Self-defense tactics
Photo by Fred Mastison
These self-defense tactics can save your life in an emergency.

No one starts their day expecting to be cornered and subsequently assaulted. But constantly keeping yourself in Condition Yellow, a state of being attentive and aware, may help you escape and survive any attack. Here are four ways to prepare yourself.


You should always carry some form of personal-defense device. These could include offensive weapons such as a knife or tactical baton, devices that alert others that you are in danger, including personal alarms or whistles, and finally those falling somewhere in between, such as tactical flashlights or stun guns. A firearm is also an option, but be sure you are highly trained with its use, as well as mentally prepared for the finality that can result from using such a weapon.

As with any of the aforementioned items, the key to use them successfully when you’re under duress is in your ability to move while applying the use of the weapon. If it slows you down in any way, or distracts you from your objective of escape, then it is not beneficial for you. Also, training with the weapon before any such attack may take place is crucial to feeling comfortable with the weapon and to be able to use it to its fullest potential in an emergency.


Prepare your body ahead of time by taking part in exercise that conditions you and teaches you how to remain calm and relaxed, such as certain forms of martial arts. Keeping your heart rate down and your breathing steady is one of the keys to surviving these encounters. You could be the best fighter or self-defense master in the world, but without good endurance you could get burned out long before you have a chance to put an end to the fight. You may have fewer skills than your opponent, but if your attacker gets winded, you have a window of opportunity to make your escape.


It is important to understand the body language of your attacker. Eye movements, facial gestures and body positioning all give clues as to what is going to (or not going to) happen at the start of a confrontation. Clenched fists, the rolling up of shirt-sleeves and the pulling back of hair all show signs that the fight is going to begin soon. Conversely, a lot of talk or chatter and constantly looking around nervously may indicate a bluff by the “tough guy.”


Awareness of your surroundings may be all you need to avoid getting trapped in the middle of a confrontation and ultimately attacked. Be sure to walk with confidence and your head high, continuously scanning your surrounding area. Predators in the wild prey on the timid, weak or distracted. The same can be said for two-legged predators. Just your body language alone may be enough to give you a “pass” in hopes of finding an easier target.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Fall 2015 edition. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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