Fighting Back: Down-and-dirty moves you can use to stop an attack
Thinking outside the box may be a key to survival should you come face to face with an attacker.
You don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money on survival tools, they could be right in your car or purse. Experts say the important thing is to be ready to take on someone who may want to hurt you or worse.
“I came out to Antrim for a run it was 70 degrees it was beautiful outside,” said Alice Pressler, remembering May 23rd, 2017 like it was yesterday.
That beautiful day took a nasty turn for Alice. She was shoved to the ground by a stranger and broke her wrist.
“I wasn’t prepared at all and in my head I’m a strong person I do a lot of running I do a lot of biking and after it happened part of me wanted to go after him but in the moment there was nothing that crossed my mind to do,” said Pressler.
Pressler says she didn’t feel threatened when she first saw the man. She didn’t have her mace that day at Antri, but has taken it to park with more secluded paths.
“It didn’t strike me that Antrim would be a dangerous place to run,” said Pressler.
Protecting yourself will not come at a time you expect.
“It’s that day I’m just going to run out and get milk and get gas real quick that’s when it’s going to happen,” said LEPD’s Eric Delbert.
Mark Mullin and Eric Delbert educate women and men about situational awareness and self protection.
There are no minced words during their class.
“That should be the hardest kill that man has ever made,” said Mullin.
Betsy Bradley nodded along and her confidence showed.
“ATM at night forget it, sometimes it’s common sense,” said Bradley.
She says a stabbing got too close for comfort which is why she sat in on the class.
“It was actually isolated in a domestic situation but again it was right outside my front door,” said Bradley. “I feel that I know to be aware. I feel that I am prepared but then I learned about the 21 steps."
Delbert says the 21 foot rule is only a theory highlighting action is quicker than reaction.
“If you have someone with a knife and he’s 21 feet away from you, is he a threat,” said Mullin. “He’ll come across that room and stick you before you have a chance to even get a shot off; his body momentum will stick you."
The key is to put distance between you and an attacker to get away. So what could you grab at a moment’s notice? Mullin and Delbert gave examples like a fire extinguisher or mace; a flashlight with a strobe feature can also throw the guy off.
“Disorienting, yeah definitely. If the guy is coming at you and you can shine that in their direction,” said Delbert.
Delbert says it’s all you need to give you that split second to take off. Anything with noise can draw attention, like the sound of a stun gun, but there’s a downside.
“They’re intimidating but the problem is you have to be right up on the guy for it to work,” said Delbert.
The motto is to think outside the box.
“You guys have nail files, have you seen the clear plastic nail files, think about putting that through somebody’s eyes,” said Mullin.
It’s also recommended to run scenarios through your mind so a response to danger is like second nature.
“When it happens and you’ve already run it through your mind, it’s not new to you it’s not a surprise,” said Mullin.
Bradley pulled mace out of her purse, realizing she should consider better placement.
“Maybe when I’m working at night it should be in my pocket rather than down in my purse where I have to dig to get it out,” said Bradley.
Pressler returned to Antrim for a walk a week after her first surgery. She now brings along her mace when she doesn’t have her dog by her side for protection.
“I hold it so the part that says mace is on the outside,” said Pressler. “I would never carry a gun I would never carry any other weapon."
A court recently ordered the assault suspect, Alexander Mellon, to get psychiatric treatment after he was deemed incompetent to stand trial. Pressler has since turned her experience into a lesson.
“I have approached women like after a run, I’ll do the loop and I’ll see a woman by herself and she’ll notice my mace and if she looks at it I’ll be like if you’re running by yourself you should bring something with you because I was attacked at this park,” said Pressler.
Getting in the mindset of hurting someone who wants to hurt you also takes practice. You can go to situational awareness classes or something more hands on like a self defense course.