In today’s modern society every day citizens are becoming more conscious of the need for basic self-defence skills. Everyone has heard the phrase ‘remain vigilant’ and ‘be careful’ but what do these terms actually mean? To help you achieve peace of mind and to prevent your risk of being targeted by opportunistic criminals, here are our top 10 self-defence tips and safety precautions that everyone can practise;
1 – Stop looking at your phone
Take a look down your average high street and you will see countless people walking along checking their phones, messaging their friends or listening to music. You may even be reading this article from your phone! The seemingly harmless act of looking at your phone whilst walking along is a distraction which lessens your awareness of your surroundings. Moreover, it can also make you a possible target for opportunistic criminals; especially if you are walking home alone or travelling down secluded streets. As such, simply keeping your eyes and ears off your screen can be a lifesaver. Refraining from checking your messages until you are at home, at work or in your car will ensure you remain alert and will be less likely to inadvertently advertise yourself as a potential target.
2 – Identify exits when you enter a building
Look at the room you are currently in. Can you spot the closest exit? What would your best escape route be in the event of an emergency? No-one is expecting you to act like a trained Navy SEAL when you enter a building but remaining aware of your surroundings is crucial. Taking the time to locate emergency exits and fire escape routes when you first enter a new building, house or work site could prove crucial should you suddenly need to make a hasty exit.
3 – When in doubt, head for crowded public areas
‘Strength in numbers’ may be a time-honoured cliché but it has its merits! If you suspect that someone may be following you, or if you are visiting an unfamiliar region, you should immediately head for a crowded area such as a restaurant or shop. Once you are surrounded by people, alert the manager or a member of staff about your situation. In this manner, you can contact the police in a crowded area. Moreover, criminals are far more likely to prey upon individuals who stray from the crowd so you are far less likely to be targeted if you stay in highly populated areas or travel in a group.
4 – Make a plan with family and friends
If you have children or if you are planning on travelling in a large group of friends then it is strongly recommended that you run through some basic safety precautions before departing. Make sure you all have each others’ contact details. Wear brightly coloured clothing so that you are easily identifiable in large crowds. Arrange a meeting point so that you can regroup should you become lost. These simple yet highly effective safety precautions can grant peace of mind whilst travelling through highly populated areas as well as preventing you from finding yourself in unfortunate situations where you could be targeted by opportunistic criminals.
5 – Use action words
In case of an emergency most people’s reaction will be to call for help. However, rather than simply yelling ‘Help!’, it is advisable to use action words such as ‘Fire!’, ‘Rape!’, ‘Knife!’, ‘Gun!’ or ‘Attacker!’. These phrases clearly and concisely convey the severity and urgency of the situation and are far more likely to illicit an immediate response from those nearby.
6 – Utilise pressure points
Should the worst happen and you are targeted by an assailant it is important to remember three main pressure points; Nose, Throat and Groin. A sudden elbow, knee or heel of your palm to any of these main pressure points can surprise your attacker, cause them to reposition themselves and grant you the precious seconds that you need to escape from their grasp, run and call for help.
7 – Run away as soon as possible
Following on from the previous point, if you should be targeted by a criminal your first course of action should always be to put as much distance between you and your assailant as possible. If they ask for your possessions you should comply but do so in a manner that enables you to escape. For instance, if your assailant asks for your phone or wallet then you should toss it to their side or behind them. By doing so, you can buy yourself some time to escape and call for help whilst they are bending down to pick it up.
8 – Learn some basic self-defence techniques
Even though your best course of action is to run away, it can prove incredibly beneficial and reassuring to learn a few basic self-defence techniques. Attending a self-defence course will teach you how to remain aware of your surroundings and how to detect potentially problematic situations so that you can avoid them before they have a chance to escalate into a crime. Attending a self-defence class can also improve your self confidence and ensure you remain calm and collected in an emergency rather than responding with panic and hesitation. Some of the best self-defence classes available include;
- Krav Maga: A hand-to-hand combat discipline that is regarded by many as the best self-defence system available due to its efficient use of instinctive movements, practical techniques and realistic training scenarios.
- Muay Thai: A style of kickboxing that is often referred to as ‘the science of eight limbs’ due to the fact that you use your knees and elbows, as well as your hands and feet, to defend yourself. The self-defence movements taught in Muay Thai classes are fast-paced, can be directed at all available openings and can prove extremely effective in distracting and disorienting an assailant so that you can escape as soon as possible.
- Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: A fighting discipline that utilises body mechanics in order to enable smaller fighters to successfully defend themselves against larger assailants. Practising Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will teach you how to use your opponent’s size and strength against them. These techniques can offer you the essential element of surprise so that you can quickly evade, disarm and escape from a potential attacker.
9 – Invest in self-defence gadgets
In today’s technologically advanced society there are a wealth of handy gadgets and gizmos that you can purchase to make you feel safer and to grant you the upper hand should you find yourself approached by an assailant. From purchasing a legal self-defence spray, to investing in a small yet sturdy self-defence key chain, it can investing in one of these compact yet dependable self-defence tools van significantly bolster your self-confidence and ensure you are prepared to defend yourself should an incident occur.
10 – Trust your gut
Have you ever had a sudden feeling that something isn’t quite right? That’s your gut instinct and far too often people don’t listen to it. If you’re walking down a street on your own and something doesn’t feel quite right, or if you have a sudden impulse to avoid taking a certain route home, then it may be worth listening to that voice in your head. After all, that niggling feeling in your gut is your survival instinct. So if it’s telling you that something isn’t quite right you should heed its caution! Avoid poorly lit streets, lock your car doors whilst driving home and lock your back door if you are home alone late at night. Whether you call it survival instinct or common sense, listening to these little hints from your gut could save your life.