The Seven Steps of Self Protection

The Seven Steps of Self Protection

What is the difference between self protection and self defense?

Self defense, like many words that are overused, has lost a clear definition. It can range from a legal term used to describe your actions in a dangerous situation to the name of the class being taught at your local continuing adult education program. Self defense as it will be defined in this report deals with a level of personal skill and is only one part of the larger subject of self protection.

Self Protection is concerned with everything necessary to keep you safe, healthy and happy. This report deals mainly with your safety, however it is difficult to separate one from the others.

There are seven steps or levels of Self Protection: 

  • Self worth
  • Awareness
  • Prevention
  • Evasion
  • Escape
  • Defense
  • Defeat

The seven steps are all interrelated. The purpose of this report is to define these steps, give you a better understanding of each and show you how an improved knowledge of them can make you safer, healthier and happier.

Self Worth

The lack of self worth, low self esteem and self doubt are at the heart of almost all emotional pain and very often physical pain. There are thousands of books and videos about improving your self worth. Many people have struggled with this one major issue all their lives. This one issue affects every part of your life more than anything else.

At LIVE we want you to understand how important self worth is to your safety. To understand this you need to understand the mindset of the men that cross the line to violence. They are predators and simply put predators attack what they believe to be the weakest target. Low self esteem can make you appear to be vulnerable. 

This does NOT mean that any violence you have faced or will face is your fault.

If you have low self worth you may be less aware of the dangers to you. With low awareness of the dangers around you, it is difficult to take preventative measures or take the time to learn how to protect yourself by means of evasion, escape, defense and defeat.


If we continue now from the point of view that you are worth protecting, and you are, awareness of the dangers to you both external and internal would be the next step.

Awareness of the external dangers that affect your safety is about taking into consideration everything around you in the present moment. Most of the time, your mind is either looking forward to the things you have to do or backward to past events replaying them over and over again. Life is lived in the present, not the past or future and when it comes to protecting yourself your awareness must be in the present moment. Observational skills are the key to success in this area. These skills can be learned with simple games and exercises.

Internal dangers are the physical, mental and emotional habits we have that are detrimental to our health and happiness. The first step to becoming aware of these in your life would be to watch your thoughts, words and actions on a daily basis. 


Prevention is the attempt to reduce the likelihood of violence both external and internal from yourself. It requires you to be aware of the past, present and future. You must become aware of the physical dangers in your area that have occurred before and compare them to your present daily routines and habits to see where there is the potential for the two to intersect. Prevention would then be a combination of altering your routines and putting into place safeguards to avoid any dangers in the future. This same process applies to internal dangers, your thoughts, words and actions as they pertain to you, and how to prevent them. Prevention is the last active step you can take before violence strikes.  

When Violence Strikes

The last four steps or levels of self protection are the ones that are needed and used when the violence occurs, it is already happening and there is nothing you can do to prevent it.


Evasion of violence is the ability to avoid an attack when it happens. Evasion doesn’t engage violence directly; it’s the skill of avoiding it while it is occuring. Ducking out of the way of a punch, dodging something thrown at you, swerving your car out of the way to avoid an accident are all instances of evasion. Evasion is seeing, sensing and being aware of the violence coming your way then moving so it misses you.


Escape is the ability to free you from an attack. It is when the attacker has gotten a hold of you. The skills necessary to escape violence consist of moving along with the force of an attack, utilizing gravity, and an attacker’s natural reaction to loss of balance to find open space and escape into it.

The skills that make up evasion and escape are the core of LIVE: Lessons In Violence Evasion. They have been virtually lost to the martial arts and self defense industries. Telling a woman or a child to kick and punch an attacker and then run does not qualify as evasion and escape. That is fighting.

Fighting Back

Defense and Defeat are what comes to mind most when people think about self protection, however these two skills are the most difficult to attain. They take years of training, the desire to learn them and instructors skilled in these areas. Defense and defeat are when you actively engage the attacker by using your force and skill against them. It is physically fighting your attacker. 


Defense is the ability to use force to deter an attacker and stop an attack. The key term in this definition is “deter.” Your actions, whether you are punching and kicking, using pepper spray or any other type of force must be sufficient enough to change the mind of an attacker. This is usually accomplished through pain. When their pain is greater than their desire to attack you they will cease. This equation can vary greatly depending on the mental outlook of your attacker. That’s why there is one more level of self protection.


Defeat is the ability to control an attacker when they won’t be deterred. To reverse the situation and control them by using force. It can and usually includes all of the skills used in defense but takes your response to an attack to a different level by being able to overcome an attacker and control them. This can be done through a variety of controlling techniques including takedowns, joint locks, chokes, holds, or just by causing them serious physical injury.

The skill level necessary to be able to do this in any situation such as; multiple attackers or when weapons are involved, let alone a single attacker, is immense. Not only do you have to contend with the physical and emotional requirements of defending yourself but you must take into account the legal and moral ramifications of doing so. This is why it takes years to not only acquire these skills but to build up the confidence and control to know when to use them. Unfortunately the skills of defense and defeat are what the majority of women’s programs attempt to teach. They don’t take into account the realty of violence against women.

Fight or Flight

When you are attacked your natural instinct takes over and sounds an alarm by pumping adrenaline into your body. This sends you into the fight or flight response. In actuality it is a fight, flight or freeze response. This natural response has a built in acceleration process to determine which you will do. 

If you believe you can defeat your attacker you will fight. If you don’t believe you can defeat your attacker, flight becomes the choice and you will try to escape. The last response is caused when you are so overcome with fear your mind can not think of anything so it freezes. Very few women feel that they can defeat a man in an attack whether they have been trained or not, making flight or freezing the more likely choice. It doesn’t mean women can’t fight, but the majority of the violence women face is from people they know which makes fighting an unlikely and difficult choice.

Our response to this was to create LIVE: Lessons In Violence Evasion, a non-offensive means for women to evade, escape and survive a violent situation. LIVE teaches women how to do what they want to do in a violent situation, GET AWAY. Because the concepts are so simple and natural and they match the emotional state for the majority of women in a violent situation, it is more likely to eliminate the freeze response and allow women to escape. 

Stop playing by men’s rules, let go of fear and discover your natural ability to evade and escape violence:

Start Now