With the spate of recent attacks on women in London, I thought it would be a good idea to share my Top Tips To Stay Safe In London.
One of the first things you should understand is that many attackers target their victims. Here are 3 Reasons Attackers May Target You…
3 Reasons attackers may target you:
Lack of awareness – if they can see you’re distracted or your senses are dimmed (earphones, alcohol consumption, looking at your phone, checking shopping list, etc.) then you could be targeted.You appear a victim – people who commit these sort of crimes do not want a struggle from you. If they think you will not fight back, it’s easier for them. So keep your head up high, swing your arms and open up your chest to appear confident – it doesn’t matter if you’re not – he may not know you, so you want to give that impression.They can take advantage of circumstances – such as the area (e.g. dark road or alley, quiet, no one around).
14 Tips That Could Save Your Life In An Attack:
This list might seem long, but even if you remember a few it can make all the difference. I have tried to cover as many things as possible so this is very detailed – do not feel you have to be on edge all the time in case of threat, just be aware and sensible. It might be inconvenient to to take these actions, but they are only small changes that could save you or a loved one. Without further ado… my list of top tips to stay safe in London
This is so common especially with us women and mums. We have several things to get done so we often rush back and forth to work, school runs, shopping etc. Don’t!
If your rushing and hurrying and thinking of 101 things while on your journey, you are not aware … and that will become apparent to a potential attacker! Make it a rule that when you leave your house and are going to your car, the shop, etc., that you will not rush. You won’t get there much faster anyway – no matter how briskly you move your legs it won’t make too much of a difference. By moving slowly, you lower the risk of an attacker noticing you.
Slow your pace a little, keep your head up, and become conscious and aware of what is going on around you. This is a good skill to have generally. In emergencies, it should be your first protocol to try to control your urge to panic, that way you will be more efficient and effective. Panicking will not help you in any situation.
Change your footwear:
If you’re going to work in the city or to an event where you will be taking public transport or walking, wear trainers and put your nice heels in a bag. It may be a little inconvenient – but it could make all the difference. Or, if you have really flat pumps wear them and and carry your heels in your hand or close at hand in a bag. You can put your trainers or flats in your handbag later when you put your heels on. This way you will have the ability to run if necessary, and a fantastic weapon (heels) if you are attacked and in serious danger.
Never let anyone walk up behind you:
If you feel someone is walking up behind you do not carry on walking or keep your back turned.
Either step to the side to let them pass or walk in front of parked car to put an obstacle between you and the person approaching from behind. A parked car is extremely useful if you can’t run fast. As long as you keep the car between you and the attacker – and make lots of noise whilst doing so – the attacker is likely to give up and leave.
Going underneath a car can also stop an attacker. If you actually have time to get under it fully, you can grab onto the bottom and it would be a real struggle for an attacker to get you out. But if you make this choice never do so when the attacker is really close because you might get half way and will then be in a very vulnerable position. But if you are fully under the car there are lots of things to hold and it will be difficult for an attacker to get you out. Also, you could set off car alarms and even call for help whilst there.
Don’t get too close when walking by strangers; keep yourself out of range, especially if the person looks suspicious. This is another common means of attack – they will pretend to walk past and just as they get close they will sucker punch you.
If you’re waiting for a taxi or a friend or anywhere that your standing still, do not let people walk behind you. Always position yourself where you have the least number of blind spots.
Never minimize your senses.
Get a safe app:
There are so many apps out there now that allow you to alert the police and send your GPS whereabouts by touching the screen in a certain way, etc. You can plan your journey home and if you do not arrive at the estimated time to check-in it will alert Facebook, and authorities of your whereabouts. Here are just a few of the personal safety apps out there: bSafe, Kitestring, Bugle and SafeTrekApp
Fight back with everything you have or have access to:
Literally everything – there is a Chinese Kung Fu principle to use everything around you as a weapon and to your advantage. You will be surprised how effective this can be. For example your phone: if you’re not strong but you hold your phone tight and hit someone on the bridge of the nose, it you will cause a lot of pain and doesn’t require much skill. It will likely break their nose, which will distort their sight and senses, and be a good time to get away. A bag, umbrella, keys, a book, or even a pen can all become an equalizer to a much larger and aggressive attacker. We teach this regularly at our classes and courses.
Understand your best targets if you need to fight back:
All the main targets are down the centre of the body; the closer to the centre, the better the targets. Ears are a fantastic target: strike with open and cupped palms. Damaging the eardrum does not require big muscles and if damaged the attacker will lose their sense of balance, feel sick, and become distorted in senses – not to mention experience extreme pain. Palms are a fantastic weapon for women – it requires less muscle and strength. If you relax your arm and send power through your palm it will do a lot of damage. Punch power is harder to do damage without practice.
EyesNoseEarsThroatSolar plexusKidneysRibsGroinKneesAnklesToes and fingers (if you’re in a struggle and cannot reach any of main targets and the attacker is pinning or controlling you, try to reach their fingers then break them!)
Simultaneously Defend and attack
Where and when you can at the same time, especially with big swing/circular type attacks. Move and attack, move and attack.
If strangled: don’t try to wrestle off the attacker’s hands from your throat especially if you do not know any techniques. This will be your instinct and seem the most natural thing to do but it is wasted energy and time! You have very minimal time if being strangled, so instead use the fact that they have tied-up both their hands to your advantage and strike all their weak points:
Palm nose Cup ears Punch throat Gauge eyes Strike groin
And keep doing this relentlessly as many times as possible! This is more likely to make them let go than trying to pull their arms from you, and if you have not had any self-defense training you won’t know any techniques to remove the person. This is your best chance; if you do this and then combine this with a strike first. The technique will be easier to do once they are in pain.
If you can run, find the nearest shops or somewhere busy to run to, don’t just run aimlessly. You can literally jump on a car or on a parked van and start jumping and screaming, setting off alarms and making people know where you are. If he tries to climb up, you have an advantage to attack back.
Window-wipers are a great weapon if you have time to get them off – a whip across the face will keep the attacker away and in a lot of pain and requires no real strength or skill. Just make sure all your movements come from one point, don’t pull back to hit (like whipping a towel). This makes the attack non–telegraphic and keeps you at an advantage.
If you cannot run fast, as explained earlier go around a parked car and keep it between you and the attacker.
These principles will help you react quickly if you don’t have any training, and even if you do know some techniques they are better used based around these principles – in further training these principles will be built into techniques and automatic reflexes so it is much more efficient.
Use everything around you as a weapon Use the shortest most direct line to attack Attack the weak points Defend and attack simultaneously Be non-telegraphic
Always make noise:
It is true that people are sometimes deterred from helping when someone screams help. This is unfortunate but true. Screaming “FIRE” is more likely to get a bigger response. If you scream for help, sometimes people will assume it’s a domestic argument and won’t want to get involved.
The biggest problem with this sort of attack is fearing fighting back in case of escalating the situation or just fearing you’re not strong enough and hoping they will just stop and go away. It won’t matter how many techniques you know if you do not have the capacity to use them or mentality, they will become useless. Fear is your worst enemy when you are being attacked.
So find a way…
Remember, if someone is attacking you it’s already escalated. You don’t know how far their actions will go – so being more of a victim will not help. In fact, it can make it worse because they will not feel sorry for you and leave. You have to assume they are not a nice person and that they mean you harm.
But with that being said, I do understand this feeling totally! It is not uncommon or unnatural for you to not want to fight back, and its easy to say ‘don’t let people hurt you, don’t get angry,’ etc.
I have felt like that myself and even when I was told to think about potentially being raped, it didn’t give me that adrenaline or urge I needed to fight back with all I had as most would think. Not everyone can find their inner fighter so easily. And although being raped was a really scary thought and it made me feel uncomfortable, I really wouldn’t want that to happen to me, of course.
But it was not enough, for some women it may be, but for those that still feel they would be too scared to fight think about this:
You need to find your spark. My spark came from the thought of my son, and thinking “what if this person wanted to hurt him?” What would I do? And I felt this incredible rage and fire inside of me that I know would scare anyone, (it scared me!). And that’s what I owned because that was my natural ability to protect. So be a lioness – get in touch with that natural ability as a woman inside of you to protect and nurture – and use that to spark something. Imagine that is the case, it may inspire you to fight and ultimately survive. I have seen the most timid woman’s face change when I said “imagine this,” and the male assistants I had with me stepped backwards…
And if you have ever watched nature and seen a lioness or any mother protect their young you will know exactly what I mean.
Bottom line: don’t mess with a mother.
Most importantly! Always listen to your intuition! If you have a feeling about someone or going a certain way, listen to it! It’s real and it can save your life.