Tips for getting away from an attacker

By Scott Shephard, Owner, Fundamental Living Arts

Good news: as this issue of Prescott Woman magazine celebrates adventure and strength, allow me to confirm that you can improve your ability to protect yourself!

Imagine surviving a dangerous encounter or defending someone you love—with confidence. It is within your reach, with an understanding of key concepts and, when you’re ready, proper training. Let’s review some of these important concepts right now.

Give yourself a chance to run away. A bad guy is not going to let you go. Police are minutes away and your gun may be at home. You must escape immediately. You must create the opportunity to disengage from him. You must deflect or stop a strike, grab, choke, bear hug, etc. and seriously harm the bad guy in order to cease his power to restrain you, giving yourself a chance to run away. How do you do that?

Accept the situation. Embrace the exact moment when under attack. Hesitating only helps the aggressor (in fact, he’s likely counting on it).

Take action; channel your fear. If you’re faced with someone determined to assault you, it is possible to survive. You will likely feel fear. Fear is normal and healthy. Fear releases a critical surge of strength. Ever notice your hands shake when you’re scared? That is fear not being applied. Taking action channels that fear. Use fear as the trigger to act.

Be vicious. Be as deliberate as can be, then get out of there.

“Hard tool, softer target.” You can use this concept without any training. Use tools you have—your fingers, or elbows, to his eyes or throat, for example.

Seek to damage function over inflicting pain. No hopeless struggling against someone stronger than you, no little slaps across the face or pounding on his chest (these will not improve your chances to flee). As I mentioned above, go for the eyes so your attacker can’t see, or the throat, so he can’t breathe.

Taking action, using your fear and impairing his capacity to function will help you separate from the threat.

For more information on Fundamental Living Arts, call 928.925.2642 or visit

Look for the Self Defense Skill Development Column in every issue of Prescott Woman magazine, where you’ll read tips for becoming empowered to provide a fierce response if you or a loved one is ever in harm’s way.