TODAY La Femme introduces a new biweekly column on personal fitness, health and safety, written by Port Elizabeth krav maga instructor Paul Vogts.
He has been practising and coaching martial arts, personal safety, and health and fitness for 25 years and represented South Africa internationally.
Vogts has a third dan in kickboxing and international level 2 krav maga (a self-defence system) instructor certification. He is the South African director at both Krav MAga Combat Systems and the International Kapap Union, and is affiliated to the World Krav Maga Association, South African Sport Combat Association (kickboxing), and WTKA International (kickboxing).
His articles will aim to give practical tips on how to cope in life-threatening situations, as well as how to avoid these situations in the first place.
Vogts will also give advice on how to become fit and live a healthy life.
In his first column, he focuses on how self-awareness can save your life.
Awareness is your key to safety
WHEN you think of self-defence or self-protection, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Perhaps images of Chuck Norris beating off would-be attackers? Or you donning your superhero outfit, leaping to defend loved ones, taking no prisoners and standing triumphant receiving praise and awards?
Though that sounds ideal, the first rule of self-defence is awareness. Even Supermom has to be sensitive to her surroundings, her keen senses tuned in, aware that violence can take place at anytime. And that it can escalate from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye.
Spotting trouble before it happens is the easiest way to avoid it. Being aware of what is happening around you is just as important as being able to negotiate or fight your way out of a confrontational situation.
We need to realise that criminals are like predators in the wild. They are always on the lookout to take advantage of the old, sick, young, vulnerable, isolated and unaware. They will not hesitate to be opportunistic. (In later articles I will discuss what drives the villains of the urban jungle.)
But how does one increase awareness? Simple. You do what Supermom does. You should carry yourself as if about to cross a busy road, alert and confident, looking and listening, ever ready for that speeding car that could come screeching around the corner.
Walk up straight and tall, shoulders back, at a brisk pace. Keep your purse or handbag close to you, tucked in between your elbow and shoulder.
This gives the impression that you are alert and confident, meaning you are less likely to be taken advantage of as a potential victim.
Developing a keen sense of awareness can potentially save you from disaster. Remember that prevention is better than cure. Stay safe and walk in peace.