The most effective self-defense techniques and strategies are equally beneficial for women and men. However, since women are on average smaller than men, predators are more likely to try their luck with them.
That’s because criminals often lean towards the path of least resistance. For example, a tall, muscular guy is less likely to be mugged than a slim, small man. That same muscular guy is more likely to be attacked than an equally muscular police officer who has a handgun visible on his side.
Understanding the mentality of predators is the first step towards ensuring that you don’t become one of their victims.
Women who want to be able to properly defend themselves need to have an arsenal of efficient techniques that can effectively incapacitate an attacker. However, learning how to prevent confrontations from turning physical in the first place is the best way to defend yourself.
“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill” – Sun Tzu
Let’s take a look at a few strategies women can use to stop confrontations without having to physically defend themselves.
1) Trust Your Gut Feeling
It isn’t uncommon for women who have been victims of violence to admit to having negative feelings towards the attacker like, “I had a gut feeling going out with this person was a bad idea, but I thought I was being paranoid,” or “I thought the person was creepy, but I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
Your gut instincts are there for a reason, so if something feels out of place, you probably aren’t safe. Make sure you listen to that little voice inside your head whenever your “spider sense” starts tingling.
2) Target Denial Works
It’s hard for someone to hurt you if they can’t get a hold of you in the first place. There are often many opportunities to escape before a confrontation starts, so take advantage of them once you sense something isn’t right.
If there’s a creepy person knocking on your door, you don’t have to answer it. You don’t even have to say anything. Look through the peephole, and if the person gives you the creeps simply retreat back inside your home. If the person refuses to go away, call the authorities.
Likewise, if you’re walking down the street and a suspicious person is walking towards you, walk to the other side of the street. If you don’t feel safe walking to your car after working late, don’t let your ego get the best of you and ask someone to escort you to your car. Simply having someone next to you is enough to deter most predators.
3) Act Confidently
As was mentioned earlier, criminals pick on people who are least likely to give them a fight, so make sure you don’t give off the “victim vibe” when walking around. Keep your head up and pay attention to your surroundings. Being aware of your surroundings lets the criminal known you will be ready if he/she decides to attack.
Predators also have a habit of interviewing potential victims before making their move, so make sure you put on a strong front if a stranger approaches you. Remain calm, stand tall, make direct eye contact, and speak in an assertive manner. Criminals often try to distract people by asking for a cigarette or the time. Don’t fall for these cheap tricks. The strength projected in your voice can be enough to make the perp look for an easier victim.
4) Use A Non-Confrontational Stance
Having a non-confrontational stance when approached by a would-be attacker is extremely important when it comes to self-defense. For starters, you don’t want to provoke an attacker into violence, and, secondly, you want to have the element of surprise if things get nasty.
You’re better off using a relaxed, confident stance with your shoulders and hips forward and your arms up and open if things begin to escalate. This posture may mislead the attacker into thinking you are going to comply. When the opportunity to strike presents itself, the attacker won’t even see it coming.
It is important to note that you should only get physical with an attacker if you feel an imminent threat of violence coming your way. If the attacker simply wants your wallet or phone, it’s typically best to comply. Physical goods are replaceable.
5) Maintain A Comfort Zone
When interacting with a potential attacker, it’s important to maintain a comfort zone that’s about one and a half arm lengths. When someone enters your comfort zone, use a firm tone to tell the person to back off. If the person refuses to comply, it might be time to protect yourself.
6) Improvise And Use The Element Of Surprise
Remember, most criminals aren’t expecting you to defend yourself, so take advantage of their false sense of security. If the perp interviews you before an attack, take this as an opportunity to plan your defense.
If someone grabs you from behind, you need to respond immediately. Putting up a fight will likely catch the attacker off guard and increase your odds of landing something significant that allows you to make your escape.
Also, there are always many things around and on you that can be used as weapons. For example, a set of car keys can be used as a weapon by simply putting it in your hand, with the metal end of a key sticking out, and punching with it. It’s actually a good idea to keep your keys on you when walking alone for this very purpose.
7) Fight, Fight, And Follow Through
Once a physical confrontation is underway, you need to unleash your inner warrior. If you get knocked down, get back up and keep fighting. The confrontation isn’t over until the threat has been neutralized or you have an opportunity to escape.
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