Your Personal Safety and Self-Defense Continuum

When we discuss our student's personal safety and self-defense plan, we highlight four parts that we feel are critical to their success. The continuum of personal safety and self-defense include: understanding crime and the criminal mindset, having an effective personal safety and prevention strategy(ies), a toolbox of simple physical defenses and weapon use, and a survival mind-set and fighting spirit.

Part 1 - Understanding Crime and the Criminal Mindset

The first part of training centers around understanding that crime is a process and is not about the bad man jumping out of the bushes. It is understanding that as women, our attackers more than likely will be known, versus the stranger attacks.

Therefore, your training should be able to answer the following questions. Do you understand how crime happens? Do you understand the crime triangle? Do you understand the five stages of violent crime? Do you understand what a criminal is looking for in a victim?

Part 2 - Having Effective Personal Safety and Prevention Strategies

The next part of training is about your own personal safety and prevention strategies. How do you handle your body language? Do you know what it is saying about you and telling others? What habits are you currently engaged in that could place you in harm's way? What new habits are you developing to lower the opportunities for crime to happen to you? Are you utilizing the color coding process to be able to find an escape route when needed? Do you feel comfortable using verbal self-defense?

Part 3 - A Toolbox of Simple Physical Defenses and Weapon Use

The third part is simple physical defense and weapon use. We are not looking for complicated, muscle driven moves. Every self-defense move that is utilized should be quick, effective and based on natural body reactions. The goal is to create an opportunity for escape and survival; not go 3 rounds in a caged mixed-martial arts fight. Are you comfortable around weapons? Are you comfortable improvising with tools on hand: hairbrush, pen, cellphone, newspaper, magazine, shoe, etc., as potential weapons? Do you know where to strike to get the quickest response?

Part 4 - A Survival Mind-Set and Fighting Spirit

Part four is the mental rehearsal for self-defense. It's giving yourself permission that you do have the right to defend yourself. That you are worth defending. It's creating a mind-set that states, "I will survive!" It is about taking fear and turning it into power. It is about believing that you can.

By utilizing the above four parts, you can successfully create your own personal safety and self-defense continuum.

**Angie M. Tarighi is the CEO & Founder of Women’s Self-Defense Institute providing self defense training, education awareness & personal protection products empowering women to fight back against crime.

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