Tang Soo Do…Tang Soo Don’t: A black belt’s guide to personal safety

While cleaning up my room, I came across an old issue of my high school newspaper, The Royal, dated March 14, 2008. The issue featured a couple articles on self-defense. Although it’s been four years since its date of publication, the information is still relevant. Since this is my honors capstone project, I thought it would be useful to include these articles simply because they represent the social relevance and overall longevity of the project. Although the self-defense classes have come and passed, these blog entries, this documentation of what went on and general information on self-awareness will remain a permanent fixture online. So, I hope you enjoy these articles. Please note that I have updated these articles to make them timely.


Everyone remembers when 18-year-old Kelsey Smith was abducted outside of a Kansas Target store in broad daylight in June of 2007.Smith was found in a wooded area, dead the following day. While abductions often make headlines, few members of the general public seem to heed their warnings.

We continue to walk past suspicious looking vans parked next to ur cars in otherwise deserted parking logs. We have the mentalality that, “It wont happen to me.” Well, it’s time to wake up. The news says it all; it could happe to you.

As a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, I can offer insight that may just save your life, so listen up.

When faced with a life-threatening situation, most people act on impuse, but some freeze on the spot. Unfortunately for Smith, she didn’t fight back. The average survival rate for an abductee is three hours. Had Smith known even the slightest bit of self-defense, she might’ve survived, or even escaped. Statistics show that 86 percent of women being attacked who fight back not only survive but sustain less injury and often avoid rape and aggravated assault altogether.

When a stranger is shoving you into a car, that’s probably not the best time to freeze or keep quiet.

“Don’t scream or I’ll kill you,” he says as he grabs hold of you from behind. If you were about to be abducted and told not to scream, what would you do? Barrett Moose, 22, said, “I would scream and wet my pants.” Although humorous, his strategy isn’t entirely incorrect. Believe it or not, screaming can be one of your strongest defense mechanisms.

Why shouldn’t you scream? Think about it, whether or not you scream, as soon as you step foot into the assailant’s vehicle, your chance of survival is cut in half. Most people don’t trust their friends enough to put their lives in their hands, so why would you trust a stranger when he “promises” not to kill you if you keep quiet.

You’ve got two options to work with here:

A—Keep quiet and get in the car which will eventually drive you to your death

B—scream and put up a fight.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take option B every time. However, when the offender is bigger and stronger than you, what can you do? Brenna Hogan, a senior at MIT, said “I always liked how [in the movies] they used the cigarette lighters in cars to defray the predators.”

Unfortunately for Hogan, many vehicles these days do not come equipped with the lighters, just the outlets. Furthermore, it takes several minutes to heat up a cigarette lighter. Not everything is instant like in the movies.

When faced with an abduction or assault, first, scream. If that fails, then enough pain on your predator so it sidetracks him, allowing you the opportunity to escape.


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