In essence, defense is an aspect of preservation, be it of your person or of something else, and as such, should be considered in relation to the whole. Just learning how to handle a physical assault, while arguably a potentially vital competence to have, is not going to do much on its own, in terms of safety.
In this article we will take a look at some of the things that are valuable to consider in the context of self-preservation, besides a competence in physical altercation.
While second and third priorities may differ, the first priority of any fight is to get out of it with as little damage as possible to that which you fight to protect. The best way to do that is obviously to avoid the threat altogether.dscf4789
All Good In Theory, But What Can I Actually Do?
There are many factors to consider, and much to be said about each factor, but let’s begin by lining some of them up:
*Don’t provoke unnecessarily
*Don’t act like a victim
*Stay in control
Don’t Provoke Unnecessarily
The basic principle of it is “Don’t walk around Harlem with a shirt saying ‘White Supremacy’ in big, obvious letters”. While in reality the choices you are faced with may be less extreme, they will often be about as obvious, if you simply take the time to consider them.
Can what you are doing, saying, wearing or carrying be provocative in the context, either in the form of an insult, or in the form of a challenge? Both of which can get you in trouble.
This, unfortunately, includes dressing in a way that may be seen as a sexual invitation. Dressing according to promiscuous stereotypes, may invite attention from men whom it can be dangerous to reject. While in a perfect world this would not be true, it is the world we live in, and while the fault of an assault always lies completely with the offender, from a perspective of self-preservation it is a factor that should not be overlooked.
Don’t Act Like A Victim
The other side of the coin of not being provoking, running away from confrontation can also make you look weak in a way that invites so called “predatory” behavior, so how does one avoid being challenging while still giving an impression of strength?
A key guideline is to be determined and strong when it comes to yourself, but not trying to boss someone else around. An example is using the phrase “I would like to be left alone, please”, in contrast to for example “Get away from me”. The difference being that the second phrase tells the other person what to do, showing that you are putting yourself above that person, whereas the first one does not.
In the example, we see also an example of another key guideline: Be nice.
Being clear and determined, repeating yourself in a clear, not too quiet voice, looking someone straight in the eye, turning towards someone with an open body language, etcetera, are all signs of strength that go very well with politeness. This allows you to avoid looking like a victim, while also not being provocative in any way.
Stay In Control
So, it’s Friday night, you want to go out, and you want to appear attractive, which can mean dressing and acting in a way that may be provoking. You are aware that there is risk associated with this, but you decide that it’s worth it. Following the above advise can get you a long way, but there is more you can do:
*Stay with people, whether they are your friends or just crowds and people in general. The more the merrier. Not just in the bar/club or wherever you are, but also on the way there, and on the way home.
*Don’t get too intoxicated. If you do get intoxicated while out, try to get a chance to sober up a bit before heading home.
*Use clothes you can move in, particularly when it comes to shoes. Being able to run can be a deciding factor not just in escaping a situation, but in avoiding one. Victims who look like they can run are less inviting that those who can barely walk.
In the next and final part, we will look at awareness, as well as some other important factors.
Our next Women’s Self Defense clinic is coming up on Thursday June 22, from 6:30pm-9pm. Register below. Space is limited!