You might look at this list and think it is far too simplistic, yet the most straightforward ideas offer the most life-saving advice with violence. So let’s add a quick thought to each of these.
Avoid Dangerous People & Places – you likely read this and think, “Well, DUH!” How often have you been somewhere or with someone, and your intuition tells you something is not correct. Still, you stay anyway because you will only be a few minutes, or I don’t see an immediate threat, and often people fear hurting someone’s feelings to the point they threaten their safety.
Don’t Be a Good Target – no one, I hope, goes out to look like an excellent target, but most people walk around doing just that with no consciousness to it. Everyone in the self-defence industry talks about the hazards of wearing earbuds, being on your phone, etc., to the point that I am sure it just gets lost.
An interesting exercise is to put yourself in the mindset of a predator looking for a victim. Walk down the street and look for people who you think might make a good victim. Who do you choose? Why did you choose them? Think of as many details as you can, like body language cues like stride length, arms, where they are looking, and what the facial expressions are like. Is the person distracted? The more detail you can find, the more you might notice in yourself.
Then, possibly more important, is to look at the people and pick out those you would not choose and why? Many people soon find it is much more than just someone appearing big and strong. Many notice an attitude that tells them, “Nope, not a good target!” I have seen people around five feet tall who I would be less likely to target than someone six feet tall and muscular. Much more comes into play than just size.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings – I purposely put that straightforward statement. All self-defence instructors state you need to be aware of your surroundings, but what does that mean? We all walk around with our eyes open and have some level of awareness, but that is not conscious awareness of potential harm. However, your intuition may kick in. The addition of distractions like phones, earbuds, and even clothing may block your view that muddy the waters of awareness. I have posted it many times, but here is a great exercise/game explained by Richard Dimitri. He calls it the Give It a Name Game, and it explains how you can become more aware of your surroundings without being on HIGH ALERT all the time.
Do Not Argue, Provoke, or Allow a Verbal Conflict to Escalate – I wrote an entire book on this over a year ago. You can either visit Amazon or CLICK HERE , but the most seemingly insignificant conflicts can result in tragedy. I offer many tips, but one simple one is if you conflict and are being accused of some wrongdoing that YOU ARE GUILTY OF, how about saying, “I am sorry!” Wow, what a concept! I would even say there is nothing wrong with saying sorry to something you may not be guilty of if it increases your chances of getting home safely. For me, getting home safely is more of a priority than winning a stupid argument.
Escape or Create Distance if You Feel Threatened – you can tie this into the previous topic of conflict. Just search for videos of disputes, and the majority of the time, you will see two people face to face, toe to toe, with their chests touching. Each is trying to intimidate the other. Anyone who understands the physical side of self-defence understands that it is virtually impossible to stop the other person from striking them in a situation like this. Whoever hits first will land their shot. Now, whether that shot is significant enough to harm the other person is another question. Keeping a distance, or better yet, leaving, is a safer strategy if viable. If you have space, you can monitor body language, look for cues of an attack, view exit points.