This short palm strike instructional video and personal safety article in our Situational Awareness series will give you skills to help prevent violence from happening to you or your loved ones.
The recent violence on the news has been shocking to say the least. Hearing these stories leaves many feeling even more fearful and helpless.
Now more than ever, each one of us must have some knowledge of self defense to prevent violence from happening to us or our loved ones!
Everyone spends time in public. You or your loved ones need to know what to do to respond to a possible attack. Take a moment and imagine the following scenario:
You’re walking to your car in a parking lot with shopping bags in your arms. You don’t mean to “profile” people, but an obviously sketchy person starts approaching you in a determined and threatening manner. What would you do? Do you know what your options are? If you don’t know what you would do, then keep on reading to learn some skills that just may save your life someday.
What thoughts are going through your mind right now?
Is this situation something that you’ve considered yourself or talked about with your loved ones?
Do you have a plan of action for situations like this?
If you answered “no” to either of the last two questions, what would you give at this moment to be able to jump into a time machine to go back and make sure you had a plan of action?
Rob Pincus of ICE Training has identified the time frame for a self defense encounter as this:
To recognize and avoid a possible threat you have 1-5 minutes.
To escape a potential threat you have 30 seconds.
If you are not paying attention and a threat surprises you then you will only have 3 seconds to respond! Unless trained and practiced, most people will panic.
Evolution gives you three options: Fight, Flight, or Freeze.
It’s up to you to decide which.
What Can You Do TODAY?
Use situational awareness skills every day you are out in public.
Be in a relaxed state of general alertness, with no specific focal point. You are not looking for anything or anyone in particular; you simply have your head up and your eyes scanning. You are difficult to surprise, so therefore you are difficult to harm. You do not expect to be attacked today, but you are aware so you can see anything that is out of place. You simply recognize the possibility that something could happen without any warning, at any time, in any place. When you are out in public you should be very aware of your surroundings at all times!
Profile those that are in your vicinity.
Let’s be honest here, I bet you already profile people, right? For instance: He’s good looking, she is an adorable older woman, he looks like a typical Hollywood criminal. All major security agencies profile individuals and you can too. Throw the political correctness out the window because profiling isn’t only about the color of someone’s skin. Is that person taking an interest in you and staring at you for too long? *Red flag! Are his hands in his pocket or behind his back and is he walking your way quickly?
Walk with confident and aware body language.
There was a study done 30 years ago by Grayson and Stein. It showed a short video to convicted violent criminals of pedestrians walking in New York City. Coincidentally and illustratively, in less than seven seconds the criminals all picked out who they would attack and came up with nearly the same targets. Researchers couldn’t figure out why they picked out certain people at first because sometimes they would pick out men over small petite women. As it turns out, their choices had nothing to do with race, age, or gender. Criminals picked out:
- Slow walkers,
- People who seemed to not walk with a purpose,
- People with their head down and little or no eye contact,
- And distracted looking individuals (had it been a current study, people on their cell phones would certainly be included here)
Grayson and Stein were convinced that when people understand how to move confidently they can, “be taught how to walk that way and substantially reduce their risk of assault.” You need to walk with purpose and confidence, using body language that is assertive and shows you are aware so you are less of a target.
Use strong eye contact if someone makes you nervous.
Keep your head up and scan if front of and behind you. If you see someone that frightens you or makes you nervous then make eye contact to basically say, “I see you!” with your eyes. This actually sends a subconscious message to the predator that you are a fighter. In an interview, even Ted Bundy avoided women with strong eye contact! The element of surprise and opportunity is lost here so the criminal will likely look for a different target.
Trust your intuition.
When it comes to danger, intuition is usually right in two important ways: First, it is always responding to something you should pay attention to. Second, your intuition nearly ALWAYS guides you toward what’s in your best interest. Unlike worry, intuition will not waste your time. Learning to “trust your gut” and not doubting it will be your top safety skill. Some of the messengers of intuition are nagging feelings, persistent thoughts, humor, wonder, anxiety, curiosity, hunches, gut feelings, doubt, hesitation, suspicion, apprehension and fear. Don’t judge others by appearance, but do trust if something doesn’t feel right.
Guard your personal space.
Be careful who you let into your personal space. This ranges from 18 inches – 4 feet, and is the zone generally reserved for good friends or intimate partners in a social setting. Public distance is described as 12 feet or greater. It is not always easy to keep your personal space depending on what you are doing, but always keep a close watch on anyone in your vicintiy. Research has proven that an attacking person can get to you within 1.5 seconds from 21 feet away. Can you respond effectively and that quickly? Be ready to move or run in any direction you need to in order to get away from the threat.
Verbal defenses are used to stop someone if they are getting too close to you. If they do not stop or ignore your “NO”, then they have announced likely bad intentions. Remember that predators are likely to discount your “no”, so practice shouting the following:
“Sorry sir, I can’t help you!”
“Stop right there!”
In a questionnaire given to violent criminals, they stated that profanity or “swear words” get their attention and tend to mean a fighting personality in their intended victim. By all means, swear at them if you can’t get their attention.
Learn to fight using your body.
Take a martial arts course even if it’s just a few hours and learn how to fight with your body. Krav Maga is a great “street based” and “realistic” type of martial art without a bunch of complication. It works with your already instinctive movements, but directs them for more effect. Any type of martial art will help you develop the mindset of a fighter, and suppress that of a victim. It’s very exhilarating and empowering to know how to deflect an attack. It will buy you split seconds or surprise your attacker and that can make the difference so you can get away. It’s an “a ha!” moment where you’ll feel like you were just given some secret key to something you’ve always wanted to know.
Carry a self defense tool.
A self defense tool is a force multiplier and it can enhance the force you are able to provide in response to an attack. Whatever you choose to carry make sure you research it and “own” it. Know exactly how it works and practice with your tool. It is extremely important to have the tool(s) easily accessible when you need it and not at the bottom of your purse.
I know all the violence can leave you feeling powerless and afraid, but this is not the way to live your life. “Owning” self protection is a lifestyle and not a trend and it is incredibly empowering to know how to protect yourself. The tips above will keep you out of a fight and if for some reason you are blindsided then you will have some skills to prevail!
The average encounter is over in 9 seconds and the police department is 10-15 minutes away.
Remember, you are the first responder!
Pretty Loaded is fed up with all the blaming of what is causing the violence! There has always been violence and there will always be violence in this world! What about offering some solutions or tips to prevent crime? Be part of the solution like EliteReaders and share our blogs and safety tip videos!
Here’s to living your life on your terms…STRONG, AWARE AND CONFIDENT!
Regardless of age, gender, or time of day, being aware of your surroundings is critical at all times. Check out and share our other videos for more life saving safety tips which have inspired millions around the world.
Beth is the founder of Pretty Loaded. On a mission to install strength, awareness, and confidence, Beth began her journey as an educator and speaker after a close encounter with a would-be predator. She has trained thousands of people in person, and through her online training around the world. Beth loves spending her time reading, running, cooking, and painting. She is married and has four wonderful young girls, organic chickens, and lives on an organic produce farm and vineyard.