As the holiday season approaches, the sun starts setting sooner and many people are out shopping after dark. At night, the risk for personal assault rises. In order to avoid this potentially life-threatening situation for you or your children, Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness recommends the following safety guidelines:
Plan Your Exit Strategy
Your best weapon for self-defense is your brain. If you know you are likely to leave a shopping complex at night, planning ahead can greatly reduce the risk of attack:
- Always park your car in well-lit and frequently trafficked areas.
- Locate your car keys before you exit and have them readily available. Sorting through a purse, backpack, or pockets diverts your attention from your surroundings.
- Scan the parking lot for anything suspicious, like people lurking in shadows. If you see something you do not like, turn around and ask for an escort to your car.
- Keep your children in close proximity and hold their hand if possible.
Strength in Numbers
The average assailant chooses targets of opportunity. Traveling with a group of friends or family members decreases the likelihood of an attack. If you are alone and do not feel safe walking to your car, ask for an escort. There are often security guards, attendants, or store clerks you can ask to walk with you. Remember: it is always better to err on the side of caution.
Speak Up: Draw Attention and Aid
In the unfortunate event you find yourself in a situation where you are being attacked, you need to act quickly to dissuade the assailant from continuing. Try to remain calm and follow these steps:
- Use your voice! By shouting “No!” or “Back off!” you alert others in your area to your distress.
- A loud shout can also startle your attacker and enable you to prepare yourself for action. Martial artists know this and use the yell or kihap to their advantage.
- Fleeing back to a safe area and contacting the police is always your best option.
- If you do get into a physical altercation, strike soft areas like the eyes, ears, throat, and groin for maximum impact with minimal training.
- Do not give up! The more you struggle and make noise, the more likely you are to be left alone or draw attention that your attacker does not want.
How Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness Can Help
At Amerson’s Taekwondo and Fitness, we believe the holidays should be a time for giving and sharing. We hope these tips will keep you safe during the season. We also believe it is essential to learn proper self-defense techniques and martial arts to ensure your continued safety year-round. When you are ready to take your personal safety into your own hands for you or your family, we’re ready to share our dojang with you.