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How to Survive a Street Attack


It is easy enough to preach away about not walking alone at night down dark alleys away from the relative safety of crowds and cameras, but the reality is that some attacks happen on purpose. Singled out we can all become prey and with violent crimes at a national high in the UK, and last week’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) latest crime statistics showing that knife crime in England and Wales has risen to a record high (in the 8 year recorded period from 2011) it makes sense to be prepared. But how prepared?


The biggest piece of advice that we give at the UKGF is train, train and train some more but not necessarily in combat - in running. Work on your sprint work on your cardio for long distance, do everything you can at any given opportunity to run, run fast and run far from any attacker. This also means you need to do some internal work on your ego, to turn and run does not make you weak it is common sense! Any combat situation from playground fisticuffs to organised martial arts competitions for sport to sparring in a gym to a full on street fight hold an element of danger for everyone including experienced martial artists. Eat your ego before you fight and you’ll increase your chances of coming away unscathed by a long way.



Ok enough of the Zen talk, let’s discuss what happens when all the peaceful warrior, 100m sprint options aren’t available. Here are your next best options to be used only when you cannot escape to safety and avoid conflict.



What is Combat Glíma?

We use the term ‘combat’ to describe any situation when you or persons with you are threatened or attacked and you are forced into a defensive situation. In this case the usual Glíma skills of balance, speed and technique which we train for regularly come in to play. Equally important is how we react and assess the situation not just once but constantly throughout the engagement; are there one or more attackers (can I run away), are they armed (can I run away), could they be concealing a weapon (can I run away), are there witnesses or cameras to corroborate my story as the victim not the attacker, can I escape now without engaging (ie. run away), is there an escape route once I have immobilised my attacker and so on. There is a lot to take in during any combat scenario, the actual techniques you use are just a fraction of this much larger picture and so the more you train the greater chance you have of getting home safely. If you are forced into a situation where running away really ISN’T an option, I can’t stress enough these points when it comes to defending yourself:



It’s you or them

(You really must treat it that way. If your intent to survive doesn’t at least equal your attacker’s intent for you not to, you won’t)


Forget morals and ethics

(But remember the law - use only the amount of force absolutely necessary in the situation. Find out more about the law and ‘reasonable force’ in this post)


Be sneaky

(They sure as Hel will. Offer your wallet but drop it and then attack, stamp on their feet, scream fire, whatever it takes to take them off guard)


Never strike only once

(If you do you’ll likely just aggravate your attacker. ‘Don’t poke the bear’ as the old adage goes)


Maul and dominate your opponent

(Get in, get multiple strikes, get them down, be everywhere at once)


Be fast, fierce and unyielding

(When you commit to engage, do not hesitate and do not stop until you can guarantee your safety)


Immobilise and escape

(Don’t keep the fight up on the ground, and don’t hang around to get extra digs in. Escape at the first safe opportunity and as soon as possible report the incident to the authorities with as much detail as you can recall)



I’d like to add at this point that, in the eyes of the law, if you injure your attacker no matter what evidence there is to show that you were the victim - you must be held accountable for your actions. This is why we always stress that you don’t do any more than is absolutely necessary to stun, overpower and escape from your attacker and I’ll use that legal term once more ‘reasonable force’. If you get taken or called in to give an interview about your actions ALWAYS do so with a solicitor present. Please trust me on that, I am speaking from my own personal and very valuable experience.

I hope this post has given you some things to consider but please remember, as much as you will consider it and as much running practice and ego work you do it will forever be just a theory until it is tested, so why not get in touch and find your closest Glíma Academy or join me for a Masterclass session in Sport & Combat Glíma. The next one is on November 3rd and there are more details here.

Stay safe!

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