Am I being followed?

posted by Christopher Allen, Tring Krav Maga

Question: Have you ever thought you were being followed? What do you do?

If you think you are being followed: Make a sudden turn, cross the street, accelerate, or go into a nearby business. If being followed by a car, reverse your direction – it will take them a much longer time to turn around and they will likely just continue on to find a different target. If you are unable to shake the follower, turn around and scream, “What do you want?” in your most indignant voice. This is likely to embarrass the innocent and frighten off a large portion of potential attackers. If this doesn’t work, now you must:


Your voice is your primary weapon – remember that the last thing the bad guy wants is a fuss. Screaming ANYTHING halts the attack in many cases, or at least buys you a couple of seconds while they consider whether there might be easier prey. Over the years, experts have warned not to yell, “Help” but to yell, “Fire.” I favor, “Leave me the $%#& alone! Get away!” If you carry a personal alarm or whistle, use it.

Run/retreat. Put yardage between you and the perpetrator. Distance equals time, you are giving yourself time with every footstep you put between you and him. An all-out run is what you need. Don’t run home, because you are leading the perp directly to where you don’t want him to be.

Run toward other people:

If there are other people nearby, run to them. If there is a lighted business or home, run to it. Even if they won’t let you in, you are attracting attention which will likely cause the attacker to leave the area.

But what if he has a weapon?

If the bad guy displays a gun, knife, baseball bat, etc. (as is common in the high street) do the scream and run double time. Putting distance between you gives you protection against weapons. By displaying a weapon he has threatened your life, and you have to believe he means it. You need to get out of the situation before he completes his threat. The odds are on your side more with every yard you gain. Remember two important points

1. If he produces a gun and wanted you dead, he would have shot you from across the street, instead he wants to use it to threaten you with.

2. If he produces a knife, keep your distance as much as possible, any idiot can use a knife!

But what if he shows a weapon and wants me to get in a vehicle or go off into the bushes?

Get out of there!

Unless he has you physically restrained, scream and run. If he is prepared to show his weapon and use it in the street, what do you think he will do with it, when he gets you to his “safe zone” like the car or the bushes etc?!  If you are female, you have almost 100% chance of being raped and may be killed if you get into a vehicle. If you are male, you have almost 100% chance of being killed. Remember, unless this is somebody you know, they aren’t looking for you, they’ll let you go and look for an easier target.

If you are grabbed

At this point, if you freeze and do nothing, and you survive, you did the right thing – don’t dwell on what might have been. Freezing is a natural reaction to the unexpected, even in those trained in self-defence. But the odds are not with you in using this as a defense. If your attacker surprises you and gets you into a grip, now is the time to fight – because “only your life depends on it”.  You need to get out of his grip and be able to run. Learn grip-breaking techniques. When you can’t break the grip, now you’ve got to inflict surprising and/or incapacitating pain on your attacker. Gouge eyes, puncture eardrums, crush his windpipe, rake his shins, break his thumbs, rip his ears off (easy to do), jam a sharp object into any available portion of his body, and with caution regarding AIDS risk – bite any part of him you can. Fight dirty, cheat, win. Get away.

Reality Based Self Defence isn’t pretty, but at Tring Krav Maga, its what we learn, simple, straight forward tactics against common threats / attacks. 

I recently took a self defence workshop at a local WIBN (Women in Business Network) meeting, everyone on the course enjoyed the session and I believe they took alot away from it, many expressed an interest to learn more but I wonder how many did?  Most of the time people sink back into this “it won’t happen to me” state of mind, I reckon this is the most dangerous state of mind, sure chances are small that you will be a victim of attack, likewise chances of being burgled or having your car vandalised is small too, but we insure against it – isn’t it about time we insure against being attacked.

For more information on Reality Based Self defence – see our website or call 0845 094 8805

(a note on using Him / He: for the ease of writing I have used the male Pronoun.  You are just as likely to be attacked by her or she, please don’t look for Chauvanism where none exists)