Home > Karate, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Random Thoughts, Training, Uncategorized, Women's Self-Defense > Common Sense Self-Defense Lesson II: Escape

Common Sense Self-Defense Lesson II: Escape


Many people have many different ideas about what self-defense entails. No matter what you have heard before, your number one priority when attacked is to escape.

Contrary to popular belief, it is NOT your job, when defending yourself, to beat your attacker silly and leave him lying there in a pool of his own bodily fluids. Actually doing this may lead you to more trouble with the law than the initial attack. You are only allowed to use the amount of force required to protect yourself.

When people think of escape, they think of running away. You must realize that if and when you run, you are not running away from something or someone. You are running to something. You are running to safety. You are running to help.

Also remember that when you run; RUN! Don’t half way run. Don’t run for a little distance and stop. Most importantly: don’t look back. People who train police K-9s have made an observation over the years. They have noticed that most of the people who actually escaped from the dog that was chasing them never looked back at the barking snarling beast that was in pursuit of them. It’s a mental thing. When you look back to see where your attacker is, if he’s still after you, if he’s gaining on you, it distracts the mind from the purpose at hand: running away. If your pursuer is closer, you panic. If you do not see him initially, you subconsciously slow down out of relief. Students in my Women’s Self-Defense Classes and Seminars always get a kick out of the way I show them an example of the proper way to run away. I have my “attacker” come at me trying to grab me and I turn and run. I run all the way across the dojo. I run out the front door screaming “Help!”. Then I run about half way down the block. I’ve gotten a lot of laughs from the students and even more strange looks from people walking down the street and suddenly seeing a 50 year old man burst through the door of a Main Street business dressed in white “PJs” and run full speed barefooted down the sidewalk. It is funny to see and it may appear a little, ok a lot, strange to pedestrians but it is a valuable lesson.

Another important thing to remember is that escape does not just mean that you do some awesome martial arts technique, knock your attacker down, and get away. Sometimes escape means to not put yourself in a dangerous situation in the first place. By using your awareness and common sense that I wrote about in the last post, you can change your position thus escaping an attack before it happens. Be aware. Look for danger signs. Listen to your internal alarm system. If something doesn’t look / feel right, avoid it. For example: if you walk out of your business or anywhere late at night and there is a group of people at the corner or anywhere between you and your car, what is wrong with crossing the street and completely avoiding them? Whether they would have really attacked you or not isn’t the question. The question is: was it really worth finding out?

Always have a way to escape if possible. If you go into a place you have never been before, around people you don’t know, you should know where the exits are. There is no harm at all in sitting near one of the exits after you get in either.

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  1. December 1, 2011 at 8:55 am

    I recall Master Kim Soo giving a speech in class about how he and his wife and daughter were approached in a mall parking lot by three armed gun men. They demanded his money and he asked the class, “what do you think I did?” the students all spat different things from kicking butt to armed assailant maneuvers, he simply stated that he handed over his money, he did not want to take a chance on his wife or daughter being shot. Master Kim Soo went on to be a judge in the Olympics.

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