Ask the Goat: Preparing for attack, part 2

Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part series on safety while running. Part one was published on Oct. 16.

Last week we talked about using our equipment to deter an attack. This week, I want to address what happens when the attack is eminent, and defense becomes your only recourse. For instance, iPod-users, someone steps out of a shadow along your trail and hits you from behind. You fall to the ground and roll over to see a large aggressor moving toward you –hands outstretched. What do you do? Scream? Flail about?

Ask the Goat by Chris Knodel

Ask the Goat
by Chris Knodel

Had you heeded last week’s message, you would simply pull out your bear spray, fire a stream into the attacker’s face, and run. But let’s assume you did not, and now you are on your back, staring up into the crazed eyes of an unknown (or quite commonly known) assailant.

First reaction, make noise. In many urban studies, three times as many people react to the cry of “Fire” than “Rape,” “Stop” or “Attack.” I have found that “Back!” works well, as if I was challenging a feral dog. In fact, this is a key point. Your attacker is not a person –they are going to hurt, rape or kill you. That is a beast, a true monster. Act accordingly. You only have one shot to end this while intact. Treat the attack without humanity, without limitations, and without remorse. End the attack first.

Stay on your back. Spin around to ensure that your legs remain between you and your attacker. Your legs are longer and more powerful than their arms. Use this to your advantage. Any time they are close enough for you to strike, lash out with all of your years of run training. Aim to break, not to block. If you can make the attack costly, it will end. A few face kicks and you may even gain an escape route.

If they manage to get down with you, it becomes more difficult. Chances are that they weigh more than you do. Weapons become anything you can grab, from sand and stone to keys and bottle. Nothing ends an attack like sand to the eyes. Keep throwing it as fast as you can until you see the tells of obstructed sight. Then run. Continue screaming throughout the attack, but upon escape things change.

Run fast, but keep it sustainable. You already know you can outlast your aggressor. Get in some initial distance and then set your course. Turn off your lights, music and any other noise. You do not want to be pursuable. Get to a travelled road or business district. Find a house that you trust. Call the police at your first safe place. Check for scrapes, hair or skin under your nails. That is all DNA that will bring this person down.

If you really want to up your chances during an attack, get some training. Most martial arts studios offer some form of defense course. Learn some basic movements that can help in various situations. Every bit of training helps. Be smart. Be aware. Be safe.

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