A punk on the street approaches you, weapon in hand, demanding everything you’ve got. What do you do?
Although all attackers are different, and all have a different mindset, most attackers fall into one of three categories: Mugger, Attacker, and Avenger.
Some are seasoned in intimidation, while others might be as scared as you are. The key here is staying calm so you can spot the difference.
The ability to recognize an amateur from a pro makes a difference on how you respond. Seasoned offenders tend to be cool and direct. They want your valuables without a fuss. Amateurs? They’re often jumpy and unpredictable. Notice their body language and their intent.
The type of weapon in an attacker’s hand determines the techniques you will use. An attacker with a gun requires a different approach than someone with a knife or a club. The level of threat escalates with the lethality of the weapon, and so should your response.
There are the psychological aspects of self-defense, as well. Warding off an attacker requires physical readiness and mental preparation. Be decisive. Hesitation can get you killed.
Always, always, be aware of your surroundings. Leave your phone in your pocket or purse and put away your ear buds. Carry yourself like you mean business and you won’t take anything from anyone.
Avoid risky areas when you can. Take a self-defense class. Choose something that resonates with you, keeps you safe, and builds your confidence. Whether you have self-defense training, or not, the priority is your safety. #1 priority. Escape and seek help.
The Mugger: Give Him Your Money
The Mugger is the guy who will threaten you with a weapon to get any valuable from you – car, wallet, watch or shoes. He has no real intention of using the weapon other than for intimidation. Accidents happen so the possibility of you being involved with an amateur is a little high here – you should be able to recognize a well experienced Mugger from one that is not. Remember the Mugger will be jumpy. If it is just valuables, let him have them and find him when he doesn’t have the weapon. If it looks like the Mugger is going to use the weapon anyway, he goes from being the Mugger to an Attacker.
Should you hand over your belongings? That is not even a consideration. The answer is YES, hand over whatever they want. Items can be replaced, your life can’t.
A mugging can escalate to a more significant threat – an attacker. This isn’t a simple distinction. It’s about gauging intentions quickly.
The Attacker: The Threat Escalates
The attacker is the guy who intends to damage you regardless of how much you cooperate. Chances are he picked you out at random. He has no intention of robbing you initially, his main concern is hurting or damaging someone and being in control or power. It will take brutal techniques to stop, disarm, and control the Attacker – the fact that someone at this level is mentally unstable.
Obviously, someone with a gun would be treated differently than someone with a knife, and a club is considered below the knife, which is a greater threat. This person is dangerous and has full intent on hurting you or someone in your party.
Legal battles sometimes come up, such as the assailant suing the defendant for damages or people being imprisoned for breaking an attacker’s arm after the attacker was disarmed.
It is the Mushin Karate’s philosophy that our members have the ability to eliminate a defense situation that comes under the Attacker description quickly and permanently. The defense of “it” as described in Hyams book “Zen in the Martial Arts” opens a new view to this.
The avenger chooses you specifically. Is it your demeanor, your lack of attention to your surroundings? These are things the attacker looks for.
The Avenger: Calculated Vengeance
The third threat would be someone who is seeking revenge for a wrong or a preconceived wrong. This person could fall under category one or two except what makes this Avenger the most dangerous is he has planned and tracked you to get acquainted with you.
This guy will stalk you and get to know your routine to familiarize himself with your territory so he will have the advantage of you going to him. This person should be taken absolutely seriously. You may be able to reason with him, but this is a slim chance.
Your chances of damaging and escaping is good at this point. The Avenger will normally confront you face to face at first. DO NOT EVER let yourself be removed from the initial site – there would be almost no chance of surviving if you moved – someone trying to attack, control you, and then move you should be eliminated quickly and permanently. The attacker with a weapon should be first dealt with a deflection of the weapon and the control of the attacking arm.
You must be attuned to your environment, watching for signs that you’re being tracked or if there’s a consistent pattern of ‘chance’ meetings. You want to disrupt the avenger’s plans by altering your routine and staying unpredictable.
If a face-to-face encounter with an Avenger becomes inevitable, defuse the situation as quickly as possible. As in the other two scenarios, your priority is to ensure your own safety and seek an escape at the first opportunity.
Real-life threats and attacks are not a common occurrence, despite what you see on the news. If you are aware of your surroundings, you can avoid most ugly confrontations. But if you find yourself targeted, understanding the dynamics of the attacker beforehand, and having a strategy may save you. Always have a plan.