Many of us have seen the emails that warn women not to park near a van; that your elbow is the strongest part of your body; be aware of your surroundings, etc. These are all valid points. However, when faced with real danger will you remember that email you skimmed last year? Not likely. You need to practice self defense techniques. Why do you think schools have fire drills? Hopefully by walking the children through an actual emergency, they will remember what to do.
Your best defense is to avoid situations of vulnerability. I’m always amazed at the number of females walking or jogging alone, both early morning or late at night, when it is dark outside; or the mother with her baby in her arms, toddler in tow, carrying shopping bags. Her position is screaming, I am helpless against defending myself at this moment. Ladies, use a shopping cart or stroller to keep your hands free.
Your Purse Doubles As a Weapon
You have a whole arsenal of items in your purse that can be used to defend yourself, should the occasion arise. Your purse itself can be used as a deterrent. Loop the handle around your wrist so that you have a good grip on it. Not only will this avert any would-be purse snatchers, but you can swing your hand bag around and swat your attacker. We know how heavy purses can be. This is a perfect impromptu weapon.
Next carry your vehicle door key between your first and second finger. Make a fist around the rest of your keys so that the long skinny part of the key is pointing outward as you walk. You can still open your door holding the key this way. Should someone come up from behind you, you are in a perfect position to jab his eyes with that key.
Get Some Popcorn and Watch Movies
Did you know an ink pen can save your life? If you do not believe me, rent The Borne Identity, with Matt Damon. It is startling how much damage a small thin writing implement can cause. Hold it in your hand as you walk. If need be, jab it into the eyes, the temple, or up the nose. Trust us – that kind of pain will cause your attacker to back down and will give you a chance to run.
Another good movie to glean some self defense moves is Enough, with Jennifer Lopez. The movie is about a woman with an abusive spouse. She had enough of his abuse; so she learned to defend herself. One key element in her technique is that when her estranged husband took her on, she always, always, had her hands up in front of her midsection, palms facing out. That way she could protect her vital organs but also had her hands in the perfect position to throw jabs. Again, your first instinct should always be to get away. If you are unable to do that, you need to be prepared to defend yourself.
Knowledge Isn’t Enough
Use your purse, watch movies, and then what? You definitely need a little more advice than that, right? Call your local YMCA. Most have self defense classes, martial arts classes or both. Enroll and practice, practice, practice. You cannot learn everything about defending yourself by reading. You need to DO IT. I have been practicing martial arts for years and often get asked if I have ever had to use my training, for real. I am fortunate in that I have not been placed into a situation where I have needed to engage this training. But I now have the confidence that I will not panic. I know that I first must try to get away, and if that does not work, I have a few tricks up my sleeve and am not afraid to use them!