Article contributed by JP Lama
The world is a dangerous place. There are bad people in it who do bad things to other people. As much as office employees just want to go to the office and then back home without any incident, thugs and the possibility of having to deal with them exist in the journey in between. Here are 10 self-defense tips for office employees on what to do at the three different stages of dealing with thugs.
At this stage, the thug has not yet targeted you specifically. The actions laid out here are mostly precautionary and meant to prevent you from being a target, which is overall the best course of action.
Once you’re outside the office, don’t go anywhere alone if you can help it. Thugs usually go after people who have some disadvantage; in this case, being alone is the disadvantage.
Know the places that are dangerous and avoid them. One of the worst things you could do is to think that you could go wherever you want because of some silly reason (ex: I’m a big shot in the office, I have a concealed weapon, I practice martial arts in the weekend, etc.). That would be arrogance and ignorance of the worst kind. And even if by chance you survived an encounter with a thug that you brought on yourself, and in so doing end up hurting someone else, you would have gained nothing.
Keep your focus on your immediate surroundings. Being distracted is practically an invitation to a thug to attack you. For example, if you are using your smartphone on the street, don’t be surprised if somebody suddenly snatches it from you. Or, if your thoughts are on what you will do once you get home while you are still on your way home, you just might end up being a target for some thug and you might never get home. Ever.
At this stage, the thug has already targeted you specifically and the thug is about to attack. The actions laid out here are alternatives to combat (flight, get help, capitulation) or preparation for combat (evaluation).
Once confronted, and you have a chance to run, run. Remember, this is a self-defense situation, not honorable combat. You don’t have to prove that you’re a man or that you’re a strong independent woman in this situation. Chances are, the thug who targeted you already thinks he has an advantage over you (he’s bigger, he has a weapon, he has friends, etc.) and he plans to use it. Fair play and honor is not the point. The point, and your objective, is to go home with as little loss/injury to yourself as possible.
As an alternative to running, scream for help. If you can’t go to help, do what you can to get help to come to you.
If neither escape nor help is available, make a quick assessment regarding yourself and the thug. These are some things to consider:
You already know your objective (go back to #4). What is your opponent’s objective? Does he just want something you have (wallet, smartphone, etc.)? Or does he want to shut you up and take you to a dark alley?
Are you ready for the fight? Do you have the strength/endurance to fight? Do you have techniques that will work when you are both standing up at a distance (ex: punches and kicks), or when you’re both standing up but the guy is holding on to you (ex: elbows, knees, takedowns, throws), or when you or the thug is on the ground (submissions)? What about your opponent? Does he have a weapon? Does he have friends? Does he look like he has better strength/endurance than you?
If you are at a complete disadvantage in a fight, and all your opponent wants is a material thing (wallet, smartphone, etc), then the best course of action is to give it up. You lose a possession but you keep your life. However, if you are at a complete disadvantage in a fight, but your opponent wants to abduct you or worse, then the only course of action is to fight.
At this stage, either you or the thug has already thrown an attack. The actions laid out here are the broad things to do once the fight is underway.
Once the fight has started, use your strengths against your opponent’s weaknesses. This means that you must use the techniques you already know against whatever openings your opponent has. I’m guessing that some office employees (especially fresh graduates) took up a martial arts class for PE in college, or took it as a club in high school, or played for their school’s varsity team in a martial art sport, or maybe even still train on a regular basis. For you guys, use those techniques that you’ve already perfected or at least have familiarity with. For the rest, this is where watching combat sports competition events like boxing and the UFC pays off. If you’ve seen enough people fight in real fights, hopefully you can imitate their techniques well enough to apply them against resisting opponents. As for your opponent’s openings, there’s plenty: eyes, neck, solar plexus, groin, etc. As I’ve mentioned in #4, fair play and honor is not the point here. If you can attack him in an exceptionally vulnerable point, do it.
If at any moment in the fight, you see an opening to run, run (as explained in #4).
While you are fighting, shout, scream, or do anything to draw the attention of other people and hopefully the authorities to you (as explained in #5). This can also have the added benefit of forcing the thug to retreat.
Even in the heat of battle, keep in mind that, from a legal standpoint, you must use techniques that are commensurate or reasonably close to what your opponent is using. For example, if your opponent is using hand-to-hand techniques, you respond in kind, or with something slightly more, like hitting him in the head with your bag or umbrella. Or, if your opponent has a knife, use your keys at the right target to make the fight more even. If you use excessive force (ex: stabbing him with a ballpen when he clearly wasn’t armed) you will have a hard time justifying it later to the authorities if you survive the encounter.
Final thoughts: These self-defense tips are like self-defense training in the sense that they are meant to help you if you find yourself in that situation. And, like self-defense training, they will only help you if you have the will to apply them.