Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Running Away for Self Defense: Five Tips

There are many situations where you can’t run away from an attacker in an emergency but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the option of fleeing as seriously as learning a technique from a course or self defense DVD, or by carrying mace, pepper spray or a Taser gun. But this aspect of self-protection is often overlooked. Let’s go over five quick tips on running away effectively.

Survive the Attack

The most important part of self defense is to resist the initial assault. If you don’t think you can get away immediately, put all of your energy into responding to the attack until an opportunity opens. This should be the central goal of any self-defense plan. People talk about “fight or flight” as if you must choose between one and the other, but drop that attitude. Self protection is your goal. This is something we can’t give you specific advice for. Every situation is different. If you manage to free yourself and get a second or two of lead time, it’s time to go.

Be Ready to Run

If you’re going to run, make sure you can run. This tip has two components. First of all, even though you shouldn’t be a slave to your fear of attack, consider wearing comfortable clothing you can run in whenever it’s convenient to do so. Secondly, this is one of the many reasons you should try to stay in shape. Short range running is an anaerobic activity, meaning the action if brief and intense enough to not use oxygen. Longer running is aerobic. This site isn’t devoted to fitness advice but to be brief, make sure you stay physically active at something you enjoy, and consider taking a fitness class so that you can keep going when you need to.

Don’t Corner Yourself

TV and movies have brought us some terrible examples of how to get away. It may be dramatic to run for a rooftop, but think about it; you’re just cornering yourself. It’s smarter to seek the ground level. Unless you have a building with a safe room, hiding in a confined space probably isn’t a good idea unless you really have no other choice.

Make a Scene – Get Attention

Muggers and other street attackers don’t want to be caught, so you want to draw as much attention to your situation as possible. Dignity be damned; run to crowds and bright areas and yell for help! Once again, running though back alleys like you see on TV is usually a bad idea.

Decide When You Won’t Run – and What the Law Has to Say

Remember: If you have a clear plan you’re more likely to succeed. That means you should decide when you aren’t willing to run away. We think deciding to run should be your default choice, but everyone has situations where they’d rather stay put and resist. What if you have to protect a family member? Are you willing to flee your home? These are very personal choices, so don’t make them in haste. You should also become familiar with laws in your state that say whether or not you’re obligated to retreat. The Atlanta region falls under the jurisdiction of Georgia’s “stand your ground” law, so your legal duty to retreat is limited, but don’t let the law be your only guideline. In our opinion, your safety is more important than your dignity. After that, the choice is up to you.

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