5 (ish) Ways to Stay Safe This Holiday Season

5 (ish) Ways to Stay Safe This Holiday Season

This is something most of us don’t typically think about…

But as “self-defense” minded as I am, I always remind everyone who comes to train with me PostFit, or any other place I’m training people at wether in Hartford or not, is that good self-defense isn’t just “learning moves” or “learning to fight”… it’s about staying safe.

Think of it as Personal Protection.

So, in short, here’s a quick list of 5 (or so) things you can do to stay safe during your holiday escapades. (I’ll have a few resources listed below the list too)

1. Vehicle Maintenance – i.e. good tires, windshield washer fluid full, lights in working order (and being used…), extra blankets, shovel, and other safety measures in place.

2. Dress Appropriately – Wear Extra Layers(it’s cold out there and you don’t ever know what’s going to happen). Appropriate shoes are a great way to prevent a slip and fall injury(they’re more common than you think)

3. Carry a Flashlight – Seems silly, but it’s dark almost all of the “non-working” hours, and people get creative with ways they can use the extra cover of night to take your things, or worse, YOU.

4. Keep Your Cell Phone Charged! – This is good advice for all the time, but in winter, car batteries can fail very easily, so you can’t rely on the ol car charger if you become stranded somewhere.

5. Practice Driving in Adverse Weather(somewhere safe!) – There are winter driving courses available(locally) that will help you learn to deal with a bit more than they taught you in drivers ed. Heck, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to practice moving yourself around on bad surfaces as well, you might need to run on the ice.

Most of this seems to be common sense, but we seem to overlook the simplest things in search of more complicated answers, I mean nothing can be that easy, can it?

Use the ol noggin to figure out a few other ways to be safe this holiday season. Just a few random thoughts here to follow and some bonus “things” for you are:

-Don’t be a jerk. If someone runs into you, apologize(even if it’s their fault!) I saw what could have wound up being a hospital visit for someone just the other day, all over some guy who just walked out into the street without looking first(he blamed the driver, colorful words were exchanged, thankfully everyone walked away)

-Keep your kids close. As fun as this time of year can be, don’t let your little ones escape to the various forms of merriment without you present. People are out looking for the perfect opportunity to grab unsuspecting kids from their parents, don’t be one of them.

I shouldn’t have to say this but….

DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE. There is literally nowhere you need to get so bad that it’s worth putting someone’s life and safety(and yours) at risk. It’s no different than walking around with a loaded gun and your finger on the trigger. Call an Uber, a friend, a family member, someone, but for Pete’s sake, don’t drive!

-Be Aware. This is the time of year where people try and take advantage of your “holiday spirit” by luring you into “helping them out” with something real quick. If they really need help, phone the appropriate person to help them. Don’t try and pull someone out of the ditch, give them a ride, lift something into their car, heck, you name it and I’m sure it’s happened or been a CSI episode at the least… Don’t be a victim!

I could seriously fill PAGES with all of this stuff, but I’m sure you have a life, and I have people to train… I hope you picked up what I’ve been throwing down, that is, the principles and mindset behind all of these scenarios that will keep you and your loved ones safe so you can enjoy your holidays for years to come!

~Justin

P.S. I said I’d have some resources for some above mentioned things… and, I do.

-Car Maintenance-
My friend Craig over at D&D and Kasten Automotive can help with vehicle maintenance and winter ready your vehicle. http://www.ddmufflertire.com/

-Clothing-
My personal favorite place is Cabella’s. They have clothes they have for cold weather that don’t have to look like hunting gear, so I’d check them out.

-Flashlight-
A personal favorite of mine, as well as my Hapkido Instructor, is the NEBO flashlights. They’re bright as hell, compact, and they look pretty sweet to top it all off! https://www.nebotools.com/prod_details.php?id=194

-Winter Driving-
I’ve done Ice Racing for the past several years to help myself out, but I understand if you don’t want to subject your car to that abuse… so you should search Facebook for the Audi Driver’s Club’s winter driving course. One of the instructors teaches people how to drive race cars full time, so you’ll be in good hands!

The Best Defense

The Best Defense

“The Best Defense Is A Good Offense”

Or so they say…Self-Defense

Applied to self-defense this is true, to a point. But it should be taken a little different than the “just attack them before they attack you” that is implied.

A good offense in this case means preparation, not being offensive. So please, don’t be that guy in the “Tapout” or “Affliction” shirt(purchased from Wal-Mart) that talks about how he “trains UFC”(whatever that means).

It’s having the right mindset – practicing the moves(techniques) you will have to be able to execute when the time comes. None of that Karate Kid garbage or anything you might see in the movies or on TV.

I’ve been training for 14 years at this point and I’ve only had to use my “skills” one time… well, my physical skills, the rest are in use on a daily basis(conscious and uncontentious)

When I did have to use my “skills”, what came out was the right technique for the situation (nothing I had even practiced mind you), all with good control and awareness in the moment… I felt like a freaking Jedi Master, everything was there, everything was flawless(kinda).

9423087237_34565da84c_bI’ll talk more about that later but the most important bit I want you to gain from this is this – Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail. (if you care to read my “story” it’s at the bottom of the post)

Look around you.

How prepared are you for an emergency at this very moment?

If you can’t think of at least 5 things that could go wrong right this second, you’re most likely not prepared. One or two? You’re on the right path.

“Nothing ever happens to you until it does” -Thomas Sippin

Nobody plans to get in a car accident, but we have Air Bags, Seat Belts, Crumple Zones on the vehicles to ensure decreased risk of death or serious injury in the case of a collision form any conceivable angle.

Why should you treat personal protection any different?

Shouldn’t you have a fire extinguisher in your house?
Smoke detectors?
Seat belt cutter and glass breaker in your car?
A “spare battery”(or on the go charger) for your phone?

Are you physically prepared? i.e. are you in good enough shape to be able to withstand 30-60 seconds of high intensity activity(such as punching, kicking, and various strikes) and sprint afterward?

Do you know what to do after an attack? Or how to avoid walking into one?

These are important questions you should be asking yourself on a daily basis. Constantly evaluate “what ifs” (what if that car swerved into my lane, what if that guy tried abducting me, what if someone tried taking my child, etc…)

Look to use your surroundings to your advantage instead of someone else’s, watch for verbal and physical cues of intent(agitated tone, shifty, looks uneasy).

These are things you know and are told, but how often do they cross your mind – Never? Here and there? Daily? Hourly? Constantly?

The better you get at these “thought exercises”, the more second nature it will become, making you even more prepared in case a “what if” were to happen.(So you can be a Jedi too!)

It’s not always a brawl.(My Story)MMA Training Center Kickboxing

I have avoided more situations than I could probably count(deescalating situations before they arise and avoiding them altogether), so the fact that I’ve only had one “encounter” out of all my years of training is something I could be proud of, but also, could have been avoided(if I were paying a little closer attention)

The Scene – My baby sister’s 21st birthday party.

We were out at a few local “watering holes” right here in ol Hartford, WI. And we decided to go to one last place before calling it a night.

A few of the guests of the party decided to sit at the bar and strike up a conversation with two other patrons who had already had their fill of booze for the night(and then some).

Unfortunately, one of these guys wasn’t what you’d call the friendly sort…. After about 20 minutes this guy(let’s call him Red – the color of his shirt) was playing pool and seemingly out of nowhere starts screaming across the bar about how “every time I go out in Hartford someone is trying to start sh*t with me” and so on(clearly this reoccurring problem seems to be him, even though he hasn’t realized it yet…)

We get the member of our group out of the bar to try and deescalate the situation but Red wasn’t having it. He followed us out.

There was about 7 guys between him and the person he had the “issue” with(we still don’t know what it was…) yet Red still insisted on not leaving screaming “I’m gonna f*cking kill you” at 1am about a ½ block from the police station(clearly, not a bright man).

All of a sudden, he takes off running out into the street and straight toward the group(1 on 7, good odds, no?)… But he didn’t make it… I(the skinniest guy out of the group as someone pointed out) took a straight forearm to his chest, redirected him back toward his “friend” who then told me to get my hands off his friend… and that was the end of it.

Not graceful or cool like the movies. But it worked.

I think the reason I was the only one who reacted was due to the fact I noticed signs of aggression Red was putting forth and decided to act on it before someone wound up in the hospital(it would’ve been him)

Moral of the story, don’t go out to bars… and alert the police before they get there too late, 911 is a quick dial away, and this man(I was told afterward) was a known trouble maker who probably should have something to show on his record(personal opinion). As to why they allow him back into the bar… still a mystery…

To wrap things up, it’s always better to prepare for a situation that you might not encounter than to be caught with your pants down… it may wind up with more than just an embarrassing story, it could cost you dearly(jail time, hospital, or the morgue)

There’s no superhero to come save you in real life, so be your own hero, and save yourself by preparing for the worst, and hoping for the best. But mostly, stay away from the “problem” situations before they happen.

If you want to learn more about self-defense training, check out our Hapkido training program or contact me directly: justin @ post35.net for more info on upcoming courses(or to schedule a private course)

Stay Strong My Friends

~Justin