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Common-Sense Strategies for Self-Defense

When it comes to self-defense, common sense should be the number one strategy for protecting yourself and your loved ones. Unless you live in Mayberry and Andy is your sheriff, most everywhere else you go has some sort of criminal element just waiting to rob you of your dignity, your possessions, or your life. Remember, the best defense is a good offense—leave nothing to fate or chance.

#1: Don’t Make Yourself a Sitting Duck

It’s pretty straight forward—don’t put yourself in situations that encourage an attack. Don’t go to the ATM in the wee hours of the morning. Don’t park your car in the far, dark corner of the parking lot. Especially now, during the holiday season, you’re more vulnerable to attack if you put yourself where criminals lurk.

Don’t flash wads of cash in a convenience store. You wouldn’t believe the people I see who pull out a wad of bills after cashing their paycheck, rifle through the whole bundle, and then pull out a 5-dollar bill to pay for a coke and a smoke. Do they think it makes them look important?

It doesn’t. It just screams to the rest of the world “I’m dumb! Rob me!”

If you’re a woman, don’t walk alone on dark streets. And while yes, ladies, we have the right to wear whatever we want, does it really make sense to flash our assets in skin-tight, revealing clothing and then scream when guys move on us with unwanted advances? You’re inviting the wrong kind of attention. Concentrate on the beauty that’s within and matters—leave the skimpy clothing at home.

#2: Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Predators use the element of surprise in their attacks. You don’t have to go far in nature to see this—watch your cat the next time he stalks up on some poor unsuspecting bug. Nature shows us all the time, in various ways, how the element of surprise is utilized to bring down prey.

Why should a criminal animal use any different method?

Criminals are pretty good as scanning their surroundings and picking up the scent of unsuspecting victims. How are they able to do this? It’s merely a matter of being observant. They’re looking for people who are distracted, people they feel are too weak or old to put up a good fight.

Do you walk with your head down, avoiding the eyes of everyone you meet? If your eyes are on the sidewalk, how are you going to detect the creep that’s sneaking up behind you? How are you going to notice the guy who’s been tailing you through three aisles of the grocery store and is, even now, sliding out the door behind you, still following you to that car you parked in the back, dark corner of the parking lot?

Criminals are looking for surprise and opportunity with the least fight. Don’t give them any of it. Sometimes just a simple glance their way (which lets them know you’ve seen them and know they’re there) is sufficient to stifle any thought of ambush.

Do you ever get that feeling in your gut that a situation just doesn’t seem to be right? You need to listen to that feeling. Don’t let your logic get in the way of gut instinct that is screaming at you to avoid a person or situation. If something doesn’t feel right, avoid it. You can argue until you’re blue in the face that it’s giving in to fear or paranoia—it doesn’t matter. If it keeps you alive, you’re one move ahead in the game.

#3: Take a Step Back and Look Around

Coupled with being aware of your surroundings is actively scanning your surroundings for suspicious people or situations. When you enter a room or a building, don’t get distracted by the ambiance of the restaurant or the merchandise in the store. Do a quick scan and note the people around you and places that may make you vulnerable. You also want to note entry and exit points should it become necessary for you to leave.

Never sit with your back to a doorway. When in a restaurant or bar, always put yourself in the best position to see what’s going on around you.  And ladies, keep your purses close to you and zipped or closed up. Don’t let yourself get distracted by conversation or merchandise that leaves your wallet vulnerable.

Self-defense isn’t just taking care of yourself after an attack has begun. Self-defense is also about being pro-active and not putting yourself in a position of vulnerability to begin with, if you can help it. Learning to become observant of everything in your environment can mean the difference between being a target and being safe.

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  1. All pretty decent advice.

  2. Not bad but needs to be fleashed out to cover more than the basic stuff.EVeryone knows to stay aware(situational awareness).I suggest reading up on some Army or Marine field manuals.Subjects such as “squad tactics” and “the base camp in the defense” are great light reading materials.You nevr know.

  3. Off the subject but I think its worth mentioning. If by some chance all this fails….I think Violence of Action is the most critical SHTF componet. I know people say …staying clear headed ……or staying calm..or any number of things like that but , I have quite a bit of real life experience in life and death situations…and for me personally i never could keep my mental clarity 100% of the time. On the other hand after so long its become second nature for me when the crap is scared out of me to commit everything i have into continuous violence of action….worked out for me alot more than mental clarity and all that other rubbish.JMHO.

    • NO ONE keeps mental clarity in a life threatening situation…its why so many orgainizations(police/military/etc) stress that you”fight the way you train”…you fall back on muscle memory and reflexes to survive and function….shooting at life size figures instead of paper targets is just one way… intense stress you go into a sort of auto-pilot mode and the way you have practiced something is the way you will do it at that time…so do it right the first time….two apt stories(both out of California) tell the tale….two CHP troopers were found dead after a gunfight…they both had empty cartridge cases in their hats and pouches(revolver time,awhile back)…on the range they were required to police up their brass after every shoot cycle…in a gunfight they had lost their lives POLICING UP THEIR BRASS the way they had BEEN TRAINED.In another case,a Deputy had trained for years,a couple od dozens repitionsd every night,where he used a diasarm move to capture a suspects gun that had been stuck it in his face(its an Akido move,very easy to do,if you practice it)…when he had taken the practice gun from his wife with a blinding speed snap move,he handed it back to her top do again….a Supermarket security video shows him walking around an asile one day and a real suspect stuck a gun in his face…he excuted a blindingly smooth disarm and,just like he had practiced thousands of times,he then,without second though,handed the gun back to the perp (like he did his wife in training)who shot him in the face….you will fight the way you train…its that simple

  4. Thats a good article. However I must say I am one of those people that still use cash and tend to pull out the entire wad. I just dont give it much thought. I guess because i am well versed in the arts. I practice Judo,Tae kwon Do and Kung Fu. I think eveyone should practice an art. Especially children. As you cant always carry a weapon. Plus its something TSA cant take away from you.

  5. Noting the implied experience of the posters, this is highly valuable information for the average person. Most walk around in a “Zombie focused coma”. Only focusing on the errand at hand or some thoughts induced by emotion. It is that reason alone many find themselves in the “victim situation”.

    My life revolves around Condition Yellow and I am constantly reviewing my surroundings. I live in the SF Bay Area 50 miles from SF. You better believe when I am in the City my Roscoe is with me!

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