An evening at the dojo

A few people have, in the wake of the unfortunate events recently, asked for some general advice about keeping safe in unsafe and uncertain times and places. I’m going to assume that you haven’t clocked 20+ years in a dojo with these ABCDEFG basics.

Avoid being alone. Travel with a friend in potentially dangerous areas because criminals are predators and opportunists, and a pack is harder to deal with than someone solo.

Be ready. When you leave work or home, is your phone charged? Do you have your keys in an easily accessible place, and have you practiced unlocking car and house doors with one hand?

Communicate frequently. Do your friends know where you are? If you’re going to be going into questionable areas or traveling at quiet times of the day, maybe consider posting a little more frequently to Facebook, checking in a little more often, just to let others know about you – and have your friends let you know about them.

Distraction makes you a mark. The person who has their face buried in their phone, earbuds in, or is obviously not paying the slightest bit of attention to the world around them is the easiest target.

Expect trouble. Paradoxically, this is the best way NOT to be paranoid.

  • When you walk somewhere, look for the places which would be a good place to hide, like stairwells or behind blind corners.
  • If you own and have trained in the use of pepper spray or other defensive tools, get them out and practice walking and moving through life with them so that you don’t have to pull them out at the last second, after an attack has begun.
  • When you walk into a place, immediately know where all of the exits are.
  • If you’re looking to go somewhere, take the extra minute or two to check the local news and see if there’s trouble brewing.

Fight. If you read recent crime reports, waiting and hoping to be rescued doesn’t work very well any more. Commit to fighting your way out by any means possible and not giving up.

And last but certainly most important, Get Away. At the earliest possible opportunity, get away from danger and speed dial the police (and if you’re in America, your lawyer) as soon you’re safe.

Bear in mind, these are just the basic of the basics, and I’d strongly encourage you, if you’re concerned, to go find and take a self protection class on an ongoing basis.

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