You have three basic tools to protect yourself. This goes for children, women and men, karateka and non-students. I’m talking here to you. I’m talking about protecting yourself from dangerous people. I hope you never encounter danger from another, but just being alive has risks. Let’s not focus here on danger; but on your power to protect yourself if you meet it.
First, I hope you use prevention to not put yourself in harm’s way, but that topic is for another day. Second, if you feel you are in danger, stay calm, yet aware. Third, remember your three basic tools to protect yourself. These are fighting, getting away and yelling.
Of course you have more tools than that. Maybe you can reason with people, or talk yourself out of trouble. Maybe you have a really mean left hook, weapons training or other well-honed physical defenses. Maybe you have other tricks up your sleeve. That’s great! But we all have the three basic tools. Think on this now so you will remember your tools in the future.
What I don’t want you to do is freeze. Freezing up when in danger is not a good option. We civilized people can forget there is danger in the world. Some are so shocked or scared when they encounter it that they don’t know what to do. And they do nothing. That has cost people, among other things, their lives.
This is why I’m reminding you that there is danger in the world, and more importantly, that you can protect yourself from it!
The fight or flight response is instinctive. (This is the animal tendency to either fight or run away from danger.) However, being civilized, modern people, we have forgotten a lot of our instincts. Sometimes when we need them most our instincts don’t work because we have not been using them.
Remember your tools: FIGHT, FLIGHT, MIGHT. If someone is trying to hurt, molest or move you, you can FIGHT: struggle, strike, scratch, fight dirty. Make it difficult and painful for them. You can use FLIGHT: run and get away, crawl if you must, but move fast when you can. Get to safety. Also, show your MIGHT with your voice. Get loud! Scream, cuss, kiai, yell (“Fire!” will get you noticed). Criminals don’t want to draw attention when they are doing something wrong.
Fight back, run, yell; do all three if you can. You will usually have the option of doing at least one of these things. They can enroll the help of others, but be ready to rely on your own tools, and to protect yourself.