Before you get involved in any self defence situations, these are the stages you need to be well aware of. Remember your best case scenario is always the one which you can ESCAPE without harm.
Stage 1: Avoid
If at all possible, avoid ANY possible nasty situations, such as walking through a dark alley alone in the middle of the night. If you see a drunkard in your way, even on the main street, treat it the same way as you would with a growling dog. If you see a bunch of rowdy guys, avoid eye contact, avoid any intersecting path with them.
Avoid going out late at night alone, especially if you are travelling, it would be wise to check out local news of the security climate in the vicinity and if there have been reports of crime recently.
Avoid going into secluded areas alone such as the carpark, be it at your office building, or outside of the mall.
Avoid jogging alone, be it early in the morning or late at night, and that is especially applicable to women.
Simply put, avoid unfriendly places, and avoid any chances of such incidents happening. Unless you wish to be part of the statistics, that is.
Stage 2: De-escalate
Well, congratulations (sort-of). If you didn’t manage to avoid previously, and faced with a confrontation / threat, you have entered the stage of de-escalation.
First things first, assume that the confrontation is an armed one and assume that the person in front of you has accomplices and friends. If you are not careful, you will lose your life.
For that matter, RAISE YOUR HANDS to shoulder level – one to show that you really do not want things to go south, two to get ready if you need to ACT – your hands can move faster than having them in your pockets.
Second, rarely this stage lasts long. There will be a high chance you will have to shift into the next stage really rapidly. Most criminals and attackers want to keep things swift. The longer they mess with you, the longer they risk exposing themselves, getting discovered, they risk getting apprehended and risk getting injured.
Anyway, examples of de-escalating an armed robbery by a single person could be surrendering your wallet and let him go (but not let it slide). At this stage, you really have to ask yourself what is more important, your safety or your wallet? And it doesn’t matter if you are a 3rd Dan black belt or an average Joe. If you can, avoid letting the situation proceed to the next stage.
Again, unless you want to risk it all, then by all means, show off your self defence skills.
Stage 3: Defend
At this stage, defend your life with all your might. You have only one focus and that is to survive. This is where your skills come into play. Apply sufficient force to disable or immobilise the assailant long enough and then QUICKLY RUN. Proceed to the next stage: Escape.
And sometimes the best defence is the best offence. Be the first one to ACT and not react to the situation. As previously mentioned, if your gut feeling tells you that there’s no way out of the situation even if you surrendered your valuables, then hit hard, hit fast, hit the places that will disable the attacker.
Go for his eyes to blind him and that could be anything from jabbing his eyes with your fingers, or throwing a piece of cloth, sand or anything – at his eyes. Accuracy is not needed!
You can also choose to go for his throat, nose or groin. These areas are ultra-sensitive and vulnerable. You do not need to continue the assault the moment you have any window of opportunity to escape. Do not take it as a Spiderman saves the day session and continue punishing the criminal – that is not your job.
Your job is to stay alive and then you can report the matter later.
Stage 4: Escape
Run, but as you leave the situation (quickly), keep your eyes on him. Your attacker can produce weapons that can injure you from a distance, or actually, he might get up faster than you imagine and start running after you!
If you have done a great job in the previous stage, your attacker would be too in pain to move, or too afraid to aggravate the situation.
But if he has a bit of fight left in him, he will be taking you out in his next move.
So… RUN, SHOUT, SCREAM. Get a lot of attention in hope that someone nearby comes to your aid as you run, or to signal that your attacker will be exposed and risk getting injured further if he pursues.
In conclusion, your best bet is always avoidance and escaping. The very skills that you trained for, would be your very last resort and you actually want to wish that you never have to use them.
Share this with the people you care about, because they might be out there alone, without you.