By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog
Learning how to defend yourself is a critical skill to develop, regardless of your age, gender, or physical ability. It would be ideal if every single person could receive formal training through a self defense class. However, since that’s not always possible, we’ve put together this list of the 5 best self defense tactics you can use today — right away — without having to take a self defense class.
Self defense tactic 1: Project confidence
The best self defense tactic is to avoid ever becoming a victim in the first place! Most attackers look for easy targets: people who seem weak, slow, or timid. So make it your business to come across as someone who’s going to put up a good fight. That’ll make it less likely that an attacker picks you as his victim.
How do you project confidence? It all comes down to your body language. Your shoulders should be back, your chin should be up, your back should be straight, and you should have a “don’t-even-think-of-messing-with-me” look on your face. If you’re walking, make sure you look like you know where you’re going. Walk briskly, with purpose, even if you’re lost.
Self defense tactic 2: Be aware of your surroundings
One of the biggest advantages an attacker can have over you is the element of surprise. If he can catch you off guard, it’s more likely you won’t react effectively from a self defense perspective.
Don’t give the attacker this advantage. Think ahead about all the different environments you frequent and the routes between these places. Are there certain areas where you could be vulnerable? Every time you enter a new location — a store, for example, or a subway car — visually scan your surroundings to look for signs of danger. Make it a habit to stay vigilant at all times.
Self defense tactic 3: Pre-plan escape routes and safe havens
In each of the places you spend the most time — home, office, school — which route would you use to escape if it was necessary? What if that route was blocked, what would your back-up escape route be? Think about the routes you take most often. If someone was following you while you were on that route, where could you run to for safety? Is there a store that you could duck into to avoid an attacker? If you’re on this route at night, will those stores still be open? Doing this kind of pre-planning can be a great self defense tactic.
Self defense tactic 4: Trust your instincts
One of the best self defense tactics is learning to trust your instincts. If someone is creeping you out, or you get a bad vibe for no apparent reason, don’t sit around and wait to find out if you’re right or not — act on it right away. It’s possible that your subconscious mind has noticed a small detail that your conscious mind isn’t aware of, whether it’s a shifty glance, or a bulge that could be a concealed weapon.
Learn to trust your gut and act on what your instincts are telling you. Do whatever you need to do to get to safety, whether it’s crossing the street, moving into the next subway car, ducking into a store, asking a police officer for help, grabbing something in your purse that you can use as a weapon, or simply, preparing to run.
Self defense tactic 5: Keep your senses on high alert
You now know that being caught off guard by an attack is one of the worst things that can happen to you. If you’re going to be aware of your surroundings, you need to make sure that you maximize your ability to see and hear approaching danger.
Don’t wear sunglasses at night, as you won’t be able to see as clearly. Avoid wearing a hood over your head, as it can obstruct your peripheral vision. Avoid listening to music on your earphones or at the very least, keep one ear unplugged.
Remember: attacks can happen anywhere, anytime. Taking a self defense class could literally save your life. But until you’re able to do so, use these 5 self defense tactics to keep yourself out of harm’s way.