The world is a dangerous place. Every day you hear stories of people being attacked, held at gunpoint, or even robbed. So when such unfortunate situations arise, what should you do?
“You should naturally learn self-defense or in the police force, more popularly known as self-offense,” says SPO4 Richard Herrera, who belongs to the Philippine Explosive Ordnance Disposal K9 Group. “Self-defense needs to be learned by anyone at any time because of the advent of terrorism, home invasion, or even the prevalence of criminal psychopaths. In self-defense, you should also be mentally prepared to take action and be armed with the proper sets of skills and knowledge.”
Prevention is still better than cure
According to Herrera, self-defense does not only necessarily involve fighting off the attackers but should immediately take place way before that. “There is what is called code of awareness,” he says. “Color white is when you are not mindful of your surroundings – you are too busy calling, texting, and your mind is elsewhere. Color yellow happens when you are aware of your surroundings but are relaxed. Orange happens when you are alert, so when you become a witness to something unexpected, at least you are ready to take action. The last color is red which means you are ready to fight.”
The police officer advises that we should always be at the color yellow in the code of awareness. “You should not keep your guard down. You should always scan your surroundings for any threat. You know what is happening so that when you are attacked, your springboard of reaction is very short.”
This awareness is actually more important than the actual skill itself. Herrera notes: “Prevention is still better than cure, after all. For example, it is always better to lock your doors before you go to bed, knowing that there are many home invaders, than by allowing them to enter your house and fending off their attacks.”
Some tips to avoid using self-defense:
- Never tread into a dark place alone. “If this is not possible, always have somebody with you,” stresses Herrera.
- Always walk along a secured place. “If you know that you are walking along a bar known for its unruly customers, you should walk elsewhere.”
- Don’t go home in the middle of the night. If you can’t avoid this, sleep at a friend’s place or have your parents or guardian pick you up instead.
“But if someone is trying to attack you, the first thing that you should do is to avoid or evade at all costs,” says Herrera.
When all else fails and your attacker still continues to hound you and follow you wherever you go, Herrera advises to:
- Guard. When you decide to confront the person, always keep your hands up as if in a fighting stance. “This is actually non-threatening as opposed to curling your fist. When you decide to attack or hit the person, use the heel of your palm because your bones there are much stronger or sturdier.”
- Planking. When your attacker makes a move to hit you, slide sideways. “Instead of confronting him head-on, still keep your hands up and move to the side. Your attacker will be caught off-guard when you do this.”
- Strike. Also called a hammer or tiger claw, use the heel of the palm of your hands to strike or do an open palm.
- Chop. There are only three body parts that, when struck, can hurt because these are vulnerable – eyes, throat, and groin. “What do you usually do when you get strangled? You try to take away your attacker’s hands off your throat, right? That is wrong and should not be the case,” he says. “Instead, you try to gouge his eyes out. Mind you, his hands will be off you in a second.”
For attackers who have guns or knives, Herrera offers these tips.
- With guns. “When pleading for your life, for instance, always keep your head below the gun and your hands above your head. That way, you can immediately snatch the gun away from your attacker when necessary. But of course, your move should be quick and fast.”
- With knives. “It’s a lot harder to defend yourself if you have an attacker with knives since the slash and the movement can be everywhere as opposed with a gun which only has one trajectory. The only thing that you can do when confronted with this situation is to run and to avoid your attacker at all costs.”
Herrera adds that there are also some martial arts that can help you with self-defense. Among them are Krav Maga, a dynamic self-defense originally developed in Israel, and Pekiti Tersia Kali, a Filipino martial art form that focuses on ordinary sharp objects such as sticks and umbrellas which can be used as weapons.
“Transform your minds to have a mental make-up of defending yourself. Even if you have a black belt but your mindset is not engaged in protecting yourself, it’s useless. You should develop your minds and have the mindset to protect yourself and your loved ones,” concludes Herrera.