In the past few blogs, I have discussed the importance of being aware of your surroundings at all times when you are out and about. I cannot emphasize this enough but don’t be paranoid about it. I have also talked about the actual physical reaction you go through when a scary situation happens to you—the four “F’s.”
Today, I want to talk about the importance of being correctly conditioned to respond to these types of situations. Keep in mind that no amount of training will guarantee your safety in every case. There are also those random events that seem to come out of nowhere, which we do not have control any over, e.g., the coronavirus pandemic, a plane crash, etc.. Still, training will minimize the number of random events, like a mugging, that can happen to anyone.
For example, don’t just go out and buy a can of mace or canister of pepper spray and think you will be able to use it effectively without any training. That’s a conceit, not common sense. You should purchase a bottle or two and practice with them in an open area so you can see how far the spray will go and how full is the concentration. Is it effective past a specific range? How steady is the stream? Which one is the most effective?
You should also consider where your protection should be staged. You negate its purpose if you have it stuffed in the bottom of your purse, for example. You’ll never get to it in time if a situation jumps off. Plus, it gives you a false sense of security. You need to have it staged close by for instant access.
It the assailant covers his eyes from the spray, aim for the nostrils or mouth. Your shower will discharge in a few seconds. Once it tapers off, you need to think about hoofing it to a place of safety as quickly as possible. Don’t just assume one little squirt will do the job. You need to saturate the perpetrator assailant thoroughly while you are moving away from danger to a spot of safety, preferably where there are other people, screaming at the top of your lungs. Unless you are a trained martial artist, do not engage an assailant. I cannot emphasize this enough.
The ideal scenario would be one where you go to some type of real training with an expert to cover as many probable situations as possible. Maybe even some martial arts training. But earning a belt is not necessary for most people. Simple practice routines will work. Like giving your kids a password to use so they can’t be tricked by strangers or having a quick-release holster if you carry, etc. Most of it is just common sense.
Do not be fooled by what you see in the movies or on TV. It is ALL choreographed, and almost none of it will work in a real-life situation. It is shown only for dramatic effect. Martial arts is only useful if you train for real situations. I once knew of a guy who had three black belts (yes, and he earned them all) who got his rear end handed to him in a road-rage incident. In the heat of the moment, he forgot all his training, and the other guy, a weight-lifter, handed him two black eyes and a busted ego. He was trained but let his ego take control instead of common sense. So you might ask, what good does all that training do if you can’t use it when you need it. Remember, his mistake was letting his ego get in the way of his common sense. Don’t do the same thing he did. Trying to fight a weight-lifter bare-handed is not the same as squeezing the trigger on a container of pepper spray. There is a world of difference between the two.
The real enemy of safety is complacence. It’s getting into a habit where you take things for granted, assuming you are safe in your everyday routine. That’s the kind of thing the bad guys look for. In fact, they count on it. Don’t become a victim of your own careless behavior.
Be smart. Be prepared. Be safe.