The most important element in self-defense is observation. With good observational skills you can defend yourself without having to use any physical contact. It is always better to avoid a situation than to confront one. The following guidelines would help to enhance your observational skills making you better able to defend yourself.
Observing people in your surroundings should be first and foremost. You should pay close attention to a person’s body language and note their distance from you; the closer they are the more alert you should be. You must observe if a stranger in your surrounding area is staring at you, if anyone is following you and if someone has an aggressive demeanor. This aggressive demeanor would be obvious in their body movements and facial expressions as most people can’t hide their emotions.
Also be cautious of people wearing big clothing and/or if their hands are in their pockets a lot. Big clothes can be used to conceal weapons and you should always have a person’s hands in your visual field.
When dealing with people your personal space is measured by arm’s length. If you feel someone has taken up your personal space, take a step back or politely ask them to give you some room. However, if someone is approaching you fast and aggressive you need to be assertive and let them know not to come any closer. If they persist in a threatening manner prepare to scream for help and/or run away in such situations.
You must also be observant about the environment you are in. If you are indoors, a mall or store for example, pay close attention to the exits and security guards if there are any. You must at all times have an escape route planned or at least someone to go to for help. It would be wise to note any objects in the area that an attacker could use to hurt you or that you can use to defend yourself.
Trust your instincts to help you determine if someone is a friend or foe. Remember not everyone approaching you would intend to hurt so be kind and respectful but at the same time note your escape, help options and potential weapons in your surroundings for example a stone, stick or anything that can cause some damage.
These simple tips are fundamental to any good self-defense training. Observing your surroundings and the people in it, could help you avoid sticky situations or provide you with a means of escape. Observation gives you the knowledge to form a plan of action if threatened in your specific environment. Be aware of the tips mentioned before to help protect yourself.