Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Escaping an Attacker: 7 Points to Consider

Avoidance is the best self defense.  Unfortunately, trouble can find us.   Your next best option is to escape. The more time you engage with an attacker the more chance you have of getting hurt - or worse. 

Escaping, of course, is not always easy, especially from a determined assailant. Here are 7 tips to facilitate escaping.

  1. Know Your Exits/Escape Routes: Develop the habit of identifying escape routes.  Identify as many as possible as your assailant(s) might be blocking 1 or more exits.  P.S. This requires glancing up from your cellphone.  No, your portable GPS will not help here.
  2. Identify Safe/Accessible Routes:  There might be an escape route at the far end of the park but can you get there fast enough?  Some of us can perform a front roll out of an open window.  Most of us can't.  Be realistic. 
  3. Travel Light.  I have tried catching a streetcar carrying 5 shopping bags.  I didn't time myself but I am sure it was not a personal best.  My time might have slightly improved with someone chasing me but not significantly.  Travel light.
  4. Footwear.  We can't wear cross trainers everyday.  They just don't blend in with dress clothes(alas the 80s are gone but the music lives on). If possible, however, try to wear shoes/boots that allow you to run.  In the case of heels - kick them off. 
  5. Create a Distraction.  Common objects such as coins, coffee.. can be used to to distract.  If you have to engage, a quick kick, punch, elbow (depending on distance) can buy you some time. 
  6. Get/stay in Shape. You don't want to "run out of gas" or pull a muscle trying to escape.  Fitness helps.  Flexibility, agility, stamina, endurance....
  7. Be Prepared to Fight.  Against a determined assailant you might have to fight your way to escape.  Don't give up! 
Escaping, and escaping techniques are imbedded in our self defense training.  We teach you to fight if you have to (e.g. no escape, you are protecting another) but, if possible, escape and get home safe.

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto

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