Here in Exeter, in the county of Devon it has always been a quiet backwater of the country. Exeter was once the most popular city to live in, in the whole of the UK. Unfortunately like the rest of the country Exeter is not the calm and serine place it use to be. The reasons for this alteration not just here in Exeter, but also in the rest of the country is open to discussion and conjecture, one thing is for certain though, people are aware of this change in the areas where they live and are taking steps to make their lives and that of their families safer.
The thought of safety leads people to think of personal security in the guise of self protection, which in itself is a good thing, but that school of thinking can be effected by popular culture and Press reporting. This may cause some people to make choices that are fundamentally wrong or even illegal (this being dependent upon their counties laws).
The best way to avoid these pit falls is finding a reputable teacher of self protection, who has a good knowledge of what you should or should not consider practical for your own self protection.
The phrases “Self Protection”, “Modern Self Protection” and “Practical Self Protection” are relatively new to most people and are generally thought of as something different from the usual “Self Defence” most of us are aware of. So is there a difference? The answer is yes and no.
Self protection, modern self protection, and practical self protection are basically the same thing and as such all teach you to deal with various attacks, single or multiple assailants, both armed and unarmed, as will self defence, but here is where differences in opinions enter the discussion. Self protection, modern self protection and practical self protection are thought of as “Proactive” where as self defence is thought of as “Reactive”. This a very important point to beware of, the psychological advantage of being of a “Proactive” mindset to you as the target of an attack can be used to bolster your confidence. The employment of a “Reactive” mindset is to place one on the back foot and tends to encourage the old fashioned belief that as a victim of an attack you must wait for the perpetrator to attack before you may defend yourself. A bit like an old movie where the bad guy wore black and the good guy wore white, and the bad guy would always to shoot first, simply because he was the bad guy. This idea is still maintained today, popular culture has ingrained this model into the general psyche of the populace. On the other side of the coin we have the proactive approach, which puts us a step or two ahead of our assailant, almost putting the victim in a position of knowing what is happening in advance, the bad guy may get to draw his gun, but the victim’s gun is already drawn and pointed, with the chamber loaded and the hammer cocked.
Now I am not encouraging the carrying of any form of weapon, this is illegal in most countries and if you do not have the training to be proficient in its use, why carry it? To have a knife with you if you don’t know how to work safely and proficiently with it gives you a false sense of security, what’s the point? Would you take a weapon to a fight if you had no real idea of how to use it? And what if you did, only to find your opponent does know how to work the weapon and is now using that same weapon upon you…..it’s not Self protection, it’s Self Stupidity!
However there are items you may have with you every day that can be used as a replacement, such as combs, credit cards, keys, fizzy drinks cans, finger nails (real ones…..Sorry ladies) all of these can cut the skin and collect DNA.
Self protection begins well before any actual conflict, it begins before you even leave your home.
Know your abilities and limitations. We all think we know how we would react in a confrontation and believe we know what we are likely to do, but ask your self are you being honest? The truth is you don’t know, not until you have felt the cold freezing effect of panic and learnt how to deal with it. You can’t fight an attacker if you have not faced your own fears first. This is the main benefit I have found with Systema breathing, being able to calm my psyche has aided me in getting around difficult situations. There is also the advantage of understanding step one, your environment. That is not only what’s around you, but also what’s on you and in you.
The environment around you will change and must be assessed on a rolling and constant basis. Where you start your day is very often where you finish it, but in the middle it can constantly alter, such as your surroundings, avoid areas you know to be potentially dangerous, plan any routes you intend to take, what are the conditions under foot? The weather conditions, good or bad? The density of the populous around you, location of possible safe havens such as police stations or officers, hospitals, fire stations or even shops.
The environment on you refers to your clothing and accessories. If you needed to make a hasty exit would you be able to run fast and far in the shoes you are wearing?
Your coat will it restrict your movements? Can it be shed quickly if you were grabbed by it? Are you trousers or skirt to tight and that may restrict you ability to kick? If so will it allow you to stomp if not kick? Are you about to ride a motor bike? Will the crash helmet protect you in a fight as much as a crash or will this need shedding as it may restrict you vision and be a leverage point for an assailant? Ladies, what do you carry in your handbags? Need “Mace” use a perfume spray. Any spare coins? A handful of cash can be thrown at the face. Smoking, not popular at the moment, but a lit cigarette in the ear or up the nostril will create quite a self preserving reaction. Do you have a pet cat? Answer you door holding the cat and if attacked throw the cat at the attackers face, the cat will do the rest.
The environment in you refers to the health of your body and mind. Your physical wellbeing as much as your psychological one will affect your ability to function under stressful situations interfering with your ability to apply your knowledge of self protection. A simple cold, an injured wrist or other joint will impact on your capability. The pressure of family conflicts or that of your employment or the lack of it will influence your psychologically and potentially impair your functionality.
All of these aspects MUST be considered as they will all have some baring on your ability to protect yourself or your loved ones. If you do not understand what is involved in step one and how this will affect your ability to function in step two, you will find the unexpected being the most prominent aspect of self protection you will encounter.