Fundamentals of Personal Defense

The Fundamentals of Personal Defense are just a few things that can quickly improve your personal safety.

These items have to meet a few stringent criteria:

  • Easy to understand
  • Easy to start to implement into your life
  • Work in the real world

With criteria like these, it is obviously going to be a very short list.  In fact, there are only 4 items that are on this list: Awareness, Plan Ahead, Move, Get Physical

1. Awareness

All Personal Defense starts here.  Awareness is a combination of observation, intuition, and mentally developing possible outcomes.  A person that has developed a good sense of awareness greatly increases their ability to stay safe.  They see problems as they develop – perhaps before they develop – and then avoid them all together.

How to Implement
Look for the Unusual.  This is part observation and part intuition.  Is there something out of place, something that doesn’t make sense, something that’s ‘just not right?’  When you get that feeling, don’t ignore it – it is probably your sub-conscience telling you to pay attention.

Don’t be Distracted.  This is especially true if you are in an area you are not intimately familiar with, like a shopping center or a gas station.   If you have to send that text or read that email then follow a simple plan of action: find a place to accomplish your task that won’t impede others; stop; look around; complete your task; look around again; and move on.

Expand your Awareness Zone.  If someone from 5 or 6 feet away wanted to do you harm, would you have time to respond and defend yourself?  Probably not.  It takes about 1.5 seconds to respond to a surprising event.  How far can a bad guy travel in 1.5 seconds?  Further than you realize… about 21 feet.  To put this in context, a full-size SUV is about 19 feet long.  Start to expand your zone, working from your current distance and increasing it about one foot every week.

Look Far… And Near.  Vary the distance you look.  If you are looking at the outer limits of your Awareness Zone, on your next scan look only a few feet away.  This helps you in two ways: you can focus on expanding your Zone; and helps make sure you don’t overlook something very close to you that is potentially dangerous.


2. Plan Ahead

This seems very simple but we often fail to do it.  Simply think about what you will need in the not too distant future and prepare for it.

How to Implement
Lighting – If you pull into a parking lot, will you be coming out after dark?  If so, park close to a street light so that your car, and the area around it, is illuminated when you return.

Keys in Hand – As you are leaving the store, get your keys in your hand before you step out of the building.  Not only will you be able to unlock and lock your car rapidly, but you could use the key and/or your keychain as a weapon if necessary.

ATM or Drive-Thru – When you stop at a drive-thru or ATM, leave your car in Drive.  If an unsavory person approaches you, simply step on the gas.  If you have to put the car in drive first, you may not be able to get away.

These are just a few examples.  I’m sure you can come up with many more.


3. Keep Moving

When confronted by those intent on doing you harm, one of the best things you can do is to keep moving.  Unfortunately, many of us simply freeze where we are.  If we keep moving, it makes it more difficult for the attacker – you are much more difficult to grab, punch, or kick.  Move enough and the thug may decide to go for an easier victim.

How to Implement
This one is a little more difficult to implement, because you aren’t subjected to threats on a regular basis.  But it is easier if you are working on the first two – awareness; and have a plan.  Awareness should eliminate, or significantly reduce, the element of surprise.  As you see something start to unfold, develop a plan in your mind and then start working on the plan.  If you are putting your plan in motion, you are more likely to keep moving and not freeze.


4. Get Physical

You may have to physically defend yourself.  Understand this.  Accept it.  Prepare for it.

How to Implement
Prepare to be Violent – If you have to go to physical interaction, it is time to pull out all the stops.  There is no 1st Place and 2nd Place, only a winner and a loser.  Decide right now that you will be the winner, that you will go whatever it takes to win.  There is no such thing as a fair fight.

Develop your Skills – Work on how you will fight, even if only against your pillow.  Striking with an elbow, knee, or the palm of your hand is usually more effective than a punch.  An elbow to the sternum or throat can be devastating.  Driving your palm upward, striking the nose and continuing upward, will stop many attacks.  You can also look for a martial arts school near you that can give you instruction in these areas.  Of course working toward a belt is a worthy endeavor, but it’s not necessary to give you a base of knowledge.

Stay in Shape – Endeavor to be in the best physical shape you can.  Even push-ups, sit-ups, and air squats can go a long way toward improving and maintaining our fitness level.  Consider finding a CrossFit gym near you and check it out – the workouts are great (although brief) and the camaraderie is great.



Obviously there is much more to cover in each of these areas, but this will give you a great start on your personal defense journey.  The amazing thing about these four is that a very little bit of knowledge, and a little bit of practice, results in huge improvements in your personal safety in a very short period of time.

I realize that no amount of preparation can protect you from every potential hazard.  You can do everything on this list perfectly and still be hit by a driver running a red light.  But the focus for this list is not on the impersonal accident, but on giving you the capacity to defend yourself from a personal attack.

Our goal in giving you these four areas can be summed up in three words: CALM.  REAL.  LIFE.

  • CALM in that you won’t get ‘the sky is falling,’ fear-based rhetoric from us.  Instead you will get the confidence that comes from insight, strategy, and understanding.
  • REAL in that the tools and methods we bring you are simple to understand, easy to implement, and work in the real world.
  • These two will help enable you to live your LIFE with the maximum amount of freedom.

We focus on these three things: CALM.  REAL.  LIFE.