26 september 2011 entry /

I was instructing Krav Maga last summer to some International students at Buffalo State College and we took a few minutes to discuss situational awareness. We talked about a routine that most of us ladies were accustomed to – jogging in a park, on a bike path, or on the street. We discussed how to have heightened awareness, how to run without an ipod, to always run with a partner, to carry an enhancer like a cheap travel wrench that is quick and easy to grab should one need it. We talked about going to check out the venue first. To think about the time of day when running. To run with our head up, shoulders back and to be very aware of our surroundings inclusive of the people, cars (driving and parked), and the trees, bushes, etc. 

I then asked, is there such a place as ‘safe’ – a place you think you would be safe to jog in? Immediately, there was discussion that they would never jog within a bad neighborhood. They would drive to a ‘good’ neighborhood or a park that was located in a ‘safe’ neighborhood. I again was disheartened because I knew this conversation well and knew that their response was the norm. 

The ladies were being complacent and were missing the obvious – there is no such thing as a ‘safe’ or ‘good’ neighborhood to the point of not needing any heightened awareness or thought behind where and what they were doing. I proceeded to tell them about a Clarence woman – Joan Diver – who was killed on just such a ‘safe’ place in a ‘good’ neighborhood and that there was no place for complacency when it came to their safety. To never, ever let that heightened awareness slip into complacency. 

Last Sunday, I jogged the UB bike path where Linda Yalem was raped and murdered. I had my ipod on with music blasting. I purposefully ran the paths that were barren. I stopped momentarily here and there and just looked around. Bushes, trees everywhere. I even passed several other ladies jogging alone with ipods on and their heads and eyes on the pavement. I chose to leave my enhancer home along with my cell phone. I was in essence – vulnerable to an attack. And even though I knew how to defend myself through Krav Maga, I was still vulnerable. This was an exercise for me with the purpose to see how if I would still feel vulnerable with only my knowledge in Krav Maga to help me. And even though I felt confident of my self defense abilities, I was still vulnerable. 

The knowledge of self protection is only as powerful as when you use all of it together.

Ladies, run with an enhancer, with a cell phone, with your head up, eyes forward so that you have peripheral vision and continually look around and behind you. Run with a partner and after 10AM and at least one hour before sundown. Do not bring your ipod with you. Do not run on barren paths that have trees and bushes all along side of them. Learn how to protect yourself. And never, ever become complacent. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/15/nyregion/15bike.html