Self-Defense Knowledge is the Key to Survival! One thing for sure though, if you know a little self-defense your chances of survival are much higher whatever situation you might find yourself in.
Let`s take a look at several instances where Self-defense knowledge is the key to survival and might just save your life!
Hostage taking, kidnappings and abductions
There is a subtle but important difference between an abduction and a kidnapping. An abduction involves moving a person from one location to another against their will – maybe to sexually assault them, make them withdraw money from an ATM (in the case of children it can be an ex-partner abducting children who they have failed to gain custody of, etc.).
In a kidnapping, a person is taken in order to obtain a ransom – somebody can also be taken hostage for the same reason, but hostages can also be taken to have other demands met. Understanding if you are the target of an abduction, a kidnapping, or a hostage situation is important as your behaviors and actions in each situation should differ accordingly.
People often think that the only individuals who get taken hostage are political figures and the rich and famous (along with “groups” such as airline passengers – it is worth noting that violence which targets an individual is largely predictable, whilst violence that targets a group is not).
The truth is that the majority of victims taken hostage are ordinary individuals; usually by an ex-partner who is looking for revenge, or the court to change a decision made against them, or by a criminal who panics whilst committing a particular crime, and takes somebody from that crime scene, in order to facilitate their escape. Self-defense knowledge is the key to survival!
Most hostage-takers have no clear idea of what demands they want met (this is different if abducted abroad); they are often in such an emotional state, either through anger, fear or panic (or a mix of the three), that their reasoning abilities have become impaired to such a degree that they’re unable to make clear or rational decisions.
Often, a hostage negotiator and/or possibly the hostage, will need to help them understand and define what they want to, or can, achieve through their actions, in a way that will not harm the hostage.
If you have been taken hostage, you should try to find out what your assailant’s grievance(s) and/or demands are. Even if you don’t agree with the reason your assailant has taken you hostage, you should acknowledge their anger and perceived injustice.
People turn to violence because they believe they have no alternative; if you are able to present another alternative and outcome to your assailant, rather than the actions they have taken and outcome they may imagine, you will start to increase your survival chances.
You should present an air of optimism on behalf of your assailant; if they believe that they are going to achieve their goals (the ones you present or reinforce) they are less likely to become depressed and fearful and resort to taking drastic action. Don’t give away information that could be used against you, such as personal information about yourself or friends or family – all of this can be used as leverage against you, for example, your captors could threaten to harm family members, etc.
This information could also be used to put emotional pressure on you, such as telling you that you need to behave in a certain way if you’re ever to see a certain family member again.
When you talk to your captor(s), be civil and polite; avoid complaining. Your captor(s) will be under their own emotional pressure.
This doesn’t mean you should sympathize with them, but rather understand that they may be in an emotionally fragile state, as they lose confidence in their plan and start to doubt it will lead to a favorable outcome for them. Aim to build up some rapport with your captor(s); the more they can see you as a person, an individual, and not simply a tool for them to achieve what they want, the more likely they are to consider your comfort level(s), and less likely to harm you.
It is also worth trying to discover what they know about you, and if the information they have regarding you is accurate. The more information you have about your captors, the greater your ability will be to respond to them in a way that will ensure your survival.
If you are being held captive for a period of time (e.g. this is not a home invasion or burglary which the police have interrupted and you are in the middle of a stand-off etc.), develop a routine.
This should involve some form of exercise program (use bodyweight exercises – even simple isometrics and/or tensing and relaxing the muscles will help you stay in some form of physical shape).
Also, take the time to understand the routine of your captor(s). You need to stay in good physical and mental shape so as to be able to take advantage of any escape opportunities that may present themselves. Understanding your captor’s routines and movements may give you an idea as to the times their guard may be down.
You should only attempt escape if you are sure of success. Hostage taking episodes are normally resolved by skilled negotiators who manage the safe release of captives, who by and large come away physically unharmed.
Your best chance of coming out of a hostage situation successfully, is by having professionals negotiate your release (that said, if a good, solid escape opportunity presents itself, you should seriously consider taking it).
You have been taken hostage in order for your captor(s) to have something of value to bargain with. You should be aware that as a negotiation takes place, security agencies will be planning a physical response if these negotiations should fail. Both negotiating and planning/preparation for a physical solution takes time and will also possibly see your captor(s) being put under a lot of stress and duress, as they start to realize their position.
Remaining calm, and not adding to your captor’s stresses, is necessary in such situations, as you want them to respond to the negotiations rationally, rather than emotionally. If they don’t feel pressured or rushed into acting, the negotiating team, and security agencies will have more time to prepare and put into place their plans – which may involve a physical confrontation with your captors, in order to secure your release.
Your best chance of escape is often in the first instance that an assailant(s) tries to take you. Kidnappings and Abductions, and some forms of Hostage Taking involve you being moved from a primary location to a secondary one – somebody can take you hostage in your own home, or remain at a crime scene without moving you, so not all hostage scenarios will see you being moved.
Your best chance of escape is often in the first moment, the further you are moved away from your primary location, the less likely you are to be able to escape. Your abductor wants to remove you from that location because it represents your best escape opportunity – they want to move you from a place which is favorable to you, to one which favors them.
In the initial moments of an abduction, when a hostage taker, kidnapper or similar attempts to remove you from your location, they will be at their least prepared and ready, suffering from nervousness and the negative effects of adrenaline; the further along they get in their plan, the more confident they will become, and the more in control they will feel.
If they are abducting you, then you have worth to them, and they are unlikely to kill or overly harm you, unless that was the end-goal of the abduction – in which case it is much better to deal with them when you are in a location which is not of your assailant’s choosing (i.e. your primary location).
It is always worth remembering that a hostage-taker or kidnapper wants to take you alive, as you only have worth to them if you are alive.
Once you have been abducted, you may be beaten, to take any fight or thoughts of escape away from you – your assailant may use the threat of further beatings to force compliance; if you are presented with a solid escape opportunity, one which is likely to be successful, you should take it and ignore the threat(s) they have made; if an abductor beats you either as part of the abduction or during it, it is likely that you will sustain further beatings as a matter of course, throughout your captivity.
You may also be drugged so as to make you unaware of what is going on and to reduce your ability to function and recognize escape opportunities.
A kidnapping involves you being abducted and held for a ransom. If the kidnapping is conducted and orchestrated by a group, it is likely that someone will be with you or near you, all the time.
If the kidnapping is committed by one individual then they will have to leave you at times, so as to engage in the other parts of the crime, such as negotiating with the authorities, or those they are making their demands to.
Take this time to yourself, or any time you get, and keep your mind active. If you have formed some form of bond with your abductor, don’t be afraid to ask for things that could make you more comfortable and ensure your physical and mental health.
One phenomenon that can occur during kidnapping and hostage scenarios is “Stockholm Syndrome”, a form of traumatic bonding, where the victim of the abduction starts to feel sympathy for their captor or captors. This may go so far as refusing opportunities of escape and even thwarting the attempts of those who try to rescue them.
There are a number of competing theories as to why this can occur and it is not my intention to examine every theory but suffice to say, don’t start to see your abductor as the person who is responsible for keeping you alive.
Many victims of abductions can start to see their captor as the only reason that they are still alive and start to form an emotional attachment to them because of this.
A straight abduction could see you being taken captive in order to be forced into slavery and prostitution, or even to be murdered. Your captor could be an ex-partner or stalker who simply wants to have you with them in an indefinite sense, or a stranger criminal who wants to take you round to ATM’s and banks to withdraw money for them – this could even be money you owe them (this still constitutes an abduction).
When anyone wants to move you from a primary location to a secondary one, you should refuse. If they tell you, you that they have a family member held hostage or that they will hurt someone if you don’t, you should not compromise your safety, and your ability to alert the authorities and get help and assistance to that person.
If they are capable of doing these things to someone else, they are more than capable of doing them to you both. A kidnapper demanding money does not want to bring undue attention to themselves by taking another person – a witness to their crime – hostage, when it is far easier to simply demand the money remotely.
Self-defense knowledge is the key to survival! A mugging or street robbery is a very different proposition to an abduction, whether it be a hostage or kidnapping situation, or involve some other motive.
When somebody demands something from you with the threat of violence, and they have the means to enforce their demands – either through weight of numbers, physical size and ability, or a weapon – then the only way to avoid a physical confrontation is to comply.
If a predator wants you i.e. to move from one location to another, compliance should be the last thought on your mind. Now is the time to get away, to make distance and put obstacles and barriers between you and your assailant.
It has to be acknowledged that every situation is different, however trying to escape at the moment of the abduction is, on the whole, the most advisable thing to do. Every time you fail to take an escape opportunity, you will be more likely to ignore, or talk yourself out of, the next one.
Every time you don’t act and nothing bad or harmful happens to you, you are reinforcing the idea that inaction doesn’t cause you harm, and that if you are not experiencing pain, etc., you are surviving, and everything is alright.
If you miss an opportunity, look for the next – keep your mind in this survival mode. Once you are held captive, keep yourself physically and mentally active, and only act when you can be sure that your escape is likely to be successful, or that your captors are planning to dispose of you.
The chances are you won’t find yourself in one of these situations, but it can and does happen, Self-defense knowledge is the key to survival! so learn self-defense today and increase your chances of survival!