Hi and welcome to this most important article Women’s Self Defense. Most of my articles are on the topic of health. This article is just a different take on health – self preservation!
These articles are not about fighting, no one can be taught to fight online. Fighting is chaotic, unpredictable and generally inadvisable. Your best defense is an action plan.
So why does self defense relate to health? If you feel threatened by violence, you will become stressed! Your health will suffer as a consequence.
If you actually experience violence your physical and emotional health will be directly affected.
This series of articles will explore women’s self defense, but most of it relates equally to men and children. I have trained in various martial arts for 37 years. I have seen many styles, some practical, some showy, some ridiculous.
You probably don’t have all those years of training, so your safety will hopefully never come down to a physical encounter if you can keep the following 5 thoughts in mind.
Your thoughts need to be: How, When, Where, Why & Who?
1. How are you traveling?
2. How are you getting home?
3. How will you locate your destination?
4. How will you manage if you get separated from your friends?
5. How are you going to find your way home, if your friends want to go somewhere and you don’t?
1. When are you arriving, is it a safe time, will you arrive at 1am in the morning?
My wife and I have traveled extensively. I recall arriving in Nairobi at 2am. It was our backpacking days so we were on a tight budget, but I had called ahead from London and booked a room. I was sure glad I did, when we got out of the shuttle, to be confronted by a large number of men standing outside a local nightclub. Some had weapons and some were calling out to us. We knocked on the door and were relieved to find our booking was confirmed. To be honest, I would have paid to sleep in the foyer that night.
We got it partially right, but our arrival timing was all wrong. This is sometimes the price to pay for cheap travel. You have to weigh up the risks before you arrive.
2. When are you leaving? Will their still be public transport? Will there be a lot of people competing for cabs? Will the streets be empty?
I recall going to a concert with friends in San Francisco. We parked the car while it was still light, but after dark the area took on a different vibe. We were most certainly in the wrong part of town. Fortunately good fortune got us back to our car. Another case of bad management, or more correctly, no management.
Where are you going? Are you at the mercy of locals to find your way? Do you look like you know where you are going, or do you look lost?
Where are your keys? Know this before you approach your car or front door.
Where is that person who just passed you in the street? Can you see their reflection, have they stopped walking?
Where are the exits in the restaurant? In an aircraft we are shown the exits in case of emergencies. What about restaurants, nightclubs etc.? Self defense is also about protecting yourself in the case of a fire. Do you really know how to get out of your building or workplace?
Where are your friends? Have you lost track of them, do you have their cell phone numbers handy to quickly locate?
Where are you going to park your car in the car park? Under a light or in a darkened corner? You might be in a hurry when you park, it might be bright and sunny but it’s worth taking a little more time to consider how it will be when you return.
Where are other people you may connect with to enter a quiet car park?
Why are these strangers offering me a lift?
Why should I go to the party with the guy I just met?
Why am I being asked to meet in an unfamiliar place?
Why am I being told to ‘just relax’ and have fun, when I don’t feel comfortable?
Why are their so few other women at this party?
Why is he bringing his friends on our date?
Why wasn’t I told someone else would be picking me up?
Who is this person really?
Who do I trust here?
Who could help me?
There are many many, how, when, where, why and who’s. Some will be personal and specific to you or a situation.
The purpose of this article is not to make you paranoid or to prevent you from having fun. It is to encourage you to be aware of what is happening around you. If you ask yourself these questions: how, when, where, why and who, then hopefully you can make better decisions.
Of course you are not likely make good decisions if you are intoxicated, but then that’s your choice. Think about these things before you leave home, and have a safe action plan.
Have fun and play safe.
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