Self-Defense

ATM Safety

Posted by on Feb 15, 2013 in Self-Defense | Comments Off on ATM Safety

ATM Safety

If Attacked at an ATM If you face danger at an automated bank teller, there are several possible responses.  It is your responsibility to choose the best response for your specific situation. But, before we explore possible responses, let’s start with the most basic of self-defense knowledge—avoiding danger.  Lets consider how this relates to ATM safety. It would be best for a person to choose the safest ATM machine possible.  During daylight is safer than after dark; drive-up is safer than walk-up; inside a store is safer than outside; full view of the public is safer than not.  Furthermore, when approaching an ATM machine, glance around and consider if you logically, and in your gut, feel safe to use it. Now, let’s assume mistakes in avoidance were made and you face a potentially dangerous situation at an ATM machine.  If you feel slightly, slightly uncomfortable about a person near you, do not be embarrassed to ask them to step back while you complete your transaction. Personally, I think I might decide to leave with even the slightest feeling of discomfort. If you feel significant discomfort about a person near you, certainly leave for another ATM machine, or at least ask them if they would like to go first. Making any conversation would let your gut gather more information about the level of danger. If necessary, make a self-defense stance and command them to “back off” while you leave, with or without your card, depending on the level of danger you feel. Also consider that, feeling significant danger, you might use deception to give you a chance to escape:  You could appear insane, rant about your spouse messing up your bank account, or cuss at the machine as you walk away. What if you are surprised, and clearly in danger, because physical contact or verbal threat has been made?  The experts I’ve studied all recommend fighting. That surprises me because these same experts recommend handing over your wallet in a “stick-up” elsewhere. On the one hand, it seems to me a person who would attack at an ATM machine only wants money, so why take the risk of fighting?  On the other hand, it is possible that the attacker wants to kidnap a victim, force them to withdraw money from multiple ATMs, then kill them and leave their body in the desert. Whether you decide to immediately fight is up to you.  I think I’d go with my gut at the time. If you decide to immediately fight, if facing the ATM machine, you’ll likely start with a rear elbow, then continue to strike while turning to get a good view of the attacker and see if additional strikes are necessary or if you have a chance to leave. Leave as soon as possible. If however, the attacker has spun you and is holding onto you with both hands, you can assume there is no weapon (barring another attacker). The fact that there is no weapon involved makes it safer for you to choose to throw palms and knees until you find a chance to leave, but also less likely that kidnapping is their goal. My goal, as always, is to cause you to make self-defense decisions before you face danger, rather than to tell you what to do in a specific situation.  I thank FAST Defense and Krav Maga 702 for their ATM safety information, which I studied in preparation for this article.   Marcy Shoberg is the creator of “Bring Out Your Inner Bodyguard in Two Weeks or Less” home study course for adults and seniors. See www.theselfdefenselady.com....

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Your Body is Your Own Business

Posted by on Feb 11, 2013 in Self-Defense | Comments Off on Your Body is Your Own Business

Some people feel powerless to control their lives.  For many, this feeling started in childhood when they failed to accept the belief that they deserve to control who touches their body and how (both appropriate and inappropriate physical contact).  Even grown women often don’t realize that there is nothing wrong with setting boundaries related to physical contact. I call my kids’ lesson on this “OK Touch, Creepy Touch” and start it by showing a handout with this simple paragraph: Your body belongs to you and no one else.   Your parents and your doctors may touch your body to check on you and take care of you.  If someone touches you in any way you don’t like, you have a right to ask them to stop.  You can say “Grandma, I feel embarrassed when you hug me.  Can we just shake hands?” The parts of your body covered by a bathing suit are especially private.  Even doctors and parents need a good reason to touch your bathing suit parts. Then, we discuss touches they like and don’t.  Most kids find the “You’re so cute!” cheek pinch painful or annoying, but like hugs from family members.  Each individual, though, has a right to like or not like certain touches.  If your friends are “huggy” and you are not, you may set boundaries.  If one of your children likes to snuggle and the other doesn’t, respect that. While there are situations to be quite forceful about setting boundaries, like the beginning stages of a date rape, in low danger situations you’ll get better results if you avoid hurting the other person’s feelings.  One way to do this is to use the “magic formula” which goes “I feel ______ when you ______. Could you _______ instead?” First, decide how you feel when this friend, relative, or coworker does the offending behavior, whether it is inappropriate physical contact or something else (embarrassed, uncomfortable, weird or “like I’m doing something I shouldn’t”). Then, think of a replacement behavior they might accept like a handshake, high-five, or speaking from a distance. Finally, choose a good time to talk to the touchy person, tell them how you feel, and ask if they could do the replacement. Although this may not be easy, you can rehearse for it in advance. When you talk to them, remember to stick to your message and avoid a defensive reaction by acting like you have a strange need for personal space rather than like they behave wrongly. To teach this to your children, you might start with “I learned today that parents should teach their kids that everybody’s body belongs to them and no one else.” Continue with the paragraph from my handout above.  Then, ask if anyone touches them in a way they don’t like and role play how they could use the magic formula. If you’re ready to get more serious, mention that if anyone touches them, or asks to be touched by them, in a way they think is creepy they should refuse and tell another adult about it later. If they start telling you about a creepy thing that happened to them, show support but not surprise, and don’t help them explain it. For example, don’t teach them new names for body parts.   Just listen and then say you have a friend who knows what to do about these situations and call your local sexual assault recovery services.   Marcy Shoberg is the creator of “Bring Out Your Inner Bodyguard in Two Weeks or Less” home study course for adults and seniors. See www.theselfdefenselady.com. Bookmark on Delicious Digg...

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Injury Avoidance Essay

Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Self-Defense | Comments Off on Injury Avoidance Essay

A student of mine (1st Degree) has recently made the following report and presented it as a “black belt project” of sorts.  I thought it something worth sharing with other instructors. Control and Injury Avoidance in Taekwondo-1     Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this...

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I Wish Everyone Knew Just Five Things

Posted by on Feb 5, 2013 in Self-Defense | Comments Off on I Wish Everyone Knew Just Five Things

I Wish Everyone Knew Just Five Things

Some people, who want to know a lot about personal protection, study hand-to-hand combat and the use of various weapons.  That’s fine for tough guys and gals, who enjoy such things.  But really, everyone with a body should know at least something about protecting it. It’s funny how the civilians least likely to enjoy learning self-defense are most likely to need it! Below are my thoughts on the top five things everyone should know about self-defense. Number one is that the best way to deal with danger is to avoid it.  To do this, pay attention to what’s around you, without expecting danger.  If you expect danger, you key-in on the first suspicious thing you notice, and may miss other dangers.  Simply acknowledge that it is always unlikely, but never impossible, for something dangerous to be around you.  Then, notice everything and trust your gut to warn you if something needs attention. Number two is that the voice can be a tool for attack and defense. Many women have been beaten into submission just by threatening words! Too, when a man hears threatening words from another man, he may suffer a lapse in judgment that puts him danger.  Just like the voice can be a tool for attack, it can be one for attack. The trick, according to Peyton Quinn, is to “Show no fear or denial but do not escalate the situation.” Number three is that, if you do face danger from another person (unless they are already squeezing your neck or striking you), the best way to respond depends on their motivation and your environment. (Example: Is an improvised weapon available?)  Often, leaving would be best; sometimes it’s impossible. Sometimes, standing up for yourself ends the danger, as might “brandishing an improvised weapon in an impressive show of strength” (quote from book by founder of Krav Maga).  If you face a person who is angry with you, it’s almost certain that communication can keep it from coming to blows. Number four is related to three–how to respond if a dangerous person is striking you or squeezing your neck. Unless your instinct tells you to play dead, take care of the immediate danger immediately. If they are striking you, strike them.  If they are choking you though, protect your neck first. Last on my top-five list is the fact that anyone can seek personal protection education. You don’t need to be strong enough to win a sport fight to protect yourself from most any dangerous person.  Books and classes are a great place to start. But, don’t buy a book with pictures of moves that won’t make sense to you. I’ve read great self-defense theory books by Gavin Debecker, Bill Kipp, Peyton Quinn, Rory Miller, and Loren Christensen. To learn moves, take a class.   Locate classes in your area, then go watch a few.  Look for a group of people you’d enjoy training with.  Also, remember to ask the instructor what moves they think are most important for a student to learn.  If they say something like palms to the head, fingers to the eyes, and knees and kicks to the groin, you’ve found a good class.  Any other moves take longer to get good at. If you want to be safer soon, start with the moves that are easiest to learn and apply. My personal protection video is not too difficult for any beginner to understand! Marcy Shoberg is the creator of “Bring Out Your Inner Bodyguard in Two Weeks or Less” home study course for adults and seniors. See www.theselfdefenselady.com. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post...

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Do you Strike for Damage or Result? –Vital Targets Human Body

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Self-Defense | 2 comments

Do you Strike for Damage or Result? –Vital Targets Human Body

Different places on a person’s body get different results when struck.   If ever in a situation where you need to hit someone to make yourself or a loved-one safe, it would be helpful if you had some understanding of what places get what results.  Martial-art-people and self-defense-people, though, differ in what they teach about vital targets human body. (Vital targets of the human body to use proper English) The term “vital target” refers to a place on a person’s body that, if struck, will cause a high amount of pain or damage.     Martial artists generally list small points that, if accurately and powerfully struck, would do major damage: A strike to the philtrum (the dent on one’s upper lip), is painful due to the nerves behind it, and can damage the nose and teeth. The temple (the indention between one’s ear and eye) is a place to aim because the skull is thinner there. Striking someone in the solar plexus (dime-size spot at the bottom of one’s breast bone) will affect their diaphragm, making them feel unable to breathe.  The floating ribs (lowest two ribs which don’t connect to one’s sternum) are a place to aim because they are somewhat easily displaced.  Martial artists also consider the throat, neck, kidneys, liver, knees, and elbows places to learn to target. Self-defense-people agree that these are painful places to be struck; but, take a different view of what students need to be taught about vital targets. For one thing, if you need to hit a person in self-defense, damaging them should not be your main goal–making yourself safe should be your focus. Two, most who teach pure self-defense believe that these vital targets are either too small to aim for under pressure, or require more force than many people can muster. Their advice is, if you need to hit a person, hit anywhere on the head or up between the legs.  A hit to the head will cause movement in the neck which may result in a brief disorientation. A hit to the groin will cause them to squat and move their knees together. They don’t teach to avoid hitting the body, elbows, or knees if that’s what’s available; but that one should strike the head or groin at their earliest opportunity and continue until safe. Both martial art and self-defense instructors agree that the eyes are a useful target.  Martial art people though, generally use fancy hand positions and more power, while self-defense people suggest that you strike lightly, either with fingers relaxed or all five together like a “beak.”  Their reasoning is that, for the eyes, a light strike is enough to get a big result; and, if you miss and hit cheekbone, finger pain may be distracting. Security professionals, and anyone who may need to control bad-guys without harming them, need to understand “non-vital targets.” For example, a hard strike to the top of the shoulder near the neck (Vulcan-death-pinch area from Star Trek) can make a person’s arm “dead” for a minute, taking the fight out of them without causing permanent damage. There is a similar spot for the leg, under the hip pocket and to the outside, and one on the forearm for the hand. The bottom line is that, in physical self-defense, it matters where you aim, but it’s not terribly complicated:  The head and groin are all most need to remember.   Marcy Shoberg is the creator of “Bring Out Your Inner Bodyguard in Two Weeks or Less” home study course for adults and seniors. See www.theselfdefenselady.com. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend...

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Purse Snatch Defense

Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Self-Defense | Comments Off on Purse Snatch Defense

Purse Snatch Defense

This particular column is about preventing crime –specifically a snatching of your purse. Recently, I did much eavesdropping in a Las Cruces department store. First, I waited around customer service analyzing different strategies people use to calm others down. I waited longer than I would have liked, but was pleased customer service finally found the store wasn’t really out of the item I badly needed, but had some “in the back.” Later, at the check-out stand, I overheard employees talking about a woman who’d recently been attacked in their parking lot.  I pressed them for details, but only learned that an elderly woman had her purse stolen. I suspect it was like what once happened to my sister:  A man came up behind her, jerked her purse away, and took off running towards a park.  Although my sister wasn’t injured, she was traumatized and had nightmares about it. I know of an elderly woman though, who died from complications from medical treatment she received after falling when her purse was stolen.  I assume she fell while trying to retain her possessions. The man is now in prison for murder. What should a woman (or man) do if someone steals a bag from their shoulder or hand?  They should do whatever minimizes the physical, legal, emotional, and financial discomfort they suffer due to the incident. Consider how a purse snatching is likely to happen. First, a person (typically male), desperate for money, decides to steal a purse.  Then, they go somewhere they can expect to see some purses to choose from, and have a fast escape. They wait until they see one they believe should have a significant amount of cash, carried by a person they can take by surprise.  I’d think they would then glance around for witnesses.  If they don’t see too many, they’d quietly approach from behind, grab it, and start running towards their planned escape location. Now, consider how a purse snatching is likely to seem to the victim. They are going to the store, like they have hundreds of times before, and are focused on what they need to purchase.  Suddenly, they feel physical contact, and must catch their balance.  The next thing they know, their purse is leaving at a quick rate with someone else. Most likely, they can’t do anything but watch. But what if they could? Although it seems to me that the sort of person who would decide to grab a purse is unlikely to be the sort who would carry a weapon or violently attack another, I can’t guarantee it’s safe to fight back against a purse snatcher. Many victims would want revenge, thinking if they could punish this one purse snatcher for his actions, they would be increasing the safety of the world. In fact, it would have little effect.  Making the necessary phone calls to cancel credit cards would be more to ones benefit. From the point of view of the victim though, if the purse snatcher wasn’t already running away from you, you wouldn’t be certain they were snatching your purse instead of your body, and should use your voice, knees, and any other tool you can to protect yourself–including your purse. If you seek more information about how to protect yourself from purse snatching, reread the paragraph about how purse snatchings happen and think about it every time you walk into a store.   Marcy Shoberg is the creator of “Bring Out Your Inner Bodyguard in Two Weeks or Less” home study course for adults and seniors. See www.theselfdefenselady.com. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook...

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