Self Defense Tactics

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While the number of violent crimes in the United States continues to drop annually, there are still more than 1 million violent assaults each year. Assaults happen in parking lots, on running paths, while walking down the street, and even at home or work. Utilization of basic self defense strategies will allow you enough time to escape from a dangerous attack.

Know How To Use Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is made from an extract of oleoresin capsicum, the component in chili peppers which causes a burning sensation. Commonly found in topical lotions and creams made for easing pain in sore muscles, this spicy element has another use - fending off an assailant during an assault situation. Pepper spray is effective, inexpensive, and widely available. Understanding how to use pepper spray properly is essential in an attack situation.

Understand Which Type of Pepper Spray You Have - Pepper spray products are available as foams, gels, foggers, and liquids. Foams and foggers are best for defending against assailants in close range and are very effective in indoor attacks. Gels and liquids can be sprayed at an attacker located 20-25 feet away and are optimal for outdoor use.

Keep Pepper Spray Within Reach - Pepper spray is only going to be effective during an attack if you are able to access it quickly and easily. Keep the pepper spray in your coat pocket or the front pocket of your pants. Some pepper spray is available in keychain form - this can be very useful if your keys are always within reach, but could hinder use of the product if your keys often end up at the bottom of your handbag.

Create a Distraction - Shout someone's name or yell “over here” in an effort to divert your assailant's attention while you access your pepper spray. Even if no one is in the surrounding area it can throw your attacker off guard long enough for you to prepare to spray the assailant.

Grasp the Pepper Spray and Release the Safety - Your pepper spray may have a safety lock. This safety is usually a rotating tab that blocks the spray nozzle from accidently being pressed. During an attack you will unlock the safety with your thumb as you are withdrawing the pepper spray from your pocket.

Take a Step Back - Try to position yourself at least 6 feet from your attacker. This gives you more control of the pepper spray's aim and keeps you out of the assailant's reach.

Position Your Body and Take Aim - Keep your body weight evenly distributed and your knees slightly bent. This stance gives you more leverage if the attacker attempts to grab your arms or push you. Keep both arms in front of you to protect your face and upper body. When holding the pepper spray keep your elbow bent so the container is at your eye level approximately 6 - 12 inches from your face with the spray nozzle facing your attacker.

Center Your Focus and Release the Spray - Once the pepper spray is in position you will maintain focus on your attacker's face. The canister nozzle should follow the path of your focus. Depress the nozzle once your focus is centered then move the canister from side to side while continuing to hold the nozzle down. Moving the canister in this short back and forth motion ensures the pepper spray is hitting your target in the face, even if your aim is slightly off.

Escape and Call for Help - If you are unsure whether the pepper spray actually connected with the assailant's face, release a second shot of the spray. Once you are sure you have made contact with your attacker using the pepper spray, get out of harm's way as quickly as possible and call for help.

Pressure Points

How To Defend Yourself

Immobilize your assailant quickly by applying a short burst of pressure to a sensitive area of the body. By targeting certain pressure points you can create immediate pain which cripples your attacker, or you can trigger a reflex which allows you to break free from an assailant's grip.

Stomping the Top of the Foot - If your arms are bound, make use of your legs and feet to cause pain to your aggressor. Moving quickly and precisely you will draw one knee as high as you can and then quickly bring your heel down with as much force as possible in a stomping motion. Aim for your heel to contact the top of the aggressor's foot midway between the ankle and the toes. When sharp force hits the top of the arch is causes significant pain and can even break bones within the structure of the attacker's foot.

Punching the Back of the Hand - Cause your attacker to release his grasp on you by creating a painful reflex in the assailant's hand. Use the knuckles of your balled up fist to sharply strike the back of the aggressor's hand. Once you make contact with the bones and tendons it will cause a very short pain reaction.

Striking the Solar Plexus - The solar plexus is a very sensitive area located in the front of the body at the junction of the rib cage. When a blow is delivered to the assailant's solar plexus he will feel immediate pain and a sense that he cannot catch his breath. Strike the area with as much force as you are able.

Safety Apps

Use your phone to your advantage. Stay out of harms way by downloading some important safety apps.

GPS Tracker Apps - There are several GPS tracker apps on the market for your Android or iOS. StaySafe and WatchOverMe are two such apps that allow you to select what you are going to be doing or the route you will be taking, as well as the expected time of arrival at your destination. If you don't check in or change your parameters within the specified time frame, the app will automatically touch base with your emergency contacts.

Panic Button Apps - Panic button apps are your personal panic alarm. With one push of the button your phone will send out an SOS to your designated contacts who will receive an emergency call as well as a text of your GPS location. Apps such as bSafe and MyPanicAlarm also grab attention from passersby with flashing lights and loud alarms.

Prevent an Attack

Protect Yourself Against An Attack

Over time many people become complacent to their surroundings, particularly in areas that are familiar. While there is no reason to live in fear, you should still remain alert. Remembering some common sense tactics can help you prevent an attack from an assailant.

Stay in Well-Lit, Well-Populated Areas - An attack is more likely to happen in a dark, unpopulated area where an assailant can remain hidden. Park under bright lights in view of other customers when you go to a store, take walks on heavily traveled paths in plain view of drivers and other pedestrians, and avoid alleys or unfamiliar areas after dark.

Ask a Friend Along - If you only have time to exercise after the kids and spouse are in bed, ask a friend or neighbor to buddy up with you during your nightly run. You are less likely to become the victim of an assault if you have another person with you.

Observe the Area and Trust Your Gut - Don't text while walking through the parking lot; it is too distracting and creates the perfect opportunity for an attacker to target you. Really look at your surroundings. If something looks or feels out of place you should remove yourself from the situation, find a nearby security guard, or call the police.

Awareness of your surroundings, situational avoidance and planning ahead are the best strategies to prevent a random assault. Unfortunately, you cannot always predict the likelihood of danger - and violence can happen anywhere. If you find yourself in an attack situation, you can protect yourself from serious harm by knowing how to use pepper spray and understanding how to immobilize an attacker by targeting pressure points.

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