You are only one attack away from becoming a victim. It doesn’t matter if you exist in the world as we know it or a society that has experienced a collapse, self-defense training is absolutely essential. My experience training in martial arts, close quarters combat, and strength training, has taught me that the confidence gained from engaging in these activities is priceless.
Predators look for easy targets. If your level of self-confidence portrays you as a difficult target it takes you off their list. Self-defense training puts you into uncomfortable situations. Mentally you become more accustomed to these situations, making it easier to face them in real life. You get beat mentally and have to challenge yourself to calm your mind and increase your defensive skills to ensure that you don’t get beaten in the future. Your body becomes accustomed to taking hits and not crumbling because of it. Trust me it hurts and you will get bruised, but your body will grow stronger. Most important of all, you learn to defend yourself.
Self-defense is challenging to learn on your own. Start with making sure your body is ready for the physical rigors of learning self-defense. If you are a total couch potato, start with walking, but you need to push it much farther. Try a workout program. Programs like, Insanity by Beach Body are great workouts for cardio endurance.
Once you are physically ready, do your homework and find a martial arts school that matches your personality and intensity level. It is difficult to learn self-defense on your own because you need a partner to practice on. Be careful, you don’t want to go too hard because you will need your partner in good health for future practice. Find a move on YouTube and start with just that one. Practice it until you can do it in your sleep. One solid defense move is better than 100 unpracticed moves.
In a long-term survival situation, unless you know how to make gun powder, your supply of bullets is going to run out. If you don’t know how to physically defend yourself, you’ll be in a lot of trouble. High-stress levels will do crazy things to honest, good people’s minds. What if someone you have trusted suddenly turns violent or sexually aggressive? You will need your self-defense skills to make sure you can survive this encounter. In a long-term survival situation, you don’t want an injury so you will have to physically defend yourself and end it as soon as possible. There are many vulnerable points on individuals that will bring even the biggest men to their knees if they are attacked correctly.
These same principles also apply to the society we live in today. For women, obviously, it is essential that you can defend yourself from an attack. Usually, your attacker is going to be someone you may know and trust. You may not want to hurt them severely (with a gun) but you want to make sure you can defend yourself and protect your honor. Any fight you enter is one you may not walk away from. There are methods to make sure you can end a fight quickly with minimal harm to either participant but it takes practice.
Avoid the confrontation by being aware of your surroundings. Who is coming up behind you? Why are they doing what they are doing? Stay alert. Don’t walk along playing Pokémon Go or staring at your phone. When you get in your car and you are sitting for a moment, lock the doors. Walk with pride, know where you are going, and don’t shuffle along. Only enter confrontations when you absolutely have to. The best way to win a fight is to never have been in it.
There are many non-lethal self-defense items that you can carry for protection. Anything like a Taser or pepper spray etc. needs to be easily accessible. However, anything can be used as a weapon. I learned how to use escrima sticks, two short fighting sticks because many other common items could be used in their stead. Also, I have a new car with a flip key, which I carry flipped out and in my hand. Tactical flashlights are also very good to carry. They often have a flicker light to distract an aggressor, and jagged edged rims for stabbing. Obviously having a concealed carry permit is ideal but you need to practice and make sure your weapon is accessible. It does no good if it is in the car and you are attacked while unloading groceries.
Keep in mind: Fighting is not fun. No one wins when you fight. People get hurt. Fighting is the biggest mental challenge you will face. It doesn’t matter how good you are there is always someone better. There are good days and bad days. The adrenaline that fighting induces surges through your body and affects you in unimaginable ways. If you haven’t felt it before, you better get out there and practice. Experiencing this in a life and death situation for the first time could cause you to hesitate or freeze. Knowing you are strong and remaining confident may be the biggest factor that saves you from becoming a victim.
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster, Without Land and, her newest release, The Walls of Freedom. She hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Growing up in the country, Sara developed an interest in the natural world around her. In her fictional novels, her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past are at the forefront of action packed adventures. Sara’s strong beliefs in self-defense and confidence come to life with the creation of her lead character, Erika. Together with her family, Erika fights for survival in a world torn apart by natural disasters.