Friday, March 2, 2007

SAFE IN THE CITY


In this article we are going to look at some of the possible dangers that may arise on the street and public places and suggest effective ways on how to deal with these situations. One does not have to act paranoid by constantly eyeing on every stranger although it is necessary to stay alert and prepared at all times.

Public Transportation
In the Philippines not many can afford to own cars because it is still considered a luxury. So it is quite common for people to wait and endure long lines in order to get a ride and the irritation that goes along with a fully loaded public transport. This is the situation where pickpockets and robbers thrive.

I had a one time experience when I was riding a jeepney going to Sta. Ana and a fellow passenger (turned out to be the pickpocket) sitting beside me started to put his hand in his pocket as if to get some money to pay for the fare. Suddenly I felt that he was leaning too much on my side so my instinct told me something was not right. I held on to my wallet and found that it was almost half way out out of my pocket. Quickly I grabbed my wallet and looked at the guy and in an instant he jumped out from his seat and went on to ride a motorcycle that was tailing us. Apparently, he had someone with him who was ready to assist his escape after robbing passengers.
Physical techniques may not be needed all the time especially when you're in a situation where everyone is packed like sardines inside a train (like the LRT during rush hour) and you find the next guy breathing down your neck trying to rob you. This is a difficult situation because an escape route may not be accessible and you may end up getting hurt since this guy is usually accompanied by other men. So awareness and staying alert is what one needs to prevent this from happening. It is much wiser to just get off when you sense danger and take another ride.

Rest Rooms
The ladies room could be a potentially dangerous place especially when it's located at the far end of the mall. It is better to be accompanied by another female companion when going inside these places. Males should also be aware because there may be potential attackers in the men's room ready to stick a knife at you when you are doing your thing in the urinals. In short, stay alert.

Movie Theatres
When entering a movie theatre scan the area before taking a seat. Pause for a while with your back against a wall and let your eyes adjust to the dark theatre, then scan the whole area and look for rows where there are other moviegoers. Avoid isolated areas since these are the best spots for would be criminals to hide. It is much safer to be with a friend or companion because this sometimes act as a deterrent against criminals who more often than not choose victims who are alone and situated in a vulnerable area.

Approaching you Car
If you happen to own one, it is best to scan the place where you parked the car for suspicious looking characters. If you sense potential danger look for a roving guard in the area and seek help. But if you are caught off guard and put in a helpless situations, then by all means do whatever is necessary to defend yourself. Your car keys may prove to be handy in such situations as it can be used to poke the eye of the assailant or rake his face. This will buy you some time to run and ask for assistance.

Entering your Home
Remember the incident where the house of a movie actor was infiltrated by armed men who tried to rob hi. Eventually , the situation was reversed when the actor was able to get hold of his gun and went after the robbers, killing one of them. The robbers entered the gates of his home by timing their assault when the maid was about to close the gate.
This is a common tactic among robbers which requires perfect timing. In this situation be aware of your surroundings and check out places along the perimeter where potential attackers may lie waiting. Exercise common sense by not letting strangers into your home. Ask for identification when accepting packages or mail. When in doubt, tell the delivery man to leave the package in front of the door or simply ask them to come back some other day. Remember even a tough guy can't do anything much when a man is pointing a gun at him. So it is best to use one's common sense to avoid such situations.

Rapid Journal Vol. 9 No.1 ISSN 0118-4113

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Pointers on Street Combat

There are many reasons for learning joint manipulation techniques and strangle holds. They can be used as an effective self-defense method in some situation. They can be applied as restraints or arrest techniques when necessary. They can be useful in controlling or injuring a person to a certain degree and most of all they can serve as a bargaining position through which you could talk some sense to the other guy to stop whatever foolish thing he is attempting to do.
In my own personal opinion, these techniques are actually incidental in nature which means they can only be applied when the opportunity presents itself. Never engage on a street fight looking for a lock or a strangle hold. What I mean is that they should not be used as your primary tool for self-defense. Hitting with a barrage of elbows, knees, eye jabs and kicks will serve you better when it comes to a street fight especially when dealing with multiple attackers. It would even be better to grab a hold on to something which could be used as a weapon or as an effective equalizer should the assailants be armed with knives or other tools to be used as weapon.
Most real fights last less than ten seconds. There is seldom an exchange of technique between combatants or what we refer to as fakes, feinting, trappings and other maneuvers that are only used as drills or those that are executed in study sparring and tournaments. As in almost all fights, the guy who lands the first telling blow is usually the one who wins.
Against someone who is potentially dangerous and who constantly engage himself to troubles or does criminal acts as his way of living, it would be very risky to depend on locks and holds as your first line of defense. This is especially true if you are just a beginner in the martial arts because even to those who have achieved a high skill in the application of these techniques in the dojo finds it very difficult to apply these skills against a very aggressive opponent who happens to be punching, kicking, elbowing or even biting, simultaneously. It becomes even more difficult if you were up against two or more attackers. It would be like trying to catch three soccer balls in order to protect your goal. Forget what you see in the movies or even in the Ultimate Fighting championship for this matter because were talking about the real thing where everything is unrehearsed, goes without rules, no referees, no audience, no tap outs and no time limits. This is the world where guns, knives, broken bottles, tires and even trash cans can be used.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not implying that application of these techniques, if applied securely and in full force could be your opponents worst nightmare because were talking about broken bones and NDE (Near Death Experience) choke hold. What I am trying to point out is that you should not rely on the locks and holds too much or use them as a primary tool in a street fight. The use of these technique as complete defense is limited to situations in which the adversary is drunk, moving at snail’s pace, or the attacker is not vicious and of course, you would prefer to use these techniques if your ‘best’ friend suddenly flips out and tries to kick your head. It is much wiser to incorporate these locks and holds together with striking methods in order to become more effective in self defense situations. The best equation would be to hit-hit-hit then lock, if necessary, and not lock-lock-lock, then hit.
Always remember that in most instances in street attacks, the prudent behavior is to escape as quickly as possible. If strikes such as head butts, knees and elbows are to be used, there is often no need to apply restraining techniques or strangle holds.

RAPID JOURNAL vol.7 no.4 ISSN 0118-4113 Page 37