Highlights September 2020

Safety & Self Defense: Keeping Safe

One of the biggest challenges that people face in the modern world is keeping themselves safe from those looking to do them harm. While there are plenty of self-defense courses across the valley, there are some things that you can do in your everyday life that will help prepare you to be more likely to spot someone that is assessing you as a victim.

One of the first things that an assailant will do is establish an area where they feel comfortable and can pick out potential victims. This means that they can linger around, and size up people as they pass by. Shopping malls, grocery stores are two examples of ideal places.

Once they have picked out a potential victim, they will often start tailing them. They are looking at how aware the victim may be to their surroundings, whether they will be an easy target, and how likely they are to resist. Once they have determined if you are a victim, they will start matching your walking speed, looking around for witnesses, before suddenly entering your personal zone for any assault.

Fortunately, there are some basic things that you can do that will greatly reduce the chances of you being targeted for any potential assault.

  • Be alert for anyone paying more than casual attention to you. Your subconscious will pick this up more often than not.
  • Don’t enter an environment that you don’t think is safe. If you are hesitant about it, either don’t go or go with a group.
  • Establish a surveillance routine – nothing fancy, just every few minutes scan the area around you for people that keep appearing, or other situations that may hinder any escape attempts.
  • Any time you enter a store, theater or other social venue, look for all exits. Know where they are, so if one is blocked you have alternatives.
  • Stay in crowds or places with high visibility.
  • Examine your clothing for hindrance or escape possibilities – Are you wearing really tight clothing or shoes that would keep you from running? If you had to slip out of a shirt, would you be too embarrassed to run shirtless?

The biggest key, other than trying to not make yourself accessible as a potential victim, is to have a plan ahead of time and to practice that plan on a regular basis. The more familiar you are with a routine, the higher the chance you will use that routine effectively in an encounter. Make it tailored to you – If you are physically frail, or have a temporary or permanent disability, a physical confrontation might not be your best selection.

Be aware of your surroundings, do everything to not make yourself an appealing victim, and practice a defense/escape routine on a regular basis. If you are interested in going further, there are many self defense options available to you.

Written by: John Paitel, Storm Self Defense & Tactical Fitness


John Paitel is the founder and principal instructor of Storm Self Defense and Tactical fitness, providing self defense seminars and fitness training for the tactical community. A two-time world champion in Tae Kwon Do, he has over 30 years experience in martial arts and teaching others how to effectively implement safety and self-defense techniques.

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