September is the season for a fresh start. Everyone is thinking about back to school. Schedules and activities are changing at this time of year. This is the perfect time to review self-defence and safety strategies for everyone.

Karate classes are a great activity for everyone young and old. You will learn about self-defence and personal safety. Parents have you registered your children for classes? Students, find a friend or two and seek out some self-defence lessons. Teachers, you never know when you might need to protect yourself so this applies to you too!

Staying sharp and prepared will go a long way to prevent attacks. Sometimes however you can be 100% prepared and an attack will still happen. If you have some karate training or at least a self-defence course or two under your belt, your chances of escaping successfully will increase.

Hopefully everyone reading this will take a moment or two to think about their lives and their personal safety. Prevention is often the best medicine, so I would like to remind everyone of a few universal preventative safety measures.

Here are my top 5 tips for back to school safety. These are applicable for Elementary, Highschool, College and University students. Don’t forget the teachers and all of the support staff who work at schools. This applies to you too! These safety tips really can be helpful for everyone.

Beaware Of Your Surroundings
• Plan your route so you don’t get lost
• Use side walks and cross walks if they are available
• Watch where you are going especially when walking alone
• Stay in well lit areas as much as possible

Travel Light
• Don’t become encumbered with a heavy backpack, books or bags
• You need your hands free to protect yourself
• You will be quicker on your feet to react to or run from danger with a lighter load

Give Yourself Extra Time
• If you are rushing, you are distracted
• An attacker can and will use this to their advantage

Safety in Numbers
• Walk/wait with a friend, or even a group of people
• Being alone, especially a woman is a target
• If you must be alone, message a friend before and after you reach your destination

Head Up Phone Down
• DO NOT WALK AND TEXT
• If you have to talk or text, stop and move to the side
• Keep the headphones off as well when you are travelling alone
• You need to be aware at all times

Use these five safety tips as a starting point. Now think of more ways you can be aware and protect yourself at school or travelling to and from campus. Get registered in a self-defence program! Don’t wait! Give yourself or your loved ones every chance to be safe.

This month I am demonstrating a self-defence technique against a push. Being pushed is often a pre-cursor to a grab or a strike. You want to stop the pushing before it escalates.

Attack
• You are confronted by an attacker
• Keep your hands up with your palms open in front of you
• This is the moment to use your voice. Tell the attacker to leave you alone
• The attacker goes to push you

Block The Push
• The attacker uses one hand to push or shove you
• The attacker wants to shove you backwards and throw you off balance
• Turn yourself sideways into the attacker out of the way of the push
• ‘Block” the attackers arm with your inside (right) hand

Grab
• Immediately grab the attackers wrist with your outside (left) hand
• Since most of the world is right-handed, the attacker is using his right hand and I am defending with my right side
• Everything can be reversed to the left side if applicable

Hammerfist
• Keeping a tight hold of the attackers wrist, strike hard to the face
• Your target can be jaw, nose ore throat
• I am using the side of my fist here. In Karate Class this technique is called a hammerfist

Grab the Head
• Following your hammerfist, grab the head of the attacker
• You can grab their hair, the back of the neck or even their shirt collar

Knee Kick
• Pulling the head of the attacker down, use your knee to strike the groin
• Repeat if necessary
• Notice I have not let go of the attackers wrist
• I am still keeping a tight hold of the attackers head

Prepare to Strike
• After your knee kick prepare to strike the attacker’s head
• Raise your right hand (the hand that was holding the head) high and clench your fist

Elbow
• Strike the attacker’s head using your elbow
• Your target is the back of the attackers’ head or neck
• This must be very forceful
• Your goal is to drop the attacker to their knees
• You can strike more than once

Push Away
• Using both hands, push the attacker away from your body
• You want to push the attacker away and to the ground and create a safe distance for yourself

Ground
• You want the attacker on the ground
• You will have to push them over very hard
• Don’t be shy, give them a good hard shove!

Take Your Distance
• As always take your distance!
• Do not stay close where the attacker can reach you
• Keep your hands up as you back away quickly
• Once you are out of range, turn and run!!!!

Now that you have successfully escaped, report the incident. Find a safe place to call and get help. During the attack, remember to use your voice to call attention to your situation. Good luck to everyone at school this year! I wish you every success and of course want to remind you to always be safe.

Don’t Be A Victim. Be Confident. Be Prepared!