Protecting yourself in public

Jennifer Bonn

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Jen Bonn

I trained in martial arts for eight years in a full contact dojo. Although the training was painful at the time, I am grateful that we were trained in self-defense, and that we practiced different scenarios that we might encounter. We also discussed rules of engagement.

Our sensei, (teacher), told us that it was enough for us to feel uncomfortable in a situation to begin to take defensive action. He also told us that we had to be careful not to use excessive force when protecting ourselves and others, but what he told us the most was to be prepared for a potentially dangerous situation. Here are some of the tactics he taught us to protect ourselves in public.

Avoid a situation

Use your common sense to know where you should not be and when. Travel in groups and avoid being by yourself whenever possible. Being out and about after 2 a.m. might not be the best idea.

Be aware of your surroundings

When you are in public, be alert, and listen to what is happening around you. Take out your ear buds, look around, pay attention to who is around you. Where are the exits? What can you use as a defense? Where can you hide?

Have a plan

Have something with you that will make a loud noise like a whistle or a panic button. Always tell someone where you will be. My children knew that if we were ever separated in an emergency, we would all meet in the front of the building. Once when we were in Paris, my friend, my daughter, her friend, and myself were in the Orsay Museum in the bookstore. Jess asked if she and her friend could go to the bathroom which was right next to the bookstore. A minute after they left, the museum alarm went off, and we were told to evacuate because of a bomb threat. I begged the man to let me go find my daughter, but he refused. My friend said, “Jen, it’s o.k., they are going to be in front of the museum.” We walked around the corner and there they were!

Don’t look like an easy target

Walk with confidence and purpose. Criminals are looking for easy targets who won’t cause a problem, don’t be that person.

Report issues to the police

If you see something, say something. You will be protecting someone else from potential danger.

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I am passionate about running, parenting, education, and self-help information. I enjoy writing articles that will offer readers the information needed to help them in some way. I recently retired from teaching French and Spanish for forty years. I run every day and have done all kinds of races from 5ks to ultra-marathons. I have three children and three grandchildren. I write for several magazines in my area, I am a contributor and in charge of the Pinterest board for a parenting magazine called Screamin Mamas, and I have a second book about to be released through Loving, Healing Press called 101 Tips to Ease Your Burdens.

Kennesaw, GA
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