The last thing anyone ever wants to be in is a dangerous situation, but let’s face it, the chances of getting in one are very real, and if the situation ever should arise, it’s important to educate yourself to increase your chances of survival.
FightCamp Trainer and pro mixed martial artist Shanie Smash shares six tips that you need to know to help you be prepared in a dangerous moment.
1. Have situational awareness
Be alert. What is happening around you? Always be extra observant of your surroundings. These not only apply in the boxing ring but in your everyday life as well. No matter where you are or what you are doing, study the layout of the place and visualize your escape route in case of an emergency.
Situational awareness tips for walking:
Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
Stay in well-lit areas as much as possible.
Walk confidently at a steady pace on the side of the street facing traffic.
Walk close to the curb. Avoid doorways, bushes, and alleys.
If you are in trouble, attract help any way you can. Scream, yell for help, or yell "Fire!"
If you feel you're being followed, walk into a store or knock on the door of a house.
Trust your instincts. If something feels off about a person or a place, don’t ignore your gut. Science shows that these feelings are biological tools programmed to keep us safe.
Avoid looking distracted or using your cell phone. Keep your keys in your hand and your phone within reach in case you need to call for help.
Situational awareness tips for driving:
Keep your car in good shape and well-maintained, with the gas tank at least half full.
Park in well-lit areas and lock the doors, even if you'll only be gone a short time.
When you return to your car, have your keys ready and check the front seats, rear seats, and floor before getting in. Also, do a quick scan underneath the car to make sure there’s nothing (or no one) hiding underneath.
As soon as you get in the car and close your door, lock all of the doors.
Drive with all the doors locked.
Never pick up hitchhikers.
If you have a flat tire, drive on it until you reach a safe well-lit, and well-traveled area.
Exercise extra caution when using underground and enclosed parking garages. Try not to go alone.
If you are being followed, don't drive home. Go to the nearest police or fire station and honk your horn. Or drive to an open gas station or other business where you can safely call the police. Don't leave your car unless you are certain you can get inside the building safely. Try to obtain the license plate number and description of the car following you.
2. Don’t be an easy target
Predators seek out easy targets as their victims. They will intentionally pick someone who looks like they won’t put up a fight. Like in a boxing match, use powerful body language to show confidence. Stand tall and walk briskly, with your head up and your eyes alert. Make eye contact with people you pass, acknowledging their presence. Always look like you know where you are going. Don’t look distracted, and avoid scrolling through your cell phone. If possible, avoid walking alone and carry pepper spray or another form of a self-defense weapon.
3. Be physically fit
As a woman and a mother, I consider being physically fit to be one of my key responsibilities. I need to be able to protect myself and the lives of my children. Have you ever hit a heavy bag or sprinted for a full 10 minutes straight? It could take 10 minutes or longer for a police officer to arrive at the scene of a life-threatening situation. Would you be able to physically last long enough without getting tired to fend off an attacker before help arrived? If not, this should be reason enough to always train! Stay in great shape with cardio, and sign up for martial arts or self-defense classes so that you are ready for any danger that may come to you.
I personally believe that every woman and child should train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu is great because you use leverage and technique, rather than strength to submit your opponent (break limbs or choke unconscious). Also, many submissions are done laying on your back with your opponent on top of you, which is, unfortunately, a common situation for a smaller, weaker person to end up in.
4. Know your targets
If you are attacked, be aware of the parts of the body of your attacker that you can target to inflict the most pain and damage. Knowing these may increase your chances of getting away by disabling your attacker. Vital targets may include: eyes, groin, windpipe, knees, insteps, base of skull, temples, ears, and spine.
5. Trust your gut
It’s science! No, really. ‘Gut feelings’ are biological tools that are designed to keep us safe. Tune into your senses and trust them to be indicators of danger. If something feels off about a person or a place, get away. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
6. Speak up
When you feel uncomfortable about a place or a situation, it is vital to clearly set and communicate your boundaries. Do not allow someone to get inside your personal space, make you feel vulnerable, or isolate you. In order for an attacker to hurt you, they will most likely need to get you alone and get close to you to carry out their attack. Speak with a powerful tone and tell someone to back off or get out of your space. Yell or scream bold statements to attract the attention of people nearby.
In conclusion, the six (6) tips that you need to know to help you be prepared in a dangerous moment are:
Have situational awareness
Don’t be an easy target
Be physically fit
Know your targets
Trust your gut
I hope you found these six tips helpful and remember:
It is always better to be safe than sorry.
The next time you are feeling unmotivated to train, remember that your boxing or kickboxing workout may contribute to saving your life in a dangerous situation. If you have ever taken one of my FightCamp classes, I always say to train with intention. Imagine that you are one step closer to surviving an attacker with every punch and kick on the bag.