The 3 A's of Street Self Defense


The correct attitude is the single biggest attribute you must possess in order to keep yourself out of needless trouble.

To put it simply, you can't think like a victim. If you think like a victim it will show in your body language and body language is all important in the street environment.

If you are to avoid trouble then you cannot walk down the street with your head down and your shoulders slumped with hands dug deep into your pockets. You cannot look timid in any way.

Someone looking for a fight will most often go for the person who looks the least threatening, the person who isn't going to fight back. Thugs prey on the weak and the timid.

If you are the type of person whose body language screams victim then you will find yourself getting picked on a lot. Thugs are very good at sizing up potential prey to have some fun with.

The surest way is to change the message you give out when you walk down the street. You have to change your way of thinking and acting.

For a start you have to stop feeling like a victim and refuse to be intimidated by anyone, no what matter what size they are or how many of them there are. But how do you do this, how do you essentially make a stand against such people?

Well firstly, you simply change the way you think about yourself. You have to start developing your confidence. If you do martial arts then you should really be taking a lot of confidence from your training. You know a bit about how to handle yourself, so this should be enough to boost your confidence and change your victim mentality.

The biggest change the martial arts had on me was the way it changed how I thought about myself and what way I presented myself to the world. I gained enough inner-strength from the training to allow me to walk down the street and put out the vibe that I won't be messed with.

You should do the same. Decide right now that you will never be messed with by anyone again because no one would dare due to your skills, and if they do, then God help them. This is the way you have to think.

This doesn't mean you have to walk down the street like the Terminator, eye-balling every one around and daring them to have a go if they are hard enough. What I am talking about is more subtle than that. I'm asking you to cultivate a state of mind that will eventually build into a quiet confidence as opposed to any kind of arrogance or even, god forbid, thuggishness.

You have to give of just enough of a vibe so that predators will quickly dismiss you as being unsuitable prey. In other wards they will pass you by because you won't fit the victim profile.


You can be as confident and as self-assured as you can be but it's no good if you are going to keep walking into trouble all the time. A good sense of awareness is therefore vital to you avoiding any potential violent altercations.

I would describe awareness as having the ability to spot any potentially dangerous situations. This means you have to be streetwise as much as possible. Walking alone in areas that have a reputation for violence is a good example of not being fully aware.

If you were aware of the dangers involved in walking down dodgy streets then you probably wouldn't do so, and even if you did, you would at least be privy to the possibility that you might be in danger.

Make it your business to have some working knowledge of the places that you frequent. Leave yourself open to the possibility that you could run into trouble. That way, if the worst does happen, then at least it won't come as a complete shock.

Believe me, any violent altercation is shocking enough without coming totally from left-field. If a part of you is ready to deal with something like that you stand a much better chance of actually surviving it, a lot more than you would if you were not expecting it.

Allow your awareness to become subconscious so that it is always there, turned on, but not so conscious that you can't think of anything else. After a while you will get good at sizing up people and situations. You will be able to quickly and accurately assess the threat level in any situation.

Your intuition will guide you in this respect if you let it. Your intuition will let you know what awareness level you have to be at at any particular time. It rises and falls accordingly.

Don't forget common sense here as well. Don't be stupid enough to venture into known trouble spots. Don't hang around clubs or bars after closing unless you like drunken brawling. Avoid needlessly antagonising people.

Common sense.

Get some, it's great, it's free and it saves you lots of trouble.


Having awareness is nothing without the ability to act on it quickly and decisively. If you're not going to make some kind of proactive response to the situation you find yourself in then you may as well have not even noticed the situation in the first place. All your carefully cultivated awareness will have been for nothing.

Obviously the type of action you take will depend on the situation. If you suddenly happen upon a gang of thugs hanging round a street corner then your action can be as simple as crossing the road to avoid them or just strolling past them confidently, giving of the vibe that you are not what they are looking for.

On the other hand you may find yourself being provoked into a fight, in which case do you do your best to calm the situation and walk away or do you attack the other guy/s first before you get hit yourself?

The type of action you take could have far-reaching consequences so you should always try to make the right decision, as hard as this is to do when you are under such extreme pressure.

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