Self-defense tips for holiday shoppers


by Erin Kennedy

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 3:20 PM

Map: Strong Heart Academy

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PHOENIX – Being preoccupied with buying gifts and other holiday errands can be dangerous. Tess Rafols learned some self-defense tips to be safe during the holidays on "Good Morning Arizona" Thursday.

Mike Martin, owner of Strong Heart Academy, showed how shoppers can practice self-defense and be on alert.

“We need to be aware of all our surroundings,” he said.

A lot of attacks can happen in parking lots as shoppers are carrying heavy bags back to their cars. If someone approaches you, drop your bags, including your purse. When in danger, it’s a lot easier to run without bags in your hands if you need to get away. It’s important to drop everything so you can defend yourself.

“The value of your items is not equal to your life,” Martin said.

A flashlight can be a good weapon to carry around in case of emergency. If approached by a potential threat, shine your flashlight in their eyes. The shining light will temporarily harm the attacker’s vision, making it harder for them to harm you. A powerful flashlight works best.

If attacked or approached by a suspicious person, step back and put your hands up in front of you. This stance shows that you are not fighting, but you are prepared and defensive. Yell, “Stop, I don’t know you, go away,” Martin said. This message is very direct.

Strong Heart Academy is offering free training classes on Saturday, Dec. 14, at 10:30 a.m.

To learn more, visit