10 Common Self-Defense Scenarios You Should Prepare Yourself For

Regardless of how much you try to avoid confrontations, there might be times you have no choice but to defend yourself. Someone might decide to attack you through no fault of your own, so it’s prudent to run some self-defense scenarios in your head. Going over such things reduces your risk of freezing up if you ever find yourself dealing with any of these situations. It’s called combat visualization and it’s used by law enforcement and military agencies worldwide. 

Before going into some self-defense scenarios, we should make it clear that avoiding confrontation when possible is always the most logical thing to do. When you remove yourself from a potentially violent situation, you deny the other party any opportunities to harm you. Yes, some people might think you’re weak or a coward for not matching aggression with aggression, but doing so opens up lots of potentially negative consequences. 

For example, you might win the fight and end up in legal trouble or sustain a significant injury. There’s also a chance you lose the fight, regardless of how well-trained you are. Walking away from confrontation takes all these possibilities off the table. 

Unfortunately, walking away isn’t always an option since some self-defense situations catch you off guard. Being aware of your surroundings regardless of where you are can help to catch potentially dangerous situations before they occur. 

This article will take a look at some common self-defense situations and share some tips for dealing with them. 


Ten Common Self-Defense Situations You Should Prepare Yourself For

Ready to learn how to defend yourself in self-defense scenarios? Let’s jump right into our list:


1) An Intruder Walks Into Your Home

An intruder walking into your home is one of the scariest self-defense scenarios. Your home is meant to be your haven and the last thing you need is a stranger walking into it uninvited. The first thing you should understand about this scenario is that a person who dares to break into your home has no problem hurting you. They’ve already shown you that they’re willing to terrorize you and your loved ones in your personal space, so understand how serious the situation is. 

If you’re sure the person or persons only wants material goods, then compliance might be your best strategy if you don’t think you can take them head-on. However, you’d be putting your life in the hands of someone who has no regard for it. If they did, they wouldn’t come and ruin the peace in your home. 

In many cases, such attackers might want more than material goods. They might decide to assault you or one of your loved ones, which leaves you with no choice but to engage. Depending on whether the intruder has weapons, martial arts training can help you in such situations. 

The story of struggling MMA fighter Joe Torrez went viral several years ago when he successfully fought off multiple home invaders. Torrez was hanging out with his wife and child when four men kicked his front door down. One of the men had a shank, while another grabbed a knife from the kitchen. Despite having a 1-5 professional MMA record at the time, Torrez was able to successfully fight all four attackers off. It goes to show you how far fight training takes you in self-defense situations. 

You should also consider getting force equalizers that are legal in your area like pepper spray, batons, or baseball bats. 

While there is no way to completely safeguard you and your loved ones from home invaders, there are many simple things you can do that significantly reduce your risk of being targeted. These include:

  • Make Sure The Exterior Of Your Home Is Well-Lit At Night: Get some automatic lights with motion detectors. That way, if someone walks close to your home at night, the light comes on. You also want your exterior lights – and maybe a couple of indoor lights – to come on by themselves at night even if you’re not around.
  • Consider Adding A Safe Room To Your Home: A safe room can be the difference between having your entire family traumatized or dealing with a simple burglary. These rooms are designed to be impenetrable so the bad guys don’t get access to you and your family regardless of how hard they try. Consider getting one if it’s an option for you and make sure it has multiple ways to communicate like an emergency smartphone or radio.
  • Use Technology To Your Advantage: Keeping you and your loved ones safe has never been easier thanks to modern innovations in electronics like cameras and other surveillance tools. Hire some professionals to strategically place cameras all over your property and have those videos fed to multiple stations around your home. Ideally, you want a monitor close to your front door, one in your bedroom, and one wherever you spend most of your time at home. Many of these modern security cameras come with motion detectors that send you notifications if someone walks up to your home at certain times like the middle of the night. 
  • Educate Your Family About Personal Safety: Teaching your loved ones to lock doors whenever they step inside the house reduces the odds of someone being able to break into your home. Make sure they know not to allow strangers into your home regardless of how friendly or nice they might appear. Predators often use people’s naivety against them.
  • Reinforce Your Doors: Depending on where you live, the exterior doors to your house might be a security concern. For example, front doors in the U.S. are typically made from cheap wood, which makes it easy to break into homes. As a result, the U.S. has extremely high home invasion rates for a developed country since the average 12-year-old boy can kick down the average door. Your front door shouldn’t be there just for decoration. It’s a barrier that’s meant to keep a determined attacker out of your home. Make sure it’s sturdy enough to do its job even if that means replacing it. You can also use tools like a security bar to reinforce your door if replacing it isn’t an option.
  • Have Good Relationships With Your Neighbors: Establishing relationships with your neighbors helps to secure your home. Even nosy neighbors can be an asset when it comes to that. Ideally, you should know who your neighbors are, what cars they drive, who typically comes in and out of their house, etc. That way, when some shady character is lurking around the neighborhood they stick out to you. Your neighbors knowing who you are means they also know what your everyday normal is. That way, they can tell if something is out of place and notify authorities if needed.


2) The Classic Bar Fight

You’ve probably seen this scenario unfold many times in movies, and it’s just as common in real life. The classic bar fight is typically caused by someone with an irrational grudge against you. It might be because you’re the life of the party or envy over something you have. 

The first thing you should know about this scenario is that people who look to start fights at public gatherings typically make excuses in their minds to justify their behavior. They often catch their victims off-guard since they’re not expecting trouble. 

You’re having fun one moment, and some guy tries to get in your face. The first thing you should do is take the threat seriously since you don’t want to get caught with a sucker punch. Keep your hands up and be ready to defend yourself even if the argument the person is trying to start with you seems silly. 

Project confidence and use a firm voice to let them know you don’t want to be bothered. Consider leaving the venue if the person seems intent on escalating the conflict. You generally want to do everything to avoid things from getting physical in this scenario since there are so many variables to deal with. 

Your attacker might have buddies who jump in to help them or you might get into legal trouble because you look equally guilty to law enforcement. Besides, getting into a fight would ruin all the fun you were having.


3) Street Criminals

Getting mugged is one of most people’s worst fears, but the risk of violence is a lot lower than most of the self-defense situations on our list. Muggers are typically opportunistic criminals looking to make a quick buck. Hurting you typically isn’t high on their list of priorities unless a physical confrontation breaks out.

Muggers are primarily concerned with extracting your valuables from you so the safest approach is typically to hand over your things. Getting stabbed over your nice watch isn’t a smart move. Give the mugger what they want and part ways. 

Of course, compliance goes out of the window if the mugger shows you any signs they intend to harm you. At that point, fighting back might be your only option. However, don’t fight to win; fight to create enough space for you to run away somewhere safe. Muggers often have accomplices lurking nearby so you want to remove yourself from the area as quickly as possible. 

You can reduce your odds of getting mugged by avoiding poorly-lit, isolated areas at night and projecting confidence as you walk. The person targeted by a mugger is typically who they view as the easiest target around them. 


4) The Sucker Puncher

There’s nothing lower than throwing a sucker punch. People who love doing this often have limited fighting skills and they’re as cowardly as a person could ever get. The sucker puncher loves to harm others but is deathly afraid of getting their behind kicked. These people are heavily influenced by their peers and might attack you just to score points with them. 

The sucker puncher thrives off the fact that most people don’t want to get into fights with strangers and would typically be reluctant to throw the first punch. The sucker puncher tries to use their words and body language to get you to drop your guard so they can punch you. 

UFC veteran Jorge Masvidal’s backstage altercation with Leon Edwards is an excellent example of how sucker-punching works. Edwards tried to set up a fight with Masvidal with some mild trash talk, but Masvidal had other plans in mind. He calmly walked up to Edwards with both arms behind his back, then, out of nowhere, threw a combination that left Edwards bleeding. By the time Edwards realized what was going on, security staff had already surrounded and grabbed Masvidal. 

That’s a textbook example of how sucker-punching works. Not surprisingly, Masvidal ducked Leon for the next few years, despite Leon understandably wanting to settle their differences inside the cage. Masvidal showed no interest in fighting him until Edwards defeated Kamaru Usman for the welterweight title a few years later. That’s the sucker puncher. They want to be able to claim to have beaten you without ever fighting you fairly. These are also the most likely type of opponents to reach for weapons during fights. 

Never let anyone get into your personal space to avoid being a victim. Always react when a person violates this space by pushing them away and clearly warning them not to do it again. Always be ready for a physical altercation the moment you get into a verbal one. 


5) Multiple Attackers

This is one of the worst-case scenarios as a defender. Your chances of defeating a single opponent are pretty good if you have some martial arts training under your belt, but that falls apart when you’re dealing with multiple opponents. 

For example, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is widely regarded as the most effective martial art for defending yourself against untrained opponents, but it won’t help much against multiple attackers. Striking arts like boxing and Muay Thai are way more effective when dealing with multiple attackers. 

However, your main priority should be getting far away from your attackers since the odds are against you. Try escaping to a crowded area to increase the odds of bystanders jumping in to help you. 


6) Sexual Assault

Here’s another scary situation for many people, especially women. These types of crimes are often committed by people you know, like someone you just went on a date with, but it really could be anyone. 

Your first defense against such situations is thoroughly vetting people you invite into your personal space. You can also protect yourself by being part of a group when you’re out late at night. 

Trust your gut instincts if you have a bad feeling about someone, even if it isn’t justified. Martial arts like BJJ can be effective against such attacks since they take place in close proximity. For example, a BJJ player might be able to take the attacker’s back and submit them from there or disengage and run away. 


7) A Not-So-Royal Rumble

At times, you might find yourself surrounded by people looking for a fight. For example, you might be at a football game when fans of the opposing teams decide they want to duke it out. It doesn’t matter if you have no intention of joining the melee. You’re in danger simply by being in the vicinity. 

The first thing you should do is looks to get away from the area. Keep your guard up and pay attention to your surroundings while moving since you might be targeted by either side. If someone attacks you, block their attack, push them away, and keep moving until you’re somewhere safe. 


8) The Bully

Anyone can be targeted by bullies regardless of their age. Bullies are people who are unhappy with themselves and feel a need to put others down to feel better. They are typically also cowardly, so they usually pick people who they think won’t fight back. 

The first thing you should do with a bully is establishing boundaries. Tell them to back off in a firm tone and don’t show any fear. Reach out to authority figures like a supervisor or school principal if they persist with their behavior. If things get physical, maintain your boundaries and try to get away from them. If you’re forced to fight them, make sure you win. 


9) The Ambush

This typically involves people who have a score to settle with you for one reason or the other. They typically get to set the time and location of the confrontation, so the odds are already against you. Self-awareness is your best friend when it comes to this scenario. 

Does something sound fishy about an invitation to go somewhere? Is the person inviting you your friend? Does the person have any reason to set you up? Being able to identify such situations before they unfold is the best way to protect yourself. 

If you’re already at the location and sense something is off, leave immediately while drawing as little attention to yourself as possible. You probably won’t win a physical altercation in this scenario, so do everything in your power to prevent one from occurring. 


10) The Villainous Neighborhood Pet

Humans aren’t the only ones you have to worry about when it comes to self-defense. Depending on where you live, you might have to deal with unruly neighborhood dogs or predators like coyotes, bears, and bobcats. 

Every animal is different, so there’s no one-solution-fits-all for this scenario. Generally speaking, you want to shout when dealing with an animal attack and stand your ground. Running triggers the predatory drives of most animals so don’t. 

Yell as loudly as you can (which also alerts people nearby), grab any object you can use as a weapon, and stand your ground. If the animal is a poor climber like dogs are, jump on a car or climb a tree. 

You’ll never know when you need to defend. Preparation is key, especially when it comes to those out to harm you. If you are interested in learning martial arts for self-defense, consider a complimentary introductory class with us!


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