I started out writing about women’s self defense tips. Then I realized that men can benefit from using my top five personal safety tips as well. Women tend to be the smaller and thus weaker of the species just due to physics. That is why our dojo offers periodic women’s self defense classes. But any good citizen, male or female will be proactive in keeping themselves safe.
Personal Safety Tip 1: If You Have a Lock, Use It
Anything that makes it more difficult for a criminal to get into your car or your house is good. Just locking the door exponentially raises the likelihood that an intruder will move on to an easier target. Remember that as you create this personal safety habit, to also build the habit of making sure you have your keys with you when you go out, before you lock up.
Personal Safety Tip 2: Be Smart
A law-abiding citizen is much less likely to encounter violent crime. On the other hand, if you engage in illegal drug use, you are much more likely to be a victim of a home invasion or other crime. Even if you just hang out with people who do drugs, you are effectively putting yourself in danger – not only from their unpredictable behavior, but from their criminal associates. Alcohol can be used legally, but stay sober unless you are willing to put your life into the hands of the people you are with. If a party is getting too rowdy, that’s your cue to leave. Your personal safety is your responsibility.
Personal Safety Tip 3: Plan for Instant Response
In the case of a physical assault, immediate action is your best path to safety. Freezing in shock has resulted in being kidnapped and worse. Chances are, you will get through today without an ill-meaning person putting their hands on you. But what would you do if it did happen? Remember your most effective personal safety tools: The first priority is get to safety. If you cannot get away, your second and third options are fight back and yell. Without forgetting your first priority: run to safety as soon as you can. Bring attention to the situation and an attacker is less likely to follow through on a kidnapping or sexual assault.
Personal Safety Tip 4: Stay Aware and Look Determined
Looking like you are loitering about in a haze of inattention makes you an easy target for a predator. When you are moving about in public, keep your eyes up (not on your phone), and look like you have somewhere to be. Make sure your body language puts forth a confident image. Look around often, in a relaxed manner. Notice the people around you and be aware of your level of personal safety at all times.
Personal Safety Tip 5: Train & Practice
Active karate students have this personal safety tip in the bag. If you are not actively training, it’s important to get some physical training and person-to-person practice. I recommend having the supervision of a trained professional-type person in order to prevent injuries. If you can, attend a self-defense class at least a couple times a year. That will help build your confidence and your physical muscle memory and shorten your reaction time in the event of an attack.
It is the responsibility of every adult to take care of themselves, including their personal safety. And it’s important for teens to become aware of their own safety and to start taking on prevention measures as they grow into adulthood. Then we can look to helping others be safe too. Let us not be sheeple, but strengthen ourselves so that we can become good shepherds.