The new theme in the wellness space seems to be “strong is the new skinny” and nowhere is that more obvious than in the rise of self-defense focused workouts. Whether it be something traditional like Krav Maga or something brand new like The Soteria Method, a 30-day online self-defense course recently launched by Avital Zeisler, there are plenty of options that combine strength-building with worst-case-scenario life skills. “I created The Soteria Method as a way to pay forward both the emotional and physical discoveries I made when healing from a sexual assault,” Zeisler explains. “I used self-defense as a vehicle to regain my self-worth and realized that it was possible for women to have the physical ability to defend themselves, while being able to maintain their femininity.”
There are plenty of SOS alert-type apps, which are worth downloading, but there’s a certain confidence that comes with building physical strength that spills over into everyday life. It’s worthwhile to invest time in a self-defense course even if you’re unlikely to find yourself in a situation where such skills are needed.
To get us started, we asked Zeisler to share with us her top violence prevention tips, all of which we can immediately integrate as safety habits into our daily lives.
Peripheral vision is having the ability to see within your widest angle of view. For example, focusing on an object in front of you or holding a conversation with someone, while still visually recognizing things around you.
Maintaining an appearance of confidence in your manner affects how vulnerable you appear to a potential attacker. If you come across as very aware of your surroundings — people, physical location and interpersonal interactions — then you become much less prone to being taken in a surprise type of attack or threat of violence.
Be Aware of Physical Boundaries
We all have a sense of our personal space boundaries or the distance we naturally keep when standing near strangers. When someone invades your personal space, you should be aware of several things. First, pay attention to their hands to confirm whether or not they are armed as it will change the dynamics of the situation. Then take into account their body language — are they displaying any type of agitation or aggression? If so, then immediately increase the distance between yourself and this person. Generally, a five- to six-foot distance allows you time to react and assess the situation for any further action on your part. If someone continues to approach your personal boundaries, then be aware that the possibility of a physical attack may be imminent.
A million years of evolution has gone into developing your “gut” or “sixth sense.” We have all experienced a visceral reaction to situations where things just didn’t add up and signified some type of threat or danger. Please pay attention to these feelings or reactions — they will alert you, and if you listen, help to protect you.