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How our intuition warns in self defense

Intuition is a powerful tool of the Inner Warrior because it skips past normal logic as the subconscious mind connects the dots and arrives at a conclusion long before the conscious mind is even aware. The problem with intuition is it rarely warns us in clear-cut language. It has a lingo of its own.

(NOTE: This is a follow-up post to last week’s “Intuition — First Self Defense Weapon of Choice“)

Although it would be truly handy and a lot less guess work, the subconscious mind doesn’t normally speak to us in words.  According to Gavin De Becker, author of The Gift of Fear, it sends “Messengers of Intuition:”

  • Hairs rising on the back of your neck
  • Chills sliding down your spine
  • Spiders of anxiety crawling across your skin
  • Concern, wonder or doubt itching at the back of your mind
  • Lack of comfort and ease around a certain person

Many people experience intuition in their gut, as in:

  • “I felt in my gut that I should not get on the plane.”
  • “My gut instinct tells me to avoid this business deal.”
  • “My gut reaction is not go out with this guy, but he seems so nice!”

Our gut and intuition seem so well linked that sometimes a stomachache may be an indicator of more than bad food or the flu. Intuition can get our attention as an impression or doubt, but it often comes as a feeling somewhere in our bodies.

For me, there is often a sinking feeling in my gut when I try to go against my intuition in relationships, but I’ve also felt intuition warning me of danger with a feeling or inner wave that says without words, “Something’s wrong” or “Danger — somewhere behind you.”

Our intuition radar system sends danger warnings to make us question why we feel the way we do. The warnings can also be a spark to ignite an intense awareness in our environment or about the people around us:

  • If the parking area where you always leave your car suddenly and inexplicably makes you apprehensive, don’t brush off the feeling. Instead, look around and ask “Why?”  Go back and ask security or an employee to accompany you. No one around? Call a friend to swing by for a moment and help you to your car.
  • If you have nagging doubts about your date, even though the person seems charming and polite, give yourself permission to explore the feeling further.  Have a friend call you at a certain time with an “out” just in case.  Have a list of polite excuses ready so you don’t agree to further dates, or even an extended date, simply because you don’t know how to say no. Realize that many people have said afterwards about the most vicious predators, “He was such a nice guy that I thought my feelings of discomfort were wrong.”
  • If your son’s high school teacher waves red flags in your mind, investigate the person quietly while honoring your intuition. You don’t have the right to ruin a person’s reputation, but you do have the right (and responsibility) to keep your children safe. Speak to the school’s principal about your concern or feeling.

As I wrote in the comments in the last post, my husband’s intuition helped us avoid a tornado. Truth be known, at the time I argued against his decision to take another road because we’d just started on a long road trip and going the other route would put us an hour behind schedule. If he’d listened to me and my wealth of experience with tornadoes — in other words, to a logical, educated opinion about the storm cell — we’d have been tornadic toast.

How about you? Have you successfully listened to your gut instinct, felt the Messengers of Intuition, or heard stories about them?


More on intuition and self defense in these articles:

Thank you for visiting and learning about self defense.
If you think others can benefit, please pass it on!

Lori Hoeck

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • janice June 29, 2009, 4:30 pm

    This blog keeps getting better and better! I wish everyone would take the time to check in with their bodies to strengthen their connections with and awareness of their “messengers of intuition”. You probably have phenomenal intuition because of your karate and your work. My coaching strengthened one aspect of mine because I learned to pick up a lot from voices, silences and body language over the phone.

    A couple of weeks ago, we were going to the cinema and my husband parked in town in one of the few spaces available. I glanced to my left and said “It’s not a good idea to park in front of a pub; someone could be sick on the car.” The kids and I got out and walked a few paces away while my husband reversed the car back a bit. At that exact moment, a drunk ran out and vomited violently in the space where our car had been. I’m never sure if it’s heightened alertness or spooky intuition, but I believe we all have it.

    I’m now going to try and re-tweet this!

  • Marc June 30, 2009, 10:27 am

    I’ve come to realise that as a shy, introverted, disabled man my intuition has never really been developed.

    As I briefly mentioned in a previous comment, I tend to avoid eye-contact. I also disappear into my shell, the so-called blinkers go up and my situational awareness is all but blinded. Particularly when I’m feeling nervous.

    I’m also prone to letting other people’s energy effect me.

    However I’ve come to the conclusion that it isn’t entirely a bad thing.

    In my quest to nurture and develop my intuition I can now relate to others who also find the concept difficult to grasp.

    My gut reaction is not go out with this guy, but…
    Ahh the ‘but’ word. Number one killer of the inner voice.

    I’ve totally taken Yoda’s attitude on this one:
    “No, no, there is no why… Clear your mind of questions. “

  • Lori Hoeck June 30, 2009, 10:48 am

    Hi Janice,
    Intuition is a funny thing because it comes from another part of us, but it is still who and what we are, including our humorous side.

    My husband and I have also “felt” one parking spot was not as advisable as another — at exactly the same time. It’s nice having someone get the same reading.

    Hi Marc,
    I think you would be surprised how intuitive you are. Shy and introverted people are especially sensitive to their environment because their survival mechanism requires it.

  • Marc June 30, 2009, 10:55 am

    I forgot to add:
    I’m an information junkie, a geek and far too analytical.

    It’s something I now strive to silence, or rather to balance against my instinctual side.

    Thanks for the comment though, it’s very encouraging.

  • Eliza June 30, 2009, 7:28 pm

    I never ever go against my intution now. Never ever. I don’t question it, and I don’t feel a need to justify my ensuing actions to anyone.

    In the past, whenever I ‘went against my gut’, things always went wrong. Fortunately never tornadic toast, but I was in a car accident when every fibre of my being screamed do not get in this car! And I didn’t cause the accident, so it wasn’t a case of self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Good post, Lori.

  • Lori Hoeck June 30, 2009, 7:37 pm

    Hi Eliza,
    Thanks for visiting! Your new blog Silver and Grace looks to be quite a winner.

    Isn’t it amazing intuition can be a quiet, little voice or an insistent scream? I’m glad you are in tune with yours!

  • Chania Girl July 1, 2009, 4:20 pm

    Lori, I “discovered” you in two places today. From Janice’s page and from Blogging Without a Blog. I am so glad I did.

    I really enjoyed this post as I have come to trust my intuition over the years. It is never wrong … though I sometimes do a bad job of listening to it and manage to botch things up.

    My fiance and I both believe very much in listening to our intuition, though, and I feel very lucky for this. To give you an example of one of the ways we have done this: last year we were on the verge of making some big decisions to move from Greece to another country to teach, namely the UAE. We had filled out several applications online and found ourselves contacted by one of them and presented with a phone interview, a more thorough application, and then the job offer that included flights, housing, monthly allowance in addition to pay, etc. It seemed too good to be true!

    Throughout the process, both of us felt uneasy. We could both see that the other one was having doubts and questioning and re-thinking things; and we both agreed that this must mean that our intuition just did not feel this was the best decision. We could not ignore it.

    The day before the school was set to call us for our acceptance of the offer, I decided to google this school and see if anything came up. When I did, I was greeted with page after page of horror stories written by former teachers at the school. Gross mistakes and errors that simply had nothing to do with perhaps mismatches in teaching style. On one well-respected job-placement board the school had actually been blacklisted! When my fiance got home, I showed him what I had found. We knew right then and there our answer was NO! But our intuition had been right all along.

  • Lori Hoeck July 1, 2009, 7:03 pm

    Hi Chania Girl,
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’m also glad you two listened your intuition on the teaching job! Can you imagine if you’d gone through with it?

    My husband and I had a similar experience in a business deal. We had signed a contract, but couldn’t go against our intuition and backed out of the deal in the legally allotted time. Good thing, too. They put me through quite an ordeal, trying to hide from me so I couldn’t get their verifying signature on the cancellation until after the time limit was over. I outsmarted them, though, and grabbed one of their employees before they could warn him not to sign. Sheesh!

  • Barbara Swafford July 1, 2009, 8:09 pm

    Hi Lori,

    Intuition is so powerful.

    Speaking of business deals, even in our slow economy, we just did that on a good size job. We did all of the work on the proposal, went to the site many times and spent countless hours researching and number crunching. When it came time to submit our bid, I checked the website of the contractor one more time and “didn’t feel right about what I found”. I told my husband about it and he and I agreed it was best if we didn’t submit a bid. We didn’t. We’ve noted the job hasn’t started yet and probably won’t know if we did the right thing for some time, but we do feel comfortable not following through.

    Years ago we bid a job, were ready to turn in it in when my husband came in and wanted to add a couple of hundred dollars to it. I reluctantly retyped (before PCs) the lengthy bid. He turned it in. We missed the job by $150.00. Later we found out under the surface of the dirt was solid rock. Had we got it, we would have lost our butts. Whew!!!

  • Lori Hoeck July 1, 2009, 8:28 pm

    Hi Barbara,

    Intuition can be amazingly helpful. When people combine it with other self defense skills I write about — such as “sense danger in the patterns” and “spot the snake behind the charm” — they can avoid so many hassles and bad decisions.

  • Vered - MomGrind July 1, 2009, 10:00 pm

    I don’t often rely on my intuition. But this was interesting for me to read and gave me something new to consider.

  • Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach July 2, 2009, 4:13 am

    I always listen to my intuition. It has yet to fail me. My senseis have also taught me a lot about being alert to surroundings and not to ignore when all of your senses say, change what you’re doing NOW!

    Wise words indeed.

  • Lori Hoeck July 2, 2009, 7:43 am

    Hi Vered,
    I think it’s great you are considering it!

    Hi Barbara Ling,
    I like teaching awareness and intuition skills because they are the best self defense tools, allowing: 1) early warning and 2) fast and fluid decision making in a violent or dangerous situation.

  • Kathy | Virtual Impax July 2, 2009, 3:29 pm


    I’ll never forget when I first discovered not only how powerful intuition is but how important it is to trust it.

    I was a young mother and had enrolled my pre-school daughter in tap dancing classes. At the end of the season, a photographer was brought in to photograph the children. My daughter flipped out – refusing to be photographed by the man. He was obviously close to the studio’s owner because she got very upset when my daughter refused to allow this man near her.

    Long story short -a fuss ensued -voices were raised, threats issues, feet were stomped – and as a result, we were “banned” from the dance studio.

    About 18 months later, the gentleman’s photo was all over our local paper – he had been charged with multiple counts of child molestation.

    That was definitely an “aha” moment for me. My young daughter KNEW to respect her intuition and I am grateful that I didn’t try to force her to go forward, or punish her for not doing so. Looking back, I must have had my own “bad vibes” as well – though definitely not as pronounced. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade and a half trying desperately to not “squash” the messages my intuition sends my way.

  • Lori Hoeck July 2, 2009, 3:47 pm

    Hi Kathy,
    Thank you.

    What a great story about intuition! I’m sorry it was a crazy, tense time, and I’m glad you didn’t try to force the issue with your daughter. This explains why it is so important for parents to know the difference between their children’s real fears and the false fear they sometimes hide behind to get their way.

  • Sherry July 2, 2009, 4:15 pm

    I totally believe in the power of intuition, but there are times where my mind will wonder due to stories I’ve heard on TV so I second guess myself on the action that I should take. There are so many things that can happen to a person at any time. I just hope I can tell the difference between just plain worry & my intuition. Great post!

  • Lori Hoeck July 2, 2009, 4:29 pm

    Hi Sherry,
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    Stories on TV can rile us up emotionally, but there is a big difference between fear and worry. You can find a great explanation between fear and worry in Gavin De Becker’s book The Gift of Fear. I love this quote from the book, “Worry is the fear we manufacture …” I highly recommend the book to everyone.

  • TrinaMb July 2, 2009, 6:48 pm

    Nice outlay on the importance of listening to self. I am learning this, especially after’seeing’ in some small ways that I should have listened better to my intuition. Nothing dangerous yet, but as I tune in more, ya nver know what i may save myself from.

  • Davina July 4, 2009, 12:07 pm

    Hi Lori. I’m enjoying this series. I struggle regularly with listening to intuition (whether it is fear or intuition, or whatever impression I’m getting). The reason for this is that many times I have not followed my intuition and everything turned out okay. I like your description of the “sinking feeling in my gut” in relation to not listening to intuition. Could be that in my case I was moving beyond fear and not ignoring intuition at all.

  • Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching July 6, 2009, 1:58 pm

    Thanks for this. It does seem like, in our culture, we tend to repress our intuition because it supposedly “isn’t rational,” and then when it comes to making choices — sometimes as significant as the career we choose — we often wish we’d listened to our instincts.

  • Vincent July 6, 2009, 3:24 pm

    I liked the way your wrote this post. But I’m a bit stuck responding to your invitation to mention examples of how intuition has guided me. Perhaps my whole blog does that. But that sounds like a crude plug for people to read it. Not meant that way.

    I think the biggest thing was when I got cured of a chronic illness miraculously, but I haven’t written it up yet. (Not true, I have, but it needs writing up again.)

  • Lori Hoeck July 7, 2009, 10:16 am

    Hi TrinaMb,
    Welcome and thank you for commenting.

    “Listening,” “seeing,” or “reading” a situation or person gets better with practice.

    Hi Davina,
    I believe intuition — the real deal — is infallible and is always looking our for us. At the same time, we also let fear, projection, wishful thinking, worry, anxiety, fatigue, and denial get in the way.

    You write, “many times I have not followed my intuition and everything turned out okay.” Perhaps it was something else or perhaps your heightened senses — caused by the awareness of something different in the mix — created a change without your knowing it. For example, on two occasions I felt fear for my husband at work. I called and all was well. Nothing happened. Perhaps the call made him more aware and some action was avoided.

    Hi Chris,
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    I see intuition as simply a survival skill we all have, but it is often neglected as such since we don’t think about our survival much. See my next post for more on this!

    Hi Vincent,
    Thank you for commenting. Intuition can be powerful in self defense, choice making, or in health issues. Sounds like you have some interesting stories about intuition.