Updated: Apr 18, 2020
Self defense through Self and Situational Awareness
The first action in any self-defense situation is knowing yourself and knowing your surroundings. Where are you going/at? What could you expect? What are you capable of? These questions are important. If one is to properly train their fight or flight reaction, they need to always have these simple questions in mind.
Where are you going? Are you headed into a highly populated area with higher violent crime rates or headed out to the secluded wilderness? These circumstances dramatically change the situational landscape. If you are headed out into the wilderness think predators. If bears are prevalent in your area carrying a high caliber firearm and or bear mace is suggested. But yet again be aware of your situation; is it that time of year where bear cubs will be protected? Are you staying in the wild for an extended period of time and need to think about safe food storage? Know your signs and your area! If you come across fresh bear tracks and or scat it may be your best move to slowly back out of the area and find one less inhabited. And if you’re in mountain lion country don’t forget to look up. These are all factors that go into answer Where are you going? The same type of variable should be looked at for an urban situation. Are you spending a day trip in the area or will you be out all hours of the night on the wrong side of town? Have you found yourself walking alone through a dimly lit alley? When looking at violent crime stats or random violent situations a lot of times they are driven out of an aggressor’s need. Armed robbery is probably going to be the statistically biggest chance for a confrontation to happen whether you’re in a convenience store or stopped in traffic. My suggestion is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Know your exits! If you’re in a highly populated mall and a gunshot goes off mass hysteria will undoubtedly break out its best to know the closest and safest way out of your situation especially if you need to help usher your family to safety through the chaos.
What could you expect? This is the question you face when confrontation is unavoidable. Using our last two examples: You come down the trail and are face to face with a bear and her cubs. Try not to panic most the time your going to be fine as long as you’re not already too close. DON’T RUN stand up look big and slowly back away. If the bear charges you its time to make a decision. Did you bring that firearm or bear spray we talked about before? No? well damn okay. If this is a black bear its suggested that you face the bear, make yourself appear large by waving your arms high and fight for your life with your knife (You better have brought your knife), if not use sticks, or rocks. If you come face to face with a grizzly do not run. Back away slowly and if you are attacked play dead and hope the bear isn’t having you for lunch. In an urban situation what could you expect? Pay attention to the people body language can tell a lot about a person’s intent. Use this as a tool and if something is making you feel uneasy follow your instincts and act appropriately. Also pay attention to your entrances and exits if as armed robbery is bound to happen, they will come in and an exterior door will most likely be the point of entrance things will probably happen quickly so if you are far from the doors expect the attention to be on the cashier or a most likely target. Again, act appropriately go out the back if you have to avoid the confrontation.
What are you capable of? This is the point where you have to be honest with yourself. I mean it real honest with yourself. What type of skill set do you have? Do you have wilderness training? Martial arts training? Firearm training? This question is going to come into play in the face of a confrontation. This is when you have the ability to make a predetermined decision based on your individual skill set. If you are experienced in combat or have a martial arts background or if you even just feel confident in defending yourself, you can now make a decision that if you experience an unarmed attack you can take the aggressor head on. If your background has not given you the confidence in this situation trust your feet and high tail it out run run run and don’t look back until you have made it somewhere safe. If you chose to stand your ground work defensive positions and deescalate the situation with force. If the opposition has a weapon this is where you really need to be situationally aware. If it’s a knife and there is a way for you to escape do it chance of you successfully defending yourself without major injury is much smaller than an unarmed attack, remember this is not an action movie this is real life. If the situation has you backed into a corner and you have no means of escape you fight for your life. Try to isolate the weapon in the attacker’s hand with both your hands on one wrist and fight to control the situation until you can either control the weapon, eliminate the weapon, or get turned around and find a path to escape. If you are comfortable and or ok with the reality of defending your and the ones you love lives (and you damn well better be this life can throw some unfortunate situations at us) you may have to face a gunman. In this case hopefully you are carrying a firearm (concealed or otherwise) and are in a circumstance and defensive position to defend yourself and the people you care about if not defending all innocent bystanders. Regardless of the situation know your skill set and lack thereof. Being honest with yourself is your best chance at making an accurate informed decision in the heat of the moment.
Without too many words the best means of self defense is to know yourself, know what to expect, and know your surroundings. These bits of information give you the best preparation for any unfortunate event you find yourself in.