Personal Safety - Be Aware!

This article is written with a dual purpose in mind: one is for the individual to learn from and to research further with the web links; the other is from the teaching perspective, to begin with information which will encourage discussions with your class. I have compiled information from a wide range of sources. My hope is that instructors of the AKF will use this information to help them with the Self Defense aspect of teaching karate. Each article will focus on a different topic, to be used as a weekly or monthly lesson.

Gaining Personal Control

Most people think that they are safe, and that they don't need to take a course in how to be safe, until something happens that gives you a scare. BUT, if you take a look at people's habits, including your own, you can probably come up with a couple of habits that you can change and feel safer in your own environment.

Take a look at the whole issue of personal control – are you really in control of your life, or is life bouncing you around like a ping pong ball?

If you are being controlled by a boss, spouse, your friends, your kids, your extended family, and you are constantly out of money, how can you feel good about yourself? If you have more confidence in yourself, you can control your goals, your mood, and your feeling of well being.

How do you gain more personal control? Let's start with your control over your personal items – your belongings, your money, and the image you portray to others. If you look more confident, you will feel better about yourself, and others will treat you with more respect. You are less likely to be picked as a target.

If you live with the principle of "confident kindness", you will feel good about yourself and can be kind to others without being taken advantage of. You won't feel like you need to manipulate others in order to feel more powerful.

Setting Goals

In order to control your life, you must have some goals, and everything you do will get you closer to those goals. For example, to control your money, you can start with figuring out what you have, decide what your goals are (pay off debt, or to buy a house), and educate yourself on how to achieve your goals. Most people spend too much on food and clothing – if you can control your spending, your have increased your cash flow.

Too Much Information!

To control you personal items and information, keep your items and information private! Don't share them with whoever asks for them! For example, if you purchase something at a retail outlet, and they want all of your information for "their records", unless it has to do with warranties, don't give it to them. If a credit card company calls to confirm your number, or the last digits of your number, don't give them any information – they should already have it. Ask them to mail their request to you.

Don't give out your credit card numbers, etc., and be careful with chat rooms and internet relationships. Anything that is abusive in person is also abusive on internet – document it and call the police. People are not who they seem to be over internet – don't give yourself away, or arrange to meet privately – always meet in a public place. Your routine should be kept private – be selective with who knows your routine because they can use this information to break into your house, or catch you alone somewhere. Identity theft is also on the rise. Keep a record of your credit cards with the phone numbers, in case they are stolen. Notify them right away!

Emotional Control

If your goal is to control your reactions to certain situations (example - someone pushing your buttons), you can predetermine some reactions that are more positive. Then you are not reacting with emotion. You can think about what reaction the other person enjoys, and don't give them that reaction. If you can deny them a number of times, the behaviour will stop. If the abuse is physical or harmful to others, you MUST contact the police or another agency that can give you protection. DO NOT make excuses for this type of behaviour, or go back to the original relationship after the situation has calmed down.

What About Helping Others?

If you are aware that others are being treated badly (gossip, exclusion, derogatory comments, manipulation, emotional or physical abuse), you are a bystander. Your responsibility in this case is to report it, and if possible to support the victim. If the victim is you, the only choice is to protect yourself and leave the scene as quickly and safely as possible. If promises are made to comply so that you are not hurt, fight your way out! Do not trust that they are telling you the truth – their goal is for you to comply, and they will say anything to change your response.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is difficult to detect, and usually escalates from teasing. The victim usually feels that it is their fault, and as a result will take responsibility for the abuse. The cycle of abuse starts with an episode, then the excuses and the "I'm sorry – that will never happen again – I love you" conversation happens. This is followed by the honeymoon stage. The abuse will start up again, sometimes slowly and in a way that is difficult to pinpoint. Then there is another episode. This cycle usually happens quicker each time. Children of abusive families usually become bullies at school. It takes a lot of effort to make changes, but there are lots of agencies that can help. To do this on your own is extremely difficult!

How Can I Gain More Control?

Part of gaining control of your life should be to be in top shape, and knowledgeable in self defense. Take a Self Defense Course! Some of the techniques that you will want to learn are:

  • How to recognise a potentially violent situation
  • How to release from grabs and holds
  • How to fall, get up quickly, roll forward and backward with break falls
  • How to use your power in palm heal strike, and kicks
  • Where to strike to cause "surprise pain" to gain a few seconds to escape, or to prevent the aggressor from following you
  • How to block a strike
  • How to shift and use their momentum against them
  • Where to go for help

Comments or Questions? Contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sensei Trudy Fossey
6th Degree Black Belt
Karate at Hillhurst

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