As the evening darkness advances a little earlier this time of year, it is important to be more vigilant to the perils of street crime. Car prowls, purse snatches and muggings increase as the holiday shopping season approaches. Walking with a friend and staying along well-lit streets and parking areas at night are two basic measures that can help to minimize your chances of being accosted. In this article I will share resources for each reader to approach the subject at his or her own pace and for each reader to engage in the level of study that meets their personal interest. Self defense is a very personal issue for each of us. Only you can assess the threats that may impact your life and personal safety. And only you can make the necessary preparations to suit your particular situation and lifestyle. It is important to keep in mind that the police can not be everywhere at all times. In fact, the police are usually only there to take a report of the damage after the fact.
My regular readers know that I have a thorough background in the martial arts, ranging from empty-hand fighting to training in the judicious use of lethal force including defensive handgun tactics and weapons disarming techniques. Much of this lexicon is far too complex for most people. It is a life study that needs constant updating and the skill set required must be continually honed. However, as violent crime continues to haunt our cities, I believe it becomes a moral imperative to plan for the possibility of having to face a violent criminal. It Is not a pleasant thought, but it must be given adequate consideration in order to implement life choices that will lead to greater security for you and your family.
To begin, we must understand the importance of situational awareness. Knowing what is happening around you at all times and being ready to respond to circumstances as they unfold is usually the key to being able to see bad things developing around you and to avoid them. Related to this is Boyd’s concept of OODA Loops.
Some individuals may need assertiveness training to learn what to say to defend against verbal assaults and here is a link for an outline of how to do that. Though, sometimes a situation may escalate in spite of your best attempts to avert confrontation. There may come a time when verbal assault escalates to physical assault. Being able to read the signs that physical violence is about to erupt is a valuable skill that will help you to get out of it and away from it. Here is a very thorough piece about personal safety and home defense. Additionally, within the previous link there are a number of very good links to related resources.
Naturally, under the best of circumstances we hope that we never have to deal with violent crime. By exercising situational awareness to avoid being where bad things may happen, we may enjoy the good fortune of never having to defend against a violent criminal attack. I wish that to be the case for everyone. Sadly, the world is a dangerous place and bad things can happen to good people. As adults we must take the necessary steps to prevent violent crime from impacting our lives negatively. Avoidance is always the first best choice.
The best way to avoid a fight is to not be there when it happens! However, if we are confronted by a violent assailant, we must steel our minds and be prepared to resist and defend when the opportunity presents itself. There are some common tools that can be used for defense from a violent attack. The advantages of the following three items are many; Each of these is an ordinary personal item and generally not considered to be a weapon. Innocuous is good. Each of these implements can be used to strike at vital points on the attackers face and body. All of them will leave evidence of a struggle and resistance to the attack (cuts, scratch marks or bruises on the assailant) and if used effectively all of them can cause serious injury to the assailant. A by-product of injuring the assailant is that the tools will likely collect some bit of DNA evidence (skin tissue, blood,, hair, etc) from the attacker. This type of forensic evidence is valuable for connecting the criminal to the crime.
I am licensed to carry a concealed handgun in 33 of the 50 U.S. States and I frequently carry a sidearm. When traveling, it is my personal preference to carry a handgun and a knife. Of course, such tools are not permitted on air travel and most other countries will not allow me to travel within their borders with a gun. So be it.
The three common tools shown in the picture above along with a little bit of training can be very effective for leveraging out of wrist-holds, striking vital target areas with pinpoint accuracy, and defending against other in-close attacks. I have carried these several times on international flights and never been questioned. Some people like to carry a Kubotan on their key-chain. There are two problems I see with the Kubotan; First, they are instantly recognized by most security and TSA types as a “weapon”. Therefore, if you try to travel by air with one in your carry on luggage, you run the risk of having your defensive fighting tool confiscated. Secondly, I prefer to keep my keys separate from any leverage or impact tool. I know people who are very effective with Kubotan techniques. I just prefer other options. The pen in the picture is machine crafted of the same aircraft quality aluminum as the flashlight and has a similar strike-bezel on the end cap. It can be used very much the same way as a Kubotan and it is a pen….not a “weapon”.
My flashlight is a Brite-Strike, 190 lumens and designed specifically as a personal defense tool. The company that makes them also offers a nice package set, at a reasonable price, especially made for young women on the college campus or shopping malls late at night. Light is an excellent defensive counter measure against anyone who lurks in the shadows. The brightness of this light shone directly into the eyes of an attacker can be disorienting and even painful. His disorientation is your opportunity! In that instant, when the assailant has been caught off guard, you must move quickly to put distance between you and the scene. Most criminals wish only to prey upon the weak and un-prepared. The slightest bit of resistance to an attacker is usually met with his cowardly retreat.
Another self defense tool that I think is highly under-rated but very effective in situations that may not require lethal force is the stun gun or taser.
The one in the picture below is said by the manufacturer to deliver 100,000 volts of electric current and:
A 1/2 second burst making contact with the attackers body will cause pain, muscle contraction and shock.
A second burst on the attacker for 1/2 second will cause muscle spasms and a dazed mental state.
And a one second blast should cause loss of balance and muscle control, total mental confusion and disorientation leaving him dazed.
***Please read my personal footnote below, directed to the young women reading this article.
Be sure of the law in your jurisdiction. Possession and use of taser is strictly forbidden in some cities and states.
There has been a rise in the number of assaults on college campuses in recent years and this link is a terrific resource for further learning about dating safety. The previous link is full of related links. There is a lot of information within!
A couple of points worth highlighting and they apply especially to women and children.
#1 NEVER ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE BOUND, HAND-CUFFED OR SHACKLED IN ANY WAY.
#2 NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE DRAGGED INTO A MOTOR VEHICLE.
It is imperative you understand that anyone determined to abduct, restrain or shackle you as part of their attack is most likely going to kill you and dispose of your body in some horrible manner. It is not my intention to be overly dramatic or alarmist about this matter, but security professionals the world over understand this fact and agree that if your attacker is attempting to shackle or abduct you it is time to fight and fight with all the spirit you can muster. Your life may depend on it.
A link showing how to break out of zip-ties.
Here is a link for a cool site with videos of some basic self defense techniques that anyone can do.
I hope this article was helpful and I certainly pray that you stay safe.
*** My personal footnote to the young women who read this article: Any man who would attack a woman deserves no mercy and if given the chance you should never hesitate to issue a second dose of shock therapy to the brute! If I were attacked, the assailant should feel extremely lucky if he only suffered bumps, bruises, or a dazed mental state.