Fight or Flee? That is the Question

Fight or Flee? that is the Question

Fight or flee? that is the question. How safe do you feel? No one should be paranoid about being attacked but understanding this is a possibility is very important. So many people believe it will never happen to them, just something they read online, or see on the news.

But this is no time to be complacent. Many criminals prey on people who are off guard. Criminals look for people who are not paying attention to their surroundings, and then use the element of surprise to their advantage.

Habitual Security

Preventing crime from happening requires an active mind and body. It is more than just a few martial arts moves. It means paying attention to your instincts, to other people, and to your surroundings. It means constantly training your brain and limbs to act defensively. It is a way of life.

Security has to be habitual. If you allow yourself to get into a lax way of thinking when it pertains to your security, it is very difficult to change that pattern when you find yourself in not-so-safe situations.

To clarify this point, security alarms that people have in their homes but do not turn on. The hardware does nothing to thwart burglars if it is not used.

People have an internal alarm as well. It usually tells them they are walking into a bad situation. Yet many ignore it because they have a false sense of security or are in denial that crime can happen to them.

How to Defend Yourself

Some of the plans will depend upon a person’s age, sex and personal fitness

Taking steps to prevent crime can help lower chances of an attack, but there are no guarantees of complete safety. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have several plans on how to defend yourself and your property.

Think through what you will do. Will you willingly give up your wallet or your purse, and if you’re willing to do that, isn’t it a good idea to make a photocopy of all ID and credit cards? then keep them in a safe place.

Not too many people will think to do that because they think attacks are something the read about that happens to other people in other places. Wrong! An attack can happen to anyone, anywhere and anytime.

Fight or Flee?

There is some debate over whether fleeing or fighting back will provide the least risk. it’s best to err on the conservative side, which is to run away if possible. Fight or Flee? that is the Question.

If escape is not an option, firm resistance, particularly in cases of rape or sexual assault. With people you know, be clear about saying “No” to sex, and to avoid flirting or mixed messages. With both intimates and strangers, physically resisting and then escaping is the best option.

Submitting to an attack because of fear does not prevent it, surveys and anecdotal evidence show the difference between rapists who have completed rape and those who have attempted it is their victims’ reaction.

In the completed rape, the victim usually froze and submitted. In the attempted rape, the victim fought, resisted, and escaped.

Keep a Safe Distance

Everyone has a comfort zone or personal space. When an aggressor enters that zone, you’re uncomfortable because you know you’d need that space if you had to fight back. Fight or flee? that is the question. When you’re in an adrenalized state, you need a quarter of a second to react to an assault.

This “reactionary gap” should be anticipated when you think about your comfort zone. You should try to maintain approximately one to one-and-a-half arm lengths between yourself and the aggressor. If he starts closing in, you need to use verbal boundaries. If he still doesn’t back off, it’s time to get physical, and don’t hold back!

Use the Element of surprise

Most predators assume you cannot defend yourself. Therefore, you should take advantage of the element of surprise. If you’re engaged in a conversation, you have the opportunity to use verbal skills and a non-confrontational stance to entice the aggressor into dropping his guard. If you’re grabbed from behind, you must respond immediately. In either case, putting up a fight can surprise him and increase your chance of landing the first blow.

Keep your Techniques Simple

One of the main effects of an adrenaline release is the loss of fine motor skills. That means simple gestures such as unlacing your fingers or pulling your hands out of your pockets can become much more challenging. And the odds of your executing a beautiful joint lock or high kick rapidly dwindle. No matter which martial art you practice, learn techniques that are basic and stick with them in a self-defense scenario. I wouldn’t recommend high kicks, most likely you’ll miss and end up on the floor at your attacker’s mercy, leave those to the movies. But do try the following:

Heel-palm strike. Hitting with an open hand reduces the chance that you’ll injure your hand and enables you to more easily attack from a non-confrontational stance in which you’re holding your hands up and open while you set verbal boundaries. Then, if your attacker steps into your comfort zone — bang! — he gets it right in the face.

Eye strike. The eye strike can be used in a standing or prone position. Often, simply driving your fingers toward your assailant’s eyes will cause him to recoil. Even if you don’t make contact, it creates space to set up a more devastating blow.

Knee strike. This technique is recommended over any type of standing kick because it is easy to use and can be delivered while you stay centered and close to the ground — which is crucial when you’re adrenalized. A knee to the groin can end a fight immediately.

Don’t Panic if You’re Knocked Down

More often than not, women end up on the ground when they’re assaulted. The good news is that most assailants are not skilled ground fighters; they’re bullies who are used to knocking women down and forcing them to comply. Remember that the heel-palm strike and eye strike work well on the ground.

It’s a good idea to have a few kicks that work there, as well. In particular, the side thrust kick functions in a variety of scenarios. If you’re on the ground and your assailant is standing, it gives you an advantage because your legs are longer than his arms. That means he’ll have to expose his body to your kick if he wants to reach you.

Knee strikes also function effectively on the ground. While you struggle with your attacker, he probably won’t protect his groin. Once you see an opening, get close enough to strike upward into his groin. No matter how strong he may be, he`ll feel this for sure.


If you do find yourself having to defend yourself, the fight isn’t over until the threat no longer exists. Therefore, you must be 100-percent committed to the battle. If you fight back and then pause, you give up the initial advantage you gained from using the element of surprise. Once your opponent knows you can fight, it becomes more difficult for them to get the better of you.

To survive, you must continue your barrage until it’s safe to stop striking and escape. Bottom line is this, you may only get one chance, don’t strike once then see what happened! Keep it going till you can get away without them chasing after you. Remember, you must accept the fact an attack could happen! Fight or Flee? that is the Question, what are you going to do if it happens?

Author: Nigel Taylor

I`m Nigel Taylor – originally from England – owner of The Backyard Gym in Round Rock Texas. We specialize in personal training, kickboxing cardio and self-defense. With over 25 years experience as a personal trainer, I know what works! From weight loss to bulking up to toning up, I can help you get your desired look and achieve your fitness goals. I can also offer you the privacy of a 100% private personal training studio in which to enjoy and get the most out of your workouts.