Self-Defense Instructors Teach Situational Awareness
Safety begins long before resorting to firearms
ANCHORAGE - If I were going to attack someone, it would not be Steve McDaniel. He is the owner of Alaska Tactical, a store that sells firearms and also offers courses in firearms and self defense.
He says, for him, safety is a way of life. In the store, you'll note some, if not all, of the employees carry a gun. Two large black and brown dogs trail him around the store.
One of the courses Alaska Tactical offers is a ladies-only defensive handgun class. Here women are taught how to use a handgun, but the safety starts long before a gun comes out of the holster.
Situational awareness is key. McDaniel gave an example of going out late to go shopping and only finding a parking spot six blocks away: "Get back in the car and go home." He said think about the steps you're taking to put yourself in a dangerous situation.
Susan Young teaches one of the self defense courses. She said self defense wasn't something she thought a lot about until she was attacked and nearly raped. "It changed my mentality," she said.
About 10 years ago, she started taking classes at Alaska Tactical and she said it became a lifelong journey. Now she's an instructor, helping others learn what to do if the worst happens. Everyone at Alaska Tactical advises training so that when you're faced with an attacker, your body reacts automatically. She also mentioned things you can do every day to be safer. If she could give one tip, it would be to pay attention when walking to your car.
"We should get in the car, shut the door, lock the door and drive, don't sit there and fiddle-fart with your cell phone."
In retrospective, people often forget that stress can actually change how your senses work.
McDaniel described it as your body preparing for battle. He said you can actually train yourself what to do. "If you have rehearsed and you train and you have a plan, then that's what you'll rely on." And that goes for if you're using a gun or pepper spray.
He also said not to underestimate your gut feelings. "If your gut tells you something, just go with it."