Preparing for the Unexpected: Self-defense Essentials

Most of us think of self-defense as being able to physically defend ourselves. But there is more to the equation as you also need to take care of yourself both mentally and financially. Being able to physically defend yourself isn’t the only benefit of learning self-defense techniques or being armed with a weapon.

While knowing you can defend yourself in all sorts of situations certainly boosts confidence, it also carries other benefits including:

  • Improves focus and balance
  • Makes you more disciplined
  • Better physical and mental conditioning
  • Improves awareness of the surroundings
  • Teaches you to respect yourself and others
  • Helps develop a warrior spirit
  • Helps develop reflexes and make smart moves
  • Helps set clearer goals and objectives
  • Influences your whole life positively

Since physical and mental self-defense is interrelated and it’s really hard to differentiate between the two, here self-defense refers to defending yourself physically. Self-defense can be broadly categorized into two categories i.e. armed self-defense and unarmed self-defense.

Armed Self Defense

Armed Self-defense

Using weapons to defend yourself is the most obvious and perhaps the easiest way to deal with difficult situations that involve violence. That’s because not all of us are kung-fu masters and skilled shooters. You don’t need years of training to use most of the self-defense weapons currently available. Thanks to the recent advancements in technology, we can now defend ourselves using pocket-sized weapons.

However, what’s important is to know which weapon to use in different situations as there is a wide variety of weapons to choose from. You also need to consider legal restrictions, the type of threat you are dealing with and your own experience.

Many regions/states strictly prohibit openly carrying firearms and other types of weapons such as knives, while some allow openly carrying or concealing firearms expressly for self-defense. It’s worth mentioning that everyday items such as baseball bats, kitchen utensils etc. can also be used as improvised self-defense weapons. Here are some main types of weapons you can use for self-defense.

  • Firearms
  • Tactical knives
  • Personal Stun guns and Tasers
  • Pepper and mace spray
  • Tactical flashlights
  • Personal alarms
  • Expandable batons
  • Tactical pens
  • DNA-marker sprays
  • Air guns
  • Monkey’s Fists
  • Self-defense keychains

You should choose a weapon you are most comfortable with and can easily carry most of the times. It should also be easily accessible so you are able to use it the moment you encounter a violent attack. Most of these weapons are legal and can easily be tucked inside a purse, bag or a jacket.

Unarmed Self-defense

Your own body is the ultimate self-defense weapon. This makes taking self-defense classes important or at least learning the basic tactics to defend yourself. Many martial art styles such as Karate, Jujitsu, Wing Chun, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing and Kung Fu are mainly practiced for self-defense, while others are meant to train people to escape attacks or attack-as-a-defense.

Defending yourself without any weapon can be classified into three broad categories i.e. physical training, surveillance and safety gear. Physical training such as martial arts requires quite some time to master, but positively affects many other aspects of your life, including ability to focus, better awareness of the surroundings and mental conditioning for all situations.

Other forms of unarmed self-defense in day-to-day life include:

  • Video surveillance
  • Security alarms
  • Use of armored vehicles
  • GPS tracking
  • Anti-theft gear such as wallets, backpacks and purses

Technological Safety

Technology has become an integral part of our lives, making it important to stay safe in an online world.

RFID based security systems use Radio Frequency tags and allow only authorized people to enter a specific area. While these systems are mostly used in commercial buildings, you can also use them to secure your home.

Here are a few security measures everyone can take to stay safe online and avoid common scams, hacks and exposure to other common threats:

  • Investing in a paid internet security solution (most of them include anti-virus, firewall, VPN, password manager, safe browsing and shopping, anti-phishing, file shredder and more)
  • Avoid using easy-to-guess passwords, change them frequently (at least once every two months)
  • Backup your data regularly
  • Never share sensitive information on non-HTTPS websites, make sure the URL field indicates HTTPS or a padlock
  • Invest in a password-protected router that supports data encryption
  • Better not use public Wi-Fi unless absolutely necessary, use a VPN when using such networks
  • Use a firewall or at least make sure the built-in firewall or the Operating System is enabled
  • Be a smart clicker and stay vigilant of click baits, only click on links that point to websites you trust
  • Share carefully, don’t give out any personally identifiable information impersonators can use to guess your logins and passwords
  • Download apps only from the official stores, side loading might allow you to install a few paid games for free, but you might end up installing malware
  • Keep the operating system and installed software/apps updated, periodically check for security updates and other fixes
  • Consider browsing anonymously, use search engines such as DuckDuckGo to avoid being tracked by online advertisers
  • Browse in incognito/private mode when using a browser on a public computer
  • Use 2-step (aka 2-factor authentication) verification wherever possible especially when dealing with financial information, e.g. providing your password as well as a verification code to login
  • Keep your Wi-Fi locked, use WPA2 encryption

Legal Aspects

As a general rule of thumb, you have the right to self-defense in situations where law enforcement authorities cannot prevent an immediate threat that involves violence. However, private citizens in many regions are limited by law about what they can do to defend themselves. Using force that’s more than what’s needed to dispel an immediate threat is known as excessive self-defense. But we don’t have a clear definition of ‘excessive’ that can help determine what’s excessive and what’s not.

That’s why we should consider legal aspects of self-defense and avoid getting into stuff that’s illegal or unethical. According to US Violence Policy Center, only 1 out of every 38 firearms-related deaths in the country was justifiable. This makes it very important to understand state and federal laws before buying or carrying any weapon for self-defense.

Gun owners even had the option to buy insurance that covers legal expenses related to self-defense (Carry Guard), but now it’s not easily accessible after recent shootings. However, you can still opt for different insurance solutions offered by the NRA and other companies that can save you from legal nightmares. Some call it ‘murder insurance’, but it can help people who are FORCED into using firearms for self-defense. These include insurance of people who carry firearms lawfully and cover the following:

  • Protection against civil liability
  • Cost of defending
  • Access to attorney referrals
  • Supplementary payments
  • Legal retainer fees
  • Firearm replacement
  • Compensation
  • Cleanup costs

Traveling Safe

Self-defense isn’t all about being reactive as there is a lot you can do to prevent untoward incidents. Safety is especially a big concern when traveling and it’s recommended to buy travel insurance when traveling abroad. We have a ton of travel gear to choose from to protect ourselves and our belongings including:

  • Anti-theft backpacks, wallets, purses
  • Travel locks
  • Travel flashlights
  • Anti-theft belts
  • Safety bracelets
  • GPS and Bluetooth trackers
  • Anti-theft camera straps
  • Pickpocket proof clothing

Property Safety

Securing your home and office premises minimizes the chances of burglars and unauthorized people from getting inside. While it isn’t necessary to install a ton of cameras at your home, there should be a system in place to secure the premises including:

  • Alarm system, including burglar, fire and smoke alarm
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Secure door locks
  • Safes

Here are some simple, yet effective tips for keeping your home secure:

  • Keep the windows locked, install glass/window break sensors, use reinforced glass
  • Light up the landscape and keep burglars at bay, light up the front and back yard, pathways, near garage and any other outdoor structures you might have
  • Make sure to always lock the garage doors, if possible use a security code or RFID protection to secure the garage
  • Trim down trees and shrubs, get rid of hiding places and keep ladders and stools away from reach of outsiders
  • Keep the most valuable items such as jewelry and important documents secure in a safe with redundant locks

Examples of office safety equipment include:

  • Biometric verification system
  • Security control panel
  • CCTV cameras
  • Key-card access systems
  • Centrally controlled alarm systems
  • Door and windows sensors
  • Metal safes

Survival, Prepping and Planning for Disasters

It’s not always humans and wild animals that can launch an offensive. That’s why preppers try their best to be prepared for natural and other man-made disasters. Although you might not want to buy all the stuff needed to survive a disaster, you should at least consider the basics including:

  • Bug out bags
  • Alternative power and light sources (which are also useful during power outages)
  • Communication devices such as a radio
  • First Aid kit
  • Transport pack, which you can also use when hiking or camping
  • Multi-purpose knives or multi-tools
  • Shelter and blankets
  • Portable safe and storage locker for keeping cash and other valuable items secure

Women Self-defense

Most aspects of self-defense are common between men and women However, women-specific products are designed to help them defend themselves without having to carry a lot of extra bulk or lethal weapons. Self-defense weapons can prove to be a reliable and convenient source of protection for women who can buy compact, classy and inconspicuous weapons for peace of mind.

Pepper sprays have been the all-time favorite as they can be effective and easy to carry. However, pepper sprays have short shelf life and you might end up hurting yourself in a violent situation, especially in tight spaces such as lifts.

Ultrasonic repellents and dog sprays help protect against animal attacks, while you also have products like a dagger concealed in a hairbrush to deal with violent attacks. Some other women-specific self-defense weapons include:

  • Standard stun guns
  • Lipstick stun guns
  • Tasers for stunning an attacker to get enough time to run away
  • Tactical pens
  • Safety keychains and keychain sticks
  • Flashlights
  • Safety rings
  • Personal alarm and attachable whistles
  • React Mobile Personal Safety App
  • Carbon fiber baton


‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ sums up the topic quite well. Personal and family safety should be a top priority whether you are camping, alone in the home or even walking to your car. Following safety rules and being prepared cannot guarantee 100% protection all the time. But it does provide you with a confidence boost and minimizes the chances of you turning into a statistic. Trouble can find you anywhere, anytime so your best bet it to be mentally and physically prepared to counter all situations.