March 14, 2017, Israel
Sometimes in life we forget the simple things. We chase after the big dreams, fly the fast jets, go to far away lands and forget that most of we need is right here under our noses. John Denver expressed that quite well in his song, "Thank God I'm a Country Boy". What we really need is right here at home.
It is the same with self defense. The other day I was interviewed by a TV station in Ukraine and I was asked if I had ever used my Krav Maga skills in real self defense. Well, yes and no. It has been a long time since I have been in a fight, I try to avoid that sort of thing but yes Krav Maga has helped me.
Being aware of how easily anyone can get hurt I have learned how to avoid fights. Let's go back to Mr. Miyagi of "Karate Kid" when he advised young Daniel San, "Best defense not be there."
That still holds true and every great master will concur.
Training in Krav Maga has given me the wisdom and confidence to avoid trouble and the ability to deal with it if it insists on coming my way.
When we watch martial arts films we tend to think that in order to stay safe we need to first learn the flying double jump kick and then be able to throw a large man over our shoulder. In fact the simple things are what matter most.
So here are a few tips that you should have learned in kindergarten.
The best fight is the fight that was not fought - Why look for trouble? There are certain people and situations that we simply should avoid. Most often there is nothing to be gained from provoking someone, so best to leave him alone.
Don't walk down the wrong street - This wisdom goes back to the Talmud. There are areas "known for trouble", why go there? If you can find a different path, do so. This is not cowardly, it is wise.
If you are visiting some place new, trust the locals - I have been to many areas known for trouble. I do not know the area and therefore I listen to the locals, they know. They know where a tourist can go safely and what areas are best avoided. They know when it is safe and when it is not.
Now you may know of someone who walked into a dangerous area and came back unscathed, but that proves nothing. It still violates the "not be there" principle. One lucky fool does not trump age old wisdom. Not every person will be attacked, we go by the law of probability and we stay safe.
Safe Parking - Learn to park your car safely. What may look like a safe spot in the middle of the day may no longer be safe at the end of the day when you come to retrieve your car. Seasoned street thugs can recognize an outsider, especially out of town license plates, a rented car, or a car out of league with the neighborhood.
If you part at work in the morning but when five pm rolls around you decide to stay just a little bit later to finish a project and then before you know it it is very late. So you come outside and find your car is the only one left in the parking lot. Better not to approach the car alone.
Don't be dragged along - Back to the opening of the Book of Psalms, avoid a bad crowd. If your friends suddenly decide on a crazy adventure, and you sense that this may not be a good idea, bail out, Make a new plan Stan. Remember this "My Life", you need to protect yourself.
Act like you own the place - Show confidence. People can feel it, smell it, if you walk around like a local, full of confidence, you are less likely to be a target. Even if you do not know your way around, act like you do. Looking lost and confused is that wearing a "target" shirt.
Don't look Distracted - Today with cell phones this is very common. Remain alert and focused. Scan your surroundings. Don't make yourself an easy target.
Awareness - There is no need to live a life of paranoia but one should develop a habit of always being aware. Become a people watcher, learn to pick up little clues.
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