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Common Myths About Self-Defense

Common Myths About Self-Defense

Self Defense Class for Women

There’s nothing scarier than facing a stranger in a dark alley. Every year in America, 5 million are victims of violent crime, and sexual assault occurs every 2 minutes. Most people have a healthy fear of being attacked, and you probably learned from a young age to be on guard when it comes to your safety in public. But there are a lot of conflicting opinions when it comes to what you should do if you do get attacked. Whether in an empty parking lot or a crowded mall, everyone seems to have some idea of what you should do to defend yourself if danger strikes. How do many of these so-called rules of self defense hold up? The truth about defending yourself against an attacker is that you have to let go of many of the common things most people wrongly believe.

1. Attackers Choose Victims Based on Appearance

The data from experts on who gets attacked the most proves that attackers choose victims based on behavior, not appearance. The idea that dressing too sexy or looking too rich can contribute to you being attacked is a myth. Criminals are looking for the easy targets. If you are distracted, talking on the phone, rummaging through your bag, or otherwise acting off guard or unaware of your surroundings, you run a higher risk of attack. It’s also a myth to say you shouldn’t make eye contact with an attacker. Letting them know you see them and can identify them is enough to scare them off, in many cases. It’s an example of defensive behavior, which will keep you a lot safer than dressing a certain way.

2. You Should use Objects as Weapons

Many people believe in the idea of using your keys to fend off an attacker. But the chances of you getting a good shot at stabbing their eye out with a key is very slim. Most likely, you will scratch or punch them with the keys, which will hurt your hand and not provide a sure way of stopping them. Plus, you’ll have to be at very close range. Digging in your pockets or purse for other items like hairbrushes or pens is not realistic either. You won’t have the time. Knowing a few good physical moves is much more valuable than carrying around any particular objects.

3. You Should Never Fight an Armed Attacker

If a criminal pulls a knife on you, it’s commonly believed that you are putting yourself in more danger if you struggle with them. While it’s true that grappling with a knife-wielding attacker can be extremely dangerous, if they are determined to use it on you, you should know the right physical moves to keep them from succeeding. Stepping to the center of the attackers body and cutting off their line of vision with the weapon, while trying to control the knife-wielding hand, is a move taught in most self-defense courses. The same can work if the assailant has a gun. However, if you can run, that’s always the best move. A shooter will hit a moving target only around 4 in 100 times, and your odds for survival are better than if they use their weapon to get you in their car.

You can never predict when an attack might strike, but practicing good personal safety habits should be a part of everyone’s life. If you are in public, especially in a high-risk area like a parking garage or dark street, you should be aware of your surroundings and prepared to yell, fight, and run if you are attacked by a criminal. Not only do the actions you take before you are victimized make a difference, but learning strong self-defense techniques is truly the best way to prevent a tragedy. Nobody should have to be afraid on the streets or off of them.

Sara Lewis blogs for http://www.functionalselfdefense.org/. If you’re interested in learning self defense, check out FSD programs.

4 comments to Common Myths About Self-Defense

  • Harriet

    Helpful suggestions. Might I also add the sense of personal power one can get by learning some basic ways of responding to various grabs and holds. I feel much less vulnerable knowing I can get myself out of some of the common holds and then to know what to do next to make it easier to be able to run away. Learning to scream at the top of one’s voice just as one makes one move can also disconcert the attacker who wants you to go quietly.

  • TOR

    “1. Attackers Choose Victims Based on Appearance

    The data from experts on who gets attacked the most proves that attackers choose victims based on behavior, not appearance. The idea that dressing too sexy or looking too rich can contribute to you being attacked is a myth. Criminals are looking for the easy targets. If you are distracted, talking on the phone, rummaging through your bag, or otherwise acting off guard or unaware of your surroundings, you run a higher risk of attack. It’s also a myth to say you shouldn’t make eye contact with an attacker. Letting them know you see them and can identify them is enough to scare them off, in many cases. It’s an example of defensive behavior, which will keep you a lot safer than dressing a certain way.”

    I’m sorry but this doesn’t pass the common sense test. Also I would be curious what “experts” and “data” was used.

    Lets look at 2 people. Sally is an average sized normal woman. Bob is a 6’5″ power lifter with a USMC tattoo on his enormous left arm. He also happens to carry a large gun that bulges rather visibly on his right hip and wears t shirts from the various firearms training schools and MMA gyms he has been to. Bob can be on his phone and walk through dark alleys in bad neighborhoods all night long. Sally can be paying attention and it’s still a really bad idea.

    Claiming that looking too rich WILL NOT get you targeted is just ridiculous. If that is true I recommend this person proves it by renting a new Corvette and driving to the worst neighborhood in town at midnight to find a convenience store frequented by “urban youth”. They can then pull $400 out of the ATM, pick up some snacks and see what happens. Saying their odds of getting robbed are not higher than a person in an 85 Toyota Camry who pays for a cup of coffee with change is simply not IMO reality.

    The other hints are fine but this person lost credibility with me at #1.

  • GoneWithTheWind

    Bad people, the muggers and street thugs are roughly the equivalent of professionals. There may be a few of them who can be suprised by a self defense effort but for the most part they don’t fight by the rules and they are experienced. Probably they will sucker punch you or overwhelm you at the first contact. You aren’t going to beat them because you have learned a few responses to holds. Also if you are a 115 lb woman you aren’t going to be able to go toe to toe with a street thug after a year of Karate classes. The best defense is to avoid them and be able to recognize a dangerous situation before you walk into it. Unless you have a black belt or are a 220 lb athelete or just got out of the marines my advice is avoid the fight don’t try to win the fight. Sadly once you are in the fight you do indeed only have one choice but by then for most people it is already too late.

  • DonRussell

    I was truly a dangerous fighter after a mere 7 months of training, but that was in Korea, classes of never more than 5 guys, often just 2-3 of us, taught by a “real deal’ 5th Dan with lots of real world experience, who had been teaching for 25 years. ; I worked VERY hard, for 7-8 hours a week, tho. A reasonably fit woman, who can find and pay for such training, can whip any untrained punk, regardless of size, after a year of this work. However, she will pay $25 an hour for it, it’s hard to find, and it will take 350+ hours. No, it’s NOT the same if you spread out the hours over 2 years, either. if you can’t handle all that, then carry a GUN, spend $2000 on 30-40 hours of REALSITIC training, and stay VERY alert.