Keeping safe by Mireille Clark

Too often we relax our guard in a public place with the assumption that we are safe because we've been this way before, or done this so many times without any problems happening that it has become comfortable to us.

I believe that one of the most dangerous additions to our modern lifestyle is the various MP4 players/Ipods/Cell phones that are being used in public places. You can see people walking down the street, sitting on a bus, or jogging through a park with these ear buds showing on their heads. By doing this they are taking away the most important aspect of Self Defense available to them, ie: their sense of awareness of their environment.

We rely on two main senses when we are paying attention to our environment, namely Sight, and sound. It is rare that we would use taste, touch, or smell to alert us to danger, but it can happen.

To be honest, I found that sound has always helped bring my attention to potentially dangerous situations. A sudden sharp crackling noise, the sound of footsteps near me, or the sound of a car approaching has alerted me to potential danger, and I have been able to avoid that problem. I would actually feel my ears "perk" up, and my mind would assess the various reasons that these sounds exist then I would turn my head to investigate. I have been able to avoid being crushed by a falling tree limb, or being struck by a quickly approaching vehicle thanks to the sounds that I caught just in time.

One is under the illusion that they are safe when they are listening to the distracting sounds coming from their system. Their minds are occupied with their favorite song, or listening to the news, and is not fully alert.

Predators will attack when the prey is not aware, or when the prey is in a disadvantaged position. If you were to attack someone, would you not choose the person who is daydreaming, or acting distracted, or even unaware of their environment?

Although convenient, and portable, I would suggest that MP4/Ipods/etc. players be used only in a place where you are assured your safety. Jog with them in a Gym, or running track in a wellness facility. Walk with them on a treadmill, or sit with them when you are safe at home.

As Sensei Gichin Funakoshi has explained "When you leave home, think that you have numerous opponents waiting for you. It is your behavior that invites trouble from them." ( From the 20 Precepts)

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Mireille Clark
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Connect with Colin on FaceBook and Traditional Taekwondo Group on FB.


SenseiMattKlein said…
Some good points made here Mireille. I believe you should use all senses available; sight, hearing, touch, even smell to assess your surroundings. Give yourself a fighting chance. Also if you get a good look at your attacker first, they are less likely to make a move in the first place.

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