The article linked below concerns a traffic accident where a young mother and her child were run over by an out of control car on a Sydney street.
Both the mother and baby were injured with the mother spending eight weeks in intensive care with critical brain injuries, the driver is now facing the court.
Regardless of the outcome of the court case I am sure that anyone involved in a motor vehicle accident would prefer it never happened.
Pedestrians and cyclists are often the victims of motor vehicle accidents and suffer major injuries.
In the last 3 years on average 55 pedestrians are killed each year in NSW. This number does not of course include injuries that may have a life long debilitating effect on the injured person.
Now what does this have to do with self defence?
The five elements of self defence training are transferable skills that you can use to remain safe in a wide variety of situations.
Element 1- Pre-Planning. This is all about Awareness, developing awareness skills and having deliberate action plans. The crucial component of heightened awareness is being aware of anything and everything within your personal space. Personal space should be considered as as far as you can see in any given direction.
So how does that apply to being a pedestrian?
1. When walking along a street you should be aware of everything that is going on, take the time to look around now and then.
2. Always walk on the side of the road toward traffic (deliberate action plan), this makes getting hit from behind less likely.
3. Think about what you would do if an out of control vehicle was heading toward you; can you lift the baby stroller?
4. As you are walking along the road be mindful of places that provide cover and protection.
Element 2 - Perception - In addition to being alert or aware, avoid doing anything that limits your perceptual ability such as listening to your IPod, being engrossed in a phone call, I have seen people walking along the street with the IPod in and reading a magazine or checking the web on their IPhone and then stepping of the curb into traffic, this sort of lack of awareness would not be helpful in spotting and reacting to an out of control vehicle.
Element 3 - Processing - (The information received by the senses). Learn what an out of control vehicle sounds like, there is usually tyre screeching, excessive engine reeving, the sounds of collisions or other cars sounding there horns. If you hear these sounds don't ignore it, take action, know where the sound is coming from, if you see the vehicle take action if it coming towards you, if not keep close observation, things can change in an instant.
Element 4 - Preparation -
* If you regularly walk with a stroller, practice some drills such as running with the stroller, weaving, swerving.
* Plan you day and movements that could bring you into contact with traffic, don't be in such as hurry that you lose concentration and step out into on coming traffic or fail to observe an out of control vehicle.
* If you walk along a regular route, know where any specific dangers could be.
Element 5 - Protection - Be aware that in the battle of vehicle -v- person, the vehicle usually wins. taking some sort of preventative action is much better than having to react at the time of the accident.
Self defence is not just about kicking and punching, it is not just about defending yourself from physical violence. The skills learnt in self defence training are highly transferable and can save your life in a variety of situations.