Natural resources

Awareness

As we all know awareness is our first and foremost resource, it doesn’t matter what ability you have in a physical sense, if you don’t see the threat coming you wont be able to deal with it pro-actively. Awareness is the very power base from which we operate and from where all Personal Security measures begin.

Body Language

This relates to how you carry yourself as you go about your daily life. Obviously if your demeanor portrays you as meek and mild, insecure with absolutely no outward indication that you are aware or your surroundings then you may increase all likelihood that at some time in your life you may come across those who are looking to take advantage of such a person. As opposed to creating an outwardly positive self image, that clearly states that you are a confident and alert individual. Just by standing tall and walking at a brisk pace with a confident gait is an immediate indication to anyone that you are a switched on individual which will in turn make you less likely to be selected as a victim of attack in the first place.

Instincts

Most people who are attacked remember feeling a hunch, an intuition, a non verbal perception before something physical happens-the feeling that something is wrong. The sooner we act on this intuition the more likely we are to be safe in the end. I am a firm believer in our instincts acting as a sixth sense. I have always believed that if your instincts indicate that something isn’t quite right that it would be sensible to listen and act accordingly.

Here is a true life example of trusting your instincts paying off. In this case better late than never. A young woman was returning to her car in a local public car park one early evening after work. As she approached her vehicle she noticed a well dressed man with a brief case wearing a suit and rain coat stood about ten yards from her car. As she approached the man made an attempt to attract her attention by waving his arm and saying ‘’excuse me, but I have just chased away a man who was trying to break into your car with a screw driver, I shouted and asked the man what he was up to and he turned and threatened me before running off. I feel a little shaken up myself.’’ The young woman looked at her car and saw that there were indeed signs of an attempted break in. The woman thanked the man and asked if he was alright he replied with ‘’I’m actually really late for my train now, is there any chance that you could see your way to saving me some time by dropping me at the train station? The woman who obviously felt slightly obligated to help the man, reluctantly agreed. As the man got into her car, her instincts immediately told her that something was wrong, keeping a cool head whilst thinking on her feet she said ‘’I tell you what, I am absolutely useless at when it comes to reversing out of small spaces safely, would you mind seeing me out?

The man agreed and stepped out of the car and shut the door. She then leaned over, locked the door and reversed away as quick as she could. The man had left his brief case on the seat and the woman was now feeling pangs of guilt for leaving the apparent Good Samaritan behind. So she decided that when she got home she would open the case to find a means to contact the man to return his property, explain and apologize. ‘’I’m sure he will understand’’ she thought. When she opened the case to her horror all that she found was a large knife, a rope, a blind fold and some duct tape. It appears that our man the Good Samaritan had come equipped to rape and that the whole story had been concocted in order to snag himself a victim. She then decided to contact the police and the man was later caught through DNA evidence from the brief case and its contents that linked him to a number of rapes in the surrounding area.

The message is clear, trust your instincts and listen to what they are trying to tell you. Too often people have found themselves in a dangerous predicament that could have been avoided. An example might be that you are alone and waiting for a public lift in a residential apartment block or shopping mall. The lift door opens and you see an unsavory character/s inside. Here’s the dilemma, do you get in regardless of what your instincts tell you, just out of sheer embarrassment of wishing not to look foolish? Or should you trust them, and say something like ‘’no that’s fine, you go a head I’m waiting for my friend.’’ Makes more sense doesn’t it. So lesson learned, go with what you feel and trust your instincts. An excellent book that talks in depth about instincts from a self-preservation sense is Gavin De Becker’s book The Gift of Fear which is highly recommended.

Voice

Many potential attackers can be discouraged verbally at the outset. A lot of potential confrontations will begin with a verbal ruse or even a verbal attack as an entry before the physical. This is what we mean by the interview. The verbal attack is a probe of sorts, a means of testing the water that is aimed at the weak points in the targeted person’s self esteem. A potential aggressor is looking for a victim that will capitulate during the verbal stage of the assault; this kind of individual will look for an easy target, exhibiting little or no confidence, making minimal eye contact and who are hunched in posture and appear passive rather than confident self asserting individuals. The use of the voice as a weapon of resource definitely has its place. From verbally dissuading to focusing your indignation to screaming in your attacker’s ear with guttural tenacity as you defend yourself from attack. Your voice will most definitely add impact to your statement. (See also verbal dissuasion)

Verbal dissuasion:
Defusing a potentially dangerous situation by means of talking is known as verbal dissuasion or de-escalation. The goal of de-escalation is to try and resolve a potentially hostile situation without having to resort to any physical action. De-escalation skills are useful when dealing with people who are highly agitated, frustrated, angry, fearful or intoxicated. This might be someone that you know whose normally a peaceful individual but is simply responding to unusual or extreme circumstances with negative aggression. Or you may have to work with members of the general public on a daily basis in which case verbal dissuasion can come in very handy when dealing with an agitated person. Understand that de-escalation skills are a non-physical option, if you find yourself in a situation where an attack on your person is apparent and obvious, such as a mugging attempt, attempted abduction or sexual assault for example then obviously a physical response, preferably pre-emptive would be the best option. The following principles should be observed and put into practice if verbal dissuasion is to be used effectively.

  • Project a confident and attentive demeanor. Maintain eye contact and try to avoid averting your gaze as this could be taken as a lack of interest or regard, or rejection. The idea is to try and find the source of their agitation and to quickly gain a rapport with the individual. So be sure to stay attentive but at the same time try and avoid staring which can appear threatening.

  • Mirror calm. Control your own level of arousal. Emotions can interfere with your own mental and physical function as well as those of the person that you’re dealing with. A low to moderate level of arousal will keep you alert and ready to take action

  • should the need arise. Correct breathing will help you to control anxiety under stress. A lot of people tend to hold their breath or breathe very shallowly during times of stress which only serves to increase their anxiety. Instead try to breathe

  • deeply into your diaphragm, and not your chest. A good cadence is to breath in for 3 seconds, hold for 2 seconds then breathe out for 3 seconds. This will help you to lower your heart rate and keep you calm. Don’t make this

  • obvious instead try to keep it as natural looking as possible.

  • Positive self-talk. People are also likely to allow negative thinking and self doubt to creep in, sending themselves undermining messages such as ‘’I’m in trouble now’’ or I can’t handle this situation.’’

  • All such thoughts must be ignored and erased from your thinking. One way is to counter them with positive self-talk. Tell your self that ‘’you can handle it, for better or for worse you will handle anything.’

  • ’ If you practice deep, slow breathing and positive self-talk regularly, in response to any form of stress or anxiety in your daily life you will be more likely to respond this way when dealing with a potentially hostile individual. In other words this calming behavior will become your conditioned response to danger which will in turn allow you to project confidence and can also have a calming effect on your potential aggressor.

  • Protect your personal space. Make sure that you use a non-aggressive looking fence or a similar natural stance, that will also serve as a launch pad for your pre-emptive strike should a physical option become necessary.


  • The legs are the first of our physical resources as they offer us our priority option where available, that of sprinting as fast as we can in order to escape. Remember you have no business getting into a possible violent confrontation IF the opportunity to RUN is available.

    Here we are looking at applying our natural bodily weapons in a physical sense in order to facilitate our escape and safety. Here we have applied a shift from our Personal Security to our Self Preservation. If the situation has now come to the physical, then whatever skill we employ from our minimal tool box, must be backed to the full with the will to win. If we must now fight, then we will keep fighting until there is nothing left to fight about!

    Example of compressed curriculum
    - Palm strike
    - Power Slap
    - Hammer-fist
    - Elbow strike
    - Knee strike
    - Takedown
    - Limb Stomp

    © Lee Morrison : No text or images may be copied without prior permission of the author.