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Important: Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice.
On October 21 2021 we discussed different levels of self-defense. Well, there is one self-defense tool I forgot to mention - your brain. Seems too simple, doesn’t it? Surely everybody has common sense and would only ever use their physical self-defense weapons as a last resort - Wrong. Many people live in an illusion that they are a superman or woman and that they will know exactly what to do when the time comes. In reality, they are no better than the semi-frozen cicadas that fly at 0.05 mph (summer of 2021 on the East Coast; does anybody remember?). This branch of self-defense encompasses all factors around the avoidance of a potential attack. We call this branch “precautionary self-defense.” In this article we will go over what is self-defense, what precautionary-self-defense is, its importance, and how to implement it into your life.
Let’s begin with defining “self-defense.” According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, self-defense is defined as 1: a plea of justification for the use of force or for homicide; 2. the act of defending oneself, one's property, or a close relative. However, self-defense does not begin and end with the immediate danger. We need to start viewing self-defense from a bird’s eye view - foreseeing, avoiding, and planning accordingly. This is where precautionary self-defense comes into play. We define precautionary-self-defense as taking all factors surrounding a potentially dangerous situation (excluding the actual attack.) We break down precautionary-self-defense into two steps: 1. Practice a combination of self-awareness, situational-awareness, spatial-awareness, and common sense; and 2. Understand and utilize non-verbal communication. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Step one of precautionary-self-defense is admittedly, a loaded step. However, the three levels of awareness rely on one another. Choosing to practice only one of these levels of awareness is not entirely useless. However, by doing so, you’re missing the bigger picture and ultimately, denying yourself of full protection. To be aware of yourself also means you should be aware of your placement in a situation, location, and the world in general. That almost sounds like spacial awareness too, right? Once you’re aware of how you present yourself, and how you would be perceived in a particular situation, that means you possess common sense. Once we have common sense, we should be tempted to avoid certain situations altogether. As they say, the best way to stay safe is to avoid the situation altogether.
Step two, understanding and utilizing non-verbal communication. Let’s say you are getting warmer towards a potentially dangerous situation. The situation thankfully is not escalated but you would like to make sure it does not reach that point. Non-verbal communication is one of the most important skills one can learn (second to common sense). We of course refer to using non-verbal cues and learning to read them off of other people. If you sense things are going south, in an ideal situation, simply walk away. The best advice we can give is to walk away from the situation. Do not let your ego and pride take over, your life is more valuable. If you have an ounce of respect for yourself, get the hell out of there. Now, let’s assume you are a woman (or a vulnerable man) walking to their car at night and you notice somebody is watching you. What would you do? Here is where displaying your non-verbal cues comes in. You want to make sure you do not display fear. Stand tall, chin up, observe your surroundings. Are you close enough to your car where you can jump in, lock your doors, and get away? Or are you too far from your car and closer to an establishment? If you feel you cannot safely get to your vehicle and get away, get back into the establishment and make them aware of the situation. There is no shame in making someone aware you are in danger and need help.
Practicing precautionary self-defense will not completely protect you. Some things in life are truly unavoidable. By preaching this method of self-defense, we are stressing the importance of choosing your battles wisely. Reserve your energy where you have no choice but to fight for your life. Whenever it is possible, choose avoidance and de-escalation. Choose brains before brawl.
Thank you for reading! Be safe and responsible!
Author: Alexandra Meyman
CMO, Kind Sniper LLC