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Street Tactics for Survival!

Posted November 19, 2018 1:19 am

We all know what survival means on a day to day basis, go to work, come home pay the bills blah. blah. blah.

But what do we mean when we talk about survival on the streets?

It’s a jungle out there! Or is it?

The bottom line is, out in the street, it’s pretty much as safe or dangerous as you choose to make it.

What does that mean?
It’s pretty simple really, if you choose to go about life without giving a thought to personal safety on a regular basis (could be daily, weekly or every 5 minutes depending on your environment), you’re potentially setting yourself up for an unpleasant experience at best and outright disaster at worst.

When we’re kids at school we get taught to look left then right then left again before crossing the road (in Australia).

Why is that?

Well cars aren’t meant to run pedestrians over are they, but hey! Some times they do!

So we all learn some kind of street survival skills from an early age, whether we’re aware of it or not!

From a more serious angle, that’s where Krav Maga comes in, we need to develop a mentality that allows us to go through the mundane tasks of day to day life without being ignorant to the risks that other people or our environment may present.

We need to consider situational awareness as part of our daily routine to the point that it just becomes ingrained in your behavior, therefore eliminating many unforeseen risks.

In other words the first rule of Street Tactics for Survival is don’t put yourself in a bad situation to start with.

It’s not always that simple of course, and there are people out there who are truly determined to do harm to others no matter what.

So what are some of the things we shouldn’t be doing?

  • Wearing hoodies! They effectively create a tunnel vision effect that leaves you vulnerable from attacks from all sides apart from the front and can in some cases also effect your hearing to a degree.
  • Using some kind of I Pod type device or head phones to listen to music, this blocks out exterior sound also leaving us very vulnerable to attack and even the potential for being run over by a vehicle of some sort.
  • Combining the hoodie with an I Pod etc, now you have none of your major receptors working for you! You’re effectively deaf and blind!
  • Or, all of the above including walking with your eyes down to the ground or on your phone, this ties up your awareness and leaves you very vulnerable. Not to mention presents very weak body language.
  • Wearing expensive clothes or even worse, jewellery when traveling, this will attract all the wrong kinds of attention from the bad guys.
  • Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs that will inhibit your ability to make clear sound judgements and make you vulnerable to assault of one kind or another.
  • Being loud and outrageous in an environment where you don’t know who’s around or for that matter behaving arrogantly in an environment where you are clearly not considered a local.
  • Underestimating the abilities of your potential opponents when something does start to occur, this could be a potentially fatal mistake!
  • Walking through a group or crowd of people who are inebriated or clearly behaving in a manner that would suggest that they are all together and behaving with a pack mentality on the street.
  • Posturing up and being aggressive unnecessarily if confronted by one or more bad guys (we’ll talk about this a bit later, the important word here is unnecessarily).
  • Parking your car in a spot that isn’t well lit at night and potentially difficult to access without going through an ambush point eg:- dark alley / secluded stair well etc.
  • So, these don’t sound like tactics from the fighting mans point of view, but they are in fact sound tactics to apply if you want to avoid having to use fighting tactics, which by the way is our aim!

    Okay, what should we be doing?

  • Dress appropriately for all occasions!
    Eg:- correct footwear for women (stoleto’s look great but you can’t run in them!) Where possible wear long pants for both men and women or shorts. Why? For both men and women if you do get into trouble they offer some protection against abrasions from the ground etc,and for women, from a rapists point of view they’re hard work and are also more practical to make an escape in.

    Wear clingy clothing that doesn’t inhibit your movement but also isn’t easy to grab onto eg:- stretch jeans or tops, the list goes on.

  • When traveling do some research on the areas you intend to visit and understand the local scams and crime problems as well as hot spots and avoid them, dress down so as not to garner the wrong kind of attention and keep valuables hidden or better still don’t carry them.
  • Check your phone only when safe eg:- in your car with the doors locked or seated on the bus whilst still being aware of your surrounds etc.
  • Walk with your head up and stand straight up to look confident and more importantly aware of your surrounds, this is often all you need to avoid a nasty encounter with a bad guy as they’re looking for the soft target! Don’t present yourself as one!
  • If you’re going out drinking etc, have a plan about getting there and home and stick together in groups wherever possible and don’t let your friends wander off alone, especially women! Make sure your plan to get home addresses the route if you’re walking and make sure it doesn’t take you through isolated areas or ambush points, and IF YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN SPEND THE MONEY AND CATCH A CAB!
  • If somebody does become aggressive towards you, try to show empathy and verbally deescalate the situation and always assume that they may be armed in some way and have friends around that you may not be able to see. In other words don’t under estimate the seriousness of the situation but remain calm and confident and disengage as soon as possible.
  • Avoid passing through large groups by simply crossing the road if need be, if you can’t do that, then move past on the peripheries and always be humble and polite in your approach yet not weak in appearance, remember stand up straight, hold yourself in a proud confident manner but not with arrogance! Once you are passed them, if you’re near shop windows or glass of any kind, a quick glance over your shoulder at the window and you’ll be able to see up to 3 or 4 meters behind you with out turning and attracting attention from the group. If you hear someone approaching rapidly from behind turn and face them, it may be all it takes to stop a bad outcome from occurring.
  • Remember we mentioned posturing? Well, if you do encounter someone or a group that want to cause you some kind of a problem then stand tall and confident be prepared to fight, and show that in your body language. A strong focused expression without sneering goes a long way to say I’m prepared are you? Don’t start puffing out the chest and threatening as this is just seen as a bluff and will very quickly escalate the situation. Confidence is the key here!
    Scan the area and look for your potential exits and choke points and move tactically to position yourself to create obstacles or make it difficult for more than one attacker to attack you at once, look for common objects that you may use for a shield or weapon and be prepared mentally to explode with maximum aggression if needed, but the whole time be strong but submissive, show empathy and deescalate verbally so you will have the element of surprise on your side if you do need to act!
  • If you’re traveling by car, then park it nose out ready to go and park it somewhere where there’s lots of people about, and have your keys ready well before you get there.
  • It’s just common sense stuff really, but unless you make a habit of thinking this way on a regular basis it won’t become ingrained in your behavior and there in lies the problem!

    At Krav Maga Canberra our aim is not only to give you the physical skills to defend yourself but to give you the correct mental approach and tools you need to survive in the streets.

    Blog post by Dave Sargent, Senior Instructor at Krav Maga Canberra

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