Turning On The Lights In Self Defense

What do you think of when I say “turning on the lights?”

You may think about going into a dark room and literally “turning on the lights.”

You may think of it in a mental setting when you come up with a solution to a problem that has been on your mind for awhile. Suddenly, the lights turn on in your thinking and you know what to do.

What do we mean when we say “turning on the lights in self defense?”


In the world of situational awareness, white is the color for being “unaware.” It’s the awareness state we’re in during sleep. That’s fine as long as you made sure to lock the doors and windows. However, it’s unfortunately  the awareness state many people are in during their waking time as well.

How often have you seen someone walking in a parking lot or on a sidewalk, or going in or out of a store, reading something on their smartphone?


Where’s their focus? On the phone. That’s not where your focus needs to be when you’re outside. Which leads us to the next color.


Our focus needs to be dialed up to “aware.” That’s the color yellow. That’s where we need to be all day long. Being “aware” is not the same thing as being “afraid.” We trade fear for faith in our ability to defend ourself and others, so “awareness” is the better term.

Confident Shopper

This woman is walking outside with awareness and confidence. Her eyes are straight ahead, but she can easily turn from side to side to widen her field of vision as she walks. She also has a smile on her face. This is opposite of what a predator is looking for in his target.

Attackers do not want to deal with someone who looks confident and is fully aware of their surroundings. They are looking for someone who is distracted, unaware, not paying attention to their surroundings; who looks like they might be an easy target to attack.


If we see or hear something that doesn’t seem right or we sense that something is not as it should be, our focus needs to be dialed up to “beware.” That’s the color orange.

If you are aware of your surroundings (situational awareness), it’s easy to quickly move to beware. You can change direction and move rapidly toward a safe place. You can also face your attacker, take a step back to make distance and get into a strong stance, and put your hands out in front of you in a way that doesn’t appear to be confrontational but moves your hands and arms into a good blocking/striking position.

Woman Karate Stance

If you can get away, get away. However, if you can’t get away .. be ready to dial everything up to red.


If someone physically attacks you, your focus needs to be on a strong “physical response.” Strike fast, hard and continuously until the attacker stops attacking. Strikes to the eyes, nose, throat, solar plexus and groin are primary targets for defense.

Woman Striking Man

SSAP – Surprise, Speed, Accuracy, Power

Surprise your attacker – Yell in their face, put your palms or fingers into their eyes. They don’t expect that kind of response and it will quickly put out the spark in their mind (mind intent). Instead of thinking about hurting you, your response will get them thinking about how you’re hurting them. A quick and forceful response is confusing to someone who is used to attacking women successfully. You are about to disrupt their world.

Speed – Practice defensive techniques that can be completed in 1-2 seconds (or less). Multiple strikes to face, throat and groin in two seconds or less can end the attack. If the attacker doesn’t stop, keep striking and kicking. If you have training in throwing, use it. If you have training in trapping as part of a throwing technique, use it.

Practice your favorite techniques hundreds of times until they become locked in by muscle memory. Practice with your hands and feet for times when you have space between you and the attacker. Practice with your elbow and knees for times when you don’t have space between you and the attacker. Practice using elbows and knees, then stepping back for hand and feet striking. Your goal is to escape. So, know how to hit fast going forward and fast going backward.

Keeping your balance is another important goal. If you lose your balance, you can’t hit as hard and your attacker could take you to the ground. You can still escape from the ground, but it’s harder to do and there’s more chance of you getting hurt if that happens. Do your best not to fall down. Plus, your attacker may have friends nearby. You don’t want to be on the ground with two or more men trying to hurt you.

Accuracy – Practice striking/kicking from your center. That way you will hit what your eyes see. It’s like using the site on a rifle. Practice hitting the eyes with hands and elbows. Practice hitting the nose with hands and elbows. Practice hitting the throat with hands and elbows. Practice hitting the solar plexus with hands and elbows. Practice hitting the groin with feet and knees. If you ever have to use your self defense skills in a real attack, you want your arsenal ready to go and aimed in the right direction.

Power – Put your body into your strikes. Strike and kick like your life is in on the line – because it is. If you can afford it, buy a striking bag or punch shield ($25-$50). If you can’t afford that, use some large, thick pillows. The idea is to give you a large area to aim at for strikes and kicks while keeping your partner safe. If your partner gets hurt, they won’t want to help you anymore. : )


When you wake up in the morning, mentally go from white to yellow – unaware to aware. Stay in yellow (aware) all day, especially when you are outside. However, remember that people can be attacked anywhere, at anytime, by anyone. Don’t let your guard down.

I highly recommend you get some basic training in martial arts. You may love it and stay in training for years, but at least get several months of good training that’s based on effective, real-life self defense. That training will be with you the rest of your life.

If you want to study with a Christian instructor (which I also highly recommend), contact us at Grace Martial Arts and we’ll help you find a qualified teacher in your area.

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© Grace Martial Arts 1990 – 2018



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