At one point or another, we all worry about self defense. If you’re like me, you read the news and imagine yourself in the situations you read about. What would you do if you found yourself in the shoes of the woman who was attacked in the parking lot after work, or the college student being followed after a late night class, or the distracted mom whose purse was stolen when she turned her back to wipe a runny nose? How you’d react in those scenarios depends on the answer to this one question: are you ready? Let’s look at two women and see the difference between a victim and a survivor.
Mary works the 3 to 11p.m. shift at the hospital. Tonight her duties kept her later than usual, and her babysitter needs to leave by midnight. Mary is in a hurry. She grabs her things from her locker and heads for the exit. As she’s leaving the building, she shrugs into her coat and taps in her babysitter’s phone number. She apologizes, since it looks like she won’t make it home by 12:00. Continuing the conversation, she fumbles around in her purse for her keys, completely unaware of the stranger following closely behind. As Mary finally reaches her car, he easily overpowers her, pushing her into the car from behind and seating himself behind the wheel. Mary never even knew what hit her.
Sue works late nights at a factory. Her shift replacement is late as usual. When she’s finally free to clock out, Sue takes a moment to text her husband, letting him know she’s just leaving. She’s hungry and tired, but she puts on her jacket and grabs her keys before leaving the building. She knows she’s probably just being paranoid, but she wraps her fist around the keys, with the longer car key protruding between two fingers. She heard somewhere that even a key can be a weapon, so she’s got it ready. Finally at the exit, she notices that the night watchman is on the phone. He won’t be able to walk her to her car this time. She waves, and exits the building with her head up, scanning her surroundings as she walks. Although she’s got a bit of a trek to the employee parking lot, she can easily spot her vehicle since she parked near one of the few security lamps. Her cell phone rings – probably her husband. Rather than stopping to answer it, she decides to return the call once she’s safely in her car. Finally she opens her door, quickly gets in and starts the engine, locking the doors.
Sue was a survivor. She avoided trouble by being prepared. Mary was a victim. She was an easy target. Even though they were similar in physical strength and ability, Mary was unable to protect herself from an attack that she didn’t see coming. So how about you? Are you a victim or a survivor? Here’s a simple self-test to help you determine your readiness.
1. I don’t text or play games while walking in public areas or traveling on public transportation. Instead, I make eye contact with those around me, and pay attention to what’s going on.
2. I plan my trips to new locations, so that I have directions and an alternate route. If I have to stop to ask directions, I stop in a well-populated place rather than asking a stranger walking along.
3. I carry myself confidently and don’t allow myself to be distracted.
4. I’m aware of what’s normal and what’s new in my surroundings. Has that van always been parked there? Are those men supposed to be working on my neighbor’s house?
5. I don’t allow unexpected strangers into my home. People have been fooled by those posing as law enforcement officers, delivery men, and service workers. Politely shut the door for a moment to check on their identity before letting them in, especially if they’re not expected.
6. I avoid making my routines a pattern that can be followed. I slightly vary how and when I do things whenever I can.
Are most of the statements above true of you? If so, congratulations! You are survivor material! Are most of the statements false? That’s OK! Think through your routines. By making simple changes in your patterns and behaviors, you can easily go from potential victim to survivor. Are you ready?
Sometimes though, no matter how ready you are, you could still find yourself in a situation that requires more than readiness. Face it, as much as you might try, sometimes the bad guy’s determination outweighs your preparation. What then? How do you break free when you’re grabbed from behind, or when someone has you at knifepoint? That’s when a working knowledge of self-defense and martial arts can come in handy! It’s easier than you might think, and even the basics can save your life. Call us today for an introductory lesson, and see how Taekwondo can help you be even more ready to protect yourself from the dangers that may come your way.