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An Introduction


Bernd (Bernie) Weiss, Ph.D.

Very few of us can say that we nor any of our friends, relatives, or acquaintances have been free of violent crime. In fact recent surveys clearly show that crime is of major concern to most of us.

Fortunately, most of us can learn ways of avoiding attacks which will significantly reduce our chances of being violently confronted. Strategies which keep us out of the way of attacks will be periodically discussed and updated in this column. We will also be describing self-defense moves which can be used to maximize our chances of survival once we are under attack. We will update these items of information on a regular basis to give visitors to this webpage the knowledge necessary to avoid becoming a statistic.

And the statistics look grim!

According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, a violent crime occurs every 21 seconds in the U.S. A Detroit or Los Angeles woman has a 30 to 40 percent chance of being raped. A San Francisco or Los Angeles man or woman has close to a 50 percent chance of being a victim of aggravated assault.

Outside of the U.S. violent crime rates are generally considerably lower. However, according to reports in non-American publications such as the Sydney Morning Herald, the London Times, Der Spiegel, etc., violent crime rates have risen to an extent sufficient to create considerable concern, discussion and self-defense needs.

Cold crime reports and statistics don't address themselves to the billions of dollars worth of medical expenses, time lost from work, legal costs and the tremendous psychological toll for the victims, their friends and their families. But a woman, even with minimal self-defense knowledge, who fights a rapist has a 90 percent chance of escaping without a scratch or a bruise. Likewise, a man with some fighting skills has an 85 percent chance of stopping an attack.

The more strategies you use to fight back -- strategies such as yelling, running, fighting -- the more likely it is that you will escape without harm. And both men and women who stop an attack by fighting have fewer divorces, spend less time with mental health professionals and resume their normal lives much more quickly.

You can reduce your chance of being harmed and assure your survival by practicing the tested self-defense methods we will depict in this column. We also suggest that you take classes offered in your area. We plan to alternate between more difficult self-defense situations and less difficult ones as well as advice about prevention.

Our first topic will deal with a life and death attack which is difficult -- but not impossible -- to defend oneself against. It is a knife attack where an assailant is threatening to cut your throat from behind.

© 1997 Bernd Weiss

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