It's OK To Be (Self) Defensive: 8 Tips For Staying Safe

The Local Expert: Jason Uga

I started the martial arts at age 8 because I wanted to be a ninja. (Don't judge me.) In high school, I earned my first black belt in an integrated system of the Korean arts of Tae Kwon Do and Hapikdo. I later went on to study and get instructor certified in numerous arts, including: Krav Maga (the official hand to hand system of the Israeli Defense Forces), Jeet Kune Do (the art created by Bruce Lee.) and Kali Silat (Filipino-Indonesian weapon based arts as seen in the Jason Bourne movies) among others.

I have founded my own systems - Universal Grappling Arts and Universal Kali Silat (Like us on FB!) and have been inducted into two martial arts hall of fames. Currently, I work as a personal trainer with a martial arts conditioning focus and teach martial arts to a hand full of personal clients, as well as teaching seminars at martial arts schools and health clubs.

Everyday Tips

1. Use common sense. If the little hairs on the back of your neck say you should cross the street, then do it!

2. Use the buddy system. Don't travel alone in strange areas, especially at night. If you can't bring a buddy, let people know by text/phone/etc when you arrive and leave a destination.

3. Predators come in all shapes, sizes and ethnicities. Don't live in fear, but be aware that anyone could have bad intentions regardless of how they look or act. Ted Bundy is a great example of this.

4. Have your keys ready before you get to your car or home.

5. Your keys are not a weapon. In fact, weapons are tough to use if you have to rummage through your purse to retrieve them. (Ladies, I have seen some of the junk you carry around. That goes for some of you fellas too.)

Tactical Tips

1. Hit Primary Targets - eyes, throat, groin, vagus nerve at the side of the neck (which causes the brain to think it has high blood pressure, so it dumps as much blood into the body as it can, resulting in unconsciousness).

These are primary because it only takes intent (and not skill) to cause injury. Ever have a little toddler unexpectedly swing a hand or toy in your eye? If so, you were taken out of action by a child without intent. So imagine what you could do!

2. Yell Fire. People don't respond to cries of help or rape unfortunately, but yell fire and all the looky loos will come out of the woodwork.

3. You Are Not A Super Hero. (Or are you?!) So don't stick around to sign autographs, hit a target with all of your bodyweight and force and get out of there!


For More From Jason

Twitter: @sifuuga

Facebook: Universal Grappling Arts 



Photo Credits: Additional photos courtesy of