Top 10 Safety tips

Having been contacted by many organisations, newspapers and radio stations asking about safety tips, and knowing that not everyone can make it to a seminar or self defence class, I have decided to put this together to share with everyone. None of this information belongs to any one person, group, or organisation, but it is what we teach at Senshido seminars. This is not about self defence, a term I use loosely (The very term ‘self defence’ implies that I’m already a victim that is in the process of defending myself, a reactive act) but more about self-protection (Becoming a hard target through proactive behaviors and acts).

I hope you will enjoy this article, find this information useful, and share it with your loved ones and as many people as possible. To quote Christopher Roberts of SAFE International, “Just one piece of information, yes, just one valuable tip could be enough to someday save your life”. This statement has been validated by some of our students who were able to prevent and survive violence with minimal training.

Here are Senshido Irelands top 10 safety tips.

1) You are important and worth fighting for.

The first and most important rule to remember is – Everybody is important to somebody, you are somebody’s son/sister, mother/father, brother/sister, friend etc. YOU ARE SOMEBODY. You play an important role in somebody else’s life.  An attack on you is an attack on your entire family. Let us consider for a moment the ripple effect of an attack.

Let us look at violence from a woman’s worst case scenario: Battery and rape.

Statistically, 80% of rape victims know their attacker, and, because sexual predators study their targets before committing the crime, we can safely say that attackers know their victims 100% of the time. Now, as a survivor, you’re trying to deal with this horrible crime, police statements, blood and pregnancy testing, praying the physical injuries will fade so you can continue with your life without people stopping you to ask what happened to you, praying that, one day, you will be able to close your eyes and not see the face of your attacker, or relive parts of that terrible moment in your life, hope that you can have a normal sexuality once again. Life is not the same anymore, and neither is your husband’s. He’s seeding for revenge. He knows he’s going to get it too, after all, this bastard will be walking the streets a free man until he is charged and proven guilty before a judge and jury.  Is that not the how our legal system works? Innocent until proven guilty, beyond a shadow of a doubt?

Meanwhile, the blame game is on, the big finger of blame has to point at someone, so it must have been the victim’s fault. Yes you… You led him on, you must have flirted with him, you wore that short-cut dress that night, why did you allow yourself to be alone with him, why didn’t you fight back???!!! Those accusations seem endless, happening day and night, the children hear them but try to muffle them from their tiny ears, they cry at night, “somebody hurt our mummy. Why? Did she do anything wrong? Why are bad people free to hurt good people?”. As a result, they cannot concentrate in scWomens Self Defencehool, they are too tired, the fighting and arguing continued into the early hours this morning, their homework is never completed. Grades are dropping and now the teachers are getting involved. The only way for this to stop is through  separation, it’s for the best, it’s for the kids. Family and friends are now heavily involved, the neighbors are talking, their own sad little lives are so uneventful “This is top gossip!”.

But life doesn’t give you a break, you still worry about your husband or brother or male relative seeking revenge, “If my husband gets his hands on him, he will kill him! He will do time, he’s told me this, he said it over and over, he will go to prison for the rest of his life before he lets this bastard get away with what he did”.

The ripple effect is huge, especially if we look at worst case scenarios such as sexual assault. Reality bites, hard. Always attack the attacker, do not succumb to common ignorant, sexist myths claiming that fighting back will only make your attacker angrier. Fighting back not only increases your chances of survival but was clinically proven to assist in the mental healing of victims of rape and other horrible crimes.

2) Your intuition is the most important early warning system you have.

Always trust your intuition, it is very seldom wrong. It is your inner voice that lets you know something is not right….TRUST IT… Its job is to warn you of impending danger and only has your well-being at heart. I cannot stress this enough.

Let me give you an example, a simple one this time: Have you ever found yourself walking along a dark country road or lane at night, only to find, all of a sudden, that you have this urge to break into a jog or a run? That’s because intuition, this little guardian angel on your shoulder, not comfortable with these surroundings, telling you “Let’s get out of here as quickly as we can!” Don’t question it or fight it, Just Trust It!

3) Body Language

Displaying confident body language can be the difference between being selected as a victim or being passed over for some other unfortunate soul.

Walk with purpose and keep your head up, looking around continuously, scanning your environment, watching out for people’s behaviors and hands. The name of the game here is blending in with your surroundings. Remember: Prey Behavior Induces Predator Interest.

Make quick, but not challenging, eye contact with people, letting them know that you see them, know they are there, and recognise them.  Anyone who is familiar with Senshido’s teachings knows we educate people about attackers’ wants and needs, as well as fears and dislikes. Those are explained in great detail in Senshido founder Richard Dimitri’s best-selling book “In Total Defence Of The Self”.

4) Don’t be too polite

Never put your safety before your fear of appearing rude to a complete stranger.  If a stranger for example offers help, and your intuition rings the bells of alarm, overcome your reluctance to be rude by remembering that THIS PERSON IS A COMPLETE STRANGER, YOU DON’T KNOW HIM/ HER FROM ADAM, AND THAT YOUR TRUST HAS TO BE EARNED, NOT GIVEN DUE TO SOCIAL OR PEER PRESSURE. “No thank you… I do not want your help, I do not need your help, thank you and good bye”.

Don’t like the look of taxi driver? Simple, don’t get in the taxi. “It’s fine sir, I’m waiting for a friend, I’ll catch the next hqdefaulttaxi. Thank you and God speed.” No additional explanation neither needed nor given.

Never put safety before your fear of appearing rude to a complete stranger.  Remember, the word “No” is a complete sentence, if somebody ignores your “No”, they have nefarious purposes and should not be trusted.  This goes for absolutely anything, from the person at the bar looking to buy you a drink, to the person asking to walk you home.  If your “No” is being ignored, that person is trying to control you. Tread cautiously.

5) Analysis of your daily routine

Analyse your daily routine and look for areas where you see yourself as being a potential victim.  Try to put yourself in the position of an attacker and ask yourself ‘would I make a good target’.  Remember an attackers wants and needs, while you analyse your routine.  Take this into consideration while conducting this short exercise.

There are also many awareness exercises and drills that we teach that can help you increase your awareness levels. Remember, if you don’t know what you’re looking out for, you will never spot it.

6) Verbal Diffusion

If you find yourself in a confrontation and it has not yet got physical, remember the four rules of verbal de-escalation:

–          Never Threaten

–          Never Challenge

–          Never Command

–          Never Contradict

Everyone knows that the most fragile thing on this planet is the ego, especially the male ego. Add to it intoxicants, insecurities, and libido and you have a recipe for violence.

Thread carefully when dealing with potential violent individuals, listen to what they’re saying (The Problem) and try to offer a face-saving solution to the aggressor. Never use verbal strategies that can escalate the confrontation.

7) Passive Stance

Use a passive stance when dealing with confrontation, it has the ability to make your attacker over confident and drop their guard. Never adopt an aggressive fighting stance as it only prepares your attacker and creates legal hassles for you later on (“They both looked aggressive, he took a boxing stance and they just started fighting…”.  Who would you rather hit, the attacker that is ready and prepared or the one that will never see it coming?  Again which strike hurts the most? yes you got it, the one that got you totally unawares. This is your opportunity to start loading the dice in your favor in the event physical violence becomes unavoidable.

8) Secondary Locations

Never let somebody take you to a secondary location/ crime scene regardless of their threats, you must fight back where you are as it presents your best opportunity for survival. What is a secondary crime scene? It’s where they find bodies.

So, suppose you made some bad  choices by withdrawing money at an ATM in a bad neighborhood, late at night, and now some  junkie is holding a knife to your throat demanding cash. Since material possessions are replaceable and not worth dying for, you decide to hand the money over in hopes of ending the encounter with no injury or loss of life. Sadly, Life dealt you a shitty hand and the nice mugger wants you to come with him or he will cut your throat.

Now is the time to fight back, your possessions were not worth fighting for but now this guy wants you in a secluded location to cause you physical harm or murder you. The game has changed, this is your best opportunity for survival, remember, you are important! It also goes without saying that if you let an attacker tie you up, your chances of being found alive and unmolested drastically decrease.

9) Remember

Always remember to do what you would tell your children or loved ones to do if they were in that situation. This will help you decide the best course of action quickly and eliminate threat. You and only you can decide your course of action, there will be no “instructor” there to guide or help you and no referee to stop the fight if it turns ugly. For better or for worse, the stage is yours and yours alone. No doubt, once all is said and done, there will be an army of armchair commandoes and keyboard warriors to critique your actions and nitpick your tactics. So, do yourself a favor and take your own advice, as it’s your blood on the line.

10) The Ripple Effect

Only use the amount of force necessary to achieve your immediate aim….. to get home safe… Remember self protection begins with the self, you may need to justify your actions in a court of law.  We hear repeatedly “I’d rather be tried by 12 than carried by 6”, well I would rather neither thank you very much!

This is but a taste of what we teach during our Fundamentals of Personal Protection seminars. I hope you have enjoyed the read and found the information useful, please remember to please share this information with your loved ones.

Mick O’Brien.

Senshido International team member

Self Protection Ireland