Female Self Defense: Situational Awareness

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Situational awareness is a key factor in daily survival.  Many people do not realize just how vulnerable they are doing a normal activity such as grocery shopping.  I see so many people, women in particular, making careless errors that could cost them their life.

By Valerie K,  SurvivalCache.com Contributor
This post is part of a series of posts on Female Self Defense

Distractions

Talking or texting on your cell phone when walking into or leaving the store is not a good idea. woman self defenseWhen you are entering the store, you should be taking that time to look at the vehicles and people around you.  Being able to differentiate between a threat and the friendly.  If anything looks suspicious you should take note of it and be prepared to react.  Being distracted on a phone makes you look like an easy target, which is exactly what thieves and wrongdoer’s are looking for.

Upon entering the store, you will probably use a cart.  Never leave your purse in a cart!  That is just begging for someone to rob you.  I thought everyone was aware of this now, but on many recent trips that I have made I have seen this over and over again.  If your purse is stolen, not only will you lose whatever cash and cards you have in there, your personal information will be compromised as well.  Many women do not realize just how much information can be stolen until it is too late.  Personal checks or bills with your home address will have you panicking if your purse is stolen.

Take Precautions

If at all possible, I encourage women if they are shopping alone (especially at night), to only buy what they need.  It would be best to be able to carry all of your bags out in one hand, while making sure you have your keys out in the other hand. I’m hoping at this point that there is a ninja spike on that key chain.  If not, your largest key in between your fingers will also work in a pinch.  If you have to buy multiple bags of stuff, use the store’s cart to wheel your bags out to your car.  The cart can serve two purposes,

1. Your hands are free, you can hold a can of pepper spray or you ninja spike key chain or the monkey fist while you Self Defense For Womenpush the cart.  You are also able to quickly produce a concealed weapon if you are licensed to carry one.  This is not to say that you could not just drop your bags to produce your weapon, but we can all agree that sometimes we try to carry too many bags and they get twisted around our fingers and can be difficult to drop.

2.  If anyone strangely approaches you from an observed angle, you can position the cart in between you and the perpetrator until you have evaluated the risk.  Pushing the cart into someone’s attack path could provide you with valuable seconds to defend yourself.

You will also deter any possible thieves in the parking lot if you are clearly ready for an attack and thus announcing to them that you are not an easy target.  As you walk to your vehicle, look and make sure there is nothing lurking near your car (thief, serial killer, weirdo).  Begin your observation as soon as you step out of the store.  Any perpetrator will want to get “eyes on” you as you approach you car.  Knowing this, begin to scan around your car for observation points such as the back of the car, windows, or the car’s hood, many times perpetrators will peek out to confirm your arrival and your situational awareness might foil their best laid plan.

As you walk up to your car try to stay in the middle of road of the parking lot (safely avoiding traffic) until you are even with you car.  Although it might look weird making a 90 degree right angle turn to walk to your car, you are putting about 10 to 15 feet between you and a would be assailant if they were hiding near your car.  You are also more likely to be seen by other patrons if you are attacked in the middle of the road.  As you unlock your vehicle, glance inside to make sure everything is as you left it.  If all is well, slide into the driver seat, locking your car as soon as you get in.  Your bags can be situated when you are safely in the vehicle.  If you have a cart, place your bags into the car and then drop the cart off keeping your situational awareness level on high during this process.  Never carry your bags back to your car from the cart drop off, compromising your hands is always a bad thing.

I understand that many women are shopping with children and have to use a cart. If at all female self defensepossible, I encourage you to utilize the online shopping system many grocery stores now offer for a nominal fee. You pay for everything online, then you park close to the entrance and employees will load your vehicle for you.  If you must shop with a cart and a child I would advise you to park as close to the cart return as possible.  You should load the child safely in the vehicle first, then the bags. As soon as you finish, lock the vehicle while you return the cart, and keep the Ninja Spike in the ready to fight position at all times.

Choosing a store that obviously is concerned with safety is a great choice.  Lots of stores now have security officers.  Look for brightly lit well kept parking lots with surveillance cameras.
If the store keeps up with their cart return, then there will constantly be an employee in the parking lot, another plus. Your personal security ultimately depends on you and the choices you make. Survival is an every day occurrence, and the repetitive things we do that are a part of normal life need to have particular attention paid to them.

Patterns

Routines set patterns, patterns can be exploited, look to see where you are vulnerable and how you can off set these critical vulnerabilities by either changing your routine or pre-positioning defensive advantages in places that will be unexpected by a perpetrator. (example: Heavy duty lock on bedroom door, pepper spray in your car, pepper spray in your purse, pepper spray near your bed, ninja spike on your key ring,  high powered surefire flashlight in your purse, monkey fist near your bed, etc. these are a few examples of things that could turn the table in your favor if you were unexpectedly attacked)

Photos by:
Jeni-dawn
Sylvar
Jbpetrus

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Chefbear58 March 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I have to say I like that you mentioned locking the car behind you after placing a child in the vehicle. However, I would go as far as to say if you take your eyes off of your vehicle you should lock the doors, especially if you plan on moving away from it. It only takes a split second for a skilled person to enter a vehicle quietly.

Another option for a defensive item, and looks VERY passive, is one of those re-usable bags with a couple cans in it. Smack someone in the head with it and I guarantee they will know you didn't approve of what the were doing/attempting to do!

That being said, these are pretty good tips for anyone, not just women. I used to street fight, and have had several people attempt to rob/jump me in the past. The lessons I have learned from these interactions with "less than savory" characters have prompted me to be COMPLETELY anal-retentive about situational awareness. ALWAYS watch what is going on around you, like I tell my girl and my Ma… "You can return the call you miss, you might not get a second chance to see who/what is going on around you!". This applies to everywhere you go, from the bar to the grocery store to church! Remember that folks who want to victimize you are generally not stupid, they will look for the places where you are most comfortable/complacent and exploit the weaknesses you show!

STAY SAFE!

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badvoodoodaddy March 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm

I agree with you all the way. Awareness of your surroundings is so important. You can not protect your self from something you don't see coming. Keep your senses tuned to where you are going and what is happening around you. Great info.

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SurvingJerry March 25, 2011 at 12:32 am

Start your car immediately after your lock your doors.
You can quickly throw it into gear and accelerate, rather than having to start it and then move when a threat appears.
I always try to leave a few to about 5 ft in front of me at stop lights, too (traffic permitting). Gives you some wiggle room to quickly move your car. You can always go the other direction again if needed.

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Chefbear58 March 25, 2011 at 1:55 am

I do the same thing, but I leave more room than that. I typically leave at least a car length, if the folks behind me don't like it they can get over themselves! I have to say that my vehicle makes quick and sharp low-speed maneuvers very easy. My JEEP can turn on a dime, it has about a 12-14' turning radius from a dead stop.

Even while driving this is a good idea. I have done enough driving in the DC area to know that you can't trust the fools on the road around you. I can recall several times where folks weren't paying attention (cell phone, cigarette, kids in the car, etc.) and I have had to maneuver into the shoulder or other lane to avoid being broadsided! From what I have learned in my Police Science classes, this is a favorite technique of cartels in Mexico to get the occupants of a vehicle into a position of vulnerability. They make it seem as though they have accidentally impacted a vehicle, when the targeted driver gets out to exchange info/inspect damage or whatever, they kill or kidnap the targeted person or their family! They are seeing this tactic employed more and more in the South-West US these days, as the cartels are moving deeper and deeper into our country to further their drug trade/market.

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Enron-Survivor March 25, 2011 at 5:34 am

Great read, I think the "pre-positioning defensive advantages" are a good lesson for everyone. Have things like knives, pepper spray, pistols, etc positioned around your house & car where you can take advantage of them. Keep in mind that if you have small kids, they will find them. I like the GV2000 http://www.gunsafestore.com/pistol.htm – I have a few around my house, they plug into the wall and have a battery back up or you can use a key. They are a great way to keep loaded guns within hands reach safely.

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CaptBart March 25, 2011 at 10:37 am

A good article that has benefit for us all. I much prefer 'stand off' weapons so I lean toward pepper spray, tasers, and firearms, but sometimes contact distance is forced on us. I do note that history says stabbing is more effective that slashing. An umbrella or cane makes an excellent stabbing weapon. A round house can be ducked a lot easier than a stab to center mass. Being prepared is a good thing and everything here makes good sense.

I would suggest that a lady not be out shopping alone, day or night, if it is at all possible. Especially with children in the mix, a group is much better. The pre-order is a great idea but being part of a group also reduces vulnerability to assault.
One thing that is not mentioned but I think is critical. No matter what, DO NOT GET IN THE CAR WITH THE BAD GUY! Ever since the medi-vacs came of age in Viet Nam, we know that if you can get medical attention within about 45 minutes of injury your odds of survival are good. If you get shot in the parking lot, you are probably within 45 minutes of a trauma room. If you get in the car, the secluded stop where the BG dumps the body will be days or weeks from medical aid but by then you won't care. It is no fun being shot but better to be shot in a parking lot than be carried away and never found.

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Joe "Grunt Doc" March 25, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Great article. I've tried to instill awareness in all the females in my family. Unfortunately, they tend to think that it can't happen to them. Perhaps something written by another woman will reach them in ways I can't. I can only hope…..and keep the pressure on them to be more observant. Thanks again.

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Rescue7 March 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm

See Capt Bart’s topic Black Swan… Wikipedia has a great bit about Black Swan events. It's the mentality that causes houses to be built on the coast next to huge fault lines. Places where tidal waves have hit for centuries. Then they are all stunned after it happens again. Or we’ll be really careful while we sail off the coast of Somalia… Unarmed. You can’t fix stupid.

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Tidermike14 March 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Off topic, but has anyone gotten a newsletter lately? It's seems like it's been a couple of weeks. Wanted to see of others were and i needed to sign up for them again.

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Forge_Survival March 26, 2011 at 4:11 am

Sorry – I have been very sick the last nine days with a bad virus and the newsletter did not get out last week because of it. The newsletter is being worked on this morning as we speak and should be out shortly. Sorry for the delay!!!

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Tidermike14 March 28, 2011 at 7:22 am

No problem, I just wanted to make sure I hadn't missed something with an upgrade or such. I hope you are feeling better, and look forward to more awesome articles.

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Julie March 26, 2011 at 9:09 am

OK – I'm a woman and I watch other women all the time. Many , a great number, just are NOT paying attention at all. I live on a park and a woman was raped and killed in this park about 3/4 mile from my house. She was the first killed, but not the first attacked/raped.

This park also has a river, which I am kayaking almost daily. I feel safer in the middle of the river than those on the trail. Women who cannot hear anything, in remote sections, because of the pnone or ipods, walking and running as if they are immune to any cruel twists life can and may throw their way. Many alone. These people are targets, pure and simple. When I sometimes say something, they blankly assure me that they know what is going on, it will happen to the other ones. Some you can just not save from themselves.

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CaptBart March 26, 2011 at 10:48 am

Julie,
It amazes me how unaware women in general can be. Knowledge that helps prevent these attacks are lost because too many don't take responsibility for their own safety. Things like 'most outside rape victims wear their hair in pony tails' (it gives the animal something to grab) are totally lost because they don't pay attention. You probably are much safer in the kayak than the runners and walkers. Not only are you out in the open on the water, but getting into and out of the river you have a very effective club in the paddle.

No woman 'asks' (what an obscenity that idea is) to be assaulted but some certainly do make it easy. Bad guys are cowards. They choose soft targets because it gives them a thrill to dominate someone. People who are alert and aware are hard targets who intimidate the pathetic losers who commit these crimes. Be a hard target and you are much safer.

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Chefbear58 March 29, 2011 at 9:46 pm

We were discussing that "asking for it" stupidity in class yesterday… The general consensus was that whoever came up with this INSANE idea needs to be dragged through the streets in the most degrading manner possible, and when that's finished… he should be "gussied up" like he's "asking for it" and thrown into a room with a bunch of the ANIMALS that commit the crime of rape… After being locked up for several years of course, so they are good and ready for that A-HOLE!
In fact, one student (who is a Sheriff's Deputy) brought up a good point, he said that for the sick bastards who rape women, they should be given a death sentence to be carried out at the nearest Super-Max prison and it consists of releasing the rapist into a confined "yard" and the releasing several inmates to rape him to death!

Medieval yes, but it does have a sort of "poetic justice" to it in my opinion!
These types of crimes are why I want to be a Game Warden, rather than a street cop… because I would have a hard time NOT giving rapists, child-molesters, "men" who think it's OK to put their hands on women/children, folks who abuse/neglect kids, or any similar twisted criminal a HEALTHY dose of "stick time"!

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CaptBart March 26, 2011 at 10:39 am

Forge,
I hope you are feeling better.

Valerie,
The part on patterns is absolutely true. We tend to feel comfortable in our routines and don't realize the danger that represents. I used to take a noon walk with a guy at the Phoenix PD; all our walks were circuits. We never walked back the way we walked out. Patterns allow you to be predicted and if I can predict your path or actions, I can ambush you. Never take the same path twice if you can avoid it. Even to and from work should be varied. Arrival times should be different at home if possible. If you get home and it doesn't seem right, drive on by until you KNOW it is safe. The police will come by and open your door for you. Clearing a house is the single most dangerous thing LEOs and the military do and they are trained to do it right. You are not so let the pros handle it. It is better to feel a little foolish because of taking precautions that were not needed than to be left a victim on your own driveway. Always expect to be assaulted and be on guard. That way you probably won't be bothered but if you are, you won't be just one more victim.

Around Houston, gas stations are big crime areas. If you are not heads up and paying attention, you are a victim that the bad guys just haven't found yet. People leaning against their car texting (I hate text messages except in emergencies) while the pump does its thing are completely oblivious to what is going on around them. The car is unlocked, they are out in 'LA LA' land and might as well wear a sign saying 'Victim Here'.

Lock your car when you get out of it, each and every time (even to gas it up); keep the key fob in your hand for the alarm button; and PAY ATTENTION to your surroundings. The only reason to be in condition white is because you are at home, in bed, asleep, with an alarm on, a loud dog to stand watch and my immediate defense weapon on the night stand. Everywhere else or any other situation, be on guard. Just my not so humble opinion.

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Chefbear58 March 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm

I try to get to know my neighbors wherever I live, which has been a challenge with all the moving around I have done in my life. One of the advantages is that if your neighbors know you, they are more likely to "look out" for you. One of the apartment complexes I lived at a few years ago actually had at least 2 armed security guards (all off duty/retired police officers) on duty in the complex at all times (even the middle of the day), their main purpose was to escort people from their vehicles to their apartments (or vice versa), and to "clear" the apartments if requested. Pretty awesome "perk", that you definitely paid for, but WELL worth it!

The last place I lived, before the house I am in now, was in a neighborhood out in the "boonies". Before I left there was a string of crimes (mostly breaking into vehicles, but there were a few home invasions/attempts). My home at the time fell victim to someone attempting to get in the back sliding-glass door, even though I had several well positioned motion-activated flood lights (bright enough to make deer freeze 35yds away in the treeline), 5ft. fence and alarm system. They actually broke the lock on the door. The only reason they didn't get in was because of a steel "Charley bar" I made myself and a thicker glass door (which I replaced the original with shortly after moving in). Apparently they used a VERY simple method of bypassing the alarm, which I won't explain because I don't want anyone getting ideas!
***Sorry I have strayed a bit from my point!***
Because of where I lived, the police were AT LEAST 15min away (on average). My neighbor, a single woman with 2 young boys, got REALLY freaked out after the person/people tried to get into my house because of the time it would take an officer to get "on scene", and because she was alone with the kids most of the time. There were several times when she would call me (I gave her my cell # ICE, and I worked less than 5 miles away) to come and meet her so I could "clear" her house. She seemed to be a bit paranoid (I remember one time she asked me to come over because her flower pots on the front porch had moved) and would call about 2 or 3 times a week, I didn't mind at all especially because she seemed to be a nice person who had "got the crap end of the stick" from most folks and her kids were great (It was a blast taking them fishing at the pond down the street on a few of my days off work). My point is (sorry strayed again… the ADD is killin' me today!), that a good neighbor, one you feel you can trust, is worth the time/energy (and maybe some cookies) invested in a relationship with them. Even a mediocre neighbor may help watch your house while you can't! Who knows… They may be the person to come to your aid when you need it the most, or might call for help when you need it and can't!

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CaptBart March 29, 2011 at 9:10 am

Our neighborhood got to know each other because of Ike. With power out, windows open (no AC) and limited cooking available, we tended to have a block party every evening to share with each other. That small (for us) SHTF turned out to be a good thing. Everyone helping and fences down built community. In spite of the saying (don't remember who said it) fences don't make good neighbors, they make anonymous neighbors.

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Chefbear58 March 29, 2011 at 1:50 pm

It still amazes me how disasters can either tear communities apart, or bring them together. It always seems to be one or the other and not very often is there middle ground.

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rescue7 March 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Bravo! Finally. Someone, who writes about situational awareness. It is the key to survival period.

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chad dees March 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm

i took some law classes in high school, the teacher was an ex criminal lawyer, and had a degree in criminal psych. she told us that there are basically 3 types of rapists, 2 of which will be discouraged by fighting, therefore a woman will be playing really good odds if she fights back. ALWAYS fight back.

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CaptBart March 29, 2011 at 9:15 am

True. One other thing, if fighting back gets you killed, the fact is, the rapist was most likely intending to murder you in any event. It is never the case (with a few rare exceptions) that getting into the car and not resisting is the best course of action. If you believe in playing the odds, fight back. It could save your life.

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Chefbear58 March 29, 2011 at 10:14 pm

There was a college student who fell victim to someone attempting to kidnap/rape/murder her not long ago here in VA. Supposedly she was walking home after her school's basketball game, and the animal came up from behind her with a gag. He got the gag around her mouth, so she couldn't scream, but she faught back as hard as she could. She managed to scratch the hell out of the guys face, and then managed to deliver a VERY hard blow to the guys "marbles". He let go and fell to the ground, she ran away screaming. A person living nearby called the police, but by the time they got there the suspect was gone. The police took the young woman to the local hospital, where a Forensic Nurse was able to extract a very large sample of DNA from under her nails. The sample matched several other cases which had been unsolved for a few years. The police put out a BOLO for hospitals to notify them if anyone came in with severe lacerations to the face. When a call came in from a few miles away, a "doc-in-the-box" reported that they had someone in their office who had deep lacerations to his face and his eye had even burst, the doctor's office confirmed that he matched the description given by the person who called the police and the woman who was attacked. When they got to the doc's office, they arrested him, the woman confirmed that he was the one who attacked her, the citizen who called 911 also confirmed the suspect was the perpetrator. He was charged with attempted kidnapping/rape, and the DNA evidence confirmed his involvement in at least 3 other abduction/rape/murder cases… This animal is now serving a life sentence w/o possibility of parole and cannot hurt any more women… And it's all because 1 woman (who is about the tiniest little thing I have ever seen) decided to fight back and not become another victim! Who knows how many women have been spared the same fate, as a result of this woman's bravery!

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Enron-Survivor April 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Chef – if you have a link to that story – please put it up.

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Chefbear58 April 2, 2011 at 12:45 am

It happened to my neighbors fiance, back when I lived in Chesapeake. I heard from them (he is a cop, both are former military), I am not sure if it was put in the paper. I am pretty sure he "pulled some strings" to leave her encounter out of the headlines, BUT I will call him and see if it was printed. If it was I will post a link, it might take a few days, he always takes forever to get back to me!

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T.Rapier March 31, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Just heard they are now making pepper spray out of the ghost pepper . Now we’re talkin !!!!!!! , If you dont know about the ghost pepper , it makes the habanero look like cotton candy . The spray in question was designed for severe riot control as nobody is immune to its nasty affects .

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CaptBart April 2, 2011 at 7:30 pm

T.Rapier,
Depending on your state/local jurisdiction, be careful with the very powerful pepper sprays. Check your local laws. As an example, in some jurisdictions using bear spray (concentrated pepper spray) on a person constitutes assault with a deadly weapon and carrying it concealed is illegal – it isn't covered by a CHL since it isn't a firearm and is a deadly weapon (according to the law). I don't disagree with your statement at all, just suggesting that you make sure you don't get crosswise with the local law enforcement.

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SurvingJerry April 2, 2011 at 7:21 am

Here is a worthwhile read for consideration.
The Myth of Situational Awareness http://www.personaldefensenetwork.com/articles/ta…

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CaptBart April 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Jerry,
Thank you – a good post with much good information. The military knows that you fight like you train so if you train to shoot paper targets at 10 yards, you'll be in great shape if you are ever attacked by a stationary adversary at 10 yards. The focus on the ambush is well placed for a real world scenario.

Most assault is sudden and violent. What is not taught is how to deal with an ambush. The ambush is designed to lock you into a 'kill zone' of the attackers choice. If well planned, the escape routes from that zone are also covered to prevent escape. The army taught that the way out of an ambush is to counter-attack into the teeth of the attack. While that seemed illogical, it was the one direction that the attacker usually didn't consider in his planning. A sudden, violent attack demands an immediate, violent counter attack, with over whelming force if available.

The article has much to be considered. Thank you, again, for the post.

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SurvingJerry April 3, 2011 at 2:07 am

"Can my violence conquer yours?"

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CaptBart April 3, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Jerry,
Not exactly. More of a my surprise action negates your surprise action. Trying to survive in a predetermined kill zone is simply a losing plan. You must get out or die. Since the way(s) out are most likely secondary ambush sites (that's the way I planned mine), the only way out is in a direction that doesn't seem to be desirable. Further, in order to avoid giving the ambush away, usually means the ambushers have not been able to improve their positions much if at all. While they may be concealed, they only have make-shift cover. Movement into the teeth of an ambush MAY get you killed. Anything else, will get you killed. So saith the Army manuals.

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SurvingJerry April 3, 2011 at 10:55 pm

I was just quoting the warden from Shutter Island (perhaps not the BEST use, but you should probably also consider bringing your violence to such a situation). But you still make good points about an ambush and give some insight into counter-ambush tactics, which many of the comments (on the other site) ask about.
I find it interesting that it is similar to fighting tactics where you moving into or in the direction of an oncoming attack is the better option (dodging a punch toward the side it came from – moving to the opposite side puts you in place for the second punch; moving into a round-house kick to stop it short). It's counter-intuitive to move into the attack and it takes training to get used to it.
Nothing is guaranteed, but if you consider that the initial ambush may be designed to move you deeper into the trap, then that's really stacking the odds.

Rescue7 April 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm

This article was full of shit. It contradicted itself then stated it’s weak reasons for doing so. Situational awareness is thinking about your situation rather than just reacting instinctively or emotionally. For most people in a bad situation that is the most likely way for them to survive. Avoiding choke points, deserted areas, and looking under your car from as far away as you can are all good ways of staying aware of your situation. Ambush awareness isn’t going to stop 100% of ambushes but I will help the targeted to survive by avoiding the kill zone and being ready to react.

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T.Rapier April 2, 2011 at 2:05 pm

My sweetheart is from Russia , and in the days of the Soviet Union , even women had to go into the red army . I would recommend all women take some kind of self protection class . It will give you an idea of your own abilities and give you confidence in yourself instead of panic and terror if they are attacked . Concealed carry license is also a good idea . Its unfortunate more women are not aware that they are very capable of defending and protecting themselves . The most decorated soviet sniper in WW2 was a woman , they also formed an all female night fighter squadron that was so affective the germans called them ” night witches “. Mentality and clear thinking is important .

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CaptBart April 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm

One of my problems with most martial arts and 'self defense' training is that it is formulated so that no one gets hurt. While this is necessary in a civilian training environment, things like making joint strikes off limits ingrains in the student that he is not to shatter the opponent's knee. A good thing when sparing, a serious misapplication of civility when defending against an attack. I am not against martial arts training by any means; I just fear too many people have an overly optimistic view of their ability to defend themselves in hand-to-hand combat when it is for 'score'.

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T.Rapier April 2, 2011 at 11:31 pm

CaptBart
Good advise on both replies .

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JonM1911 April 14, 2011 at 9:06 am

I would highly recommend Krav Maga, for anyone serious about true self defense. I noticed CaptBart's comment about martial arts and have to agree with him. I trained for 2 years in Tae Kwon Do, and while I did learn some self defense, I still felt lacking. Last year I started taking Krav Maga, I wont go into the history, but it was started in Israel and has become increasingly popular in the US. It takes things from all the major fighting style, strikes from Muay Thai, ground work from BJJ, etc, and combines them into an all around combat fighting style that is extremely effective. Nothing is off limits, groin strikes, eye gouging, its all there. Krav is taught with the mindset that you win the fight, no matter what and you fight until the threat is no longer a threat. Anyone can do it, from a 300lb guy to a 100lb 5ft girl, I see them all in class. It has become increasingly popular here in the states, though with most of the traditional martial arts, I'm sure some places have begun to Americanize it.

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Paula April 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm

OK, mom's shopping with young kids just wanted to suggest, if you have the kids with you and you are not parked in the spot immediately next to the cart return, do NOT leave the kids in the car to return the cart. That's even if/especially if you lock it. Why? Hot car in the summer, something happens to you and the kids are in the car, car temps can soar to dangerous levels in minutes. Better to park immediately next to a cart return, or let the bagger help you out to the car to load the groceries in the trunk while you load the kids in the car seats. The extra person around is probably also a deterrent to any BGs, and gives you a little extra attention to spare on situational awareness.

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TeenPrepper March 6, 2014 at 11:06 am

Having the bagger help you is an excellent idea in theory, not sure if it works. If you can't park near the cart return and have no other options, leave the cart in a nearby empty parking space. You'll make someone mad but better than risking your life or the life of your child. I have also seen carts pushed up onto small gardens or other dividers in parking lots, this can be better than nothing and the cart is less likely to roll into traffic.

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wyzyrdap May 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

I definitely agree with the Krav Maga suggestion.it is a very 'practical' martial art that is more in tune with with 'drop the badguy immediately" than any idea of style, flashy kicks or "dojo ballet". You will get bruised, but it 's worth it.

Also, never fall into the trap of thinking "I'm a girl, I can't fight" – You can. You can kick butt.

When I was doing traditional Japanese martial arts regularly (probably longer ago than most readers have been alive) I considered myself exceptionally good with the naginata (blade on the end of a staff). After having my posterior SEVERELY beaten by a 90lb, 80 year old Japanese woman in a lovely formal kimono (not a gi- she was wearing formal dress) I got picked up off the floor, given first aid and tea, and told "keep going, maybe someday you might be ok with it"

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Sputnik360 May 3, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I haven't read through the comments, so I don't know if this has been mentioned. It would be really nice to add in the original article when talking about keeping your keys between your fingers: Just take your biggest key and put it firmly between your thumb and the middle bone of your index finger with about 3/8" of an inch sticking out. Too many people think it is a good idea to put keys between your fingers as a way to "punch" with it. That is a great way to break your fingers. Slashing the attackers face with the tip of one key will do quite a bit of damage and will mark the attacker for the police.

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Wolfpatriot May 13, 2011 at 5:02 pm

@Sputnik360 indeed! Plus when you use that key betwixt the finger thing they slide around. Now I am a martial art instuctor, been studying for over 10 years in 30something different "styles" or "schools". I use a hybrid of WWII combatives, Jeet Kune Do, Kali, Silat, and the modern combatives I was exposed to in BCT, and the personal protective sourses they offer. So no I'm no dim mak or or CHI guy, however I saw a mention of getting in, locking the doors, starting the car and leaving, now in our training we were taught to back in when you park, but if stuck say in traffic, and approached on the driver side, put it in reverse and just before hitting the gas, rip your wheel to right smashing the guy with your left front side. Of course if approached on the other side reverse that. theres a ton more take a tact. drivers course!

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Wolfpatriot May 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Situational awareness is so vital, def. get training not just women either. Test yourself, when you go to the store, try to take notice of the last six cars you pass, make, model color, stuff inside, when you comeback out of the store try to recall them all in sequence if you can, do head counts and minor decriptions when entering and try to remember as much as possible as fast as possible And NEVER EVER in your wildest dream ALLOW someone get within the range of being able to strike him with a 36' or so stick, or umbrella/cane, without already knowing whether or not hes a threat. In reality 10 feet or even better 10 yards is when you should know his threat level. If he is within ten feet he can lunge faster than your draw if he can touch, he will kill you.

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Wolfpatriot May 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Ask any veteran cop a man closing with a knife is way scarier than the gangbanger with his poorly maintained glock. So look at what he's wearing, hoods, hats, sunglasses, anything covering his face from IDing I don't like. First things first though whats in his hand? Is he in group? All this a more must be learned, internalised, and applied. Great article! Love the site, and remember you don't win the fight, you survive the fight.

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Mike May 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Yea. I've been trying to get my fiance to use her "situational awareness". I tell her it's just using common sense though. We don't live the greatest neighborhood of apartments. I've been telling her to always have the keys she needs picked out BEFORE she needs them. And to use your surroundings to help you. Me and her went to take our dog outside and we walked towards some glass and in the reflection I saw two young men sittin on the stairs above us. She didn't notice anything. It frustrates me how she doesn't get this stuff and she needs it more than me.

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KansasScout April 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

I agree with the author on being aware of one's surroundings at all time. I've been the victim of two sexual assaults and never again!!! I now carry and am a conceal carry permint holder for my state. I always watch and scan all the locations I travel through and my destinations once I'm there for hazards, not just potential accidents, but also predators (human and otherwise). In stores I am also aware of my surroundings. Even in stores there are places a predator could hide. This is one reason I don't go into stores where fixtures are too close together. To many boutique stores crowd as many fixtures as close as they can and hang as many items as they can on them. These stores are ambushes waiting to happen. In parking lots returning to my car I carry my purchases in one hand and I never get more than I can even with bags, carry in one hand. If using carts I always unload purchases into my car first then take the cart to the cart corral. I never carry anything in my weapon hand as I conceal carry these days. How ever when walking back to the car I have my keys ready and in a position to use for melee defense with the intent to cause a distraction to an attacker long enough to draw my carry piece.

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visit website July 28, 2012 at 1:53 am

Your way of describing the whole thing in this article is in fact good,
every one be able to easily be aware of it, Thanks
a lot.

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Adult Swimming August 28, 2012 at 7:33 am

I'm sorry to hear about that KansasScout. I am glad you are no prepared and I hope the next person who thinks they can do this will get what is coming to them.

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KAS November 11, 2012 at 7:41 pm

It really bothers me that in stories about female self defense, one of the most important statistics about rape is ignored: 84% of women who are sexually assaulted are assaulted BY SOMEONE THEY KNOW.

The stranger walking behind you in a parking lot at night may be dangerous, sure…but what about your boyfriend, your landlord, your boss, your professor or tutor, or the friend you trust?

I wish more self defense courses would recognize this fact and teach women how to recognize potentially dangerous behavior and red flags in their relationships with people in their day to day life, as well as how to extract themselves from a situation when someone they trusted breaks and violates that trust.

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Mike May 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Indeed very good tips especially when referring to routines which can be easy targets for potential threats. Being aware of your surroundings and whats going on around you goes a long way when ensuring your safety. People who tend to be careless should no doubt be more vigilant when it comes to protecting their personal belongings and safety. Keeping a self defense spray with you is one of my strongest suggestions for people looking to protect themselves.

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Joe T June 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm

This article was both informative & thought provoking.

However, there is one critical element,I believe,

that should be mentioned. You must not only “Be On”,

but have the fortitude & grit to overcome your assailant.

For women, I’ll use the “Momma Bear” analogy. I’ve never encountered a momma bear with her cubs, but from what

I understand, I would avoid her at all costs. She is always

wary and on high alert. If threatened she will fight to the

death to protect her brood. Everyone has fire inside them.

Tap into it. Out

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Guest October 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm

well said. The wife and I spent time in Alaska and, the animal hierarchy
on the "Oh, sh*t!" scale is as follows:

3) Wolf Pack
2) Bull Moose in Rut
1) Momma Bear

Grisly Bears and Kodiaks specifically are one thing, but many a brave man has soiled his pants upon hearing the yelp of a bear cub who is suddenly alarmed that he's walked between it and big momma. A she-bear will go. through. you. in a red mist to reach her cubs, like a hairy sumo wrestler on speed with 6" claws, depending on the breed. Not even a force of nature, more like a natural disaster. They're known to flip trailers to dole it out, given individual temperament, some can hold a serious grudge…

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Joe T June 16, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Training is an ongoing process, not an isolated event.
If we train hard, we fight easy.

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Terri January 13, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I just curious, have any of you faked an attack with these women who refuse to be aware? Sure she might get ticked off at you, and if she's really not into that much, she may even buck you off, but you would be forcing her to become aware. You could even tell her that one day, a group of your friends is going to pretend to be attackers, just to see if she really is ready for whatever comes her cell-phone loving way. You could even tell her that it is preparation for if and when it comes, because guys, you can tell her what to do till you're blue in the face, but unless she feels herself going through the motions, her anxiety will not allow her to remember what you said. She will however, remember what her body did when it was going through the experience. Who knows, maybe she can become an expert and train other women in your community who also think they don't need training.

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CaptBart April 4, 2011 at 6:56 am

Just so – the only time I was kicked by a horse, I saw it coming and jumped into the kick. I was THROWN into the side of a barn (hurt a lot) but I didn't get the force of a kick that could have done real damage. Looking at your examples and others I find it amazing the number of times the 'intuitive' action is the wrong thing to do. It does take training.

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