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Security, Self Defense and Urban Survival 

Part 1 (Don’t be a Victim)

 

When most people think about self defense and urban survival they immediately envision going to a martial arts studio and learning how to defend themselves. They think of kicking and punching bags, and yelling loudly while a young muscular instructor (who always claims to be an ex Navy Seal) encourages them. While learning how to defend yourself against physical attack is commendable, this is not the end, or even the beginning of self preservation in a metropolis such as Los Angeles.

 

Attending a self defense class such as the one described above is only an introduction, and it is of limited value. Martial Art study takes years of disciplined study to be effective, and only works well if your Martial Arts study is geared toward actual application in the street. Most Martial Arts, as practiced in the United States are more sport oriented, which is not what you want for survival in the mean streets of a large city.

 

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a avid supporter of Martial Arts study – I have been practicing the Martial Arts since 1972, and encourage anyone that is interested in investing a lifetime of study to go for it! You will not be disappointed. There are many layers of benefits that a person receives from a disciplined study of Martial Art that go far beyond defending oneself.

 

So, what should one do to insure their safety, and the safety of their loved ones? First, and foremost is don’t be a victim. Nobody believes that violent crime will happen to them. But violence can rear its ugly head at any time, and at any place. Granted, some neighborhoods are safer than others, but do not accept with blind faith that nothing can happen to you – it can. Accept the fact that you could be targeted as a victim of violence, anywhere or anytime, and then take steps to minimize the possibility.

 

Be aware! Be aware of everyone and everything around you at all times. Being completely aware of your surroundings keeps you from being surprised by a mugger, rapist or thug, which gives you the chance to avoid the situation before it develops. Awareness and avoidance are the most important attributes for not becoming a victim. Being aware of your surroundings while going about your business is not difficult at all. If you practice, it will become automatic, without effort. When you walk down a street, make a conscious effort to be aware of everyone you see. Stop walking with your head down, oblivious to your surroundings. Stand up, walk tall, show confidence, and be aware of everything around you. Then, if you see a situation or a person that could be trouble, avoid the situation. Take whatever action or direction that limits your exposure to the situation or the person that makes you feel uneasy. Trust your intuition. When you feel something is wrong take action to avoid whatever it is that is causing that feeling. This is not paranoia, it is common sense.

 

Coming in close behind awareness and avoidance, is using common sense. I think most people know that they should avoid walking in dark alleys, but how about driving a car with recurring mechanical problems through rough areas? Do you park in lonely areas? Do you glance inside your car before entering it? Do you lock your car doors (always)? When you hear someone knock on the front door of your residence, do you open the door without seeing who is knocking? Not using common sense and always believing that “it won’t happen to me” is a recipe for becoming a victim.

 

Be aware of your surroundings, avoid situations and people that make you uneasy, and use common sense. If you do these things you will significantly reduce the odds of becoming a victim.

 

Serious study of a martial art can reduce those odds even further. When someone studies a martial art and becomes proficient, they gain confidence. Confidence in your physical ability to defend yourself will show in your demeanor. As you walk down the street people will sense your confidence, and bad people with bad intentions will not normally choose you as their victim. They will generally pick someone who appears weak, meek and oblivious to their surroundings. If you can project an air of confidence (regardless of martial art training) as you are out and about then you have further reduced the odds of becoming a victim.

 

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