by Bob Park
Recently a friend of mine was randomly assaulted on the bus during the day by a very angry man . She ended up with a black eye and battered but relatively safe. Thankfully there were good samaritans that came to her aid and the physical damage was minor. The psychological damage, well that will take longer to heal.
This got me to think about appropriate levels of self defense for different populations of people. In addition to teaching LSAI/LESKAS, I also work as a personal trainer and coach. I have worked with seniors, athletes, regular folks and with special populations. Each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
So the question becomes, how do you help people to build an effective self defense that is functional and takes into account people’s abilities and willingness to act. In my experience an effective defense must take into consideration what each individual is willing to do. Do they have time to train? Are they willing to use weapons? Are they fit? Are they willing to fight? Are they big or small? Can they run?
In the end self defense is a personal choice that each person will have to decide for themselves. So where do start? What can be helpful?
For me, I would say that fitness should be a priority. Can you run 400 yards without passing out? Can you do pushups, squats or even do a pull up? Can’t do those? Then its time for awareness training. A great resource that I’ve found is The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. It stresses awareness and recognizing patterns of violence.
The other thing to consider is carrying a weapon. My weapon of choice for an untrained individual is a tactical flashlight. They are easy to use, non lethal, practical and most of all can blind an individual so that you can get away. Check out Amazon for some great deals that will fit your budget.
There are other great alternatives available. But lets be honest, they require consistent training to be effective. Knives can be more of a danger to the owner than the attacker, same for pepper spray. If you can get a license for a gun, great. As long as you have the proper training. Otherwise its best to be practical and get away.