HARD TARGET GUIDE
The one attack you are guaranteed to survive is the one you can prevent.
Welcome to this introductory guide, where you will learn how to increase your Situational Awareness for the purpose of violence prevention. Before we get into the guide, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this information and for being proactive about your safety. The material you are about to cover is simple yet effective. It has helped so many others become more aware of their surroundings, prevent danger and even evade threats of both physical and sexual assault.
Stay safe and live well,
About This Guide
This Intro Safety Guide is all about becoming a Hard Target—someone less vulnerable to being targeted for an attack. The tips in this guide will focus on improving your Situational Awareness, which simply means being more aware of your surroundings in a tactical way.
Remember, self-defense is not just about learning physical defenses, it is about learning how to prevent dangerous situations to the best of your ability. What’s great is that you don’t need to be paranoid or live in constant fear to do this. You can be alert and aware, and still enjoy the moments you want to experience.
Becoming a Hard Target is about developing a Survival Mindset that can alert you to dangers around you, and can provide options for removing yourself from the situation or help you to avoid being targeted altogether.
Overall, The faster you can recognize something suspicious, the faster you can react to it; and the more aware you are of your surroundings, the more you can use them to your advantage.
This guide focuses on how to be aware of what is happening around you and how to recognize Survival Elements that can save your life.
Disclaimer: This guide does not go into physical defenses and it does not go in-depth in terms of covering scenario specific tips/guides (such as jogging safety, travel safety, dating safety, etc.). If you would like access to our Scenario specific guides, please fill out our form and one of our team members will set you up!
Before you go out...
Being a Hard Target starts before you head out for the day. Whether you are leaving your home, office, or car, make sure that you have the safety essentials with you that are listed below. If you are traveling and can leave your passport and other ID behind (such as your social security card), it’s best to do so; make sure they’re at home or locked in a hotel room safe. Otherwise, make sure you have the following with you:
Cash/Credit Card (some in a wallet or money belt, and some hidden, for example in a bra wallet or a shoe)
Charged Phone & Charger
Any self-defense device (that you are legally allowed to use). We recommend having the Kubotan on you (see below)
It is also good to carry an anti-theft purse (one that sits across the body, instead of hanging off your shoulder and that has built in safety features like this one). Make sure you:
Wear it across your body
Keep the purse in front of you
Hold on to the body of the purse when in public places (such as festivals, busy streets, subway, etc.)
Keep it on you if you can (for example, don’t leave it hanging on the side of your chair while at a restaurant)
Don’t compromise your senses. Avoid compromising your senses (primarily your sight and hearing) when you are out in public. This means taking your earphones out so that you can be aware of what is happening around you. This also means putting your phone away so that you can see what is happening in the present moment. This simple state of being—which can be hard to achieve in this day in age—requires discipline. So make the decision to be present. Your safety will improve and your mindset will thank you for it!
Challenge: Can you identify a time in your daily routine where you tend not to be aware of what is happening around you because of a distraction that you have the power to eliminate?
It is extremely important to communicate confidence and awareness through your body language when you are out in public. By not being distracted, you show a possible attacker that you are aware, alert and more likely to notice suspicious or dangerous behavior early on. Muggers and other attackers have said in surveys that they were less likely to target a more aware individual than someone distracted and easy to approach from behind.
A Safe Location provides you with 360 degrees of safety. Take note of Safe Locations around you (especially in those places you frequent). Great examples include: Safe/Panic Rooms or a Room you can barricade yourself in, Locked Car, Local Police/Fire Station, Local Hospital and even Crowds of People who can come to your aid.
Not all “exits” are the same when it comes to your safety. A Survival Exit is an exit path that will lead you to a Safe Location. Pay attention to the doors and exits around you, and note which ones are truly Survival Exits.
Challenge: Can you think of exits that are considered Survival Exits?
When you are out and about in your neighborhood or traveling abroad, pay attention to what is around you. Even though it may seem harmless, it is important to report any bag or suspicious object that is left unattended. Notify authorities immediately, you could be saving lives.
Take notice of any barrier that is between you and an exit. A barrier can be a table, couch, wall, etc., and it can keep someone from getting too close, or it could get in the way of you escaping. The key is to understand your layout, and what is going to help or hinder you, in the case that you have to react quickly to a threat.
Surfaces can be used to your advantage, especially when eliminating your blind spot. You can lean against a Flat Surface (such as a wall or pillar) which will prevent someone from approaching you from behind, or you can use a Reflective Surface (such as a window or computer screen) to check behind you when you are in an open space.
It is important to be able to quickly scan and clear dangerous areas where someone could be hiding. Examples include:
In between cars in a parking lot
In the back seat of your car
In a shadow
Behind a bush
The best habit to develop is to scan for feet in areas where someone can hide and to know your blind spots in locations that you frequent.
An improvised weapon is any everyday object that you can creatively use to defend yourself. Some great examples are pens, umbrellas, and chairs. Make it a point to recognize improvised weapons around you, or have at least one on you that you can use (for example a steel pen).
Pay attention to who is around you. If you see someone suspicious, first look at their hands to see if they are armed or not. Some other red flags, or pre-assault indicators, include aggressive verbal/body language, disrespecting your personal space (especially if you have asked them to stay back), and signs of stalking (whether you know them or not).
If someone is targeting you, escape to a safe location immediately, grab an improvised weapon if possible, and call the police.
Your Intuition is your internal alarm system that will go off when it senses danger. It is so important that you train yourself to listen to that little voice inside of you that warns you when you could be in possible danger. Here are some examples of scenarios where you should listen to your Intuition and react accordingly:
Asking a suspicious person to stay back when you don't feel safe or comfortable with their behavior. If they ignore you, you can quickly confirm that person is in fact targeting you and you should first try to escape and call for help while getting ready to grab an improvised weapon and/or defend yourself if needed.
Leaving an unhealthy or abusive relationship because you fear for your safety, and you are worth protecting.
Not engaging in a conversation with a stranger that makes you feel unsafe. It is okay to not be polite and listen to them, your safety is more important. Leave immediately.
When It's Not Worth It
There are dangerous situations that if you are unable to escape or diffuse, can quickly escalate to violence or even worse. This means that in certain situations you have to realize that some reactions are not worth the risk. For example, if a robber is asking you for your belongings, it may be better to just give them what they want (while being ready to defend if needed) instead of fighting them off to keep your belongings. “Things” can be replaced, you can’t.
Thank you for completing our Hard Target intro guide and taking the time to be proactive about your safety.
Please share with others, as this could help save someone’s life!
Also, if you wish to access our full program, please fill out our form and one of our team members will assist you.