“Don’t make the mistake of underestimating your enemies.”
― Bohdi Sanders
Have you ever ventured into a strange part of town when, suddenly, your whole body tenses with fear?
Your heart races, you walk (or drive) faster, and your breath quickens. Your eyes dart back and forth rapidly to spot the danger that must be lurking in the hidden shadows all around you.
You wonder, “Is this all in my mind, or is it real?”.
It’s common to think that you will never be the victim of some sort of violent attack, especially if it has never happened to you before. But the fact is, it could.
As a woman today, you must prepare. If you put in the time to learn self-defense tactics, you can venture freely with a deep sense of inner peace. You’ll know that, no matter, what happens, you have the knowledge, skills, and ability to defend yourself, disable your attacker, and maybe even save your own life.
When the time comes to defend yourself, your kids, or your loved ones, be sure to avoid making these 5 common self-defense mistakes:
1. Being Oblivious to Your Surroundings
Situational Awareness involves knowing what and who is around you in all directions and detecting possible threats. How many women have their eyes focused on their cellphone screen and have no idea what’s happening around them?
Have you ever seen a video of a car crash on YouTube? Someone is just driving along, as they’ve done every day for years, and in a split second, a car smashes into them at high speed, and debris flies everywhere. It happens so fast, it’s almost unimaginable.
Violence can happen that fast. There isn’t always a prelude or an escalation. You need to be aware at all times.
The good news is that you can learn and become a master at situational awareness skills. It’s not something you’re just “born with”.
When you walk into a store or drive into a new area, always scan the people and objects around you. Notice the details. What color shirt is that person by the counter wearing? Who has a furrowed face and seems angry? Who is closest to you? If someone pulled out a gun a started shooting right now, where could you hide? What objects laying around could possibly be used as a weapon?
Situational-awareness training teaches you what to look for, how to easily assess the possible dangers, how you can quickly determine the safest areas, and which objects will allow you to fight back effectively. This is a skill you can practice daily, and consistent practice leads to mastery.
2. Trying to Reason with Your Attacker
Women, especially, tend to think that dialogue and logic is the best way to solve a problem. If we can just “knock some sense into him or her”, we’ll be able to calm them down and stop the attack, right?
No. And here’s why:
When someone attacks, their brain is focused on one thing (i.e., attack), their muscles are on fire, and adrenaline is coursing through their body at full speed. It’s like facing a speeding train that is already on a set course, and it’s coming straight at you.
Their “thinking” brain has shut down, and logic won’t do you one bit of good at this point. Their reptilian brain has taken over, so throw the idea of reasoning with them out the window.
Assume a threatening stance and get loud. Attackers look for easy prey, and your body language can say, “I’m a wimp! Attack me!”, or it can say “This is one bad chick you do NOT want to mess with, Buddy!”.
Be ready to act fast, hard, and continuously. Don’t stand there and try to reason with him or her.
3. Thinking “I’m Too Short”
If a 6-foot guy comes at you fast and furiously, and you think, “What can I do? I’m only 5’2”! He’s bigger and stronger!”, you’ve already set yourself up to be a victim.Have you ever seen those videos where a martial arts master sits down on a mat, closes his eyes, and visualizes himself as an immovable mountain? Then, no matter how many of his students try to move him, he simply can’t be moved. He is a mountain.
Your body can hit, flee, or do whatever, but your brain is your strongest weapon.
Think about all those stories where weak, ordinary people lifted 2,000-pound vehicles off of kids who were trapped underneath. Your brain and your mindset can make you weak or make you formidable. When you tell yourself, “Oh, there’s no way! I can’t”, your body will follow along and prove it. But say you tell yourself, “This is nothing. I can knock this guy flat!”, your body is now prepared to do so.
Of course, self-defense training is important, so you can execute the right moves, but it starts with your mind, your beliefs, and your attitude.
A 5’ 2”-tall women most definitely CAN take down a 6’ hulk of a man. Don’t limit yourself by believing you can’t. The brain is an amazing, powerful organ. Scientists still don’t understand its full power. Use it wisely.
4. Hesitating and Backing Away
When you’re face to face with an angry attacker, time and body language matter. If you can run away, by all means, do so. Escape and alert the authorities or get help.
If fleeing isn’t an option, move toward your attacker, not away. Your attacker will come toward you, so you need to move closer to him or her. Most women instinctively back away. If you back away, you’re saying, “I’m afraid! I’m weak!”. Then your attacker gets a boost of confidence and bravado. Remember, this is just as much a mental game as it is a physical one.
Do not hesitate, either. Use the element of surprise to attack first. Get so close that he or she can’t reach out to punch you. Act fast with a disabling move. You can kick as hard as you can in the groin area, jab them in the eyes, or deliver a powerful punch to the throat. Offense is often better than defense.
If you carry a weapon, pepper spray, or a stun gun, use it immediately – before he or she even sees it coming. Once you’ve disabled the attacker, you can run away to safety.
5. Not Being Prepared
You can’t prepare for every possible situation life can throw at you, but you can prepare for any possible attack. Carry a self-defense item with you at all times, and know how to use it.
Learn about different scenarios and come up with an effective plan of attack. Take classes, watch videos, and then grab a partner and practice your moves. Knowledge and practice allow you to venture anywhere with a deep sense of confidence and self-esteem. You’ll know that whatever happens, you can handle it and protect yourself. That is priceless.
To improve your self-defense skills, check out our classes for women’s self-defense.