It’s been many years since I trained in Cuong Nhu Oriental Martial Arts style, but I remember their guidance on few key wrong things to avoid and this has helped keep me out of trouble. These things to avoid are called the Five W’s of Self-Defense. They are wrong time, wrong place, wrong people, wrong attitude, and wrong techniques.
While the five W’s may seem like a silly mnemonic device, they are actually powerful truisms. If you avoid the five W’s and pay attention to the five A’s of self defense, you will live a lifestyle that will generally help you avoid trouble.
Wrong time. Crimes happen day and night. But, radio talk show host Neil Boortz has often said that nothing good happens after midnight and he may be right. The drunk drivers are out on the roads and criminals may use the cover of darkness to commit robberies, burglaries and other violent crimes. Most sexual assaults and rapes happen at night. Convenience stores are often the targets of late night robberies. If you can avoid being out at the wrong time, you may reduce your chances of being targeted.
Wrong place. Have you ever noticed how many shootings happen after midnight in the parking lots of strip clubs or bars? If you watch your local news, you will soon see patterns in the crimes that happen in your community. You can avoid a lot of problems by avoiding high crime neighborhoods, frequently robbed convenience stores, and rowdy bars where fights happen regularly.
Wrong people. It seems like half the world’s criminals were good boys who just fell in with a bad crowd. If your friends are involved in criminal activity, it’s likely that you too will get caught up in their crimes intentionally or through circumstances. Criminal activity is not a rite of passage, a mistake people make, or an uncontrollable urge. It’s a result of poor decision making and choosing the wrong friends. It’s important to avoid being friends with criminals or people who are likely to be criminals. Similarly, if you recognize gang members or other potential criminals out on the street, you are well advised to give them a wide berth.
Wrong attitude. Do you think you are a bad dude now that you’ve gotten your concealed carry permit, your black belt, or your slick pocket knife, you’re half way to problems right there. Accumulating weaponry may simply lead you down the road to becoming a mall ninja. If you carry a concealed weapon, you don’t want to be a cop wannabe. Don’t get caught up in macho efforts to prove your toughness. Often it takes more strength and self-control to back down from a situation than to get involved in a fight.
Wrong techniques. It’s important to use the appropriate technique to avoid conflict and prevail with appropriate force should if you are attacked. Techniques like using reasonable tones, being assertive, or walking away usually work well. But, when they don’t, you must be ready with the right self-defense techniques to defend yourself.
Over the years, I’ve been able to keep out of trouble by being aware of my surroundings and avoiding people and places that are likely to expose me to crime. You can do the same by remembering the 5 W’s of self-defense.
“Philosophy” – Cuong Nhu Sung Ming Shu Dojo, Atlanta, Georgia
Other articles by this contributor:
Non-Lethal Weapons for Self-Defense
A Guide to Handguns for Arthritics, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Sufferers, and Others with Weak Wrists
How to Choose a Handgun for Concealed Carry