Self-awareness and Hardening Yourself as a Target

Physical, mental, and emotional self-awareness are crucial components of self-defense. Many predators are very adept at assessing people’s vulnerabilities and needs. Hardening yourself as a target starts with an honest, objective self-assessment.

Your personality

Personality can be described as habitual characteristics of behavior, temperament, and emotions. Think about what you project about yourself to others. How do others generally perceive you? Do you come across as assertive? Shy? Demure? Compliant? Quiet? Cooperative? Trusting? Suspicious? Domineering? Strong-willed? Weak? Insecure? What personality traits make you a soft or a hard target? Are you easily flattered, impressed, or otherwise influenced by other people? Which type of people or under what circumstances?

Your current mood and constitution

Predators are also generally attuned to their targets’ vulnerabilities due to their current moods and physical constitutions. When you are lonely or sad, for example after a recent loss or break-up, you may be more susceptible to someone’s charm, manipulation, or faked solicitude than when you are physically and emotionally healthy and strong. The serial killer Ted Bundy was a master at tuning into his victims’ physical and emotional conditions. For example, one of his victims had just broken up with her boyfriend. Another one was preoccupied with exams.

Your passions – how people connect with you

Also think about your passions. Do people use your social, political, recreational or other interests to attempt to manipulate you? Predators sometimes fake shared interests to gain their targets’ trust and make them let down their guard. Obviously, most people enjoy social interaction with others who share their interests. A lot of us do. But be careful when new acquaintances try to use your passion to force trust or to manipulate you into doing things you wouldn’t do otherwise.

Your current focus

Make a habit of asking yourself, where is my focus? For instance, as you are running in the early morning hours with few people on the trails and your thoughts wander to your work or kids, train yourself to return your focus to your surroundings.

Throughout the day, whether we are driving on a freeway, walking down a city sidewalk, or enjoying our morning run, our thoughts digress. For instance, you may be worrying about an exam, a presentation at work, or your sick dog. You may be fatigued or worn out by a nasty cold. You may be upset about an argument with your spouse or a friend. Pre-occupation with thoughts about the past or the future often diverts our attention from our environment. Thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, for instance pain from a sore throat, can all distract us from sensing and processing signals from the world around us. One way to harness your situational and environmental awareness is to make it a habit to refocus on the present moment.

At a seminar at the annual Martial Arts Industries Association  conference in 2014, a presenter suggested that we should ask ourselves periodically, “Where am I? What am I doing? What should I pay attention to right now?” This is good advice for business; it’s also a good habit for safety. It’s so easy to tune out as we are driving or walking or doing anything else throughout the day. This simple series of questions can bring us back to the here and now. And that is where we need to be so that situational awareness can protect us against ambush as well as accidents.

Awareness of your physical self: gait, posture, and demeanor

Mental and emotional self-awareness is your first step to hardening yourself as a target of opportunistic predatory violence. Another crucial step is physical self-awareness.

Researchers Betty Grayson and Morris Stein conducted a classic study on victim selection with prison inmates convicted of violent crimes like armed robbery, rape, and murder. They showed the inmates videos of pedestrians walking down a busy New York City sidewalk and asked them to identify people they would pick as targets. The criminals’ answers were remarkably uniform even though they couldn’t articulate their criteria. Analysis of the videotapes showed that the inmates’ victim selections were based on perceived vulnerability and lack of environmental awareness rather than other criteria like size or gender.

The preferred victims’ postures, gait, body language, and general demeanor were similar in that they signaled timidity and weakness. For instance, their posture was slumped and their gait lacked “synchrony” or fluidity and wholeness. Shuffling, a short or awkward stride, and a general lack of athleticism and of awareness were seen as signs of vulnerability and weakness. The Stein/Grayson study suggests that people demonstrating environmental and situational awareness and athletic, fluid body movements are less likely to be targeted.

You can project more assertive body language by practicing these postures and movements:

  • Roll your shoulders back and straighten them.
  • Lift your chin.
  • Look around you with a relaxed demeanor, rather than looking down.
  • Walk with a comfortable, fluid stride.
  • Keep your hands out of your pockets and unencumbered.
  • Engage in physical activity that you enjoy and that helps you become comfortable with you body and with movement.

Awareness of your voice and how it’s perceived by others 

Our voices also communicate assertiveness as well as insecurity and vulnerability. You can train yourself to sound more assertive. Start by becoming aware of the tone of your voice, and its rate, pitch, and inflection. Work on developing a calm and confident tone. Talk with a moderate rate, not too fast and not too slowly. Listen to the pitch of your voice. Practice for a moderate pitch, neither too high not too low. When we are suddenly afraid and the autonomous nervous system activates a sympathetic nervous system response, our voice changes and becomes high pitched, raspy, and fast. We can counter this effect by slow breathing: breathing in slowly, holding our breath for a second, breathing out even more slowly, and then repeating the sequence. Slow breathing can calm us physically as well as mentally.

It’s especially important to note the inflections at the end of your sentences. If you raise your voice at the end of a sentence  you’ll sound unsure. For instance, when you tell someone, “I’m not interested” or “Leave me alone” and raise your voice at the end, you may well be perceived as asking a question or making a plea, rather than giving a command. If your inflection stays at the same level, the voice signals a willingness or invitation to continue interaction. You may also be perceived as being unsure of your intent. When you watch national news with experienced broadcasters, listen to their use of inflection. As long as someone’s presentation is continuing, they’ll also continue with the same inflection. At the end of their statement, they will lower their voice. Practice lowering your voice at the end of the sentence when you give a direction, and you’ll instantly sound more assertive.

Good self-awareness is a great way to start hardening yourself as a potential target.

 

 


Why self-defense?

Holistic violence prevention should include individual self-defense training.

As a lawyer, I advocated for systemic change to increase violence prevention for many years. I litigated cases for clients who had been beaten, threatened with shotguns, injected with drugs, and otherwise terrorized by their partners. Advocacy, litigation, and education are crucial, but holistic violence prevention also needs to include individual empowerment.

If you want to optimize your individual chances for avoidance and survival of violence, training in personal safety and self-defense is essential. Legal rights won’t protect you when someone tries to rape or assault you. Law enforcement officers generally appear on the scenes after the damage has been done. They enforce laws; they aren’t body guards. Prosecution, even if entirely successful, can serve to restore justice, but won’t undo the crime.

When I started my personal safety and self-defense school, I chose as its logo an imperfect circle with a Roman number three inside. The logo symbolizes several core principles.

The enzo, or imperfect circle, reminds me that the world, while beautiful, isn’t perfect. At some point, you may cross paths with a violent person who is capable of hurting or killing you. Violence is part of the world. No matter where we live. It’s not limited to predictable situations or places; it can erupt anywhere.

Violence can sprout from many different seedbeds. It may be calculated predatory aggression or it may explode from mental illness, emotional disturbance, alcohol or drug use, emotions such as rage or fear, and ego or status issues.

The enzo reminds me to see the beauty of the world, while being mindful of the potential for danger. It also symbolizes working towards a more just and humane world while realizing that we’ll never achieve perfection.

A substantial part of my work focuses on domestic and intimate partner violence. I worked in family law for a long time, and for the last five years,  I served on the board of directors of the Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. I also volunteer as a client advocate on a 24/7 crisis line for a domestic violence shelter. Domestic violence coalitions, and shelters generally work on violence prevention through primary prevention.

Primary prevention is sometimes defined as bringing about systemic change through addressing the root causes of violence, such as economic factors, gender-based discrimination, and rigid attitudes towards gender roles. Primary prevention is fundamental to affect change, yet it isn’t enough for people in acute violence situations for whom such change isn’t a reality yet. In the moments of an actual attack, people need tools to avoid victimization or to defend and survive.

Violence affects millions of people worldwide, taking many forms. It includes stalking, assaults, murder, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, workplace harassment, campus violence, trafficking, sexual violence in the military, and sexual violence in prisons.Violence against women is considered one of the greatest challenges globally in anti-violence work. Violence against LGBT, trans-gender and gender-nonconforming people is ubiquitous.

Advocacy for a more perfect world, for systemic change towards a more just, peaceful, and humane world is absolutely necessary, and primary prevention is essential to accomplish meaningful systemic change. But training in individual personal safety and self-defense is also crucial to reduce harm and save lives.

Personal safety and self-defense training should be part of a holistic approach to violence prevention. Advocating for such training has nothing to do with victim blaming.

Giving people additional options to stay safe, to manage risk, and if necessary, to defend themselves, isn’t victim blaming. Rather, it empowers people with knowledge and prevention options – to be safer, to live happier lives, and to fight back if necessary to defend and survive. It honors people’s autonomy, encouraging them to enjoy the world on their terms.

 


Montana Human Trafficking Laws

3 rivers defense

45-5-701. Definitions. As used in this part, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Adult” means a person 18 years of age or older.
(2) “Coercion” means:
(a) the use or threat of force against, abduction of, serious harm to, or physical restraint of a person;
(b) the use of a plan, pattern, or statement with intent to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act will result in the use of force against, abduction of, serious harm to, or physical restraint of a person;
(c) the abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process;
(d) controlling or threatening to control a person’s access to any substance defined as a dangerous drug pursuant to Title 50, chapter 32, parts 1 and 2;
(e) the actual or threatened destruction or taking of a person’s identification document or other property;
(f) the use of debt bondage;
(g) the use of a person’s physical or mental impairment when the impairment has a substantial adverse effect on the person’s cognitive or volitional function; or
(h) the commission of civil or criminal fraud.
(3) “Commercial sexual activity” means sexual activity for which anything of value is given to, promised to, or received by a person.
(4) “Debt bondage” means inducing a person to provide:
(a) commercial sexual activity in payment toward or satisfaction of a real or purported debt; or
(b) labor or services in payment toward or satisfaction of a real or purported debt if:
(i) the reasonable value of the labor or services is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt; or
(ii) the length of the labor or services is not limited and the nature of the labor or services is not defined.
(5) “Human trafficking” means the commission of an offense under 45-5-70245-5-70345-5-704, or 45-5-705.
(6) “Identification document” means a passport, driver’s license, immigration document, travel document, or other government-issued identification document, including a document issued by a foreign government.
(7) “Labor or services” means activity having economic value.
(8) “Serious harm” means physical or nonphysical harm, including psychological, economic, or reputational harm to a person that would compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or continue to perform labor or services or sexual activity to avoid incurring the harm.
(9) “Sexual activity” means any sex act or simulated sex act intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. The term includes a sexually explicit performance.
(10) “Sexually explicit performance” means a live, public, private, photographed, recorded, or videotaped act or simulated act intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

45-5-702. Trafficking of persons. (1) A person commits the offense of trafficking of persons if the person purposely or knowingly:
(a) recruits, transports, transfers, harbors, receives, provides, obtains, isolates, maintains, or entices another person intending or knowing that the person will be subjected to involuntary servitude or sexual servitude; or
(b) benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture that has subjected another person to involuntary servitude or sexual servitude.
(2) (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), a person convicted of the offense of trafficking of persons shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not more than 15 years, fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, or both.
(b) A person convicted of the offense of trafficking of persons shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not more than 50 years and may be fined not more than $100,000 if:
(i) the violation involves aggravated kidnapping, sexual intercourse without consent, or deliberate homicide; or
(ii) the victim was a child.

History: En. Sec. 2, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

45-5-703. Involuntary servitude. (1) A person commits the offense of involuntary servitude if the person purposely or knowingly uses coercion to compel another person to provide labor or services, unless the conduct is otherwise permissible under federal or state law.
(2) (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), a person convicted of the offense of involuntary servitude shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not more than 15 years, fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, or both.
(b) A person convicted of the offense of involuntary servitude shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not more than 50 years and may be fined not more than $100,000 if:
(i) the violation involves aggravated kidnapping, sexual intercourse without consent, or deliberate homicide; or
(ii) the victim was a child.

History: En. Sec. 3, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

45-5-704. Sexual servitude. (1) A person commits the offense of sexual servitude if the person purposely or knowingly:
(a) uses coercion or deception to compel an adult to engage in commercial sexual activity; or
(b) recruits, transports, transfers, harbors, receives, provides, obtains by any means, isolates, entices, maintains, or makes available a child for the purpose of commercial sexual activity.
(2) It is not a defense in a prosecution under subsection (1)(b) that the child consented to engage in commercial sexual activity or that the defendant believed the child was an adult.
(3) (a) A person convicted of the offense of sexual servitude under subsection (1)(a) shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not more than 15 years, fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, or both.
(b) A person convicted of the offense of sexual servitude under subsection (1)(b) shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not more than 25 years and fined an amount not to exceed $75,000.

History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

45-5-705. Patronizing victim of sexual servitude. (1) A person commits the offense of patronizing a victim of sexual servitude if the person purposely or knowingly gives, agrees to give, or offers to give anything of value so that a person may engage in commercial sexual activity with:
(a) another person who the person knows is a victim of sexual servitude; or
(b) a child.
(2) (a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), a person convicted of the offense of patronizing a victim of sexual servitude shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of 15 years, fined an amount not to exceed $50,000, or both.
(b) If the individual patronized was a child, a person convicted of the offense of patronizing a victim of sexual servitude, whether or not the person believed the child was an adult, shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term of not more than 25 years and fined an amount not to exceed $75,000.

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

45-5-706. Aggravating circumstance. (1) An aggravating circumstance during the commission of an offense under 45-5-70245-5-70345-5-704, or 45-5-705 occurs when the defendant recruited, enticed, or obtained the victim of the offense from a shelter that serves runaway youth, foster children, homeless persons, or persons subjected to human trafficking, domestic violence, or sexual assault.
(2) If the trier of fact finds that an aggravating circumstance occurred during the commission of an offense under 45-5-70245-5-70345-5-704, or 45-5-705, the defendant may be imprisoned for up to 5 years in addition to the period of imprisonment prescribed for the offense. An additional sentence prescribed by this section must run consecutively to the sentence provided for the underlying offense.

History: En. Sec. 6, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

45-5-707. Property subject to forfeiture — human trafficking. (1) (a) A person commits the offense of use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture for human trafficking if the person knowingly possesses, owns, uses, or attempts to use property that is subject to criminal forfeiture under this section. A person convicted of the offense of use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture shall be imprisoned in the state prison for a term not to exceed 10 years.
(b) Property is subject to criminal forfeiture under this section if it is used or intended for use in violation of 45-5-70245-5-70345-5-704, or 45-5-705.
(c) The following property is subject to criminal forfeiture under this section:
(i) money, raw materials, products, equipment, and other property of any kind;
(ii) property used or intended for use as a container for property enumerated in subsection (1)(c)(i);
(iii) except as provided in subsection (2), a conveyance, including an aircraft, vehicle, or vessel;
(iv) books, records, research products and materials, formulas, microfilm, tapes, and data;
(v) anything of value furnished or intended to be furnished in exchange for the provision of labor or services or commercial sexual activity and all proceeds traceable to the exchange;
(vi) negotiable instruments, securities, and weapons; and
(vii) personal property constituting or derived from proceeds obtained directly or indirectly from the provision of labor or services or commercial sexual activity.
(2) A conveyance is not subject to criminal forfeiture under this section unless the owner or other person in charge of the conveyance knowingly used the conveyance or knowingly consented to its use for the purposes described in subsection (1)(b).
(3) Criminal forfeiture under this section of property that is encumbered by a bona fide security interest is subject to that interest if the secured party did not use or consent to the use of the property for the purposes described in subsection (1)(b).
(4) Property subject to criminal forfeiture under this section may be seized under the following circumstances:
(a) A peace officer who has probable cause to make an arrest for a violation as described in subsection (1)(b) may seize a conveyance obtained with the proceeds of the violation or used to facilitate the violation and shall immediately deliver the conveyance to the peace officer’s law enforcement agency to be held as evidence until a criminal forfeiture is declared or release ordered.
(b) Property subject to criminal forfeiture under this section may be seized by a peace officer under a search warrant issued by a court having jurisdiction over the property.
(c) Seizure without a warrant may be made if:
(i) the seizure is incident to an arrest or a search under a search warrant issued for another purpose;
(ii) the property was the subject of a prior judgment in favor of the state in a criminal proceeding or a criminal forfeiture proceeding under the provisions of Title 44, chapter 12, or this section;
(iii) a peace officer has probable cause to believe that the property is directly or indirectly dangerous to health or safety; or
(iv) a peace officer has probable cause to believe that the property was used or is intended to be used under the circumstances described in subsection (1)(b).
(5) A forfeiture proceeding under subsection (1) must be commenced within 45 days of the seizure of the property involved.
(6) The procedure for forfeiture proceedings in Title 44, chapter 12, part 2, applies to property seized pursuant to this section.
(7) Upon conviction, the property subject to criminal forfeiture is forfeited to the state and proceeds from the sale of property seized under this section must be distributed to the holders of security interests who have presented proper proof of their claims up to the amount of their interests in the property. The remainder, if any, must be deposited in the crime victims compensation account provided for in 53-9-113.

History: En. Sec. 7, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

45-5-708. Past sexual behavior of victim. In a prosecution for an offense under 45-5-70245-5-70345-5-704, or 45-5-705 or a civil action under 27-1-755, evidence concerning a specific instance of the victim’s past sexual behavior or reputation or opinion evidence of the victim’s past sexual behavior is inadmissible unless the evidence is admitted in accordance with 45-5-511(2) or offered by the prosecution to prove a pattern of human trafficking by the defendant.

History: En. Sec. 8, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

 

45-5-709. Immunity of child. (1) A person is not criminally liable or subject to proceedings under Title 41, chapter 5, for prostitution, promoting prostitution, or other nonviolent offenses if the person was a child at the time of the offense and committed the offense as a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking.
(2) A person who has engaged in commercial sexual activity is not criminally liable or subject to proceedings under Title 41, chapter 5, for prostitution or promoting prostitution if the person was a child at the time of the offense.
(3) A child who under subsection (1) or (2) is not subject to criminal liability or proceedings under Title 41, chapter 5, is presumed to be a youth in need of care under Title 41, chapter 3.
(4) This section does not apply in a prosecution under 45-5-601 or a proceeding under Title 41, chapter 5, for patronizing a prostitute.

History: En. Sec. 9, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

45-5-710. Affirmative defense. A person charged with prostitution, promoting prostitution, or another nonviolent offense committed as a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking may assert an affirmative defense that the person is a victim of human trafficking.

History: En. Sec. 10, Ch. 285, L. 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bozeman Personal Safety and Self-Defense Workshops

3 rivers defense

Bozeman Personal Safety and Physical Self-Defense Workshops

WHAT: The focus of these workshops is on improving personal safety through learning and practicing physical self-defense skills and obtaining a basic knowledge of violence dynamics and prevention.

You will learn and practice setting and enforcing boundaries, using your natural weapons, including palm-heels, hammer-fists, elbows, knee strikes, kicks, stomps, releases from grabs and holds, defenses against strangulation attempts, and fighting back from the ground.

We emphasize training in a supportive, friendly, and fun environment.

Private small group training assures that each person will receive optimal individual training customized to the group’s needs and interests.

WHEN: By appointment. You or you and your group can select dates and times that best fit your schedules.

WHO: These workshop are for anyone who wants to learn and practice basic physical self-defense skills and/or gain a knowledge of violence dynamics and prevention. No previous knowledge, skill, or specific physical ability is required.

WHERE: 612 W Griffin, Unit C, Bozeman, next to Outa Ware, (behind the River’s Edge) just off North 7th in the new Great Northern Commercial buildings.

For more information or to register, please contact us.

FREE RETURN AND PRACTICE: Trainees will be able to return for free monthly self-defense refresher sessions at 5:30pm on the first Tuesday of each month.

The free Tuesday self-defense sessions are also open to everyone who attended previous trainings with Three Rivers Defense. We are looking forward to seeing you. The next refresher session will be on  Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 at 5:30pm.

 

 

 

 


The Hunting Ground

The movie The Hunting Ground is a powerful, disturbing new movie by the Academy Award nominated producers of the Invisible War.

It tells the story of sexual assaults on campuses across the US, the role of big business university athletics,  and institutional cover-ups.

It also highlights the pain and courage of the survivors who stood up to their universities and tried to hold them accountable.

The response of the universities was outrages. No meaningful follow-up; no accountability.  The film ends with the admonition to students, parents, and faculty to hold their universities accountable.

If we do nothing, these rapes and sexual assaults will continue. College athletics is big business. Athletes are prized assets for these universities. Students who were raped or  sexually assaulted apparently are dispensable.

What will you do? Contact your board of trustees at your university? Contact the board of regents? Contact your alumni associations? Support your university or local or state anti-violence associations? Learn more about holding your universities accountable?Here are some resources:  

The Hunting Ground

Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

End Rape on Campus

Culture of Respect

Know your IX

RAINN: Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network

NO MORE

Alumniunited.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Self-Defense Fundamentals

Some Notes on Self-Defense Fundamentals

• Most important self-defense weapon? Your brain.

• Most important self-defense strategy? Avoidance.

• Avoidance is based on awareness unless you want to rely on pure luck. Trusting your instincts and using your cognitive brain to recognize, reduce, and avoid risk are the most important part of everyday personal safety and self-defense.

• Use your cognitive brain to recognize, reduce, and avoid risk. See, hear, smell, taste, and touch. Use your senses; don’t shut them off.

• Train awareness through awareness games.

• Train awareness, including self-awareness, through meditation.

• Predators count on distraction, deception, and denial. Avoid the D’s as Erik Kondo from Not-Me! suggests.

• Predators use your social conditioning (kindness, politeness, trust, respect for authority, not wanting to embarrass yourself, wanting to fit in, reaction to charm or flattery) against you.

• Give yourself permission to overcome social conditioning and to put your personal safety first.

Madison Trail

Physical proximity – Isolation: For a “safe” physical attack, predatory aggressors need access to you, physical proximity, absence of witnesses, and escape. They want you to be isolated. How can someone get close to you? Ambush (surprise attack, preying on lack of awareness) or gaining your trust and isolating you and then ambushing you (charm, being interesting, cool, charismatic).

• Avoid surprise attacks through awareness.

• Trust your INTUITION as an EARLY WARNING SYSTEM.

• What is intuition? According to one researcher, the limbic brain processes 12 million pieces of input at any given time and rapidly categorizes the input into ”threat – no threat.” You won’t be able to articulate why you suddenly feel uncomfortable or afraid because the cognitive brain hasn’t caught up yet. Many violence victims report that they had a gut feeling that something was wrong. (“Weird.” “Something was off.”” I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I felt uncomfortable.”)

• Use EVASION AND ESCAPE if you can no longer avoid a threat.

• Use your A’s: Awareness + Avoidance + Action

• Give yourself PERMISSION to put your safety first and to act based on your gut reaction and on your awareness.

Awareness, avoidance, evasion, and escape are 95% of your self-defense. (Not a scientific number; actual number is probably even higher)

• Only the last 5 % of self-defense involve physical self-defense. When an attack is imminent, a physical counter-attack may be the only strategy to keep you from getting injured or getting injured more severely.

• As soon as you counter-attack, you should be 100% committed to the counter-attack. A half-hearted attempt may waste or reduce your advantage in surprising your attacker. You need to shift the predator/prey dynamic as quickly as possible. Cultivate a survivor mindset. Train to defend with immediate, decisive, explosive, and aggressive counter-attacks. (IDEA).

JUOF: Your use of force must be justified. You may use force when and to the extent that you reasonably believe that such force is necessary to prevent imminent harm to you or another person. Once an attack is imminent or has started, the goal of your use of force should be to render your attacker unable or unwilling to continue attacking you (i.e., your safety), not the attacker’s punishment or revenge. The force used must be reasonably necessary to accomplish that goal. I.e., you are not legally justified to continue counter-attacking when the aggressor is no longer a threat to you.

NYC Police

NYC Police

STRESS RESPONSE -When you are confronted with a potential threat, your body reacts with a stress response. The autonomous nervous system acts to deal with the threat. The sympathetic nervous system activates your arousal response.  Imagine how you might feel right before a hugely important exam, or piano recital, or a speech in front of 500 people. You may start to hyperventilate, experience tunnel vision, or auditory exclusion. You may feel nauseous, or you may even defecate. Fine motor control suffers while you may become stronger and faster. Things may appear to happen in slow motion. It may be hard to think. You may freeze. Freezing is a genetically programed default survival response.

• When you don’t know what to do, the “survival brain” may activate the default – the FREEZE. Movement triggers attention and the predator’s chase instinct. Evolution is a slow process. In the 21st century, you may face threats where the freeze response may harm you rather than protect you. With a human predator rather than a Saber-tooth tiger, the freeze can cost you precious seconds and can get you injured or killed.

• You may find yourself in a situation where you might have a possibility of evasion or escape. But you may not be able to think logically when your arousal response is fully activated. A very important calming technique is tactical breathing. You breath in, hold your breath, breath out, and hold you breath, doing each segment while counting slowly to four, and then you repeat this breathing and holding sequence a few times. (Also called relaxation, or 4-square breathing).

• A HUGE part of personal safety is BOUNDARY SETTING: Think about friends, acquaintances, non-strangers, strangers. Ask yourself: How close do you let each come? What type of distance or contact feels comfortable under what circumstances? What doesn’t feel comfortable? When do you tell them to stop, to give you space? How do you tell them? What’s your body language? Your facial expression?

followed

Consider how you will set and protect your boundaries with persons in positions of authority. (Supervisor, employers, teacher, coach, clergy, counselor, anyone with authority or entitlement issues) How will you set your boundaries? What response do you feel comfortable with if your boundaries are violated? What resources do your have? Whom can you talk with?  Non-strangers, not the proverbial strangers jumping out of the bushes, commit the vast majority of all sexual and other assaults on women and girls in Montana and throughout the US.

Consider practicing the use of short commands rather than using suggestions or pleading. Practice: facial expression (no smile); body posture (shoulders relaxed and back, head up, balanced stance; arms up with palms out); voice (low pitch, falling inflection, deliberate rate; loud, forceful volume; serious, decisive tone.

• Respond assertively, neither too passive, nor too aggressive. If you stay in control, your assertiveness may make you safer (predator victim selection).

• Generally, assertive demeanor may increase your chance to deselect yourself from predatory aggression. Generally, de-escalation may increase your chance of reducing emotion-based, ego-driven aggression. (Notice the qualifiers. Real violence often doesn’t neatly fit into distinct categories.)

What is Self-defense training and how does it relate to martial arts classes?

• I’m a 4th Dan blackbelt and also a self-defense and personal safety instructor and I taught Taekwon-Do for many years. When I think of martial arts and self-defense, I think of them as concentric circles; they overlap to some extent but they aren’t identical.

• Martial arts training will keep you fit; it has many benefits; the focus is on the physical art. For many students it’s a life-long pursuit. As with any art, with commitment and extensive training, you can become very proficient, and you can gain effective self-defense skills.

Girls for a Change Demonstration

Yanji, China, A. Gauthier, Jumping Kick

• But not everyone can or wants to make the type of commitment that is required to become an accomplished martial artist.

• Self-defense training is more utilitarian. We concentrate on basic, simple, and natural moves that are relatively easy and quick to learn, retain, and apply.

• The focus of our personal safety/self-defense training is on two areas: 1.) What does real violence look like and how can you avoid it, and 2.) If you cannot avoid it, what can you do to increase your chances of survival.

• Self-defense training is very goal oriented – the purpose of the training is to provide you with knowledge and skills to increase your safety and self-defense options as quickly as possible.

• Personal safety training includes setting boundaries, increasing awareness, and learning about violence dynamics. We train to avoid, evade, and escape from violence, and if necessary to defend against immediate dangers and to neutralize the aggressor with counter-attacks.

• You may want to train in both martial arts and self-defense. If you don’t want to commit the time to learning and training in martial arts, and if your primary goal is to learn reality-based self-defense skills in a relatively short time, you might want to train in self-defense instead.