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One woman learns self defense is a mindset


The best self defensive move against an attack is not to be there when it happens …

A few years ago a business acquaintance signed up for one my assault prevention seminars. The session turned her world from black and white to color. Like many people who live in a fairly safe environment, my friend assumed she was safe and did not feel any extra awareness was necessary.

Not long after my class, she was driving home late at night and had to stop at a traffic light. As she waited for the long light to turn green, she noticed three things:

✦ Few people or cars were in view

✦ A nearby person was angling his way towards her car

✦ The person instantly made her feel uncomfortable

Before taking my class, she would have never noticed any of this. She used to live in a naive bubble, fairly oblivious to her personal safety.

She now realized she was responsible for her self defense. In the past, her need to obey the law would have overridden her sense of safety, and she would have stayed put as the man drew closer — no matter what — until the light turned green.

Remembering back to my class where I taught breaking the rules and lying is OK when your safety is on the line, she decided, “Why wait until I know for sure this man is coming for me, when by then it could already be too late?”

With an urgency to take charge, she put her car in gear, checked that no cars were nearby, and drove through the red light and away from any possible danger.

Would the man have attacked or attempted to carjack her vehicle? Who knows? Prevention can’t be quantified. You can’t poll criminals for their target selection statistics. All my friend knows about what happened is that she will always value:

✦ Being aware – she scanned her environment

✦ Observing patterns – a person approaching her car at night might be trouble

✦ Listening to her intuition – she honored her suspicions

✦ Avoiding possible attacks – she drove through a red light

I don’t always advocate rule-breaking, law-breaking, or even a preemptive strike as a normal course of action, but it is important to realize we all have a right to self defense – especially by avoiding an unnecessary situation altogether.

What would you have done if you were her?


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

Lori Hoeck

Photo Credit: DWRose

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Betsy Wuebker October 22, 2009, 7:15 am

    Hi Lori – Like your friend, I probably would have been less aware without your help. I wouldn’t hesitate now after a quick assessment of a situation or my gut feeling told me I should skedaddle. You’re right about removing yourself from a potential situation as being the best way to deal with it. Thanks.

  • janice October 22, 2009, 9:20 am

    I would have popped the lock button on my doors (I sometimes stall the car if I try to pull away too fast) then done the same. Some folk think I’m negative for being defensively aware like this, but the amount of times I’ve had to take drastic action is very small, so my faith in human nature isn’t tarnished. If I didn’t learn to protect myself and my loved ones, there would be times I’d be scared to go outside.

  • Lori Hoeck October 22, 2009, 10:38 am

    Hi Betsy,
    Thank you sharing that you are more aware now. That fact alone helps people slip right by a bad guy’s targeting process.

    I haven’t seen or heard the word “skedaddle” in a long time! It’s a great word that applies here quite well.

    Hi Janice,
    I try to make locking my car doors a habit. I like our van because in self locks when you get up to 15mph.

    Except for disparaging remarks from others, being defensively aware in a relaxed, ready-to-go state doesn’t have any downsides, and the upsides can be life saving!

  • vered | blogger for hire October 22, 2009, 8:54 pm

    I’m pretty sure I would have been aware. I grew up in a big city and so am very aware of threats to personal safety (even though I now live in a much safer place, statistically). I would probably have made sure all car doors were locked and all windows closed and waited for the green light.

  • Lori Hoeck October 23, 2009, 1:59 pm

    Hi Vered,
    Big city upbringing does help with awareness skills!

    I know intuition is something you don’t think you use a lot, Vered, but I wonder if you would stay put if a powerful wave of “spidey tingly” senses popped up for you.

    Truth be told, I may have waited or not. Depends on my “reading” of the situation at the time.