Evasion and escape are critical components of any self-defense plan. Confrontation should be your last choice no matter where the assault takes place. You could likely get seriously injured or possibly killed. There are very few things you can control when it comes to preparing for personal defense. However, you can control your actions and how prepared you are to defend yourself anywhere. There are two common places where it’s critical to have an escape plan. Those two locations are your home and in public. Let’s discuss each in a little more detail.
The Necessary Components of a Strategy to Escape Violence
In his book, Facing Violence, Rory Miller discusses the seven crucial things you must consider for self-defense. You must understand the ethical and legal consequences, escape and evasion, violence dynamics, operant conditioning, the fight, the freeze, and the aftermath of a violent incident. Escape and evasion are some of the first self-defense tactics you should learn. When people learn martial arts and other self-defense strategies, the instructors are merely passing on a system if you’re only learning the combat part. Instructors teach ways to deal with violence, but there is always a lead-up to the violent act, and then the follow-up. It’s much more vital to understand the lead-up than all the defense tactics.
Evasion and Escape for Self-Defense in Public Places
In 2017, the FBI reported that there were over 1 million violent crimes in the United States. Sixty percent of those violent crimes were aggravated assaults. Robbery offenses made up 25.6 percent of violent crimes and rape 8 percent. Murder came in at 1.4 percent. You can become a target at any time, so the ability to defend yourself is critical to your survival. Sure, you can carry a gun, but concealed carriers often have a false sense of security with a weapon. They tend to escalate the situation rapidly by drawing their firearm instead of de-escalating the situation or trying to escape.
As mentioned above, understanding the lead-up will keep you alive, and being aware of your surroundings increases your chances for survival if someone attacks you. Once you understand the lead-up, you have more options available to you. Pay attention to what is going on around you and who the criminals in your neighborhood are. Knowing your surroundings helps you plan escapes like how and where to run and knowing where fire escapes are located. Being prepared doesn’t make you invincible, unfortunately, and sometimes you may still have to fight with your assailant. However, with proper planning, fighting is rarely necessary. If you know the cues, you can avoid becoming a victim or escape. Having an escape route or plan for evasion can save your life. The likelihood that you’ll win a fight is low, especially if someone catches you off-guard.
Response-based training to stimulus or condition-based self-defense training is a more modern approach to self-defense. Many self-defense instructors preach that you should have an escape and evasion plan, but very few run through escape scenarios and practice escape drills. Like any other skill, de-escalation, evasion, and escape are skills that people must learn through practice. It’s all about redefining the win in an assault situation, and sometimes that win is to avoid or escape a confrontation altogether. Self-defense instructors should teach students about body language, violence patterns, and how assailants attack, as well as where to run and how to run.
Escape Plans for Your House
Most people don’t think of planning an escape from their home, but if someone breaks into your home, it’s much safer to escape if you can. Frightening stories of people injured or even killed during home invasions make planning to defend your family and yourself critical. Escape drills take little preparation and are easy to practice so you can avoid becoming a victim.
Escape Plan for Home Invasion
A security system is a considerable element of this plan. If you can afford one—even an alarm system you set up yourself—buy one. Statistics prove that there is one burglary every 22.6 seconds, and they occur more frequently than vehicle thefts. Alarm systems prevent many home invasions because of audible alarms, a monitoring station, and prepared homeowners.
Pick a meeting place for everyone in the house to go to when escaping a burglary in progress. It could be a neighbor’s back porch or commercial building—anywhere not in sight of your home. This location is where everyone in the family regroups once they exit the residence and calls 911. In case you didn’t have time to grab your cellphone, flag down a passing person or vehicle or have a neighbor call for help.
Make sure the kids get out of the house first. Burglars can use them as leverage. Even if just one family member escapes, they can get help. The intruders will likely get out, too, because they know police or deputies are probably responding. Try to designate two exits for each room in your house and draw up a diagram so everyone knows where they are. The intruders will usually block the main point of entry or exit to the room, so plan for a window escape. Make sure that all the windows in your home open; if not, prepare family members to break out a window.
Plan ways to exit the second story if you have one. A rope ladder or nylon rope with knots may be your only option. These aren’t the best choices. You’ll likely get tangled in a hurry, but it may be the only way down. If you can, place multiple weapons throughout your home for self-defense. Create and practice drills for the day and night escapes, as they each have different factors that affect your escape. Also, practice getting to your weapons during your exercises.
Escape and evasion plans are critical to your safety and the security of your family. Once you understand body language, the dynamics of violence, and the lead-up to assaults, you can successfully protect yourself most of the time by avoiding violent confrontations.