Video: How to Manage a Stranger’s Approach and Maintain Self-Defense

You’re walking from your car in a parking lot or standing on a downtown sidewalk and you observe a stranger coming your way who appears determined to talk with you. Not knowing if his intentions are malicious or innocent, what should you do to protect yourself as he closes distance with you? Is he preparing to spring an attack on you? Does he have an accomplice coming up behind you?

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Why 21 Feet Is Not a ‘Safe’ Distance ]

In the video below, self-defense trainer Craig Douglas of Shivworks offers a combination of three techniques to always use to properly and safely “manage unknown contacts” who encroach into your personal space when in public.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, A Simple Chart for Situational Awareness ]

The three skills encompass what, how, and where:

  • What You Say: Be ready with a verbal strategy to use your polite but outside voice to say something like, “Hey, hold up there.” Or, “I need you to keep back.” Not, “How can I help you?”
  • How You Move: Keep distance between you and the person by moving away and arcing around to the left or right (not straight back in case an accomplice has moved up behind you). If possible, position yourself so there is an obstacle (like a parked car or garbage can) between you and the person.
  • Where You Keep Your Hands: Create a “fence” between you and the person by positioning your open hands at your chest level, ready to counter a possible attack.

Without being rude, it’s important to appropriately speak and act assertively to keep as much distance between you and the potential threat to give you time to quickly react to whatever the person plans to do.

[ Read SemperVerus articles on the subject of Situational Awareness ]

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