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Defending Yourself and Your Family: Basic Safety Tips for Men

Self-defense has been a lifelong study for me. I realized early on that you can always learn something new, and that there is always another technique out there that may be just a little better than the current technique you are using. I have also learned that self-defense techniques are a very personal thing. They greatly depend on what you are comfortable with as well as how much time and training you are willing to invest into your skillset.

For example, if you plan on carrying a firearm as your main source of personal protection, your preparation and practice will look very different than someone who opts not to carry a firearm and relies on a non-lethal weapon for their self-defense. Even though I personally chose to carry a firearm, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it would work for the next guy. That is why it is such a personal choice. What feels right for one person may not feel right for the next.

Despite whether you choose to carry a firearm or not, there are several tips that I have learned over the years that I would like to pass on to you today. Most of these will apply whether you choose to carry a firearm or not and are just basic skills that you can develop to help keep yourself and your family safe.

One of the most powerful self-defense tools you have is your mind. It is amazing how many bad situations you can potentially avoid by simply being observant of your surroundings and thinking things through before you act.

As I just mentioned, the first thing you must take note of are your surroundings. For example, when you enter into an establishment, you need to try to remember how many exits there are in the building. This isn’t always going to be easy to determine because many buildings have back exits that may not be visible to the public eye. But from being inside the building and also being observant outside the building, you should be able to get a pretty good idea of what exits are available. Although this may seem overwhelming at first, the more you practice this, the easier it will get.

You also need to make a mental note of who is entering and exiting the establishment. You especially need to pay attention to suspicious behavior. It is hard to describe what “suspicious behavior” looks like. It is just one of those things that you know when you see it, and the more practice you get at it, the better you are at seeing it. Some signs that always stick out with me are the following:

  • Notice things that are out of the ordinary such as clothing or what someone is carrying. If it is the middle of summer and someone is wearing a coat, then that should be a red flag.
  • If someone seems nervous or is continually looking around, that would also be someone I would pay attention to.
  • If someone seems fixated on you or another person, then that is definitely something to be concerned about.

Again, this may sound like a lot to pay attention to. I see a lot of people that I “pay attention” to that end up being completely harmless individuals. In fact, that is what happens the majority of the time. But I can’t help but think that the one time that I don’t pay attention to a detail that would seem insignificant to most, then that will be the time that something bad ends up happening.

It is also important that you never get caught off guard. You need to have your hands free and make sure you aren’t carrying a whole bunch of stuff to give a perpetrator an advantage. You also need to pay attention to the attire you are wearing, especially the type of shoes you are wearing. Whenever possible, wear shoes that are going to help you in a situation, not hurt you.

Always have your back to the wall and, whenever possible, make sure you face the door. This prevents anyone from being able to attack you from behind and also makes you aware of whoever is coming in or leaving the room.

As guys, we sometimes do things that we shouldn’t, because we think that there isn’t anything to worry about. Perpetrators know this and will exploit this anytime they can.

This is obviously not a conclusive list of all of the things you can do to help protect yourself. In fact, it doesn’t even scratch the surface. But just maybe it will give you something to think about the next time you are out and about. By developing these simple techniques, you can establish a healthy awareness of your surroundings that can help keep you and your family safe.

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  1. In South Africa hi-jacking cars at traffic lights is a problem. To minimize the risk, I had shatterproof film installed on my windows, I keep the doors locked, and when stopping at a traffic light – if at all possible – I try to stop with my drivers side as close as safely possible to another vehicle. You also wind your windows down by a fraction. Makes them much more difficult to shatter.
    If people are hanging around several yards before the stop or traffic lights with no other cars around, stop two or more car lengths from the line, stare at them pointedly, and then crawl forward and accelerate when the light chances.
    It’s a jungle out there you need to be alert and on defense all the time.

    • I’m very familiar with the hijacking problem in South Africa as my wife is from there. May I also caution you to add a couple of other techniques.

      When stopped behind another car at the robot (traffic light), stop far enough back from the car to your front so that you can CLEARLY see where his rear tyres touch the pavement. This means you have immediate space the turn right or left and evade an attack. It’s also helpful in case you are rear-ended by another driver not paying attention and could spare you from subsequently rear-ending the dirver to your front.

      If you’re in fear of a term at Palsmore for defending yourself with equal force (a real possibility under the current ZA political climate), then recommend you carry a non-leathal alternative handy (e.g. mace, pepper spray, stun gun) in/near the center console for ready use. A dummy firearm may frighten some hijackers who are not toting heat, but I do not recommend it.

  2. From teaching safety courses in a hospital I find that it is women that need to be taught powers of observation,simple ways to protect themselves, how not to put yourself in dangerous situations, and how to fight DIRTY. Too many of the men depended on brute strength rather than their brain. I always pushed the idea “you are smarter than the crook”, so use that power to your advantage. Self protection may become extremely important as the present situation play out.

    • Graywolf,
      Keep in mind that MEN are the victims of violent crime TWICE as often as women are. Frankly I’m more than a little tired of the men that fawn over women, and turn their backs on the men.. If we are to survive these times of crises, reality and objectivity and concern for ALL need to be the hallmarks.

      • I would exhort all men, who are by God’s design, to be protectors and providers, to get the training necessary to protect yourselves and your family. Heck, get the training together as a family. The family that kicks butt together stays together as it were. 🙂 So, stop crying and whining and just do it!

  3. Most people don’t realize how debilitating a hard kick to the shins can be, especially if someone grabs you.

  4. I always instructed my girls to “go for the crotch”, if the attacker had his arms around them, from behind. For them to try for the crotch, but probably hitting the shin bone. Very painful…
    I also instructed them to drop to the ground, taking the perp with them. Go for the eyes when you get the chance. Using the fat part of their palm/hand, smashing it upwards… into the perps chin, also….bite, kick, scream……draw attention to yourself. Screaming FIRE gets folks attention, too!!
    I couldn’t impress upon them, enough….this person means to harm you. FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE!!!

  5. We have a resident retired Olympic gold medalist (taekwondo) in town, Master Kim. For years he taught martial arts and self defense and people would always ask him “What do I do if there is someone in my car?”. His answer is very wise, “Don’t get in”.

    The sheer fact that a person is paying attention is usually enough to deter a potential attacker or keep a potential victim out of trouble.

    No one needs to be paranoid. Just make it a game. Look around and decide what or who looks out of place. Take stock of the exits and decide which one you would use in a fire, where you would hide and how you’d behave if a shooter came in. Be the hero of your own action film (short of doing something stupid) and see what you can come up with.

  6. these are whory times, make sure fembot-terminator-fu2 is always acivated !

  7. If you’re gonna conceal and carry, be sure to use your heat judiciously. If you’re gonna pull it on someone in a carjacking/road rage incident, for example, be aware of the situation and if and when to pull the trigger for lethal effect, if need be. Generally, if you are in fear for your life, you should be justified in using lethal force. I could be wrong, so please correct me if so. BTW, I live in Indiana.

  8. I certainly will not do what I see on TV…do not have a gun or knife on your person and “talk” to the bad guy.

  9. While I do agree with these things, I don’t see why this is directed specifically at men. It’s a common-sense article that should be directed at women as well, who could JUST as easily protect themselves and their families as well as a man.
    Just pointing out the obvious.

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