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Intuition — first self defense weapon of choice

intuition and self defense

Television script writers are comfortable making normal characters highly intuitive:

  • Radar O’Reilly on MASH used his intuitive skills to pop into a room before being called and to finish his commander’s sentences.
  • Lieutenant Colonel Sarah “Mac” MacKenzie on JAG accessed her intuitive nature to find both a girl lost in the woods and, later, her partner in the middle of the Atlantic.
  • In Magnum, P.I., Tom Selleck’s character Thomas Magnum calls his intuition “a little voice”:
    Magnum: [narrating] “When I write my book on how to be a world class private investigator, I’m going to include a chapter on listening to your little voice. Everybody has one …”

Some may see it as a sixth sense, instinct, a hunch, gut feeling, or tingly spidey senses, but whatever you call it, intuition is used by people every day. Perhaps these examples are more common:

  • A sports announcer for a football game says, “That quarterback has eyes in the back of his head” when the player evades a blitz without looking back.
  • One of the local bankers has the reputation that “everything he touches turns to gold.”
  • A person goes to pick up the phone, certain they know who it is, and it’s that person.
  • Someone you know has a knack for finding the perfect fishing spot.
  • The tech guy who fixes your computer seems to just look at your system and it works.

I like how these two actresses explain it:

I feel there are two people inside me – me and my intuition. If I go against her, she’ll screw me every time, and if I follow her, we get along quite nicely. ~ Kim Basinger

You must train your intuition – you must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide. ~ Ingrid Bergman

In self defense, intuition is the early warning radar system that tells your Inner Warrior to wake up and take notice. Intuition is a powerful weapon because it skips past normal logic to pull information from the subconscious mind. However it works, the subconscious mind has the ability to perceive patterns in collected data, compare them to what is happening in our lives at the moment, and then give us an intuitive feel or “sense of knowing” about a situation or a person.  Our subconscious mind can connect the dots and arrive at a conclusion long before the conscious mind is even aware. Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink explores this subject in depth.

In this post, I won’t be able to write about everything intuition can do for you, but I can start you on discovering more about intuition for yourself. First of all, don’t let the oddity or newness of accessing your intuition stop you from opening up to it. You really don’t need to go all Johnny Carson and think you have to be Karnac the Magnificent.

  • Try to let relax, breathe, and let your mind wrap itself around the concept of intuition.
  • Recall a time when you felt very intuitive and try to awaken that state again.
  • Learn to listen to what flows into your mind as you open up to receiving an intuitive insight about an object, person, or situation.

Secondly, you must decide to honor your intuition by slowly letting it become a part of your decision-making process, especially when your safety or life is at stake. Sure, we all know that wisdom, reason, and common sense work wonders in decision making, but intuition can hopscotch over those when it reads the scene a little differently.

About 12 years ago, my husband’s intuition made him look twice at a nondescript man standing outside a grocery store. Using wisdom, reason, and common sense, my husband would not have given this man a second thought. But then my husband’s intuition whispered urgently to him, Something is wrong. Pausing to understand the arrival of this thought, my husband noticed a predatory — not lustful — look on the man’s face as he watched two young teenage girls strolling down the street.

The man seemed to be idling, perhaps to follow the girls at a distance. Suddenly the man felt my husband watching him, and turned to see who was there. My husband eyed the man as if to say, “I see who and what you are, and you better get the heck out of here.” No words were exchanged, but the man slunk out of there as if beaten and embarrassed.

If my husband had ignored his inner radar and kept to more “logical thinking,” who knows what might have happened?

Take-away exercise:

  • Let your personal space expand outward and extend your sense of awareness to those you are attempting to intuitively read. (Be careful not to get caught in the issues or energies of others.)
  • Try to sense the inner states of others. (Be nice, not intrusive). Yes, a painful hangover is easy to spot, but what about deeply masked anger or carefully hidden affection?
  • Watch the body language and eye contact of others and notice how it affects you. Do you sense anything beyond their body language? Does your gut give you a different reading than your mind or heart?


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.

  • cindy platt June 24, 2009, 8:13 pm

    Yes. Intuition has served me well. The times I have not followed that initial “gut feeling” 9 out of 10 times has come back to bite me. The snakes in the grass. They exist in every profession, neighborhood, community, religion, and country. When I lived abroad in Asia, intuition is all I had when I couldn’t understand the Mandarin that flew around my head like aimless chirping birds. I grew stronger internally and used my body language to express myself because I did not have language. It saved me several times during my treks in Thailand, Korea, Philipines and teaching job in Taiwan. Thank you for keeping us mindful.

  • Davina June 25, 2009, 2:54 am

    Hi Lori. This subject continues to confuse me. Why? Because many many times I have not followed my intuition because of doubt or fear and everything worked out fine. But then again, maybe I was following my intuition with the decision I had already made and not realized it.

    I like what you’ve said about sensing the inner states of others. When we can see past the obvious we can actually help others by not engaging or reacting to the surface stuff.

  • Lori Hoeck June 25, 2009, 2:14 pm

    Hi Cindy,
    Boy, you would really have to beef up intuition and body language skills in a country where you don’t speak the language! “Snakes in the grass” — very apt description of those who lie in wait to harm others. I talk to many people who don’t want to think about such things. Bad guys aren’t everywhere, but by not looking out for them wisely allows them easier access.

  • Lori Hoeck June 25, 2009, 2:25 pm

    Hi Davina,
    Intuition at the well-honed and oft-used level is like flowing with the Tao, connecting to the Source Dr. Wayne Dyer talks of, or following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. It takes dedicated practice to start to discern consistently between emotions or what we are mirroring out into the world and intuition. Until then, we all get certain gut feelings we would be wiser to follow than not. When split-second or life and death decisions have to be made as in an attack, most people’s intuition ramps up as a survivor skill and their other skills drop, so the best self defense advice is often to use your intuition. This is not to say you will ever nail it 100 percent, but just that you need to consider the “little voice” as well other options.

  • Davina June 25, 2009, 6:39 pm

    Thanks Lori. I guess it all comes down to trusting that “little voice”. I have just nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger Award. Care to accept? I’d love to get to know more about you.

  • Sara June 26, 2009, 10:58 am


    I liked this post very much. I especially liked the way you wove intuition in with safety.

    I hope this makes sense, but this post also reminded me that intuition is very kinesthetic. Our bodies respond intuitively on a physical level to situations, sometimes even before we identify the danger in our minds.

    It’s that feeling of “the hair standing up on the back of your neck.” I think it’s important to pay attention to this body reaction, as well as the emotional reaction.

    Interesting post…thanks:~)

  • Lori Hoeck June 27, 2009, 6:18 am

    Hi Davina,
    Trust comes many ways — sometimes suddenly when you have to rely on someone or something instantly, or slowly over time, with common experience.

    So tell me more on Kreativ Blogger Award — perhaps send it via my email? Thanks!

    Hi Sara,
    Thank you.
    The next post on intuition explains what author Gavin de Becker calls Messengers of Intuition — very much what you are talking about!

  • janice June 27, 2009, 8:25 am

    Well done Lori. This post is so important, I nearly used capital letters to write this comment. (Sorry I haven’t visited sooner this time; I’ve been experimenting with saving blog reading till the weekends.)
    Using intuition to protect ourselves – and to hunt – is inbuilt in all of us. I used it constantly as a young woman abroad, a teacher, then as a parent and full on when I started coaching. It needs practice, but it’s well worth it. I’ve been in exactly that situation your husband was in and stared a man down. I’ve trusted my instincts with the kids many times and been right. The worst thing is, if we have intincts and intuition, so do predators. So we have to be smarter and ward off danger by thinking not only like black belts, but like predators. I loved that you mentioned energies. Whenever I’m with my kids or looking after other people’s, I have the energy of a large, female animal – calm, but highly alert, able to leap into action very quickly.

  • Dr. J June 27, 2009, 3:23 pm

    Good stuff! Came over from Vered’s site.

    I started with various Tae Kwon Do styles, did some Shotokan, and worked up to Sandan in Kenpo with two guys from San Jose. It’s been a great voyage that strengthens me every day.

    I’m glad to see the great work you are doing in life and on the net!

  • Dr. J June 27, 2009, 3:28 pm

    PS I like the look of your belt 🙂

  • John Hoff - WpBlogHost June 27, 2009, 6:00 pm

    In a way, this goes a lot with assuming. I hear people all the time talk about how assuming things is bad. Being that I have a science and mathematics degree, I’ve been taught assuming is one of the best things you can do.

    When our little voice talks in our heads, there’s some assuming going on. And assumptions are based on things you know.

  • Lori Hoeck June 28, 2009, 10:58 am

    Hi Dr J,
    Thank your for coming over from Vered’s site and commenting — Welcome!
    The martial arts are amazing that way, aren’t they!
    Glad you like the look of my black belt — that look came from just my years in 3rd degree rank.

    Hi Janice,
    Thank you.
    Stared the guy down, eh? Way to go. “Calm, but highly alert” is a good place to be when watching over kids or ourselves.

    Hi John,
    Assumption, according to Wikipedia, is ” … a proposition that is taken for granted, as if it were true based upon presupposition without preponderance of the facts.” This is not the intuition I discuss. Intuition transcends the presuppositions and the facts. My husband and I avoided a tornado strike when his intuition told him to take a different road out of town. I grew up in Tornado Alley, and I know tornadoes, and the little storm cell we avoided — according to all my facts, experience, and supposition — said it was “just a little storm.” But, if we had taken our originally planned route, we would have been right where the tornado hit on Interstate 25.

  • Marc June 30, 2009, 9:24 am

    Lori, great article.

    As evidenced by the comments here, intuition/instinct is something a lot of women just “get”. Men on the other hand seem to rely more on rationale, logic and processed thinking.

    “If my husband had ignored his inner radar and kept to more “logical thinking,” who knows what might have happened?”

    A good point. One of the downsides to intuition is that often times the only way to prove your inner voice is correct is to ignore what it’s telling you.

    I mean just this Friday past, I was sitting on a train station with my fiancée Mandy, late in the evening, when I noticed a man not too far away glancing over at us.

    Immediately I felt something wasn’t right. I also didn’t feel comfortable as he went to walk behind us not once, but twice.

    Of course, nothing untoward happened and now, sitting here thinking back over it, I find myself questioning whether it was my intuition or an over-active imagination. I’d already given a lot of thought to self-defense that day.

    Your take away exercise (and Janice’s comment) reminds me of something I read years ago about the Native Americans and their medicine wheel.

    The process of sitting quietly and merely observing others is something that was described as being the “aspect of a fox”. It’s something that has stuck with me all these years.

    Thanks for the insightful post Lori.

  • Lori Hoeck June 30, 2009, 9:47 am

    Hi Marc,
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

    I like the “aspect of a fox” concept. I must admit, though, sometimes I opt for the wily coyote concept myself. Coyotes seem to be able to think outside the box more than foxes.

    The tough thing about preventative self defense — awareness, use of intuition, body language, boundary setting skills — is that you can’t measure its effectiveness. Simply by being aware of the man in the train station, you may have warned him away. He probably noted your fox-like look and went to find a rabbit.

  • Marc June 30, 2009, 10:03 am

    The tough thing about preventative self defense … is that you can’t measure its effectiveness.

    Totally agree. It also makes it difficult to teach.

    One of my failings, or disadvantages, is that I’m an introvert, quite shy. In fact I regularly avoid eye-contact. Friday, however, I was *determined* to not let that aspect of my character out and to actually face in this guy’s direction.

  • Master Peter Brusso September 3, 2009, 7:08 pm

    This is a great article. I’ve been teaching martial arts for over 49 years and have survived combat, hand-in-hand and to a large extent my survival was first predicated on intuition. For me, intuition comes from the inside and then wakes up the warrior on the outside. I think the toughest thing to get people to do is to infect trust their intuition and listen to it. Also let me say, not only do you need to listen to it but you need to act upon. I might also add that it is easier for women to develop their intuition then it is men. I’m not sexist but it has been my experience in martial arts that women were up what we call “Ki receivers”, or Ki as used in energy, than men are. Intuition must be our first line of defense and our self-defense efforts to keep our families safe as well as our self. Great article thank you very much. I liked it so much that put her over on my site as well, for all of my readers to view.