How would you have responded to this purse snatching and assault? These are very difficult situations to be in for sure, but practicing Active Self Protection and training in defense would make it much more possible to successfully defend against.
Original video of the purse snatching: https://get-asp.com/iban
News story with more details on the beating that started when he couldn’t complete his purse snatching: https://get-asp.com/8g3j
What does this purse snatching teach us about defending ourselves against a beating like this?
- Since criminals are looking for victims and not fights, they tend to look for vulnerable people to target. Think about a pride of lions chasing wildebeest in Africa and you get the picture. They target the elderly, the young, and the sick for easier attack and greater success. Likewise, criminals pick victims who they think will not effectively resist them, or that the criminal can quickly overwhelm. This includes the elderly, the young (kids and early teens), the sick, and the distracted. Men (the overwhelming majority of attackers) also target women because women tend to be physically weaker than men. If you’re in a vulnerable population take extra precaution and train! This purse snatching was undoubtedly at least partially because the perp thought he could easily overwhelm his victim; could you imagine if it was a 300-lb biker with a man purse?
- You must accept that danger exists and that it can happen to you. This is the foundational core of spiritual fitness and the first step in taking proactive steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you live in a fantasyland that nothing bad can happen because nothing bad has happened in the past, you’re setting yourself up for a terrible letdown. Most of us live our lives thinking that a purse snatching like this could never happen to us, and for most it won’t happen. But if it does, you need to be ready.
- Situational awareness is your best friend, because if you can see a carjacking attempt coming you can probably avoid it. It doesn’t mean that you always are paranoid or living in “condition orange,” but it does mean that you know Col. Cooper’s color code of awareness and you live by it. Pay attention to your surroundings, and recognize that when you’re in public places you need to be more aware of your surroundings than when you’re in private. If this woman had acknowledged that the man was in her vicinity and known how to perhaps position herself for best defense, the purse snatching might have been averted before it began.
- To defend against a purse snatching and beating like this, you need emotional fitness. Emotional fitness is defined as the ability to internally represent a situation or predicament to yourself in such a way as to make you strong and able to successfully defend yourself against it. Repeated practice and thousands of reps of sparring and self-defense absolutely build your emotional fitness to be able to handle whatever comes your way. It’s difficult when you’re on your back with blows raining down on you to get your head back in the game and effectively defend yourself, and again I am not blaming this woman for the beating. Repeated training gives you a frame of reference to get back in the fight, and that kind of emotional fitness has to be earned.
- As well-meaning as police officers are, they cannot protect you from danger. As the old adage says, “When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!” You—and ONLY you—can protect yourself from danger when it comes upon you. A police response time of 5 minutes is considered perfectly acceptable in most suburban departments, and times upwards of 30 minutes can be the norm in rural areas! You need to have the attitude, skills, and plan to protect yourself from harm because the police simply can’t. The bystanders couldn’t protect this purse snatching victim even!
- Empty-handed skills are absolutely critical for self-defenders. First of all, more conflicts you will encounter as a self-defender will require empty-handed skills than will require firearms skills, simply because more self-defense encounters are physical than deadly. Second, since a firearm is a tool of last resort, self-defenders need to have non-lethal options that include empty-handed skills to protect themselves from likely incidents. Third, in the moment of the encounter you may not have the time to get to your gun before you can fight your way to it. This woman had NO chance to get to a gun in this purse snatching; she had to use her hands and feet to defend herself.
- As one of my martial arts mentors, Skip Hancock, is fond of saying, the ground must be your friend and not your enemy. You must know how to fight on the ground and not panic if the fight goes to the ground! You must have skills from bottom position, from top position, and in the scramble. You must be able to regain your feet and fight from wherever you find yourself. Too many fights require this skill to ignore it! You don’t necessarily need to be a jiu jitsu brown belt, but having some understanding of fighting a purse snatching like this and defending your head and neck would go a long way.
Attitude. Skills. Plan.
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