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Self Defense Tip: Verbal Self-defense

One early morning I went to pick up a rental a car at dawn. The sun hadn't risen yet, so it was still a bit dark out. My wife chose to wait out in the parking lot as I took care of the paperwork. Sensing something strange, I looked out and saw a man hovering over her as she was trying to move away from him. I ran outside immediately and in my most aggressive voice, yelled out, "Can I help you!" With that, the man ran off.

When I asked her what happened she said the man walked over to her and asked what time it was. When she told him, he started getting closer and started asking her more questions. She was feeling uncomfortable and tried to back away, but he kept coming forward.

When a predator engages you in conversation, he’s actually “interviewing” you to see if you’ll make a good victim. They also ask questions so they can get closer to you. Once they've entered your personal space, they got you. They can grab you, mug you, or worse. Escaping, or fighting them off will be a lot harder when they already have a hold of you.

So what to do?
  • Set strong verbal boundaries. Speak confidently and assertively to let them know that you are not a victim. Even answering a question like "do you know what time it is?" can be answered in a way that tells them to leave you alone or there is going to be a problem. If they still don't get the message use phrases like, "back away!", or "stop!".

  • Keep a safe distance. The predator is trying to get close enough to you to perform their evil deed. Don't let them more than arms length to you, more distance is even better. If possible, move in a direction that puts a public place (like a store) closer to you. This way you can run towards it, without having to run past the assailant to reach it.

  • Assume a defensive posture. If the predator continues towards you after you tried using your verbal boundaries and distancing, pick your hands up and widen your stance. Continue using warning phrases like, "back away!", and "stop!", while moving towards a public place (like a store etc.).

  • If the predator continues his pursuit of you, this is an attack! You must try to run away. If you cannot, attack the attacker aggressively until you can get to safety.

For more self defense tips and tactics, get my book The Short Fight,

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Thanks so much!

Until next time, Stay Safe!

Lawrence Castanon,

Author, The Short Fight


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