Self Defence: Preventing and Attack

Preventing and Attack

If you can recognize the early stages of an attack, you can often avoid interaction with a predator altogether. This is where real self defence training starts - not with hand to hand combat moves, but with a defined and deliberate attempt to trigger your own natural defences at the first sign of trouble.

Take pre-emptive steps to escape an impending attack and protect yourself from violence. This can be easily achieved by recognizing the stages of an attack and taking appropriate action at the appropriate time.

Avoidance in the planning stage:

You can often avoid conflict completely simply by avoiding locations and/or behaviour that make you fit the victim profile. Make yourself an unattractive target by concealing valuables, moving and speaking with confidence, avoiding isolated areas and refraining from drinking to excess and making yourself vulnerable.

Evasion in the initiation stage: Listen to your fear if someone makes you uncomfortable. Forget about being polite, or not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings. Ask someone crowding you to step off in no uncertain terms. Distance yourself and refuse to be drawn into conversation if something feels off. Don’t let anyone talk you into separating yourself from a group or allowing them private access to you, even if they scoff at or ridicule you, or pretend to understand your hesitation but still try to convince you things are all right.

Deflection in the escalation stage:

In the event that the situation is escalating before you realize what is happening, you still have time to deflect an attack. If you can distract the aggressor long enough to escape, do it. Make eye contact, speak in a loud but calm voice and ask what they want. If they are after your cash or a valuable item, throw it past them and run.

Assertive verbalisation (screaming) and making noise to attract attention will cause many would be attackers to back off. A study conducted in 1985 included interviews with violent offenders in US prisons. The interviews revealed that many would be attackers back off in the face of screaming and other active resistance to attempted assault. 10  Acting absolutely crazy (spitting, screeching and gibbering maniacally) works well, too!

Reacting in the violence stage: Your reaction here will depend on a variety of factors, and will be covered more in depth in the next section. The main thing to remember is that you should be focused on survival. Your goal is not to ‘win’ or to ‘defeat the enemy’. Your goal is to escape, and you.

must never lose sight of that goal. You only fight when you can’t run, and you only fight until you can get away safely.