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.