Awareness, Intuition and Body Language: your primary self-defense tools

Undeniable, women are constant targets of sexual predators. Statistics of sexual assaults on women are alarming; one out of five women become a rape victim in their lifetime. Less than forty percent of these rapes get reported to police. Thus, allowing the offenders to perpetrate their crimes over and over.

First and foremost, Krav Maga puts a big emphasis on prevention. It teaches students the importance of awareness and listening to our inner alarm, that sense of foreboding: intuition! Being aware and reacting to “a funny feeling that something is off” can help avoid potentially dangerous situations.

It is better to err on the side of caution and avoid danger. These simple examples of safe behavioral patterns can help minimize chances of assault:

  • Cross a deserted street when a stranger is approaching
  • Don’t get into an elevator with unknown and suspicious persons
  • Don’t open house doors to delivery personnel without verifying credentials
  • Ask a friend, co-worker, or security guard to accompany you to your vehicle in a deserted garage
  • Don’t leave a drink unattended
  • Get a hiking/running buddy

The desire to control drives many rapists and is often stronger than their sexual urges. They will look for a vulnerable victim that they can master. Body language is a significant factor. Casting eyes downward, appearing meek and passive, dragging feet, fearful expression, slumped posture are all signs of someone that may be insecure.

When a woman is confident in her stride, aware of her surroundings and walks with purpose, she is less attractive to a sexual predator.

Since female high-school and college students are the most common victims of sexual assaults, we strongly recommend that parents educate girls and young women on these essential survival skills.


Krav Maga: the optimal self-defense for women

While there are many self-defense systems and devices available, we find that Krav Maga offers the optimal solution to women’s safety concerns. Krav Maga developed by Imi Lichtenfeld for the Israeli military and later adapted for civilians in the 1960’s due to its reality-based approach to dealing with violent attacks. This hand to hand combat system has proven time and again to save people’s lives in dangerous situations.

Krav Maga training includes high-stress, every-day, every-second-counts altercations. To get help, you must first be able to call for it or get someone’s attention that understands and is willing to help. Krav Maga teaches and gives tools to get out of a situation safely, de-escalate if possible, and fight to a safe place when necessary. Understanding the concept of attacking vulnerable body part with utmost speed and efficiency, helps overcome the factor that the assailant is most likely much bigger and stronger.

Krav Maga breaks a stereotype that a woman is the weaker sex that needs to be protected by a man. Unfortunately, even in modern days, the stigma of a weak woman waiting for rescue is perpetrated by print and media, and girls are growing up dreaming of being Cinderella or Belle, and less of a Wonder Woman or Lara Croft. Krav Maga teaches women to break that mold, to discover a fighter within themselves and not project weakness to the outside world.

One of the fundamental Krav Maga strikes a kick to the groin. Many traditional martial arts outlaws this kick and people train their brains not to treat groin as a target. However, it is painful and both shocking to a male attacker. And when a victim strikes the attackers groin, the pain and shock can be disorienting affording her time to escape or deliver further attacks. Other vulnerable parts are eyes, which are again outlawed in traditional martial arts. A victim may choose to throw rocks and sand to the eyes from a distance or strike the eyes with her fingers if the attacker is close.

Another significant advantage of Krav Maga over traditional self-defense systems is that it works for everyone regardless of their fitness level, weight, or size. Anyone can gauge eyes, throats and kick groins. A person does not require to be kickboxing or Muay Thai champion to deliver a compelling strike if the target is chosen correctly. While all of the martial arts train their practitioners to strike major muscle groups that do minimal damage to the attacker, in contrast, Krav Maga prepares you to do maximum damage in minimum time to escape to safety as soon as possible.


Krav Maga safety for joggers and hikers

One of the joys of trail hikers and joggers is reconnecting with nature in peaceful, remote, and quiet surroundings. However, being in a secluded or wooded area also make them targets for sexual or physical assault, because chances of help arriving or someone interfering with the attack are slim.

Sexual predators often stalk out their victims in remote or scarcely visited places, which puts lonely joggers and hikers in greater danger. One of the most illustrated and tragic sexual assault cases in San Diego history is Chelsea King, a high-school athlete, who was murdered on the trail by her assailant in February 2010. Subsequently, more cases of sexual assaults on hikers and joggers are reported to the sheriff department each year. In some cases, rapists work in a group of capturing and overpowering a victim.

Personal safety is a primary concern of people who venture outdoors alone or in small groups. There are a plethora of taser, pepper and bear spray gadgets marketed to trail lovers. However, the effectiveness of these devices diminishes because of the lack of readiness to use. Such devices are often in backpacks giving hikers a false sense of safety when in reality they will not be able to draw them fast enough to confront an attacker.

In contrast, there are many techniques in Krav Maga that offer solutions to trail safety concerns. Krav Maga is a self-defense combat system which originated in a military but later adopted for civilian uses. It teaches people to be attuned to their surroundings and aware of potential dangers. It advocates caution and listening to your intuition. For example: if a stranger is encountered ahead on a trail, keep a safe distance and visual contact with that person or better yet turn around and continue a hike in a more reliable direction. If your hiking friend was not able to join you on a remote trail hike, choose a less secluded path where other people are present.

Also, Krav Maga teaches a wide variety of typical abduction, assault, and kidnapping preventive techniques. In the majority of cases, an attacker hides behind trees or greenery to ambush the victim and surprise, thus limiting possibilities of escape. An attacker prefers to approach from the side or the back of the victim with the intent of abducting to a more secluded location. Krav Maga teaches various defenses from these positions: bear hugs, chokes, headlocks, arm-bars from behind, hand covering mouth, hair pulls. Each technique in Krav Maga is designed to tackle a specific problem, trained to react to the danger by building muscle memory and second nature to defend.

Krav Maga also offers a variety of ground defenses, should the attacker surprise and overpower the victim to the ground. The mentality of Krav Maga is to never give up and keep fighting for your life or lives of your loved once until your last breath.

Fighting tactics are Krav Maga concept that emphasizes specific behavior patterns based on each particular situation. For example, a defender may act and strike differently in the event of multiple attackers: using the first attacker as a shield between the victim and the second attacker. It also might change a choice and amount of strikes if there is another attacker in a vicinity.

Krav Maga emphasizes voice is another powerful tool at your disposal. Many people are too shy or overcome with fear to scream for help. When in reality a simple thing such as making a lot of noise and attracting attention might scare that attacker and save a life.

Freezing is a natural instinct when people are faced with danger. Constant training and fighting drills help Krav Maga practitioners overcome the freezing instinct and replace it with only two responses: flight or fight. Krav Maga advocates escaping to safety as soon as possible or fighting the attacker and often with a preemptive defensive strike as a surprise attack.