If you’ve seen the big screen thriller Taken, starring Liam Neeson, then you will be one of the first people to know why it’s important for you and your BFFs to sign up for a self defense class. The movie is one that keeps your heart racing from scene to scene. Neeson plays a tenacious ex-soldier whose daughter is kidnapped in Europe by slave traders, leading him on a dramatic quest to rescue her.
Here’s how art imitates life. “Crime statistics indicate predators have declared open season for assaults against women,” says Mark “Six” James, founder and executive director of Panther Protection Services, LLC, a full service protection agency which provides security consulting, threat assessment, executive protection, self-defense training, and firearms instruction.
The best self defense, according to James is “the identification of potentially dangerous situations before they occur. It’s the most fundamental principle. The awareness of the environment is the best source of prevention. Conscious awareness of potential threats in an environment is a source of control for a woman.”
James offered more startling statistics. Eighteen percent of women report being raped at some point in their lives and one in five females will be raped over a five-year college career. When a woman is murdered, typically police first look for suspects among her friends and family because homicide statistics indicate females are generally murdered by people they know.
- In 64 percent of female homicide cases, women are killed by a family member or intimate partner.
- 24 percent are killed by a spouse or former spouse.
- 21 percent are killed by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
- 19 percent are killed by another family member.
- 25 percent are killed by others they know.
“No sane person enters a love relationship thinking, ‘one day my partner is going to hurt me, or at worst try to kill me.’ But again, bad things are happening to good people every day. Females comprise 70 percent of victims killed by an intimate partner. Consequently, self-protection strategies have to become top of mind awareness,” advises James who provides two examples.
1. Always try to de-escalate the situation by using a non-threatening posture. This can help lower the attacker’s guard. If you must strike you have shifted the situation in your favor due to the element of surprise.
2. You must be prepared to cause injury to your attacker because it negates mass and allows us to effectively deal with larger or stronger adversaries. The body can deal with a lot of non-specific trauma such as hits to the head, shoulders, chest or back. However, the body cannot deal with focused aggression resulting from tactics such as thumbs in the eyes, elbow to the throat, palm heel to the nose, knees to the groin, or breaking a finger. These type of defensive tactics help neutralize an attacker.
James offers self defense training for women and has a special program called Angel that teaches women in shelters how to recognize behaviors that can readily turn into a physical assault. The martial artist seasoned executive protection specialist explains, “We train women on defensive tactics such as how to escape chokes, how to increase [their] chances of surviving attack by an armed aggressor, and how to prepare for a safe escape when faced with threats in the future. We believe working together to provide training and information that meets the unique needs of abused women can help reduce the cycle of violence against women.” –yvette caslin