Shotokan Karate Budokai - Australia
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Self Defence

Get Street Wise!

Looking after you is down to being aware of the dangers all the time, day or night. Prepare yourself for the worst in advance by visualising dangerous situations and learning how to get out of them.
Adopt our practical precautions and stick to them. Trust your intuitions and walk away from any situation where you don’t feel comfortable.

Take Route

If you’re going to be walking on your own, especially at night, plan your route carefully.
  • Know where you’re going in advance. Check a map, or phone first for detailed instructions.
  • If you can, familiarise yourself with the route so you know where there are likely to be clumps of bushes, alleyways or concealed entrances and where to find your nearest points of help – like police stations, shops, phones etc.
  • If you make a trip often, vary your route so your movements are less predictable. Don’t relax your guard just because you know the area.
  • If possible, stick to busy and well-lit streets, and avoid isolated places.
  • Never take a short cut if the longer route is safer.
  • Avoid pedestrian underpasses, parks and car parks – they provide isolation and hiding places, that gives a would-be attacker opportunity.


The way you walk can put off an attacker – they’re less likely to go for someone who walks in a confident manner.
  • Always walk on the outside of the pavement, so it’s harder for an attacker to spring from a doorway or alleyway. If it’s deserted, walk in the middle of the road. Otherwise walk towards on coming traffic so it’s harder for someone to pull up behind you.
  • Don’t wear a walkman/mp3 player – you need to keep all your wits about you.
  • If someone’s expecting you, call them before you set off, and let them know what time you are expected to arrive.
  • If possible, walk with a friend – or take a dog!
  • Carry something with which you can defend yourself – a can of hair spray to squirt into an attacker’s eyes or an umbrella for instance. Buy a personal alarm. But, remember, it’s usually safer not to stick around and get involved in a fight – run!
  • Walk purposefully – look as if you know exactly where you’re going.
  • Keep bags to a minimum and avoid digging into your handbag in the street.

Loud and Clear

Your best defensive weapon will be your voice. But unless you practise using it loudly it may desert you in the heat of an attack.
Bellow or roar, rather than scream. The more aggressive and less ‘feminine” the noise, the more effective it is. Most attackers will run as soon as you show strong (and surprising) signs of resistance.

Get into Gear

  • Change into comfortable shoes you can run in.
  • If you are wearing a short skirt or low-cut top, take a long coat with you to cover up.
  • Conceal or take off jewellery that looks valuable.
  • Don’t wear sun-glasses if they hamper your sight.
  • Tuck away long hair. It attracts attention and is easy for someone to grab from behind.

In the Bag

Its best if you don’t carry a bag at all; but if you have to, take these precautions.
  • Wear the strap diagonally across your shoulders, and keep a hand on the bag all the time. If you’re wearing a big coat or jacket, wear your bag inside, with the coat buttons done up.
  • Always wear the handbag flap against your side and hold the bag close to your body.
  • Only carry essentials, so if the bag is snatched the loss will be minimal. If you can bear the extra work, make a copy of your diary and address book.

On the Attack

Be prepared for the situations – go over them in your mind so you can make your reactions second nature.

You’re out walking and realise someone is following you on foot:

  • Cross the road to try and shake them off.
  • Make for a public place as quickly as you can and get some help.
  • Don’t lead them into a dead end where you are vulnerable.
  • Hammer on a front door, preferably one where you know the occupants.
  • Turn around and tell them to go away. The element of surprise could turn the tables! Don’t be put off and let down your guard if they deny following you – they’re not likely to admit it are they?

Someone is following you in a car:

  • Use the same tactics as above.
  • If they draw up and ask for directions, keep a good distance between you and the car – just in case they try to drag you inside.
  • If the car does stop and you feel threatened, don’t hang around. Shout loudly, draw as much attention to yourself as you can and run in the opposite direction.

Someone grabs your bag:
  • Let it go. Don’t get involved in a fight for it – it could lead to more problems.
  • Try and note as many details about the thief’s appearance as you can, this will help the police when you report the crime.