By: Melissa McAvoy
I turn on the TV every morning when I am getting ready for work. Usually I watch the Weather Channel (lame, I know) to see what to wear for the day, but recently I’ve been watching the Today show on NBC. Most of their spots, I have to admit are targeted toward money or relationship issues, but periodically they have some really cool interviews.
Yesterday, they featured a blind gentleman who defended himself against an intruder using wrestling moves he had learned nearly 30 years before. It made me really think “what do you do when you can’t see your attacker coming.” I’ve taken a self-defense course and they often cover how to handle attacks from the rear, so you’re good there. But what about when the attacker comes from the front? What if you are blind or visually impaired and weren’t ever a championship wrestler?
Below is a list of tips from various sources as well as from some of what my father taught me about Ninjitsu many years ago. These tips are useful for anyone, regardless of whether or not you are visually impaired.
12 Tips for Self-Defense
- Stay alert.
Do not assume that because you are using a cane or guide dog that you are safe. Some criminals target individuals with disabilities because they perceive them as easy targets.
- Consider carrying a personal alarm.
Personal alarms make loud noises that draw attention to situations. They are often used by joggers.
- Inform someone about where you are going and when you are expected to return.
That way, someone can notify the police if you do not arrive at your destination and they can tell the police exactly where you were supposed to be.
- If you are leaving somewhere after dark, consider asking a security person for an escort.
Make sure that you know the security person or that you locate them at a security desk.
- Avoid short cuts through less traveled areas.
There is always more safety in numbers than alone on a street.
- Try to identify the age, gender, number and location of the people around you.
This will minimize the surprise if someone chooses to attack you.
- Carry a cellphone with emergency 911.
Even if you can’t afford a cellphone, all phones are required to be able to dial 911, so get one!
- Get comfortable using the objects around you as weapons.
A cane can be a useful weapon in a fight although different techniques are used for solid canes and collapsible canes. This is where learning a martial art like Ninjitsu comes into play. My father trained under Bud Malstrom at the Atlanta Bujinkan Dojo.
- If someone grabs you by the wrist, break their grip by pulling away toward the thumb.
The thumb is the weakest part of the hand and therefore the easiest part of the grip to break. The same can be done if they grab both hands.
- If you are grabbed from behind and your hands are pinned, use your heel to attack their knees and feet.
The knee is a very unstable joint and the bones in the feet are very vulnerable to breaking so these are good locations to attack. Make sure that you strike as hard as you can with the heel of your foot and not the ball or instep. Note: The groin is also a good location to strike on a man, although, obviously, not as effective for women.
- Buy a book on self-defense.
Safe Without Sight (SELF) – National Braille Press, $14.00.
- Enroll in a specialized self-defense course
I hesitate to give too many more self-defense techniques because its always best to learn from a qualified instructor who can show you how to perform the techniques correctly.