What is Self Protection?

Take the Broad Perspective

There are a lot of people talking about Self Defense, Self Protection, Personal Protection etc.  I think about it all as Self Protection because it’s about my ability to protect myself and others that are important to me.  But what does that mean in practice?

Imagine you’re in this situation.  It’s late at night and you have to take a quick trip to the local convenience store or maybe a Walmart. It’s not that busy of a night with lots of parking available and not much traffic in the parking lot. Just a typical Tuesday night maybe.

You park and pull out your phone to check your grocery list and check for messages.  Grab your mask and open the car door to get ready to head to the store.

As you begin to leave the car, you notice several families putting groceries in the car and another person waiting for a ride.  As you walk by him near the cart returns he asks you for the time and if you might have a cigarette.  Normal behavior.  But you feel weird about where he’s waiting.  He walks toward you as he asks his questions. 

Are you in possible risk of attack? Maybe, maybe not.  Should you be concerned? A little.  So maybe you quickly tell him the time and that you don’t smoke as you continue to walk at a different angle away from him toward the entrance door.  He follows and asks if he can use your phone to call his ride.  

Again, this sounds reasonable.  Just a guy waiting for his ride that seems to be late. Maybe he’s an employee.  But you tell him no.  He just seems odd to you, and your senses are alerted and you feel a little concerned.  You feel a little afraid and you still have about half of the distance to the store door.  What do you do at this point?

This scenario demonstrate an important part of  self protection.  It’s being aware of your situation, of potential threats, and doing an internal threat assessment followed by a plan of action based on sound principles.  This is self protection. Self protection starts with your shield, and if successful, allows you safety without using your weapons; whether open hand defense or physical such as a stick, knife, or gun.  

I differentiate self protection from self defense based on the physical interaction of the encounter; an actual attack. Once an attack is considered imminent, You’ve entered a self defense scenario and must make quick decisions that are not always easy in order to get yourself out of danger or to fend off an attacker. 

You might ask; “What difference does it make?”  Because, it’s the big picture of self defense and that situational awareness and threat assessment is every bit as important in self protection as learning how to block a punch or grapple out of a head lock.  I feel when we focus on self defense, the physical element of an attack, we minimize other, perhaps more important elements such as threat assessment that truly keep us safe and may prevent physical encounters.

So, for sure you much be able to defend yourself in an attack and it’s important to learn, to train, and to practice self defense techniques. But it’s just as important to learn, train and practice situational awareness, and risk assessment. 

My recommendation is to learn about self protection, take courses, and practice, practice, practice.  

Stay safe and have a great week.

— Coach Don

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