The truth is, nobody ever plans to get attacked. Maybe you make it a point to never leave the house without your trusty pepper spray or self-defense weapon, but even the most prepared person can and will get caught off guard. In fact, chances are when a dangerous situation arises, you won’t see it coming.
But does that mean you’re helpless? Heck no! What this simply means is you’ve got to be able think outside the box—and fast!
That said, should you ever find yourself in a self-defense situation, your first priority should be to escape to safety and find help. While fighting back is an option, it might not always be the best course of action, though it does illustrate a very important point: having the techniques and skills to defend yourself is only part of the equation. To be truly effective, you must also be adaptive.
What does this mean? It means being alert to the environment around you. It means getting creative. It means knowing your space and being able to refashion everyday objects into tools that you can use to defend yourself. Even if you’re smaller of frame or not as strong, once you start to look at the world with an eye towards maximizing your chances of survival in a potentially dangerous situation, you’re really only limited by your imagination.
So, are you up to the challenge? As an exercise, try taking a walk through your home or your neighborhood to look for everyday objects that you can use for self-defense. These can be mundane things, not necessarily improvised weapons like baseball bats or crowbars. Doing this trains your mind to be razor-sharp and ready to take action in an emergency, and that kind of quick thinking can one day save your life.
For example, should you ever find yourself attacked and shoved to the ground in an outdoor setting, a handful of dirt, sand, gravel, or stones thrown into an assailant’s eyes can give you enough time to strike back or make a quick escape.
It is also a sad truth that domestic violence is prevalent across our communities with many victims experiencing assault in their own homes, the one place that should feel safe. For that reason, people tend to let their guard down when they’re at home, which means there might not always be a weapon within arm’s reach. But in truth, practically anything in your house can transformed into a weapon for self-defense.
In your living room, for example, furniture can be used as protective barriers, TV remotes can become painful projectiles, and even the cord to your table lamp can be used to choke or tie someone up. In the kitchen, a fresh brewed pot of coffee to an attacker’s face can give them a scalding surprise, and why limit yourself? Corrosive cleaning supplies, aerosol cooking sprays, bottles of alcohol and vinegar can all be used to douse your attacker to blind or slow them down. Even clothing and accessories you have lying around the house (or even worn on your person) like jackets, ties, scarves and belts can be used to constrict or restrain.
And don’t forget about creating distractions! Things with loud or unexpected sounds are especially effective, like car horns, doors slamming, fire alarms, ringing phones, or even the sudden voice from a virtual assistant device like your Amazon Echo. Anything that will give an attacker pause and allow you precious time to act will be to your advantage, for a split second can mean the difference between life and death.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless. To prepare yourself for adaptive self- defense, try to imagine as if you are suddenly ambushed. What around you can you use an improvised weapon? How will you use it to fight back, distract, or escape? Practice this everywhere you go, in different environments and settings. Pretty soon, it’ll become instinct—the best weapon.