The subject of what precisely it is that makes a criminal go, “Nah…not that one. I need to find a different one.” as they seek out a target is something that has been an ongoing topic of interest for me.
With my size (6’5″ and 255 lbs.), I tend to be dropped from the interview process pretty early on.
But what about the non-giants among us?
How is it that some people are simply passed over in favor of an easier victim.
Within the self-defense industry, there are some common themes that are used to answer this question.
Posture is often mentioned. The way you carry yourself will tell a predator a lot about your levels of confidence, and that information helps determine how willing you are to fight back. Posture can also give indications of your overall health, which will give clues as to your ability to fight back as well.
Awareness is quite often sited, and is certainly another factor. If your eyes are glued to the tiny screen on your phone, and you are oblivious to what is going on around you, then you could be ambushed without much planning at all.
There are also several other factors which could be listed as well; how you are dressed, other indicators of social status and so on.
But there is one thing that ties all of these together.
Communication. Specifically the unspoken communication.
Some of the wannabe gangster kids on my campus can be acting very ignorant in the cafeteria at lunch time, and be shamed into silent and proper behavior with nothing more than locked eye contact with me, and a single slowly raised eyebrow. It is a technique I learned from my Wife, as this is the look she gives me when I do or say something stupid…which seems to be quite often at times.
Back in the 90’s I spent some time working as a Bouncer. The popular idea of that profession is that if someone acts out of line, you beat them up and throw them out. The truth is that if you are a bouncer and fight the drunk guy, you’re doing your job wrong because fighting is bad for business. The good Bouncers learn to stop most of the troublemakers through nothing more than presence, and that silent communication that if you keep on, things are going to get ugly.
So my point here is, yes – train. Learn to protect yourself in a fight. Get in shape. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep your inner-monkey brain in check.
But learn to silently communicate that you are not an easy target.
It is a lot easier to handle situations before they turn physical. And you become so much safer when the bad guys skip you in their search for a soft target.