Self Defense: Reclaiming Control
My daughters along with 35 other family and friends had the privilege of attending Jai Johnson’s self defense class last night. It was an evening that inspired hope and confidence to reverse the role as victim and to take back control. I’m going to share some tips we learned. (Of course, the maneuvers used are only to be used for self defense, and not to torture your friends….)
Violence can happen anywhere or at any time, even by a colleague or supposed friend. Offenders want to CONTROL you. Their power comes in controlling you mentally and physically. How can you protect yourself to prevent an attack?::
- Be AWARE of your environment – desolate parking lot or neighborhood, darkness, or someone watching you? Trust your instincts! If a situation or setting causes inner dread, makes you uneasy, or feels wrong – it likely is.
- Be aware of communication. Your posture, eye contact, and verbal communication play a role. An attacker is more likely to target a passive person – someone looking at the ground with poor posture and not assertive. Stand tall, use good eye contact, and make direct clear requests – “NO” or “STOP”
- 70% of attacks can be stopped by clear, direct, verbal requests. Don’t fear being RUDE when your life is at risk. Say “NO!” or “STOP!”
- Avoid riding an elevator alone (if possible) – stairs offer two points of escape and a better option than being alone in elevator with a suspicious stranger. Assess any environment for two different escape routes – even if out to dinner or at school.
- Avoid showing cash in public to make you a target.
- Always lock your doors – no community is safe.
- Don’t leave purse alone in car, shopping cart, church, etc. Identity theft growing.
- If forced to get into a car at gunpoint – don’t do it! Once you get into the car and taken to secondary location – odds of death extremely high. Better chances of life to face the attacker than getting in car.
- Avoid distractions – get off your cell phone while walking alone.
The hands-on techniques discussed in class were straight-forward and could save your life. We spent two hours facing off one-on-one learning escape holds, pressure points to make an attacker release his hold, and offensive maneuvers to inflict harm if necessary.
Go for the eyes! Poking at the eyes slows down or stops your attacker. Used curved, clawed hands to attack the face – allows for potentially ten points of contact with the eyeballs. Eyes are better than kicking in the nuts. Eye injuries incapacitate the attacker more effectively, and they will likely remove their hold to rub or grab their eyes.
Keep your distance. Once an attacker or stranger is in your personal bubble of space, chances of escape grow more difficult. When talking to strangers, keep a safe distance – at least two arm lengths or more. If attacked, using an open hand to strike the lateral jaw/mandible is more effective than a fist punch to the nose. A pressure point on the jaw can drop an attacker, while a broken nose just causes a bloody, furious attacker.
If an attacker grabs your shirt or neck with an outstretched arm or grabs your throat/chest with their two hands, they are now at a disadvantage. You have TWO free hands to thwart your attacker. Most difficult task is to stay calm. If your emotions cannot be controlled, you cannot think through a situation to get free.
Many moves and techniques were learned over the two hour class giving me a sense of empowerment and increased confidence. “The behavior you get, is the behavior you tolerate.” If an attacker loses the control that he/she wants, your chances of success are higher.
I recommend a self-defense class. Jai Johnson was eager to participate with our group and is willing to work with clubs, organizations, or others that want to learn self-defense. He offers a self-defense class every second Thursday (that I will be investigating) to further your confidence and skills. Thank you, Jai Johnson, for your time and willingness to teach us how to be safer, an allowing me to share my experience with everyone. Link to his studio HERE:
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