Self-defense is not only about learning how to physically defend yourself but also about having the presence of mind to avoid dangerous situations altogether. Military veterans can offer unique insights into self-defense, as they have often been in situations where they had to protect themselves and others. Here are some practical tips for women’s self-defense from military veterans.

Here are some tips for staying safe:

1. Mindset

The first and most important aspect of self-defense is having the right mindset. You must believe that you can defend yourself and are worth defending. Too often, women are socialized to believe that they are powerless and that it is not their place to protect themselves. This belief can be a major barrier to practical self-defense.

  • Believe in yourself – The first step is believing that you can defend yourself. If you don’t believe in your own ability to fight back, you will never be able to do so effectively
  • Know your value – Remember that you are just as valuable as anyone else and deserve to defend yourself just as much as anyone else does. You are not powerless.
  • Don’t be a victim – Have the mindset that you will not be a victim. Be proactive and take steps to avoid dangerous situations whenever possible.

2. Awareness

UN Women
Scenes from the self-defense workshop held at UN Women’s Headquarters in New York (Source: UN Women/Flickr)

The second key element of self-defense is awareness. It is important to be aware of your surroundings and to know who or what might pose a threat. This means being aware of both your physical environment and the people around you. Pay attention to your intuition and trust your gut instinct if something feels off.

Here are some more specific tips from military veterans on how to improve your situational awareness:

  • Be alert – Always be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to anything out of the ordinary.
  • Know your escape routes – In any given environment, know where the exits are so you can quickly get away if necessary (more on this below).
  • Trust your gut – Listen to your intuition and take action accordingly.

3. Verbal Self-Defense

One of the most effective forms of self-defense is verbal self-defense. This involves using your words to defuse a situation before it escalates into violence. It is important to be assertive and confident without being aggressive or confrontational when using verbal self-defense. Some key phrases to remember are “no,” “stop,” and “I don’t want to do this.”

  • Be assertive – It is important to be firm and confident when using verbal self-defense without being aggressive or confrontational.
  • Use key phrases – Remember to use key phrases such as “no,” “stop,” and “I don’t want to do this.”
  • Don’t engage – If someone tries to provoke you into a physical confrontation, don’t take the bait. Walk away if possible.

Remember, the goal of verbal self-defense is to defuse the situation before it escalates into violence.

4. Physical Self-Defense

Self Defense For Women
(Source: Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)

Physical self-defense is only necessary if verbal self-defense fails and the situation escalates into violence. There are a variety of different techniques that can be used for physical self-defense, depending on the situation. Some standard techniques include striking vulnerable areas such as the eyes or nose, kicking, and using pepper spray or other weapons.