As a single mom in a large city, self-defense is important to me; it’s even important to my little girl, who had her first bully encounter in pre-kindergarten. Unfortunately, I’ve also been in my share of scary situations where I believe the following real-life self-defense tips, and perhaps a bit of luck, were the only things that allowed me to escape.
Here Are 6 Tips for Real-Life Self-Defense
1. Don’t be an easy target. Most criminals want easy targets — people who are unsuspecting, look and act vulnerable. The last thing you want to do is walk around unaware of your surroundings — distracted by someone or on your phone — in low-traffic or poorly-lit areas; and/or avoiding eye contact, looking submissive or scared like “easy victims.” A police officer once told me that when walking alone, look suspicious people in the eyes and say “hello” in a self-assured voice. This tells them two things: 1. you are aware of them and 2. you are NOT their “ideal target.”
2. When buckling the kids in their car seats, don’t be a sitting duck. What position are we in when strapping children in the car? Usually, our bums are half-way out, heads down, and, yes, vulnerable to anyone who is looking to rob, kidnap, or attack (sounds dramatic, but crime prevention is key). Instead, you can use an extra car seat communication mirror to see behind your back, or at least glance around. If your children are old enough, ask them to watch your back. (My daughter watched mine until she was old enough to buckle herself in. I’m actually writing this as she’s practicing MMA — she’s no easy target.)
3. Holler and fight back. If you are attacked, DEFEND YOURSELF and be LOUD about it. You want to call as much attention as you can and send the message to your assailant that you were the wrong target and he should move on.
4. Use everything you’ve got. Use whatever you’ve got to injure the assailant bad enough to escape: your keys, a pen, pumps, your fist, elbows, knees, teeth, even your own body weight. Here’s a helpful collection of lifehacker basic self-defense tactics everyone should know. Never think you are defenseless.
5. Fight smart. Don’t overdo it and wear yourself out. Target the assailant’s vulnerable areas: eyes, throat, neck, groin (most effective when preceded with a distraction), nose, knees. These areas may only require a jab or poke to buy you enough time to escape.
6. Get away however you can. In the event you tire out fighting, or your assailant gets the best of you, don’t give up! Stay in survivor mode: outlast and outwit. Pretend to surrender, and in the few seconds your assailant relaxes, make your move, get away, call for help.
I hope you find the above tips helpful. Let’s hope you never need to use all of them; but like air bags and parachutes, I think we can all agree they’re good to have!
You may also enjoy our article on self-defense for kids, Anti-Bullying Tips That Work, including how to recognize when your child is being bullied and how to help.