Know Thy Self Defense

Even the most burly and intimidating of people have felt uncomfortable and unsafe when walking down an unlit street in a neighborhood that does not have the best reputation.

When “fight or flight” instincts swell up in the pit of the stomach, it is easy for the mind to turn simple sights and sounds into possible horrific events. Every shriek is an attempted murder, and behind every trash can is an attacker just waiting for the right moment.

However, it is important to not disregard these feelings. The fact is that about 2,300 adults and children are reported missing each day, and in 2012, at least 1,214,462 violent crimes were committed in the United States alone, as the US FBI reports.

But it is possible to prepare for these unfortunate situations. You can take a few simple steps which can mean the difference between being a victim of a crime and coming out relatively unharmed.

• Mace. If you have it, use it. Pepper spray is one of the leading methods in self defense. When you find yourself in a situation in which you feel unsafe, remove your Mace from your handbag, and place it in an easily reachable spot, such as a jacket pocket. If you need to use the pepper spray hold the canister close to the assailant’s face and keep the stream steady as to avoid wind that may blow the Mace back into your own face.

• Safety Apps. There really is an app for everything nowadays, and that includes self defense and safety. One of the top apps in this category is “Circle of Six.” This free app takes only two taps to send out one of three preprogrammed messages to six of your chosen contacts. One of the features includes a “Come and Get Me” message that uses your phone’s GPS to send your exact location to your contacts. You can search the App Store or the Google Play Store for more technological ways to stay safe.

• Hit Sensitive Areas. While hardly any of us are trained and skilled fighters, there are universal areas in which every person is inherently weaker. When there is no other option but to fight back during an attack, always try to go for the eyes, nose, throat, groin and knees. Try to use your entire body’s force against sensitive areas and your assailant may loosen his or her grip. These defensive attacks may cause enough pain to the assailant that his or her loosen their grip or, even better, the assailant may become unable to move at all.

• Breaking a Zip Tie. If an attacker succeeds in abducting you, more than likely your hands will be bound with zip ties. If you ever find yourself in this position, keep calm and remember zip ties are very breakable when the right force is applied. First, tighten the zip tie as tight as it will go around your hands. Next, raise your hands above your head. Then, in one fell swoop, bring your hands towards your stomach, knees and back slightly bent, while simultaneously bringing shoulder blades together. This pressure, if applied correctly, should force the lock of the zip tie to break in half. There are also plenty of youtube videos, that teach different techniques to use in various situations.

• Avoid. Whenever possible, avoid situations that can put you at risk. Always keep your head up, paying attention to your surroundings. Stay in groups as much as possible, as you are less likely to be attacked in a group. Lock car doors immediately after getting inside, and park in well lit areas. Walk wide around street corners as to avoid attackers waiting around corners. When jogging at night or early in the morning, run with a partner. Finally, tell at least one other person where you will be and when you will be back. Let them know you reached your destination safely. The longer it takes someone to realize you are missing, the longer you are in danger.