This is a follow-up to my â€œ5 Easy Self Defence Tipsâ€ posted last week. If you havenâ€™t read it yet, you can do so by clicking here.
The focus of my last article was around a â€˜display of dominanceâ€™ type of attack â€“ the beta gorilla challenging the authority of the head of the band. He is the one with â€œsomething to proveâ€. What he wants to take from you is your status and your pride, so he can boost his own. A truly needy person, who we might describe in everyday language as having â€œconfidence issuesâ€. Consider again the silverback gorilla (we are animals after all) â€“ the challenger may be trying to display all the qualities of an alpha-male, he is not â€“ the true alpha-male doesnâ€™t do that unless challenged.
Today Iâ€™ll give 5 more very easy tips, but this time Iâ€™ll use the preedatorial type attacker as the context. This is the tiger sneaking up on the deer. She is not trying to establish any status â€“ her strategy is to go undetected and use the element of surprise.
The predator is the mugger, the rapist, the kidnapper, the murderer. Their attack is not based on heightened emotion such as anger like our previous attacker â€“ it is premeditated and callous. Although their intent will determine the severity of it, it is on the whole statistically far more dangerous. Happily though, it far less common as well.
With that in mind, letâ€™s look at 5 more tips.
Tip #1 â€“ Follow Your Gut
Ever just feel like something isnâ€™t quite right â€“ like you get a â€œdodgyâ€ feeling? Or look down a lonely laneway and feel â€œI shouldnâ€™t go that wayâ€. Perhaps youâ€™ve met someone and there was just â€œsomething about themâ€ you didnâ€™t trust. This is your instinct talking to you. All animals have them â€“ the difference between us and them is that they always act on them, whereas we reason with ourselves and â€œtalk ourselves out ofâ€ taking action. If you feel this way, leave â€“ go somewhere you feel more comfortable. Take a different route, get a cab, find a crowd, or a different venue for the night – whatever. Your instincts are warning you of a danger you perhaps havenâ€™t consciously processed. Consciously we can only concentrate on a small number of things at one time, but our subconscious is observing everything! Perhaps you have picked something up in your peripheral vision that triggered a fear sensation, perhaps that guy with just â€œsomething offâ€ was saying something different with his body language or his tonality that didnâ€™t match his words, or maybe it was just that his presence was â€œout of placeâ€ for the situation.
Perhaps that â€œshort cut homeâ€ just looks dangerous because, well â€“ it is! That lonely laneway is a great place for a predator to attack, where youâ€™re both out of sight of being interrupted, and where he has more time to do whatever it is he has planned. In fact, it is for this very reason that a predator will often try to take you from the scene of attack to somewhere isolated just like this. Donâ€™t do half the job for him!
I have a saying – “Self Defence Starts With Common Sense!” Unfortunately, we don’t commonly exercise it.
Tip #2 â€“ Can You Buy Your Way Out?
So youâ€™re a smart person and you donâ€™t take silly risks by unnecessarily hanging around in dangerous places, but you still have to go about your normal daily life. Youâ€™re wandering about town going about your business when as if out of nowhere you are approached by a stranger and told â€œgive me your walletâ€. He is standing far too close for comfort and as you are trying to take in whatâ€™s happening you notice to your horror that he is holding a knife to you. He repeats, panicked â€“ â€œI said give me your wallet!â€
Now the sexy thing for a martial arts or self defence instructor to tell you here is how to disarm and control the mugger without parting with your hard earned cash. While this is possible, and we train for it, you are really entering into a struggle for your life where you are at a major disadvantage against an armed and probably experienced attacker. If you think the hundred euro in your wallet is worth dying for then by all means go ahead and give it a go, but my personal advice would be to calmly assure the guy you are going to comply, take your wallet out, and â€¦ give it to him! Even better – if you can drop or throw it to the ground, do so, then take off in the other direction while he goes fumbling for it. I know, it sucks â€“ why on earth should you give this lazy scumbag your hard earned cash and how dare he treat you like that?! And I agree, but unfortunately it has happened, and rather than focus on how it shouldnâ€™t have youâ€™d do better to accept your situation and deal with it from there. The fact that heâ€™s shown you the knife is actually a good sign â€“ it indicates that he is most likely using it as a threat, and doesnâ€™t intend to use it. If he wanted to stab you, it is less likely youâ€™d have seen the knife at all. If heâ€™s threatening you and you trigger his defensive mechanisms by attacking him, all bets are off. You can make your own call on how valuable what heâ€™s after is to you. A knife is a serious, serious threat and is very hard to defend yourself against without sustaining some kind of injury. If money will make him go away, it might be worth paying for.
Tip #3 â€“ Donâ€™t Go There!
What if itâ€™s not money heâ€™s after? What if instead of â€œgive me your moneyâ€ he says â€œGet In The Vanâ€, or â€œCome With Meâ€. Now weâ€™re in a different ball game. He is now trying to bring you to what is called a â€œsecondary crime sceneâ€, and itâ€™s a place that you definitely do not want to go. He may as well be saying to you â€“ â€œHey, Iâ€™ve got some horrible things I want to do to you, but I canâ€™t do it here because itâ€™s not private enough, so come with me and Iâ€™ll take you somewhere more appropriateâ€. Donâ€™t go! In the case of asking for money or goods, his intention was pretty clear and the risk involved in trying to escape just wasnâ€™t worth it. In this case however you are actually better off trying to fight or escape from your current location, than going with him. Itâ€™s still dangerous, absolutely, but unfortunately this is the horrific situation you are in. Once again, acceptance is the key. In a traumatic situation such as this, it is common to try to convince ourselves that weâ€™ll be ok â€“ just do as he says, it will be fine. To do so however is to deny reality â€“ he is not trying to bring you somewhere safer. You can deal with it now where you are, or later where he wants you to be. Tell him â€œlook I have money, you can have itâ€ or â€œlook I donâ€™t want any trouble â€“ please just take what you wantâ€. You can try and bargain and to get a better feeling for what he wants. You can do all you can to diffuse it without violence (and in fact all of this is eating into his limited attack timeframe), but you must stay in the moment. If your attempts at bargaining are causing more heated and violent aggression, then it might be time to act, and the sooner â€“ the better. Which brings us to tip #4.
Tip #4 â€“ Act Fast
You may not always be â€œluckyâ€ enough to have been approached by a predator in a public environment. Regardless of whether youâ€™re in public, in private, in a â€œsuitableâ€ location for his assault or if he prefers to move you to a secondary location â€“ the sooner you can act to defend yourself the better. Put yourself in the position of the predator for a moment, stalking his victim, choosing the right moment. He may have a loose â€œplanâ€ in his head of how the assault will progress, but regardless he will still have to â€œpsyche himself upâ€ to make the move and actually commence his assault. Once itâ€™s started, at this early stage both the victim and the attacker will be highly adrenalized and nervous, albeit for different reasons. Under these conditions it is far more difficult to think clearly, as you are both under stress/panic, both out of control, and both facing an unknown opponent. As the assault progresses however, things shift dramatically. As the victim is complying, they begin to feel less confident and more out of control, while the assailant starts to feel more confident, and more in control of the situation. Once the initial fight/flight/freeze response passes from the victim, they go from high adrenaline state into one of fear and hopelessness, whereas the attacker goes into one of power, control and more focused calm, as he follows through with his plan. To put it another way â€“ the longer you wait the greater his advantage over you. For this reason you should take your first available opportunity to act, and once you act â€“ commit to following through with it! Deciding on when that opportunity arises will be depend on the situation, so I canâ€™t give you a golden rule to follow except to use the first one you recognize. Feigning compliance is a good way to put an attacker somewhat at ease and have him lower his guard a bit. Throwing your wallet as described in tip #2 might also get you a temporary opening.
Tip #5 â€“ Commit
Having to fight our way out is not the preferable position, but it may be necessary. If youâ€™ve decided to attack, commit to your decision. You want to neutralize your attacker at least enough to escape. At this point you are dealing with a very serious assault and you should act accordingly â€“ ie as if your life depends on it! Youâ€™re not trying to teach him a lesson, youâ€™re trying to get the heck out of this situation that heâ€™s forcing upon you. When you commit to attack, attack with everything youâ€™ve got â€“ use a barrage of well targeted strikes using your palms, feet, elbows, until you have created sufficient room to safely escape. Shouting during the attack will add a psychological element to your attack, and may even draw attention from nearby public. Shouting on your escape may also deter him from chasing you for fear of being caught. The story goes that shouting â€œfireâ€ will get a better response than â€œhelpâ€, since people will come running to see a fire rather than run into the middle of an assault. â€œCall the policeâ€ might be another suggestion.
And that’s it. Bit of a more somber tone today given the subject matter, but I hope you found the article informative. Thankfully such attacks are not something that happen to us every day, but the risks for those who do encounter it are too high. One of the main points I wanted to emphasize was the necessity to be in the moment – in other words, to accept what is happening now and to act accordingly. You can worry about how you got there later. When we’re in shock and under intense fear, there may be a tendency to try and deny reality, because it’s sometimes easier than facing fact. This delusional state of “this can’t be happening” puts you at an even greater disadvantage, as you convince yourself that everything is fine when in fact the opposite is true. When you accept your current situation, you become more powerful in dealing with it. You’ll do well to apply this principle to other aspects of your life as well…
I strongly advise you to sign up for a good self defence training course,Â where you can learn this and more in detail and get the skills you need for the physical side of things. Self defence is a right for everybody, and you should give yourself the advantage of being able to handle yourself.
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