Monday, August 20, 2018

Emergency Self-Defense

I like to start off my posts with something funny and memorable, but I am going to tone that down for this post because of the subject matter.

Preppers talk about TETOWAKI or SHTF a lot. Both of those terms imply that something has gone horribly wrong with society, at least on a local basis, but even if all else is well you may find yourself in an emergency that requires that you defend your life at any time. With luck and situational awareness you can avoid most of these situations -- but not always.

One of my favorite quotes is “There are no dangerous items, only dangerous people”. In self-defense, be a dangerous person.


The first step is to make sure that you don’t have an emergency. Keeping an eye out can save a lot of grief, and there are articles in the archive on the subject that cover this in depth. Having situational awareness makes a difference, if for no other reason than that it makes you look like less of a target. Having any potential threats view you as "too difficult to bother with" can save you a whole lot of trouble.


If you are in an emergency, the most important thing you can do (unless you're a professional first responder) is to see if you can get away from the situation. I'm not kidding; run away if you can! There is nothing wrong with that. Talk to a martial arts instructor, and you will get the same advice.

Range can matter, even if it's just to find a place to hide, gather your thoughts, and strike back.

I understand that retreat is not an option for some people; for example, those of you in wheelchairs have a much harder time in getting away. This is where the next item comes into play.


Little things matter, like keeping a cell phone charged, knowing what your local weapons laws are, and keeping it somewhere accessible if you carry one. Even making sure that your shoes are tied can matter! In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.


Things are easier if you make them a habit.
  • Going to the movies? Find the exits. Make sure that you know how you will get to them, and if you have someone else with you, determine if you will need to help them in case of emergency.
  • Do you carry a weapon? Determine the best way to practice. Fifteen minutes of practice once a week in infinitely better than none, and can be done between other tasks.
  • Do local laws (or other situations) prohibit you from having a weapon? Lean some basics of unarmed self defense, and practice.
  • Do not rely on unarmed techniques to save your bacon. If you are dealing with someone who is larger than you, or armed, it can take a lot of skill to overcome that.
  • Make it a game: how much can you plan for while doing normal tasks?
Practice can make the difference between using a skill smoothly, and having it be a disaster. This is why I frequently end my blog posts with "Don’t forget to practice."


A lot of this comes down to being good at improvising.
  • Strange men are starting to follow you. "Where can I duck into to avoid them/how do I find a better position to defend myself?"
  • Someone attacks you, and you don’t have a legal means to defend yourself. "What in my environment will work to defend me? How can I use what I have on me?"
  • Etc.
Remember, be a dangerous person, and don’t forget to practice.

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