How to use your legs and brains, claws and fangs:

By Cranford Blackmon

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We can learn a lot from nature.  Animals can teach us so much about community, having fun, and staying safe.  We just need to pay attention.  Staying safe like the animals do is something that is already within us.  But, now that we’re “civilized,” we forget HOW to do that stuff.  So here’s some reminders for your animal brain on being safe:

Pay attention

Keep your eyes open.  Listen for strange sounds (or talking that’s supposed to trick you into doing something unsafe). Sniff around a bit.  If something stinks of crookedness, be ready to act!

Make eye contact

If the potential problem is a person, look right at them.  Not like a staring contest or a challenge!  Just make sure the person sees you seeing them.  Bad guys don’t like to target people who they can’t surprise or who can describe them to the police.

Communicate clearly

If you need help, ask for exactly what you need (“get this guy off of me!”). Be clear in your response to questions. Him: “Can I buy you a drink?”  You: “No and I’m not playing hard-to-get. Please leave me alone.” Not working? Get VERY loud and VERY direct (this also draws attention to your situation from others, which is a good thing).

Respond as needed

If you are being threatened or someone has their hands on you, react as though your life is in danger. Fight if you must, using every tool you have – pepper spray, taser, heavy mug, fingernails (claws).  If you’ve taken our Claws & Fangs course you’ll know you have lots of tools and you’ll know how to use them.  The goal is to cause enough stress, pain, or injury to stop an attack so that you can move on to the next step.


Whether you had to fight or just use your voice to stop someone, once you’ve stopped the attack or the threatening behavior, get away from the danger! If you’re in a public place, grab someone and tell them what happened and ask for help.  If you’re in a remote or unpopulated area, get as far away from the danger as quickly as you can (you learn EXACTLY how to do this if you’ve taken the Legs & Brains course).

Then you start over again, going through the steps as many times as you need to.  Animals are pretty smart when it comes to surviving.  It doesn’t matter whether it is an elk, a rabbit, a wolf, or your house cat, they all use these steps.  You should too!

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Take care and stay safe.


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