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Must-Know Tips to Stay Safe When Running, Walking Alone

Outdoor Safety Tips
Written by Ross Cascio

Running and walking are two of the most simple and least expensive ways to get active. But before you head out the door on an early morning or late night jog, it is important to take the proper safety precautions.

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Running and walking are two of the most simple and least expensive ways to get active. We want to make sure you are aware of your surroundings and focused on being safe while being fit and fabulous. Leading safety experts from Krav Maga Worldwide™ explain how to escape from attacks.


Running and walking are two of the most simple and least expensive ways to get active. But before you head out the door on an early morning or late night jog, it is important to take the proper safety precautions. Wearing reflective clothing in low light, staying hydrated, not listening to music too loud, and being aware of your surroundings is a good place to start. It is also vital to know how to respond if an attacker grabs you during your workout. The self-defense experts at Krav Maga Worldwide™ have put together the following guide to explain how to react in a “bear hug” attack from behind.

The first principal of using Krav Maga is to identify the danger or the most dangerous aspect of the attack. This process begins by identifying what type of grabbing attack is being made. The big danger in a bear hug attack, especially from behind, is the potential for the attacker to control the body of and/or lift the other person. Once the attacker controls your body they can lift you and carry you away (into a van, to a place where other people can’t see what’s going on, to a place where friends are waiting to gang up), they can lift you and slam you to the ground (a huge risk of being knocked unconscious by the slam), or they can drag you around in similar fashion.

Krav Maga Worldwide™ teaches students that the best defense against a bear hug attack is to start fighting back right away. There are two things you must do in order to effectively fight back because of the dangers inherent in the attack. The first step is to drop your “base” or make yourself heavy. The second is to “space” or create distance from the attacker. In this case, because the attack is coming on from behind, there is an extra step; you have to “turn in” in order to fight. Here is a breakdown of each step:

BASE – Making your base heavier is relatively easy. When grabbed by the attacker in a bear hug, simply bend your legs and drop the level of your hips. Think of it as basically sitting down into a full squat (thighs parallel to the ground). Drop your hips and sit slightly back and into the attacker, with your head up, not folded forward. This immediately makes your center of gravity lower, which makes you more difficult to lift off of the ground. Dropping your base also puts pressure on the attacker as they know have to deal with your weight. From here, you can start to fight without the danger of being controlled and lifted from the ground.

SPACE – You cannot let the attacker stay close to you in a bear hug. You especially cannot let the attacker keep his/her hips close to you. Think about the last time you moved a piece of furniture, or a box of something heavy, you don’t keep your hips far away from the object and rely on outstretched arms to lift it, you scoot your hips and body close to the object and get underneath it. Along the same lines, an attacker has to be close to you to control you in a bear hug attack. With your “base” low, immediately begin sending strikes in a side-to-side motion to vulnerable areas on the attacker. Krav Maga Worldwide™ students are taught to go for a groin strike first. This strike can be thrown whether your arms are “trapped” meaning encircled by the attacker’s arms, or “free”. A groin strike will often cause the attacker’s hips to reflexively move away thus creating space between your body and the attacker’s. Aggressive and continuous, side-to-side motion also serves to create space from the attacker by making you more difficult to hold onto. It’s more difficult to hold onto someone who is constantly wriggling, than it is to hold on to someone who is static.

TURN IN – When you feel you have a solid base, and continuous side to side strikes at vulnerable areas have created just a little bit of space between the attacker and yourself, your are going to “turn in” or turn toward the attacker to continue the fight. You can’t effectively finish the fight with the attacker on your back. And it’s certainly going to be more difficult to get away with an attacker hanging on you. Krav Maga Worldwide™ students are taught to recognize when sufficient space has been created, and make their move to “turn into” the fight where they have full use of all their strikes. You can turn either direction once the space is there, but whichever direction you turn, you are going to turn in behind your elbow. So, if you are rotating to your left to turn toward the attacker, you are going to raise your left arm in front of your face so that the soft targets of your face (nose, mouth, eyes) have something slightly blocking them in case the attacker is looking to strike at you during the transition. You can also use this raised arm to deliver elbows and hammer fist attacks as you are turning in. Once you have turned “into the fight” you will continue to aggressively strike at all vulnerable areas until the attacker is broken and you can get away without being impeded.

For more safety tips and additional information about Krav Maga training, visit: www.kravmaga.com.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I have accepted that I am human and I’m going to have days that are peaks, and some that are valleys. I’m still working to accept that I can’t always control when these peaks and valleys are going to come, I have to be the best me that I can and work with the good and the bad. 

2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I appreciate quiet times and small achievements. Our journeys in life are often made in small steps not huge leaps. Appreciate small accomplishments and keep an eye on the big goal. I’m still working to appreciate that set backs are often learning experiences and can make us stronger.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

One of my most rewarding achievements in life has been establishing a home and a little family where I’m accepted unconditionally. I’m most proud of people who I have helped achieve their own goals. I still have a dream and a goal of learning and improving myself everyday.

4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

I’m impatient. I’m quick to judge, sometimes.  I’m subject to getting stressed and grumpy and not appreciating small things. These things are part of what makes me who I am because I’m often happiest when I’m able to get past these imperfections and not let them affect my mood and my day. 

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my life, my family, and my dog!!!

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About the author

Ross Cascio

Founded in 1997 to promote Krav Maga throughout the United States and around the world, Krav Maga Worldwide trains and certifies instructors and licenses over 150 authorized Krav Maga Worldwide training centers in the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South America, and Europe, as well as over 800 law enforcement agencies and military units. Krav Maga offers the highest caliber of instruction to thousands of people, supporting the company’s core commitment to improving and saving lives. Krav Maga Worldwide continues to develop, promote and implement self-defense and fitness programs. For additional information, visit: www.kravmaga.com.