Understanding Self Defence

Self Defence is the term used to describe a wide range of strategies and tactics in order to keep you safe. Self Defence should be considered as a continuum ranging from insuring that issues don’t arise all the way through dealing with the legalities and after effects of a situation. An effective self defence system must take into account the tactics required for different situations and also the environment

The key areas

Prevention Tactics – These are pre-planned approaches to self defence, this includes home alarms and security, planning your travel routes and understanding and taking action on the risks that exist.

Avoidance Tactics – These tactics cover situations such as being confronted with aggression or being targeted by street criminals or predators. The key tactics here are situational awareness, assertiveness, focus, verbal de-escalation strategies and decision making

Physical Escape Tactics – These set of tactics focus on the use of Physical force to ensure your safety. This includes breakaways, escapes from being held, defence against striking and striking in your own defence. Physical tactics must also include issues such as multiple attackers, tight spaces, ground defence and weapons.

Legal Considerations – An understanding of the legal view on self defence is important in a complete self defence solution. Interpretations can vary, but in general most observe the concept of reasonable force. The question that is considered is whether your actions were reasonable and in-line with the threat faced, and was the level of force appropriate. A simple guideline is always to be focused on escape, so the moment you can safely leave the scene you must. Self defence law also allows you act in the defence of others and property.

Environment is also a factor in an overall self defence plan, as risk and vulnerability may change with location.

The following considerations should be taken into account

At Home – As already mentioned home security such as alarms and appropriate locks on doors and windows should be considered, but other factors that should be taken into account include escape routes, secure rooms to retreat to, emergency communication and ensuring incidental weapons such as kitchen knives are not available to intruders

At Work – A significant amount of time is spent at work so you should also consider your safety while at work. Ensure you understand you company’s approach to dealing with security, do they vet staff, are your required to be alone with others, is there a risk from visitos or customers, does your work put you at risk. If any of these factors are a cause for concern action should be taken.

Socialising – A significant amount of crime happens around socialising, often alcohol is involved and security awareness can be lowered. These factors are very well understood by predators seeking to use these situations to their advantage.

Commuting – How you travel must also be a factor in self defence, make sure you understand the risk associated with types of transports and locations. Late night buses, trains and subways can be high risk. If you are travelling to a unfamiliar destination or using an unfamiliar route make sure you adequately understand the route and risk. Try to have an emergency get home plan, either someone you can call or the money for a taxi.

International Travel – When travelling to new countries we can find ourselves at risk. The experience can be unfamiliar and often overwhelming. Ports of entry are often targeted by unsavoury characters who want to take advantage of the confusion felt by new arrivals. Make sure to preplan you entry and know how you will leave the port before you arrive and consider organizing to be met and picked up by a trustworthy source. When booking accommodation make sure to assess the location and environment from a safety and risk perspective. In general but especially when on unfamiliar territory try not to show off valuables which might attract a predator.

In summary a complete self defence system must take provide you with the tactics to safe in various different situations and must also deal with the environments you inhabit.

Patrick cumiskey is the founder of Skiltful