It is December in Toronto and winter is here. Yeah! The best season of the year! Who is with me?
Okay, so winter is not everyone’s cup of tea (or hot chocolate). For Torontonians, Canadians and other global communities, winter comes every year. We dress warmer, change our winter tires, and turn on our furnaces and space heaters.
Winter also has some implications for self defense. Here are some factors to consider when “Old Man Winter” arrives.
Extra Clothing: Extra layers of clothing hinders our mobility. Punching or grappling in a parka is not an easy task. Hoods, toques and hats can also hinder our vision. Scarves and hoods also offer an assailant more to grab and control. I shy away from hoods and scarves for this reason.
Distraction. Winter can hinder awareness. Besides headgear and scarves, the bitter cold can distract. How many times have you seen people walking with arms hugging themselves, hunched over, moving headlong, anxious to get out of the cold? Their focus is on the cold and less on their surroundings.
Less People. People still venture out of course but tend to spend more time indoors in cold weather. This means, among other things, that there are less witnesses and people who could potentially help in the event of an assault.
Stability. Of course, ice and snow are factors. Particularly relevant is the challenge of maintaining stable footing. Running, kicking, moving, even standing on snowy and icy surfaces is difficult. We teach break falls not only to land safely from assailant takedowns but also from slippery surfaces.
Training outside during the winter is not a popular practice. In fact, we are confident we would go out of business if we did this on a regular business. It is important, however, to venture out into the cold outdoors and practice some basic movements and defenses. You will notice a difference and be better prepared if something does happen.
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