|06-23-03: Keep calm, take defensive action
|Area people receive self-defense training
By MARGIE WUEBKER
The Daily Standard
ROCKFORD - The mind can be a powerful weapon particularly when it comes
Jeff Selby, a seventh-degree martial arts specialist, presented a
Saturday afternoon program on senior awareness and self-defense at Maplewood of Shanes
Village. However, his message applies to everyone regardless of age.
"You have to stay aware and calm as you go about your everyday
life," he said. "A calm mind helps you respond the way you need to when
confronted at home, on the street or in your car."
Selby, who has studied martial arts and presented programs on
self-defense for nearly 30 years, says the first step in ensuring safety on the homefront
is establishing a safe room.
Home invasions do happen these days and everyone should have a
designated safe room, he said. This is a place, preferably with a cell phone, where
family members come in the event of an emergency.
"You've seen the scenario on television where a perpetrator
enters a home and the wife nudges her husband and tells him to go check on suspicious
sounds," Selby said. "Don't go through the house looking for an intruder. Go to
the safe room and call 911."
In most instances, someone who breaks into a home is after valuables
like television sets, VCRs and DVD players. They may carry a knife or gun for
"Your life is not worth risking for anything in the house,"
Selby added. "In all likelihood, the perpetrator is going to grab what he wants and
He also warned that hiding a weapon somewhere in the house is not a
good idea because the home invader is likely to locate it first. The weapon should be with
you or located in the safe room.
Selby recommends everyone practice walking through their home in
complete darkness. Being able to maneuver in familiar surroundings puts you one step ahead
of any perpetrator.
Not all confrontations take place in the home. They can occur anywhere
including area roadways. In the event someone appears to be following your car, Selby
recommends the four turn rule.
"If the car is still there after two or three right turns, make
your next turn into the police station or a business where there are a lot of
people," he said.
He maintains the best deterrent to car-jacking is having the windows
up, your seatbelt on and the doors locked.
Car doors make good weapons because of their slightly curved design.
Opening them with force can inflict considerable pain in the area of the knee and shin,
putting a perpetrator out of commission for a minute or two.
Selby frequently slides his left arm out of the seatbelt when driving
in unfamiliar areas. The metal buckle can be popped quickly and used as a weapon in the
event an attacker approaches his car.
"You can quickly wrap up, detain and take him for a ride," he
added with a smile.
Another deterrent is carrying a bag of sand laced with cayenne pepper
inside the car. The stinging pepper is most effective in the face and the eyes. Dye
Witness, another safety device on the market, does more than deliver an immediate stinging
sensation. It douses the perpetrator with telltale red and green dye. He also advocates
placing a newspaper tightly wound around a heavy wood dowel on the front seat as a
When visiting shopping malls, select a parking place where you can pull
straight out instead of having to back up first. Also choose a well-lighted area. Have
keys in hand when leaving or approaching your vehicle. Keys protruding from between the
fingers can serve as a weapon.
"Walk with a purpose, make eye contact if approached and tell the
person to stop," Selby said. "This is not about being paranoid, it's about being
prepared. If something doesn't feel right, heed that little voice inside your head."
Women are not the only potential victims. He warned men not to use
urinals at rest areas or other public places. Going into a stall equipped with a door puts
a barrier between the assailant and his would-be victim. Men should carry their wallet in
a front pocket as opposed to the rear pocket, which can be sliced quickly with a razor. On
the other hand, a woman's shoulder purse is easy prey to a thug with a knife or quick
"Men get hit and women get grabbed," he said. "Never,
never get in an assailant's vehicle. You may never be seen again or some nasty things will
happen to you."
Selby prescribes the AAA theory of self-defense - accept what is taking
place, adapt to it and then act on it. He believes everyone has "a killer
instinct" when confronted. Fear and the pumping adrenaline can be empowering when
channeled into dealing with thugs.
He added the thumb is the weakest part of the hand. If the event you
are grabbed, direct your attention toward the assailant's thumb. Breaking the hold and
causing pain should yield precious time for escape. Do the damage and then get away, he
"We live in a sheltered area in terms of crime, but it's still
here," Selby said. "People do what they have to do - some comply, others choose
to fight. This is not about winning championships, it is all about surviving."
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