I Won't Be a Victim: The Importance of Self-Defense

10SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/30/2012 6:00 AM   :  33 comments   :  9,410 Views

After living in the state of California all of our lives, five years ago my husband and I decided we were ready for a change, and we moved to Missouri. We have enjoyed the change that we experienced with that move and decided that it was finally time for us to purchase our first home. We purchased our house in mid-July and have been enjoying being homeowners. We honestly couldn’t ask for a better first home as we both love it very much. It feels great, and we both feel quite accomplished that we were able to become homeowners much sooner than we ever thought was possible.

Our new house is located in a neighborhood only a few miles away from the house we were renting. Now, this is generally a safe and quiet neighborhood. However, last week we learned an important lesson, that bad things happen even in "safe and quiet" places.

Around midnight one night, someone threw a rock through our front window. I was very shaken up and want the criminal(s) caught, but as I write this blog, that hasn’t happened yet. Whoever did this not only caused a lot of physical damage to my house, but also rattled my nerves so much that I have been on edge since then. Who wouldn’t be though, right?

Well, the night that happened, I had so much adrenaline running through me (not to mention that I was a bit scared) I barely slept, but that gave me lots of time to think. One of the things that I thought about was my training in self-defense. I'm a red belt in Tae Kwon Do, after three years of training.  I’ve never needed to use it, but should I ever be in a situation that I would need to use it, I am prepared and have practiced many hours so that I could be as prepared as possible. Having trained in Tae Kwon Do, which included weekly self-defense classes, I would like to think that I could defend myself as necessary, but really, I never want to have to do such a thing.

I then started to think more about my safety, especially since I work from home. While my husband’s workplace is only a few miles away, I needed more of a sense of security than that. The next morning I started to call around for quotes on alarm systems and within two days, we had one installed, which has helped me feel safer. I know that things can still happen though and while it is a great thing to have, the alarm system is just one precautionary measure. I feel like the alarm system is my first defense for anything happening when I’m home. My second defense though, is the knowledge of self-defense and having a plan should anything else happen, including when I’m away from home.  I will say that now we have the alarm, I am less worried that something should happen to me, but again, it won’t help me if I run into a situation when I’m out and about in general, or if someone breaks in while I’m home and tries to harm me.

I’m sure many of you have heard about various situations where someone was attacked (male or female) and how they got away and saved their own lives. I think it is a wise decision for everyone to learn how to defend themselves. Even if you think it would never happen to you and/or that you live in a nice area with little to no crime. It does happen, even in nice areas and to nice people. I highly recommend that people of all ages take some type of self-defense class, including kids, to at least get the proper instruction on how to defend yourself. You just never know when it might come in handy and hopefully you will never need to use it, but it is very nice to know that you have the confidence to defend yourself should you ever find yourself in that type of situation. While you can find some resources online to help you learn some self-defense techniques, it is best to learn it in person with an instructor who can work specifically with you and allow you to properly practice and get the techniques down correctly.

With that said though, below are a few online resources that may help you get started with some self-defense techniques and ideas. (I still recommend learning from an instructor in person. You can check with your local police or sheriff department to see if they offer self-defense courses or one of your local martial arts studios.)

Self-Defense Techniques from eHow

Self-Defense Techniques youtube video (A long video, but has some good information and examples.)

8 Self-Defense Techniques for Kids (Good information for kids.)


Being prepared for the worst is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. I believe that taking extra precautionary measures now can make a big difference and even save your life should anything ever happen to you. I am thankful that I have been trained in self-defense and because of this recent incident, I thought it was a great reminder to not only practice the techniques that I know, but to also remind others about their safety and that they too can learn self-defense.
 


Have you ever had to defend yourself? Do you know any self-defense techniques? If so, what tips do you have to offer others?


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Comments

  • 33
    Personally I have been trained in Krav Maga and have some Kenpo and grappling (ground fighting training). Both emphasize mind over matter. If awareness can keep you out of a situation before you get into it then so much the better. I agree that knowing how to defend yourself is important but mental preparation should not be underestimated.
    A few cautionary thoughts for people who decide a gun is the way to go when it comes to keeping yourself safe. I am licnesed to handle and operate firearms and feel that everyone has a constitutional right to bear arms, but with that comes a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Before you have even purchased your firearm you should have mentally prepared yourself to use it. This seems obvious but staring down a paper target is a whole world different from staring down a human. If you can't pull the trigger then don't buy the gun. If the intruder/assailant gets the gun away from you where are you then? Also practice with the gun. You should be intimatley familiar with how to use the gun and comfortable doing it. A high stress situation is not the time to learn. Finally (and perhaps most importantly) if you have a firearm in the house with children don't make it a secret! They are never to young to learn not to touch the gun and to find an adult. I have a friend who was paralyzed from her neck down at 3 years old playing cowboys and indians with her brother after they found a gun in the house. Her parents thought she and her sibling were "to young to understand gun saftey." Please, please, please! Teach them right away not to touch a gun! - 7/21/2014   11:40:35 AM
  • 32
    While I agree with the comments concerning the differences between classes and real-life situations, classes do help. The last self-defence class I took actually created a "get yourself out of it" scenario. They turned out all of the lights in the room, took everyone out, and one at a time we had to go through the course. Being grabbed in the dark, even if you know that the person won't actually hurt you, still creates the panic. It was very frightening, and difficult to get up off the ground to run, but the training still helped. - 6/9/2014   6:55:15 PM
  • JECKLEENTAILOR
    31
    I agree with this blog and all the user who post their comment ,because in daily life a women will safe only that condition .when she knows about self protection tricks ,All women know about there self protection

    www.imcaustralia.com.au/adult-class
    es/mma
    - 7/31/2013   11:53:00 PM
  • 30
    While I agree that self defense is important, I believe that knowledge and finding ways to think clearly in stressful situations can be far more effective. When learning self defense training you're in a relatively low stress environment, often learning against an opponent who isn't really trying to attack you. This allows you to get it right every time. Then, if you have the disfortune to be attacked in the 'real world', the stress and emotions are so overwhelming that the training is forgotten. Whereas if you learn to think and react effectively in a stressful situation you can sometimes find a way out without adding additional risk to your health or your life.

    Reading this blog, there isn't any mention about how you know that this really was an act of violence versus some horrible mistake. If it was a smaller stone it could have been kicked up by another car. I could have been thrown by some 'punk kid' who was being bullied into doing it but has no ill will towards you or your family. For instance, when I was younger the back window on my parent's car was shattered. They worried for a few days about who was out to get them, just to find out that the neighbor was trying to help by using a snowblower to clear the driveway and didn't realize it had kicked up a rock (or a few) and destroyed the window. It was a horrible accident, not the serious threat and terrorizing of kids trying to hurt my family. So if this rock through your window was the only thing to have happened, then what's the point in obessively worrying, unless it continues to happen. Take a few simple precautions and be prepared, but worrying about a relatively small episode that is not repeated won't solve anything.

    Oh and if anyone is doubting that I could 'understand' what it is to be a victim, I've been attacked several times, including to the point of having my breathing and heart literally stopped, and I've been a victim of violence too many times to count. I've always survived, not by shooting others, having a dog, or by kicking/punching/violence, but by intelligence and sheer determination. On multiple occasions I've outwitted them before they could do serious, permanent harm. A few other times it was through physical relaxation that my body could withstand what was happening - had I not done so they would have killed me. - 9/1/2012   5:07:32 PM
  • 29
    We have two dogs who alert us before someone even gets to the porch of our house. They sound absolutely terrifying but are actually sweet dogs. I know our mailman won't wait for me to answer the door when he has a package to deliver. He leaves it on the porch and is back to his mail truck by the time I open the door! Personally, I won't have a gun in the house. I do have a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Kali sticks are right by our front door. My husband also has his black belt. I feel pretty secure but that doesn't mean something won't happen some day. - 9/1/2012   2:08:09 PM
  • BEEBOO76
    28
    My one year old and I were home when I spotted two guys trying to come in my back door. Thank God I saw them and was able to call 911, grab my son out of his crib, and hide in a closet. They kicked the door in and came into my home, stole money out of my purse and went through the living room. The police arrived before they got further into the house. There were four men total - three they chased on foot and caught. The fourth sped away in a car - right past the police as they were coming down my street.

    That was almost a year ago and it is still just like it happened yesterday for me. We now have steel doors with 4 foot strike plates and 3" screws, separate 'screen' doors made of metal bars (like you'd see on a pawn shop), boarded up all ground level windows in the back of the house, motion sensors inside and outside, light timers, a security alarm and a loaded 9mm within my reach at all times. I also cut down all trees and shrubbery around our house and yard. So much that we had to call the city to pick it all up! You would think after all that I would feel safe, but I still lie awake at night listening for any indication that someone is coming. And during the daytime (it happened in the broad daylight in the afternoon) I am always watching out my windows and listening for noises. I tried getting a dog TWICE but it is too difficult with a small child. Don't ever think that it won't happen to you, like I did. Your safety is your responsibility. While I am thankful to be alive, I don't ever want to be in a helpless situation again. Self defense is a step in the right direction, but I do agree with the others that posted that oftentimes if you are protecting yourself and family, a weapon will ensure your safety. My advice as a result of my personal experience - Get a gun and learn how to use it. - 9/1/2012   12:57:43 AM
  • 27
    Good advise!! You can use your self defense knowledge anywhere anytime. Thingscan happen anywhere,anytime. The supermarket,parking lots etc. You never know whats around the corner so as Shakespeare wrote "The readiness is all" and your right there ready for whats next. Good job! - 8/31/2012   9:46:36 PM
  • TAMILYNN29625
    26
    Self defense is good to know but for home protection I prefer to have a gun and dogs rather than trying to fight off an intruder with my bare hands..

    A dog will alert you if someone breaks in in the middle of the night while you're sleeping and if the barking isn't enough to scare them off then you better be ready to protect yourself.
    There have been a lot of armed home invasions this past year in the city I live in.
    In cases like that where the person who kicks in your door has a gun they could shoot you from across the room before you get close enough to use self defense.
    I prefer to even the odds by having a gun too.










    - 8/31/2012   9:02:46 PM
  • 25
    I have a wonderful dogs that defend me and my family. - 8/31/2012   6:59:42 PM
  • 24
    This is very timely for me. We are moving to a rental unit for a year or so and the area is not as "safe" feeling as our home was. I took a self-defense class many years ago and actually am thinking of some brush ups or re-training. - 8/31/2012   5:01:13 PM
  • 23
    I do believe it is important to protect yourself.
    However, how do you do that when you live in the country?
    I far away from training centers and don't have money for it.
    Not to mention I have bad balance. Do you think the links will help?
    Would really appreciate the feedback guys. Have a good one! Holly - 8/31/2012   9:21:15 AM
  • 22
    When I was in college, a co-worker & fellow student was attacked on campus in broad daylight. She fought off her attacker using her car keys, which she found had blood on them after he ran away. I don't think the guy was every caught. She said that he had been smoking a cigarette (or he asked her if she had a cigarette) and she thought this seemed odd, as there weren't typically a lot of smokers on campus. That's the kind of thing Gavin DeBecker (The Gift of Fear) says to watch out for; things that seem out of place/unusual. He also says (for example), if the cable guy (meter reader, etc.) seems to be paying more attention to you or your house than to focusing on his job, this is a huge warning sign.

    I agree re: Suggestions to get a dog (if you don't have one already). The police will always say that, too. In addition to the thorough comments recommending getting a dog; dogs are very good judges of character. Pay attention when they don't like someone. Even the appearance of having a dog (or other protectors) will help: Leave a really big dog food bowl and a big pair of men's boots on your front porch.

    In addition to Gavin DeBecker's book(s), he has online assessments of various dangerous situations/levels of threat (domestic violence, terrorism, workplace violence, etc.) You can find his site by doing an online search. As best I can recall, his system is called MOSAIC.

    You may already have a camera as part of your security system, but if you don't, consider getting one. There are stand alone cameras available, too. Many options are available in all price ranges. For your situation, you could get one that runs a DVR (recording) 24/7 or on a motion detector. Some have "night vision", etc. Even without a camera, motion-sensor flood lights will scare away a lot of would-be intruders. If you get a clear recording that will show a license plate &/or identify the perpetrator(s) this will substantially help the police in catching them. Not every intruder can be stopped. However, I feel better knowing that If I were ever to be killed in my home, with these precautions, at least my killer would probably be convicted.

    I hope all of this helps you to sleep better. : ) - 8/31/2012   2:59:45 AM
  • 21
    Experts have studied "home defense" extensively, including interviewing burglars and robbers. What those offenders told them in every case was that having a home owner tell them they knew some oriental defense system, or even had a gun, did not deter them as much as a dog.

    Stand in your kitchen or your bedroom and see how difficult it is to do a roundhouse kick. You can do affective crane moves, but even then when you compare the available room in your kitchen or hall or bedroom, you are usually at a disadvantage. Compare the dojo mat to the room in your house.

    Only well trained gun handlers should confront a burglar or robber in your house. Why? In order to be affective in stopping the offender, you have to be absolutely sure that you will pull the trigger and kill the intruder. Anything less will probably wind up with your gun in the intruders hand. You can NOT take time to debate the morals of taking such an action when confronting an intruder.

    Dogs are a different matter. Toy and miniature sizes of many breeds make a lot of noise and can warn you. It also warns the intruder that there is a dog, and regardless of the size of the dog, when they get into protective mode, they can be viciously affective.

    Medium size dogs that have been trained to protect people in it's pack ratchet up the nervous quotient of intruders, and large dogs that are barking and displaying their teeth will stop any intruder unless they are under the affect of drugs.

    The thing about all dogs, the thing the bothers potential intruders the most, is that they have no idea when a dog will attack, and staring at the canines of even relatively small dogs is a nervous experience.

    One of the biggest pluses in having a dog is that they all need to be exercised, at least one long walk a day for an adult dog, and that helps you too.

    I've been trained in three types of martial arts and think I could still hold my own in the front or back yard, despite my age. We have a 10 year old Doberman and a 5 year old Boxer and both are well trained. Sarge, our Doberman is so friendly that he smiles at new people, however, most people back away when he greets them. Think about it. Here's this big Doberman, and he's showing you all of his canines.

    If you get a dog, you MUST make sure you are the Alpha Pack Leader. Dog's can cause a lot of trouble of they think you are not the "Big Kahuna". - 8/31/2012   1:10:15 AM
  • 20
    Wow. Great article. I am 62 and retired. When hubby and I are home we make sure doors are licked. That is the extent of safety for us. Hmm, maybe I will buy some mace. - 8/30/2012   11:43:28 PM
  • SBNORMAL
    19
    My teenaged daughter is dealing with high school girl bullies and I am enrolling her in kickboxing so she can defend herself. She got jumped this summer by three girls, approached by a grown man and now a problem with a bullie at school. - 8/30/2012   8:58:16 PM
  • 18
    When i was in high school they brought in a self defense trainer and i learned how kick and punch and all those things. So i do have a plan in case anything ever happpens. I belive eveybody should learn self defense just in case. - 8/30/2012   3:32:01 PM
  • 17
    Get a dog! My Issabelle is an excellent watch dog, and her breed is prized for its "watch and alarm" instincts. Their ancient ancestors were kept in the tents with the women and children, and would sound a long 'alarm bark' when they heard or smelled intruders nearing the camp. This instinct has prevented my home from being burglarized twice!

    The first time, someone broke out the window pane in my front door. The sound of glass breaking must have set Issa off, which set off neighboring dogs, which scared the crook away. The second time, a drunk just walked right in! Issa was up and barking before anyone could even react - she chased him two blocks up the street, then trotted home.

    My husband works nights and I'm alone a great deal of the time. My dog is an excellent protection and guard tool, not to mention walking buddy and overall best friend. - 8/30/2012   12:32:13 PM
  • 16
    When I was in high school, I studied Kenpo (karate) for a couple of years. During the late 90s, I started kickboxing as well as boxing. So, worse case scenario, I could defend myself if needed. I hope I don't.

    I read a wonderful book by Gavin De Becker called the Gift of Fear. It's all about learning to listen to your "gut" feelings when placed in what could be a potentially dangerous situation. it's a fantastic book that's highly regarded by many law enforcement agencies.

    Personally, I do feel that those one day self dense seminars can be helpful to many women who feel victimized. You may not be able to throw a person, but you will be taught dirty tricks that could help save your life.



    - 8/30/2012   11:59:31 AM
  • 15
    I know what it feels like. I served in the Peace Corps in Africa right out of college, and my house was broken into once, and many things were stolen that you wouldn't even think of, like my clothes. I did not enjoy peace of mind for months after that.

    One of the things that really helps me now is having a dog. My dog is not a guard dog, but she's a good watch dog. She barks when unfamiliar people (and sometimes familiar people) go down the street, and that turns into a real ruckus if they are coming to our door. I rest easier knowing that people can't approach my house without my dog knowing about it. I think that a dog may actually deter crime too, because a lot of people are afraid of dogs and what they might do if they sense that you're up to no good.

    I agree with you on self-defense. My daughter just started college, and I've been wanting her to take self-defense for a while. I think girls (especially) need to be able to take care of themselves. One of these years, maybe she will take me up on it. - 8/30/2012   10:38:54 AM
  • 14
    Most people skilled in the martial arts ultimately do not have to use them to resolve conflict - part of learning the skills includes avoiding confrontations.

    Alarm systems are being heavily advertised and can reduce the home owners' insurance rate. Be aware that false alarms can be charged with fines by the local police department.

    Sorry for anyone who has experienced threat or injury, and hoping that we can create neighborhoods where people are know each other and watch out for each others' well being.
    - 8/30/2012   10:20:37 AM
  • 13
    I am a 3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. It's a great exercise in body awareness as well as tools for a woman to protect herself. SEBASTIANALADY is very correct .. a woman must give herself permission to use it if necessary. I have the right to protect myself and I may hesitate for a moment, but I will do it. - 8/30/2012   10:19:01 AM
  • 12
    I am sorry to hear about the incident. I have not taken any self defense classes I would not be prepared if I was so thank you for your blog posting. - 8/30/2012   10:05:40 AM
  • 11
    My hubby teaches Martial Arts (Kung Fu) and he will tell you that one class is not enough. I hate when places have a "woman's self defense seminar" that last 3 hours on one day. To be able to take care of yourself in a bad situation means your method of defense has become instinct. You don't have time for - "not what did that guy say?" - 8/30/2012   9:48:46 AM
  • 10
    (((Hugs))) - 8/30/2012   9:21:07 AM
  • 9
    I studied ju-jitsu for several years, even worked up to a 2nd degree black belt - then I got pregnant at 36 with my 2nd child. That pretty much was the end of that. I have some ideas of what to do if someone should break in (and no, they don't have much to do with the handguns), but like anything else practice makes perfect. I came home for lunch one day to find our house had been broken into, and some items were stolen. We got an alarm after that. My personal thought is, if I EVER get attacked I want to launch the attacker head first into the nearest solid object (a wall, car, the floor, whatever) and then RUN LIKE HELL in the other direction! I think that's a good strategy. - 8/30/2012   9:18:40 AM
  • 8
    How scary for you! I am sorry you had to experience that. Smart girl to make sure you are prepared!! - 8/30/2012   9:07:22 AM
  • 2LIVESIMPLY
    7
    I am so glad thankful you all are getting through this. Please know that -- with every dark cloud -- there is a silver lining. Awhile ago, my apartment was robbed and we (me and 3 other neighbors) lost everything. We believe they pulled a moving truck in and loaded up. Luckily, we were all not home. How can that have a silver lining? I learned that I do not need those items, so I am much less materialistic. Now that I have a house and a family, I have taken further steps. My family is all in Karate and learning self-defense. Finding that something good from your situation will help you get past such a horrible event. Congratulations on taking control! - 8/30/2012   8:53:44 AM
  • 6
    So sorry this happened. I would also be nervous. I do hope this is the only time it happens. Take care. You are making some good plans. - 8/30/2012   8:29:37 AM
  • 5
    So sorry this happened to you and you're right . . . nice areas don't necessarily equate with danger free. ::SIGH:: BUT you are so right that it is good for EVERYONE to know how to defend themselves. Thank you for sharing your story, and wishing you peace. It is so unsettling. - 8/30/2012   8:22:00 AM
  • DRAK416
    4
    Good thoughts, thank you - 8/30/2012   8:09:47 AM
  • 3
    We haven't had any issues but my daughter's house was broken into and they had stuff taken. So they have an alarm system and she feels much better. We had gotten an alarm system many years ago when a neighbor's house was broken into--hubby traveled a lot then. - 8/30/2012   7:51:57 AM
  • 2
    You want to learn self defense, you aren't going to learn anything useful from a video or article. All you will get is maybe a false sense that you can fend off an attacker, which is worse. You want self defense you need to join a gym where you get training and sparring partners. A one day "self defense class" isn't much use either. To any smaller women- Brazilian jiu jitsu is a great martial art that allows one to overcome vast weight and strength differences by using ground fighting submissions. Just look at the old UFC events. You've got a 160 pound man choking out heavy weight, professional boxers and arm-barring sumo wrestlers. I myself have lost to 120 pound females before and not felt any shame for it, their technique was better and that meant they were better. My strength advantage meant nothing. - 8/30/2012   7:48:54 AM
  • SEBASTIANALADY
    1
    One of the most important steps is to give yourself permission to react and protect yourself, even if it means doing something outside the normal bounds of politeness. There have been some interesting studies of disaster survival and often those who got through were those who thought about actions ahead of time and didn't wait for permission to take action.

    Hope you get more restful sleep soon. - 8/30/2012   7:08:46 AM

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