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Stop panic — three ways to unfreeze in self defense

by Lori Hoeck on October 27, 2009

selfdefensepanicIn a self defense situation, when panic starts to turn your brain to jello, your knees to rubber, and the contents of your intestines to liquid, pull out one or all of these:

Become outraged at this invasion against you. Decide you don’t want a predator or criminal thinking of you as “a victim,” “easy pickings,” or “helpless, hapless prey.”

You don’t deserve this! This is wrong! Let your total indignation burn right through any mental freeze. Move! Be cunning! Do something!

Use your voice and cursing to vent any panic outward. Let it come up from the bottom of your soul.

Screaming is loud – which is good and may bring help — but it comes across as a victim-like sound. Instead deepen your voice, and find a powerful sound that comes from forcefully tightening your abdomen as you explode with vocal power.

Become completely resolved to have this end your way. Determination is the biggest factor in surviving an attack, a natural disaster, or any emergency.

Feel the power rise from within by remembering:

  • You have friends, a spouse, kids, parents, a lover – someone you want to be able to see again
  • You have dreams, goals, and a life – something worth surviving for
  • You have an inner drive, determination, and dedication you may have never tapped before, but it’s there — and it’s something you can rely on.

Also, you can stomp foot or slap your leg. This is akin to the movie moment when the hero slaps the panicking character who is yelling “We’re all gonna die!”

When surprised by an attack, karate students often sound off with a kiai (or kihap).

Use these inner powers and emotions to galvanize your defenses, rev up your wily cunning, and make good your escape.

How have you stopped panic from rising?


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

Lori Hoeck


Photo Credit: Jim Linwood

{ 2 trackbacks }

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1 janice October 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Great tips. When someone tried to attack me from behind in a public place (I didn’t expect it) I did an instinctive kiai when I punched. It all happened very fast. The part that had me shaking and distraught afterwards, was how no one came to help or see what was happening.

2 Lori Hoeck October 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Hi Janice,
Kiais are a great way to power up instantly. Sorry no one stepped up to help. A big message I pass on to people, especially kids, is that individuals are responsible for their own safety. You can hope bystanders will help, but don’t expect or rely on it.

3 Davina October 28, 2009 at 12:32 am

Hi Lori.
How do I stop panic from rising? I swallow it… it’s like I step outside of it somehow. Granted I haven’t had a panicky feeling in a long while, but that is what I remember. It’s an interesting feeling; surreal, and things go into slow motion. I appreciate your point about focusing on how we have people we want to be able to see again. I will remember that; it has a grounding effect.

4 Lori Hoeck October 29, 2009 at 10:04 am

Hi Davina,
“stepping outside of it” sounds like a way you can make it less personal and impacting, much like how an EMT will slip into analysis of a trauma scene instead of absorbing the horror of it.

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