As the weather warms up, more people are going outside and moving their workouts from the gym to the pavement. But with two attempted abductions in the last two weeks, safety is becoming a concern. Both Spencer and Stevens Point Police say their cities are safe, still walkers, joggers and runners need to be a little more vigilant.
Awareness is the first thing Shirley Thao teaches all her self defense classes, followed by a skill she calls "Kiai," or to yell.
"You yell. You say something. People around you, they hear it, they see it, they want to know what's going on over there," Thao explained.
But Thao says no matter how strong your vocals are, you still need to be able to react to what's happening.
"The vulnerable areas on your body, which is your eyes, your throat, the groan area and your knees those are usually the most vulnerable areas. So if you're thinking and you have to attack, those are the areas you want to strike," Thao advised.
Knowing your attackers position is crucial to knowing where to strike.
"When you're being attacked from behind, hand position tells you a lot about where the perpetrator is. That will tell you which areas to strike and how to get out in certain situations." Thao said. "If they're coming straight at you a lot of time it's just stepping to the side and always having your hands up just in case anyone does touch you, you can always push away."
If you have to throw a punch, don't use your fist. Punch with your palm instead.
If you are attacked, it's also important to remember the number one goal is to get away not beat up you assailant. If you do beat up your attacker, you become the assailant and could be arrested.
Some other safety tips for runners and joggers include:
- Run, jog or walk with a companion.
- Run, jog or walk in a familiar and well lit area.
- Always bring a cell phone with you.
- Don't listen to your iPod or MP3 player too loud.
- Wear bright colors to improve your visibility.
- Vary your route of running, jogging or walking.
- Carry some sort of safety device, such as a flashlight, whistle or pepper spray.
- If you feel like you're being followed, find the nearest group of people.