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Self-Defense, Safety, and The 6 Keys to Effectiveness

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When most people think of self-defense, what usually comes to mind is protecting oneself from the physical onslaught from a criminal attacker. And, while this is not, in itself, a problem, it is however, only a small part of being able to be safe and free from harm in Today’s often dangerous world.

The following is a list of the major key skill areas that should be developed if you are truly seeking to be able to avoid or escape from an attacker bent on seeing you as his victim.

Key #1 – General Awareness

It goes without saying that, if you don’t believe that danger exists in the world, or more to the point, that danger will never find you, then you will do little or nothing to insure your safety. In addition, even if you do understand the dangers inherent in your world, which can be assumed as you’re reading this, it’s important to not fall into the trap of believing that the police, military, or government can and should be the ones to protect you. When push-comes-to-shove, and you’re the one facing an enraged attacker directing his wrath at you, you will be responsible for your own safety in those first few, precious, seconds.

Key #2 – Awareness of Surroundings

While most so-called self-defense experts tend to lump “awareness” into one category, the truth is that there are many levels to this “skill of directing the mind where it is most needed.” While Key #1 focuses our attention on the larger world-view of the presence of danger and our personal responsibility for our own welfare, this key is directed at the details of the moment. Here we’re paying attention to “what’s going on around us.” The fact is that, the better our ability to pay attention and recognize danger as it begins to take shape, the greater our ability to avoid, escape, or neutralize its effect on us BEFORE it has a chance to touch us at all.

That’s what Danger Prevention Tactics are all about. And, especially for those of us who want to avoid fighting at all costs, it is the key to defending against most of the dangers that others fall victim to every day. You can read more about this powerful video and mastering the skills of danger avoidance at

Key #3 – Escaping to Safety

While awareness will not prevent danger from appearing in your world, what it will do is to allow you to respond to it sooner. And this is the powerful secret used by the professionals and experts who regularly face danger literally every day of their lives. No, awareness alone will not save you, but it will allow you to escape from the danger before it gets close enough to cause damage. The trick here is to develop multiple routes to places that you visit regularly. Also, developing the ability to recognize and plan for escape routes out of places like traffic, restaurants, your own home, aircraft if you travel, and the like are all important to your overall safety plan. Remember too to validate all safety information that comes your way as most of what is out there has been written, not by actual survivors, but by people who have the job of writing safety procedures. And, as any expert or survivor will tell you, what sounds perfectly logical in theory, may be completely and totally useless in the heat of the moment!

Key #4 – Distracting the Attacker

The fact that your day is filled with demands for your attention, distractions, confusion, and input coming from a hundred different directions at once, can make even the most disciplined meditation master open to attack by a determined assailant. Add to this, all the trickery and manipulative deception used by various types of attackers, and you can see that it’s virtually impossible to be aware of everything. And that sets you up for the potential of an attack that comes seemingly “out of the blue.” Where distance is required to effectively escape from an impending attack, you may not have this luxury when you suddenly realize that you’re the target of an attacker already standing right in front of you.

But, this still doesn’t mean that you have to jump right to the physical aspects of self-defense. It’s important to remember that, regardless of your martial arts rank, how many tricks you know, or even whether or not you’re carrying a weapon, moving directly to physically fighting with your assailant provides the greatest chance for something going wrong.

Instead, you can use tactics and strategies that involve humor, feigning ignorance, or even faking a heart attack, to diffuse the situation and change a would-be attack situation into one where the assailant becomes an ally. Here, it’s important to remember that we want to avoid mentioning the possibility of an attack but instead, to distract the assailant by redirecting his or her attention away from you as a target.

Key #5 – Dissuading

When you can’t avoid, escape, or even distract the attacker and it appears that they are determined to unleash their punishment on you, you still have one more card to play before having to resort to fighting. At this point, you must become very focused yourself and understand that this is your last chance to stop things from going “too-far.” Here, you must be able to look squarely at your antagonist and, with your words, body language and raw determination, communicate that you will not allow them to carry our their plan – that you will not comply or become their victim.

It’s important to understand that, even though there it’s estimated that there is an assault every 17 seconds in the US, that a full 70% or better of these can be handled by Keys 1 through 5. It only stands to reason that you should know as much as possible about these important areas and make sure that you have several skills in each area that will work to serve you if and when you should ever need them. If you’re looking for a good source to learn more about these important key elements in a sound self-defense strategy, as well as what you’ll have to deal with from your own body and mind’s physio-emotional responses to stress and danger, make sure you read the book, “The Karate Myth: Why Most Martial Arts and Self-Defense Programs Don’t Work and How to Be Safe in Today’s World”

Key #6 – Physically Handle the Attack

When all else has failed, no matter what you believe, think, or wish would have or should have happened, when the fists start flying – the blade comes in to bite into and open your flesh – or the bullets start coming in your direction, it’s time for effective, efficient, and proper physical action. There’s a saying that goes, “Survivors Live Where Others Die.” It’s ultimately up to you, and the actions you take, long before the attack happens as to whether you will be a “survivor” or an “other.” The choice is yours.

Jeffrey Miller is a 10th degree black belt and founder of Warrior Concepts International, a self-protection and personal development consulting company specializing in teaching you how to be a survivor. He is the author of “The Karate Myth” and the “Danger Prevention Tactics” video, among others. For information about sponsoring a seminar, attending a live event, subscribing to any of his newlsetters, or any of his other products or services, visit his website at

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Jeffrey Miller - EzineArticles Expert Author

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  • Posted On January 13, 2007
  • Published articles 283513

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