Balazs Boxing Newsletter - November 2001
Self Defense is in the Mind

Are you always completely aware of what is going on around you? Have you gotten halfway to work and then wondered “Did I remember to lock the front door?”

Have you ever turned around and gone back to check? Chances are, you HAD locked the door but were thinking of all the things you had to do that day. Your mind was not fully on the action of locking the door--you did it automatically.

The brain is an amazing thing; we are able to do so much without actually thinking about it. Once something has become habit, it is possible to do with very little thought. If we are not consciously thinking about an action as we are doing it, we do it out of habit, and the memory of performing the action does not register.

The first principle of self-defense is being aware of your surroundings. You can’t do that unless you are “living in the moment.”

Do not allow your mind to rest on automatic. You make a good target (and the perfect victim) for anyone with criminal intentions when you fail to notice what is happening in the moment.

If, while walking to your car or getting off a bus, you are not aware of those around you, you won’t notice the suspicious looking man that got off the bus right behind you. You won’t see the fellow in the parking lot lurking near your car. You will easily be overtaken and subdued with little chance to react.

Excerpts by Judy Justice
General Self-Defense Guidelines
  • Carry yourself with confidence and intent. Keep your head up and stride with purpose. Strong body language is a powerful deterrent.
  • Do not walk in public in a distracted, angry, or otherwise self-absorbed state of mind. This behavior severely impairs your awareness.
  • Do not walk, jog, or bike while wearing headphones.
  • Never flash large rolls of money or expensive jewelry in public.
  • Survey your surroundings before using an ATM machine. Do not hesitate to use the “cancel” button if you feel uncomfortable. Do not use any ATM that isn’t well-lit and in plain view to the public.
  • Lock your car when driving. Carjackers and “red-light robbers” prefer cars that are unlocked.
  • Keep your keys and ID separate.
  • Before entering a store or gas station at night, check the surroundings. If you see someone or something suspicious, move on. Never question your intuition.
  • Avoid secluded restrooms such as those in the mall at the end of long hallways, or unlocked gas station restrooms that are located “‘round back.” Restrooms in department stores, restaurants, or supermarkets are preferable.
  • Always wear comfortable shoes when out on the town.

How to Handle Predators if Accosted

  • Your voice is your primary weapon. The last thing the predator wants is a fuss. Screaming ANYTHING will halt the attack in many cases, or at least buy you a few more seconds while they consider whether there might be easier prey.
  • As a general guideline, do not resist muggers, burglars, or other predators that are only after a bit of material gain.
  • Keep in mind, however, that approximately one in five robbers seeks more than just material gain—they may want to hurt you as well. If something more than property is at stake, you may have to fight to defend yourself. It is at times like these when proper self-defense training becomes extremely valuable.
  • If the predator displays a gun, knife, baseball bat or other such weapon, scream and run as fast as you can. Putting distance between you and the assailant gives you protection against weapons. If it is a gun, run in a crooked line and look for cover.
  • According to almost every federal and local crime statistic, assaults and murders are most often committed by lovers, friends and family members for the sake of love, money, or petty arguments. If you find yourself in or near a heated argument, turn around and LEAVE.

Be Physically Prepared

  • Keep yourself in good physical condition. Predators tend to avoid people who look like they can take care of themselves.
  • In addition, sound physical condition will place you in a much better position should you ever need to run or fight.
  • Enroll in self-defense classes often. Take several classes from different instructors.
  • Consider enrolling in a martial arts school or boxing gym. You will gain all-important confidence that will drive most predators away before they attack. Styles such as Karate and Tae Kwon Do usually offer sparring and a heavy sport-orientation combined with martial philosophy. Aikido and Tai Chi offer brilliant fighting technique and a peaceful philosophy, but take many years to master. Judo, Jiu Jitsu, and grappling schools offer realistic, street-oriented technique. Before you choose a school, observe a few classes at different “dojos” or training halls. Find small schools with friendly, passionate instructors.
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