The first step would be to develop the mindset of being
aware of your surroundings and more importantly the
people around you. This is also called situational awareness.
This mindset would be at home, at work and on the street.
Many of us go through our daily lives fairly unaware
of what is going on around us and are fairly vulnerable.
You have to develop awareness of your surroundings.
On the other hand, you can't be in a continuous
state of hair trigger readiness. The human mind can
not maintain this state for long. A method devised originally
by Jeff Cooper (an expert firearms instructor/author)
is a color code system. Think of colors as threat condition.
WHITE, think of being at home in your "Lazy
Boy" recliner watching TV. You are in a state where
you are not very aware of your surroundings and are
quite vulnerable. You hear a noise and go into condition
YELLOW, you are listening to the noise and evaluating.
You should look around you for visual clues as to your
new situation. You identify the potential danger for
example, the glass on a window breaks. You go into condition
ORANGE, you should be out of the chair preparing
for action. You should be aware of family members in
the house, alert them to possible danger and gather
them together in your safe room (Bedroom). you should
have your defense tools ready. For example, you could
have your cell phone in one hand and your (legal) handgun
in the other. You see movement and go into condition
RED, you are ready to identify your target and
take action. Your adrenalin level is so high now that
you will have fine motor skill problems and your training
and practice will take over. You will successfully defend
with all your skills. If you are on the street, you
can follow the same mindset and take appropriate action.
For example, you might be walking down the street and
approach a gang of unsavory guys drinking beer. You
should go from condition Yellow to Orange
and cross the street. The group stops talking and crosses
the street headed for you. You should be in condition
RED at this point. The second step would be to select
self defense tools and develop the skills to use them.
Here are some choices for you.
FIREARMS for self defense.
First would be to determine if you have the mindset
to use lethal force to defend yourself. This is the
time to think about this issue seriously. If you decide
to utilize a handgun, get good basic handgun training
and get the required license. A basic pistol course
will teach you to develop safe gun handling habits and
should also give you hands-on shooting at the range.
A good course will also discuss selection issues. For
example, type of handgun, Revolver or Semi-Automatic,
Fit to your hand and finally power level. This energy
level is usually measured in ft/lbs of energy. The power
level required to stop an attacker with one shot is
important. The FBI recommends no less then 400 ft/lbs.
This translates roughly to no less then 9 millimeter
or .38 special plus P and ideally .40 caliber or.357
magnum power level. Buy a good quality handgun; go to
the range and practice, practice, practice. Shooting
skills are ultimately more important than the power
Power level does not matter if you miss your target.
At some point, go to some combat shoots at a local club.
Do this all before you have to use your firearm in an
emergency and don't remember where the safety is.
Remember that a firearm is a lethal weapon and can only
be used in limited scenarios. That is, when you are
in fear of imminent lethal danger.
6. You should have other self defense tools in your
arsenal. Even if you carry a firearm, you should
consider carrying a non-lethal or less-lethal defense
tool also. You should become familiar with a few simple
techniques and recommendations for the item(s) selected.
You should not rely on any one element for your safety.
At home, jogging, at work etc. select the appropriate
action and tools for the situation. You should look
at multiple tools and skills. Let's look at some
A) Martial Arts It is always a good choice to
get some basic martial arts experience; especially if
you are young and limber. Depending on the style, it
takes a while to develop enough proficiency to defend
against a bad guy with club or knife. A Shotokan based
style is good for learning to deliver hard punches,
low kicks, elbows etc. Fancy aerial high kicks take
a long time to master and may not work on the street.
You should look for a style that is reality based, designed
specifically for self defense. There are some basic
self defense courses that attempt to short cut the process.
For example, for women there is aware.org. They are
good for starting to develop a self protection mindset.
Any knowledge is good. but if you don't have the
time or are an older person you have several good choices
for tools. Remember, be legal. You do not want to go
jogging with your samurai sword hanging on your hip.
Any tool should be an extension of your natural tools;
hands, feet, etc.
B) Various impact or twisting Tactical tools Kubotans,
persuader, mini stick- These are all basically the
same device. The Kubotan is a patented plastic stick,
approx 5 1/2 'long x 5/8 diameter with radial grooves.
The others are similar. They double as a key chain and
appear none threatening. They are used for bone crushing
strikes with the ends. Pokes to soft tissue and pressure
points are effective also. You can use them as a flail
with attached keys. With a little training, you can
use them effectively for pain compliance use. Tactical
Flashlights - They are of course carried as a Flashlight
and none threatening. In Court they are usually thought
of as just a flashlight and very legal to carry. They
are also Aircraft quality aluminum construction and
are a deadly clubbing and blocking tool. The Maglite
type with regular cells tends to be heavier. A good
size is a 3 C cell size. The Streamlite type
with LED bulbs is brighter and effective at temporarily
blinding an attacker.
Jogging sticks, Escrima's etc - These are
all the same thing, Approx 28" long x 1' diameter
rattan. It is a mainstay of Philippine martial arts.
They had to develop a style of Philippine martial arts
that allowed them to quickly defend themselves against
invaders. The emphasis is on basic stances similar to
a boxer and multiple alternating strikes/blocks with
the sticks. They can be used in pairs and with a little
practice you can learn Sinawali; a double weaving move
that is hard to penetrate and good for attacks. Also
good for jogging and for protection against dogs, etc.
Very legal in most cases.
Fighting Canes The walking cane is accepted
in polite society and allowed on airplanes without question.
It can also be used as a powerful self defense tool
especially by older people and people with handicaps.
My page Fighting Canes and Sticks offers a good
quality cane at a good price. Also my instructional
DVD that shows easy to learn simple effective techniques.
The DVD also includes a nice warm up, exercise segment.
Complete packages available also.
Fighting knives - Belt knives are better then
folders for self defense but can be impractical and
often illegal. Folding knifes are more concealable of
course, but may be illegal in certain areas. I have
carried a folding knife most of my life. (It started
in the Boy Scouts) But I realize that Knife fighting
is an unpleasant situation that may require a lot of
skill, training and guts to survive. A threat with a
knife is usually considered a lethal attack and may
be defended with a gun. If you carry a knife, buy a
good quality model. You do not want to bet your life
on a $5.00 Flea market knife. You want a quality knife
with a tempered steel blade that will not break and
if a folder, a strong hinge that will not fail and collapse
onto your fingers. "Cold Steel" tests
their folding Knife hinges by applying impact force
to the blade repeatedly. "Ka-Bar" has
a tradition of supplying high quality Combat knives
to the military.
Fighting rings - These are large, slightly cheesy
looking rings. They have wolf heads and tiger head designs
with sharp edges. They are designed to inflict cuts
and bruises on your opponent. It may be enough to discourage
him. At the least, it is good marking for the police