5 Ways To Avoid Approaching Attackers


I know this has been covered before by everyone, but I’m compelled to state it again: what is in his hands? Hands empty? And he’s about to attack you? Go through him, do damage, and leave. As an unwanted side effect of deep training in self-defense, too many people wait for the attack…”

Comment by Miro, a Ready Nutrition Reader

Excellent comment by Miro, substantiating a point I made in a letter to Readers about how important the comments sections can be.  Read them and learn about others’ points of view, as well as picking up some tips and good information you can use.  Good job, Miro.  I suggest everyone go to the article Immediate Actions You Must Take If You’re About to be Attacked,” and read the rest of what Miro wrote.  We’re going to get into those actions in Part 2.

It is especially important because it characterizes vital points about threat assessment, the critical component in your actions.  What you must do is often characterized by what threat you face.  In this light, observe the actions of the individual or people approaching you.  What are they carrying?  Do they have any weapons, and is it obvious that they are going to be a threat?  Facial expressions, gestures, speed of movement, and stance (approaching you, trying to cut you off, etc.) all need to be considered to determine threat level.

Staying Safe and Escaping a Dangerous Situation is Your Main Priority

In the article previously mentioned, the three factors are Equalize, Distance, and Escape.

  1. Equalize – this means to use whatever you have on hand to make the situation more manageable for you. An assailant comes at you with a knife, and you have an umbrella…you can use the umbrella to interdict between the knife and yourself (if it’s opened) or as a striking tool if it’s closed.  A pocketbook can be used as a “Morningstar/mace” against an attacker with a club or knife.  A jacket carried in-hand can be slung upon the attacker’s face or weapon.  Here are seven improvised objects that can be used for self-defense.  These actions take you to the next step:
  2. Distance – this means to place as much distance as possible between you and the attacker. This can also include getting into a car or vehicle and locking the door behind you.  Your objective with this step is to separate yourself from your attacker and his weapon.  “Distance is your best friend,” as they used to say in the Army.  It is your best friend.  By using that “friend,” you can progress to step number 3.
  3. Escape – Yes, get out of that uncontrolled situation. What you do afterward is your business, but the first rule is to survive and succeed.  Suppose there’s a dozen of these guys, right out of the movie “The Warriors?”  What then?  There’s no use getting into semantics.  Just GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) while the getting is good!  Escape, call the police and deal with them if you must ON YOUR TERMS, not on theirs.

5 Ways to Avoid an Approaching Attacker

Emphasis should be placed on “escape” here, because you’re dealing with 2 scenarios: 1. The everyday/now, and 2. A SHTF/disaster-stoked scenario.  In the scope of this article, we will deal with the first scenario…and this is where threat assessment is more critical.

The reason: the law.  Laws more often protect the criminal more than the victim.  If you are going to engage one of the morons who is attacking you and you must do it alone, use some of these tools to your advantage, and keep some points in mind:

  1. In this CCTV/omnipresent camera age, try to maneuver into an area where there is some sort of security camera. This can dispel doubt and give credence to your case of self-defense and provide evidence that you were defending yourself
  2. Make it loud and summon others. You’d be surprised how loud a small air horn (they make them not much larger than a tube/vial of pepper spray these days) can be.  Attract attention!  Most of these hoodlums do not want to be seen.
  3. If you must engage, fight to win. Be as effective as possible and use “Fabian Tactics,” in other words, “hit and run.”  Inflict the maximum amount of damage with the minimum amount of effort and get out of there.  We have covered the vital areas to strike for, as well as improvised weapons in previous articles.  It would behoove you to refresh on these.
  4. “Any Old Port in a Storm” – be smart: duck into a business or make a break for an area where there are plenty of people. The probability is high that the pursuer(s) will break contact and discontinue the chase.
  5. When it’s done, it’s not done – Yeah, that sounds contradictory, but you cannot let it go and think if you’ve escaped them that it’s all over. Best thing to do: file that police report and get them involved.  You pay for the “system,” so make it work for you.

Take note of the attacker(s) after you have concluded that an attack is occurring.  How are you being approached?  “Blocking” is the key word here…placing something in between you and them.  A line of cars, a narrow alleyway where they cannot come at you except in a single file, a busy street full of traffic.  Put something between you and them.  Part of avoiding them from channeling you into an area they can deal with you is your preparations.

Start Actively Practicing Situational Awareness

What this means is simple: don’t park in an area that has “blind spots,” or areas where a goon can hide.  Don’t enable said goon by being complacent in your activities.  Part of prevention is observation: you need to see who is lurking around, potentially following you, watching you, and planning something.  When several people are in an area where you park, and they look at you and begin talking to themselves and continue to look at you…the odds are not in your favor with this.

Avoidance is not being a coward.  Avoidance is gaming the situation correctly and assessing it for what it is.  Even if you beat the daylights out of them if they attack, what is to be gained from it?  Better yet, what can you lose?  When they say they were the victim and then bring criminal and civil charges against you.  All for something you could have avoided.

Sun Tzu: The apex of a general’s skill is when he wins a battle without fighting fight.

Sage advice.  Avoid at all costs, and break contact to continue the mission.  The mission is to survive and to keep yourself, your family, and your home intact.  Assessing the threat at the level that it is and meeting that threat head on only when there is no alternative will give you better odds at staying out of problems from being hurt, being sued, or having the law on top of you.  In Part 2, we will cover what to do when there is no way to avoid the attackers, and go a little more “in-depth” than the basic article mentioned previously.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published May 9th, 2018
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3 Responses to 5 Ways To Avoid Approaching Attackers

  1. David Vickers says:

    The introductory scenario about the gas station illustrated an overriding principle: OBEY YOUR GUT. The person did have situation awareness, they saw the men. Their gut sounded an alarm – what they called their “initial reaction” – to get back in their car. They ignored their gut and exposed themselves to danger anyway. You MUST commit to following your gut instinct even if it may seem stupid or paranoid, or you think it would make you look stupid to others. Don’t worry about what others think or even about what YOU think. Follow your gut instinct.

  2. slobotnavich says:

    As an old SF guy myself I’d further advise, “Shoot to kill. Dead men tell no lies.”

  3. JonSEAZ says:

    Ex – Army SF, San Quentin officer, federal narcotics agent, lots of training, including civilian weapons training over the many years. Never was a willing victim, and never intend to be one, until my dying breath.

    – Never be a willing victim.

    – Always be alert.
    – Evade and escape, if possible.

    – If evasion and/or escape is not possible, use what ever is available to survive, and use it without hesitation or reserve. If you feel that your life or limb is in serious immediate danger, use all the force available to you, including deadly force. Do not hesitate or hold back. Your intention is to stop the attack, as quickly and surely as possible.

    – Surprise is good. If they think you are unarmed and helpless, the assailant(s) will tend to be disoriented when the first one dies or suffers incapacitation. When cornered, fain helplessness until the opening occurs and then act swiftly, forcefully, and with deadly intent. Never make idle threats, and don’t give unnecessary warnings. When the threat become immediate, ACT! Threats will get you killed.

    -Always have a serious knife with you.

    -Where possible, always have a handgun on you, plus some spare ammo–and, know how to use it

    -Repeat, never be a willing victim.

    -State of mind is a weapon.
    -Again, never be a willing victim.

    Many things are potential weapons, anything which can be used to stab, hit, club, strike, including sticks, rocks, bottles, and tools, such as, screw drivers, tire tools, wrenches, pliers, for example.

    In such situations, you very likely will suffer some injury, but injury, regardless of how serious, is better than death. Never hesitate because of fear of getting hurt. Also, such perpetrators will not have any mercy on you if you should give up. Fight to the death, or at least have that intention and work at it. Never give up; never be a willing victim.

    Never hesitate because of fear of law suits or prosecution. If you legitimately sense immediate danger (perpetrators displaying both the intent and means to inflict serious bodily injury or death), you have every right as a living being to protect yourself or loved ones. Assert that right when necessary for survival and worry about the legal consequences later. If you allow yourself to be mentally or physically wrecked or killed, all the legality or lack thereof will no help you one iota.

    In case you missed it, never be a willing victim.

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