Learning how to protect yourself is an interesting process. Your first step is to do a threat assessment. What is your threat? Living in a high crime area, you are possibly faced with a more serious personal threat than living in a million-dollar subdivision. But is this really true? Only you can answer that question. I would suggest to you that you need to make a conscious decision today to be a hard target. What is the difference between a Soft target and a Hard target?
A Soft target is usually unarmed and unaware. Do you know how to use your personal weapons like your head, elbows, and knees? Do you carry a firearm, a knife or some other type of improvised weapon and know how to use it properly? If you do not, then you are relying on luck and you are most likely unarmed. You are unarmed if you do not have good situational awareness. Most victims are unarmed both mentally and physically. Do not be a victim, be the victor!
A Soft target is accessible and predictable. Accessibility is all about controlling your personal space and environment. Do not put yourself in a bad situation. If you must go some place that by normal standards could be consider dangerous, then use the pack or gang mentality. Travel in a group. There is strength in numbers. Muggings occur when people are alone, not when they are with a group. Do not be predictable. Please change your routines or patterns. Now you do not have to do this everyday, but you should do it. I am not talking about adopting a state of paranoia; I am talking about healthy awareness. Yes, I know, most criminals are looking for a target of opportunity, but some do not. Some are looking for a pattern, an opening into our daily defenses. Take a moment and look at yourself from a third party’s perspective.
“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” –Anaïs Nin
Use your awareness skills and see things as they are. This is the greatest self-defense technique you already have in your arsenal: your ability to be aware!
A Hard target is armed with the capacity to perceive and accept the threat. You must see the threat, and hopefully before it is upon you. You must also believe that the threatening action is actually happening to you and not shut down to it. Do not “Freeze”, take action. Never become complacent, always maintain a heightened state of awareness and be alert to potential threats. Practice these skills daily; present moment awareness really is the key. What do you observe as you move through your environment?
Once a Hard target perceives and accepts the threat, a process of analysis and evaluation of the threat’s potential for harm needs to be conducted. Obviously, this process must occur relatively quickly. Studying pre-attack indicators and body language will go a long way in giving you the ability to size-up the situation quickly.
Lastly, a Hard target is unpredictable and takes action. After the situation is assessed, action must be taken, which usually entails running or fighting. My suggestion is that you Fight to Run. Fight long enough to create space and then run like you have never run before. This may not be possible if you are with a loved one, unless he or she has already run away (and hopefully called the police). Do not fight just to be fighting. Remember that situations quickly change; one minute you are the victim and the next minute you might just be the aggressor in the eyes of our court system. Fight and Run, then contact the local authorities.
“When you are hungry, it is foolish to hunt a tiger when there are plenty of sheep to be had.” Baader-Meinhof slogan
Your goal today is to become a “Combat Hard Target”! Be the Tiger!