Awareness is key to personal security, you can create a self-defense or personal protection plan by planning, understanding, times of day that’s safest, safest locations, weapons, training, health and fitness, technology, etc.
Setting clear boundaries in your mind, should happen before you’re in a situation and should start right away when you’re in whatever situation you find yourself in. No one has the right to disrespect you.
You control you, no body else.
Only 15% report incidence, because many blame themselves because they don’t set clear boundaries for themselves or for others that they interact with, and it gets out of control. At anytime you have the right to stop whatever is happening and take back control or leave. Stay aware & focused.
If in a coffee shop with people you may be very safe, but the walk there or the parking lot maybe very dangerous.
Be more vigilant and aware in public placesHow is your situational awareness?
Are you less vulnerable when you go out in public or more vulnerable?
1. REDUCE AND AVOID DISTRACTIONS
When in public areas, you need to be aware. Put away your mobile devices and focus on where you’re surroundings. You can not be vigilant when you’re distracted with your smartphone?
Replying to a text can wait. Don’t take calls while you’re walking to your next destination. Stand at a secure spot or locked car and then take out your phone.
Don’t forget to keep your eyes on your environment. Sit where you can see the room fully. Shift your position often so you can look past the extent of your peripheral vision. Taking a call is no excuse to become blind to your surroundings.
Don’t listen to music so loud that all other external sounds are inaudible. Better yet, avoid wearing headphones or earphones while you’re waiting for the bus or walking.
2. ASSESS YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
To keep yourself safe, you first need to know yourself. Are you a small and agile person or are you tall and intimidating? Do you have the ability to fight back (have you trained or you just think your tough) or would you be safer running for help can you run a mile or more, can you do a push up, pull up?
If you play sports or stay in shape, you may have better chances of escaping a single attacker, do you know which way to run. If you are on the heavier side, it may be better to call for help rather than attempting to escape an aggressive assailant.
Do you have an injury that will prevent you from running in case of an attack? Do you have a soft voice? If you do, carry a whistle to call for others’ attention instead.
Know where you have the advantage and where you are at a disadvantage. This knowledge will help you prepare an escape strategy. Make sure your strategy matches your physical capacities, resources, and more.
3. BE A DIFFICULT TARGET
First of all, be aware of your body language. Keep your head up when you go out and walk with purpose.
Observe what's going on around you, people, places, business, etc.. It's very easy to spot someone that's lost, confussed unaware, or looking for something.
Avoid dark, isolated areas where you could be ambushed. Don’t make it easy for criminals to corner you. Stay in open spaces where many people are as well.
Are you rushing? Better not take the shortcut in the alleyway. It’s better that you be late for your appointment than assaulted in a corner alley. Traffic accidents go up dramaticaly because of rushed, unaware drivers.
4. TRUST YOUR GUT
Trust your gut feeling. Our human instinct is very real, proven and a powerful thing.
Does a place or an area feel wrong to you? Don’t ignore your instinct for any reason. Get out of there and look for another route instead.
Your instinct is your internal warning signal. Don’t ever ignore it. Experts don't ignore their instincts.
5. PLAN FOR POSSIBLE INCIDENTS
Roleplay situations, plan, perpare, practice. You get a fire extinguisher and smoke detector just incase of a fire. When you have a bad feeling that something bad might happen, start preparing for it. Play out every imaginable outcome in your head.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.
Who could be around next corner. Ask yourself what would happen if you got attacked and reacted in different ways.
Try to make this a habit. Being able to foresee events can help you think of solutions for your daily problems in advance and many times avoid completely.
Don’t overthink things, but do small quick calculations to a problem. In time, you would be able to think of many different outcomes from a single event within a few seconds.
6. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS IS OBSERVING YOUR SURROUNDINGS
In 2015, the FBI recorded almost 285,000 robbery cases and over 94,000 rape offenses. More than 113,00 robberies happened in the street or highway. Being a victim of any form of assault can be a traumatizing experience.
To avoid be aware of your surroundings. Learn to read people and observe their behavior. Suspicious behavior is easy to spot if you know to look.
Another means of being aware of your environment is to familiarize yourself with it. If you are in a new place, get to know the location. The first thing you should find out is where the nearest safety and security responders are.
7. CARRY ITEMS FOR SELF-DEFENSE
There may even come a time when you get targeted no matter how vigilant you are. Learn to defend yourself, carry a weapon to protect yourself futher; gun, knife, stick, pepper spray, etc. check local laws and requirements. Carry load panic alarms, whistle, air horn, panic key button.
Decide on lethal or non-lethal. Laws are different all 50 American states, too.
Becoming a vigilent, aware, hard target or remaining an oblivious, soft target is about making a decision, putting in some work and practice.
Kyoshi Charles Riedmiller 7th Dan Head Instructor/Owner Summit Martial Arts Delaware, Ohio and has over 45 years experience in the Martial Arts, he started training in Goju Ryu karate and Judo at age 13. He been training in Goju Ryu & Shorin Ryu Karate, Kobudo, Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido for over 4 decades and BJJ for over 20yrs with Professor Pedro Sauer. He has been dedicated to teaching authentic, high quality Martial Arts his entire life. Sensei Riedmiller has taught thousands of Military, Law Enforcement, pro-fighters/champions and martial art students of all ages.