Attention to surroundings is the first and major factor to ward off trouble and personal attacks.
The Samurai had a saying, and I must paraphrase here, but is goes like this: Be aware of the dynamic of a situation and know when it is most appropriate to leave. Too often, we as a people are too busy in parking lots, shopping centers, the local fair and other social settings that we set ourselves up as targets in the eye of the criminal element. Social Awareness is stressed in most dojo/ dojang (martial arts school) because that is the tip of the spear of safety. Simply, to be aware and not place yourself or your family in harms way is to win without fighting. Very few folks do this. Be honest! On the cell phone, kids screeming in the back of the SUV, and other distractions make most of us "unaware" of potential threats to our safety. The Martial Art Master's of Old always thought that to win without fighting was the highest good. They thought that if an encounter became physical, one had lost spritually. However, there are times when we are pressed to defend ourselves and family.
Social Awareness is a simple tool to use once one becomes "aware" of the environmental surroundings each and every time one enters a parking lot at a hospital, shopping center, food store, gas stations, market place or county fair or any social engagement. The first thing is to look around before getting out of a vehicle. If one sees people that look "shady" or one gets a "gut" feeling that this might not be a good place--then don't go there. A prime example is elavators. The door opens, "Slim Shady" is in it and does not get out thinking you mght enter-Don't!!! It is that simple. Parking lots are another place folks become victims in. Park in well lighted areas. When returining to your vehice, look around, under, and in the back of you car. Leave your cell phone alone and check your children. A simple mistake here can be fatal. Social functions are another place of concern. Weddings, parades, the local fair all bring people together. Sounds like fun, but criminals look for those unaware, weak, and smaller than them. Then alcohol come into the equation. From here all reason takes a dive. This is where the samurai maxim, "Know the dynamic of a situation and know when to leave" comes into play. All of this is simple common sense. We as humans often think "It will never happen to me." Well, it does and when you least expect it.
For your personal safety, be aware, look around, follow your gut! Remember, if you can read it before it happens, you are wise and lucky. If it happens and you can talk your way out or use what we call "verbal judo" to ease out of a threatening situation, great. Remember, the Master's would have rather walked away than have it come to blows. However, if there is no way out and you are violently attacked, BE COMMITTED to your defense! This does not mean one has to go toe to toe with a thug. A distraction, a simple strike to a weak area of the body, or a "martial technique" learned in a dojo/dojang or a women's self defense seminar, might be all it takes to free one from harm and move to safety. This action MUST be forceful, strong and committed. Anything less is defeat and one becomes a stat or a victim. If one feels that they cannot commit, one has two options: RUN FAST or cower down. You as the average citizen have options. Be wise, be smart, be aware. Most of all be safe.
Black Dragon Martial Arts