Combat Readiness is a state of preparedness to defend oneself based on an adopted lifestyle of situational awareness, which is centred on personal safety, self-defence awareness and assault prevention.In his book, Personal Safety, Self-Defense Awareness and Assault Prevention, Grandmaster Major Sarwan Boodram teaches the basic principles of the combat readiness lifestyle. Here’s a few strategies we can all incorporate into our daily lives:
1. Create a Personal, Family or Employee self-defence awareness training programme based on a safety blueprint of your everyday environment.While you can never be prepared for everything, it is important to be aware of some common scenarios that can possibly occur, which will differ for each environment. For example, you may be aware that your workplace is located near to an area where transport is difficult to get at times, or a coworker may have confided in you that her boyfriend has a bad temper and they recently had a fight. Situations like these may not necessarily lead to a confrontational situation, but the awareness of the possibility of a threat to your personal safety can help prepare you if the situation does occur. It is also important to be aware of the situation you may be placing your children in, when they are in the care of others except yourself. For example, if your parent — the child’s grandparent — picks up or drops off your child at school, perhaps your parent may be in poor health or have bad eyesight or injuries that can impede him or her from being able to protect the child. While this does not mean that you should not trust others to care for your child, perhaps you can initiate a conversation with both your child and the caregiver to discuss possible situations and counter-attacks, and map out certain emergency responses. Similarly, at an office you can hold conversations or do role-plays of various scenarios, discussing with your employees or coworkers the possible responses, and continue to update and review these as they occur. As Major Boodram says, “The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in war!”
2. Be Proactive: in order to minimise the risks of becoming a victim of an attack, be alert and aware — who’s watching you?As Major Boodram reiterates, each person is responsible for his or her own personal safety — 360 degrees, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This is particularly important for women, who may be aware when they are alone but are often lulled into a false sense of security when in the presence of a male figure; and for children, who may generally assume that the adult is the authority figure and responsible for protecting them. You can be proactive by observing the following:
- Look around you — is someone giving you a bad look, or does someone quickly avert his or her gaze?
- Watch people’s hands as you walk by and note how they are positioned. It is always best to assume that if someone’s hands are hidden about his or her body, this may indicate a concealed weapon.
- If you see a group of thugs, cross the street at least thirty feet away from them.
- Be suspicious of anyone or anything that encroaches upon your personal space
- Listen to your instinct; your sixth sense or gut feeling is rarely wrong. Take evasive maneuvres to avoid getting into a dangerous situation.
3. Be Reactive: you are down but still alive; what next?Despite being on the alert, the reality of an attack situation is that it does occur when you least expect it to — the first blow may come out of nowhere. It is crucial to not let this blow be the deciding factor in the fight. Part of being combat-ready is not only being proactive but also reactive after being ambushed. It is important to understand Fighting Ranges and Speeds of Approach in a combat environment, as well as weak points in the human body that can be easily counteracted. You can be reactive in these scenarios as follows:
- If someone is straddling you with their hands around your neck, you can raise your hips and twist your pelvis to throw them off.
- If someone is standing and choking you, you can shrug your shoulders and turn your body to release yourself from their grip.
- Protect your vital areas — adopt an unobtrusive and combat-ready stance that protects the centre-line of your body and maximises your ability to defend yourself.
- If you are hit and fall to the ground, do NOT curl yourself into a ball, as may be your first instinct — this can be detrimental if your attacker has a weapon. At times you may see an attack coming but may be unable to counteract it; however seeing it coming enables you to fall safely and get up as quickly as possible, and disengage to safety.
- Use your strongest weapon againt your attacker’s weakest target. Palm strike to chin, finger gouge to eyes, lip rip, punch to throat or chin, hammer fist to elbows or face, ball-of-foot forward kick or knee strike to groin, low kick to knee cap — these are all good examples.
4. Keep your mind on the importance of escaping rather than fighting back.While it is crucial to be reactive in a situation, often when under attack we may focus on the attack rather than escaping it altogether. If you are in a confrontational situation, do whatever you can to end the confrontation rather than continue it. Put a barrier between you and your attacker, create an alarm, or use anything in your surroundings as a weapon. During a confrontation, you should be constantly scanning the area to see what you can use as a weapon (however unorthodox!) and for a safe escape route. When in a situation, ask yourself:
- If you hit your attacker with a makeshift weapon, can this disengage him long enough for you to safely make it to the door?
- Is there an escape route that the attacker may not know about, that you do?
- Is there a fire alarm, or are there people nearby? Would they hear you if you shout?
- Is there a place to run for cover, if gunshots erupt?