One tactical concern that prompts people to learn self-defense skills is wanting to know how to avoid being mugged. It’s a reasonable concern. A mugging can be an overwhelming personal attack that affects not only your physical well-being but your mental wellness. A brutal attack can also leave you with crippling medical bills. While you can never eliminate danger from your life, there are some steps you can take to decrease your risk of being mugged and if it happens–give yourself a greater opportunity to survive.
The simplest way to avoid being mugged is learning how to prevent a mugging. When you’re mugged, there’s the risk of physical assault leading to injury and death, so prevention is invariably better than relying on your strength to fight off an attacker. Here are some tips to help stop this crime before it even starts:
• Understand where you’re going. – Particularly in larger cities, one of the vulnerabilities a mugger looks for is someone who seems lost. This indicates typically someone unfamiliar with the area who can easily be guided into a location that has few eyewitnesses, and it often means they are not a local person whom someone else is watching out for. Stay on public streets and sidewalks with plenty of people around.
• Go There. – When walking to your destination, move with confidence. Don’t run, but don’t dawdle, either. Keep your head up and eyes on your route. Watch for anyone who shows interest in you, signs of man-made impedance (such as a dumpster pushed to block an alley partially), or groups of individuals that seem potentially hostile.
• Practice Situational Awareness. – One of the most important active skills to avoid being mugged is understanding how a mugger traps and approaches their victim, then eliminating those risk factors. Don’t cut down alleys or allow yourself to panic and be chased into a dead-end street. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, try not to go alone. Watch for areas that could hide an attacker, such as bushes or a pile of refuse. If you’re on a familiar route, watch for anything or anyone that seems out of place.
• Don’t present yourself as a target. – This is largely achieved by practicing the above vigilance, as a savvy mugger is not looking for a target that knows what’s coming. You can also call a friend on a cell phone–as long as it won’t distract you–so they know someone is listening. If you carry a purse or bag, a handheld loosely inside it can imply a weapon; just don’t let it foul your hands if it comes to a confrontation.
• Don’t be stupid. – If you want to know how NOT to avoid being mugged, go to unsavory places, with unsavory people, at the wrong times, and act up. If you’re three sheets to the wind at a bar with your buds, and you leave alone when they take off, singing your way down the alley to your hotel, there’s a pretty good chance your wallet won’t be there when the cops show up. Be smart.
If that didn’t work and you’ve moved on from “how to avoid being mugged” to “how to survive being mugged,” then it’s time to change tactics a little bit. Your focus at this point should be on de-escalation if possible, defense if not. Once a mugging has started, here’s how to make sure you survive.
Money isn’t worth your life. – If they ask for your wallet, phone, shoes, or some other possession, give it to them. Whether or not the police can get them back, they aren’t worth your health or life. Don’t be rude or cute. Don’t try something you saw in a movie. Listen to the demands and comply unless they further compromise your safety.
Preparation is key. – The time to worry about how to avoid being mugged or defend yourself in an attack is not during the mugging. The time for training to defend yourself is now before the need arises. As part of your Kosho-Ryu Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu training, you’ll not only learn about protecting yourself physically but will train your mind to help you perceive and avoid threatening situations.
Be loud. – If you want to avoid being mugged, it’s important not to draw attention to yourself. However, if you’re already in the process of being mugged, you want to bring as much attention to yourself as possible. You need witnesses, bystanders, and potential involvement from law-abiding citizens. When it becomes apparent that someone intends to attack you, shout for help. If you were on the phone, scream your location and the description of your attacker. If they hesitate, run. Get to people and safety as fast as you can.
Look for a force multiplier. – Once you understand you are going to be mugged, begin scanning your area for a weapon. Bricks, wood, chains, hand full of dirt, and broken bottles all work as improvised weapons if the need arises. Your weapon of choice may act as an obstacle to the attack itself, but you cannot count on that as a fact. Do not hesitate to use it.
Be brutal. – We teach our students to hit attackers anywhere they use for breathing or breeding. These areas of the body are sensitive and cannot be toughened up like most other areas. This isn’t an honorable fight. It’s life or death, and there is no forbidden move or illegal target area. Just Put Them Down fast and get away.
Do you Want to Learn To Face The Real World?
No one can promise you that you’ll be safe throughout your life, wherever you go and whatever you do. That doesn’t mean you have to be a victim. Your mind and body have the potential to give you the weapons you need to defend yourself and your loved ones. Learn more about how to avoid being mugged and how to defend yourself from real threats with Kosho-Ryu Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu at the James Martial Arts Academy today.