bars and clubs, promising them a “good night” and making their way back to his hotel room. She will then drug him and steal his wallet, laptop, phone and anything else he has in his room.
6. No stranger is allowed in your home. Even if it’s a little girl asking to use your phone to call her daddy because her mommy’s lying in the road bleeding to death. I’ve heard of some home invasion gangs using this tactic and also using women aswell. As soon as you open the door to help the little girl, a bunch of guys burst into your home. The classic trojan horse tactic. Unless you actually saw/heard the accident happen and can see the injured person, keep your door closed and call emergency services.
7. Flat tire in a bad neighborhood? Drive on your rims. New wheels are a small price to pay for avoiding being a sitting duck in a bad area.
8. People give you a bad feeling as you walk down a street? Listen to your gut, cross the road or walk down a different street.
9. When walk to your car or your home, have your keys ready in your hand to use. Don’t get to your door and then start rummaging through your bag or pockets to get your keys. In this few seconds you are distracted and an easy target. Before getting into your car, check the back seat to see if anyone is hiding in there waiting for your return. If it’s dark use a torch/flashlight to see inside.
10. Be realistic. If I had a £1 for every person I’ve heard say “I don’t need to learn self defence, I’d just co-operate and give them what they want” or “”I don’t need self defence training, I’d just shout for help” , I’d be retired at 32 years old and living on a beach somewhere. If you’re being mugged for your money and not going to harm you (how can you even guarantee this?) – sure be cooperative and just hand over what they want. Personal possessions can replaced. But bare in mind that some people attack first and just take your stuff whilst you are lying there on the ground beaten or stabbed. Not every mugger is a “gentleman” like you see in the movies, such as this mugging caught on cctv below:
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Also, shouting for help if someone is attacking you…
a. Are you 100% sure anyone is going to hear you?
b. If they do, are you 100% confident that person has the courage to intervene?
c. If they do have the courage to come to your rescue, can you be 100% sure that your knight in shining armour can effectively protect you and themselves, especially against a knife?
d. In the amount of time for your hero to appear, how much damage have you already sustained? You can be stabbed several times in matter of seconds.
Shouting for help is good. It alerts people to what is happening, they can hopefully help you and also call emergency services – but it’s really important to learn how to protect yourself by attending self defence classes or finding a specialist self defence instructor to train you via private lessons – for those valuable seconds or minutes you are alone with your attacker!
If you live in London, UK you are welcome to visit my full time self defence school. The Apolaki Krav Maga & Dirty Boxing Academy offer highly practical and realistic self defence training via group classes, short courses and private lessons.