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Self defence and safety tips for Carnival

Sunday, January 7, 2018

For the Christmas season, crime was a major concern for businessmen and ordinary citizens alike.

Women especially fell prey to robberies, carjackings and home invasions and unfortunately, the attacks have not abated, violent domestic abuse cases are on the rise. As the country enters the Carnival season with fetes, concerts and Carnival Monday and Tuesday dominated by thousands of female masqueraders, the Guardian on Sunday asked self defence and karate instructor Sensei Brian Chin Leung to provide some tips for women as well as men to stay safe during the reign of the Merry Monarch.

Speaking at his training studio at Belle Smythe Street, Woodbrook, last week, Chin Leung, an eighthdegree black belt in Shotokan karate, who also teaches combat karate, said, “Without a doubt women in the country are under attack. You can’t blame some of them for being a bit paranoid, crime has restricted when and where they can and can’t go.”

• The first stage is situational awareness, consciousness of your environment, self and people around you. “If you have been attacked physically, your assailant has gotten to you and starts pulling you into a car or hitting you, that means you have dropped your guard, been caught off guard; that is the second stage, the attack has started.”

• Women should be responsible for their own security and not depend totally on their boyfriends or companions.

Chin Leung said many women had a false sense of security in their husbands or boyfriends if they are big and strong and look intimidating. The irony is, he said, some men might run out in a crisis situation.

“Muscles are no indication of bravery,” he added.

• Follow your instincts, “vibes” or gut feeling about avoiding a place or people that make youuncomfortable.

• Even if you are skilled in martial arts and have the ability to defeat ten men, it would be more prudent to avoid a confrontation.

• Keep strangers at arms length, avoid them invading your personal space right up in your face.

If “talk” gesticulating with your hands that can be used to block and strike.

• When leaving your bands, do not do so alone, ask a friend or a few of your friends to accompany since there may be unseen eyes on you.

• If you must use the ATM, look for one preferably in a mall, where there is security, traffic and well lit. The ideal situation would be to withdraw whatever cash you need before venturing into your party or band and, of course, earlier in the day.

• Avoid taking drinks from strangers and do not even trust some of your friends because if they are intoxicated someone can spike their drinks, get the drink for yourself and observe what the bartender pours for you.

• Do not sniff or use perfumes from strangers, they may in reality be drugs that can make you unconscious.

• The Carnival whistle is ideal for raising an alarm when attacked. You may also want to carry a personal alarm, a noise maker or screamer.

• Some women might want to consider stepping down in their fashion style in the name of safety. Consider playing mas in sneakers rather than high heels shoes or boots.

• Turn everyday items such as car keys, newspapers, aerosol sprays, a rock in a jersey, umbrellas, pens, screwdrivers and bottles into weapons.

• When returning to your vehicle, hold the ignition key in a knife grip to thrust into an attacker’s eyes and to trigger the car alarm.

• Avoid wearing earphones or being distracted with a cellphone.

• Generally women are not as physically strong as men, but this should not matter since training in the Shotokan-style of karate offers good techniques and well placed strikes (banned in tournaments) to vulnerable target areas such as the throat, groin, kneecaps and eyes.


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