Stay in Shape. It takes speed to outrun an assailant. Strength, speed and endurance all play a role in how fast you can run. Speed and muscular strength also make most self-defense techniques more effective. Muscular strength and physical fitness also make you appear more intimidating and less like a victim. Flexibility gives you greater range of movement to get out of holds and to kick more effectively.
Express confidence. If you do end up being isolated in a bad neighborhood don't frantically look around like your suffering from schizophrenia, and never reveal your wealth by picking through your wallet or nervously playing with your necklace. Be discreet. Keep your chin up walk confidently with erect posture and at a moderate pace. Conceal any wealth you may be carrying, without exposing it in the process. Casually look forward and around you. Be aware of your surroundings without darting your eyes around nervously. By acting this way you look less like a person who would bend to an assailant's every whim, and more like a confident strong human being.
Have less to steal. Don't go walking down a dark street with jewelry and a thick wallet. Only carry what's necessary. This makes it easier to give it up in order to protect yourself.
Safety in numbers. Victims are less inviting when traveling with other people.
The most valuable skill in self-defense is avoiding a situation that would require self-defense. This means walking down lighted populated streets. Avoid dark empty roads. Don't provoke a fight. Apologize if you have to. Be strong enough to swallow your pride in order to protect yourself and those around you. If someone's causing trouble avoid that person, or leave the establishment. A business doesn't deserve your business if it can't ensure your safety.
Give up your cash or material goods, not your life. If you get held up, big deal. Just give him the small amount of cash you have and violence can be avoided, and your life preserved. Your life is worth more cash than you could ever carry.
Run! If you think you'll be harmed, don't stay for a beating. Haul ass! Half the time they won't chase you. If they do chase you, you must immediately evaluate whether or not they can catch you. If it's obvious they can and will, then don't wait for them to strike you from behind. Stop, turn and face them. When they get close, use one of the techniques in face to face combat; a double dragon or snake strike to their eyes, a palm strike to the nose or a stomp kick to their knees can stall them enough to let you escape. Striking the eyes or nose can be both intimidating and cause their eyes to water profusely rendering them temporarily blind. A kick to the knee will also hinder their ability to run. If they have a gun, the situation is much more dangerous. See defending against a gun.
One of the most difficult things to do in a threatening situation is to think rationally. We are not accustomed to being threatened because the environment we live in is mostly civilized. Our thought process for threatening situations has not been exercised. It's common for people to freeze up, or forget what they've learned. But if your assailant intends to hurt you, the worst thing you can do is freeze up. You must make a conscious effort to switch into a protective state of mind. In other words heighten your senses, and get ready for attack. This transforms you from a victim into a force to be reckoned with, in order to solve the obstacle at hand, whether it means giving your money, taking off running, or getting into a fighting stance. To help switch to this frame of mind, try the following...
Open your eyes wide open. Note your surroundings: How many possible attackers, where escape routes are, what objects you can use to defend yourself or to slow down your attackers, etc.
Imagine a loved one (your parents, spouse, children, girlfriend or boyfriend) standing in front of you, and that the assailant is going to hurt them. This will make you more protective.
Hesitation in the most severe situations could get you killed.
To many it will seem unreal, like it would never happen to them, so they remain victims until it's too late. This is your life at stake. Respect the reality presented before you. Quickly think of possible solutions and act. Don't be a victim.
Once an attack occurs, there is no time to review. If you haven't gone over your technique for a while, you may not be able to react quickly enough to effectively thwart an attacker. The best thing to do is to review your technique on a regular basis, say once a week. If you could carry a small self defense technique book wherever you go, it would serve as a constant reminder to review and would provide a way to do so. Whenever you have a spare moment, like in a grocery store line, waiting for a movie to start, sitting on the bus, you could pull out your book and reinforce your knowledge. To provide this we have designed a Self Defense Book Key Chain that fits in your pocket.
To get your own for $10, please contact our customer service department at 1(866)477-8573.
For more protective devices that you can easily carry anywhere, see our section on how to protect yourself against weapons.