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Running / August 2017
Natalie Chladek, Global Newsroom

3 Self-Defense Strategies for Runners

Road race training requires a serious time commitment. And those long runs can mean you’re putting in miles alone and early in the morning or late at night – situations that can sometimes be dangerous.

We know you’re committed to your training, so we spoke with Gershon Ben Keren, the owner and head instructor at Krav Maga Yashir Boston, to hear his advice for runners who find themselves in dangerous situations.

The self-defense expert recommends a few tactical strategies for self-defense, if you’re attacked.

His most important piece of advice is to do whatever possible to avoid such situations all together. 

“If you’re a runner, you have the option to plan your route,” he says.  “Do some research on the routes you plan to take so you’re not in unsafe situations.”

Do some research on the routes you plan to take so you’re not in unsafe situations.

While it’s all too easy to get lost in your headphones during your favorite playlist, Ben Keren says that being aware of your surroundings is important, especially if something doesn’t seem quite right.

“If your fear system is being triggered, and you have butterflies in your stomach or hair on the back of your neck stands up, don’t go into a state of denial,” he says.

“Your fear system is better at identifying danger than you. Don’t discount it, don’t deny it, and try and identify it.”

Even if you plan your route and maintain awareness of your surroundings, there is a chance you could end up in a dangerous situation.  If so, Ben Keren provides three strategies for defending yourself.  

1. Disrupt, Destroy & Damage, Disengage

When an attacker is violent with you, there are four tactics that will help you protect yourself and get to safety. They are to disrupt, damage, destroy and disengage. 

First, get your hand in your attacker’s face to disrupt the attack.

“Your first goal in any encounter, when surprised, should be to do something that disrupts your assailant’s attack,” he says. 

“Don’t aim for any specific targets, just slam your hand into their face in an aggressive and violent fashion.”

While your hands are in your attacker’s face, scratch and gouge at their eyes to cause damage. 

“After disrupting the attacker, you want to go into ‘damage’ mode and start inflicting as much pain as possible so that they now feel as if they are the ‘prey’ rather than the ‘predator,” he says.

In the destroy phase, use the bottom of your fist to strike your attacker.

“The bottom of your fist, unlike your knuckles, doesn’t require any conditioning, so you can hit as hard as you can, without worrying about damaging your hand,” he says. 

“To survive a violent attack, you need to act more violently than your attacker.”

Strike your attacker repeatedly until you have enough space to disengage and run away.

“Your goal is not to ‘win’ but to stop your attacker from doing what they want to do to you,” says Ben Keren.

2. Bite

If someone has you wrapped up, and you’re unable to use your arms to fight back, you can try biting them.

“Biting can be a very effective way to get them to give you space, as they will want to draw back from the pain,” says Ben Keren. 

“You can also use biting to demonstrate to other attackers who may be present, that you are capable of extreme violence, and are willing to defend yourself.”

3. Commit to Your Primary Location

Sometimes an attacker will try to force you to a different location.  In this case, do everything you can to remain in the location you are rather than where they want to bring you.

“If somebody is trying to move you from one location to another, grab onto anything that you can to prevent him or her from moving you,” he says.

“The longer you can slow your attacker down, the more likely it is that they will be forced to give up on their assault. It may be that you combine this strategy with attacking them to give you the best chance of survival.”

You can find more self-defense information from Ben Keren here and here.  Additionally, the school offers a free self-defense class for women online and in Boston

How do you stay safe on the road?  Let us know by tweeting @Reebok.


Running / August 2017
Natalie Chladek, Global Newsroom