Since I started writing my column, every year starting with Halloween thru New Year’s I advise how to survive the holidays by staying safe, crime-free and healthy by not gaining weight.
My first article was written in October 2000 on Halloween safety, and last year, I wrote an article entitled “Stay Safe and Healthy for the Holidays” with ten safety tips and five strategies to combat holiday weight gain. (You can find this article archived at the Doral Tribune’s website).
This year, I’m writing about awareness for the holiday season which is always filled with expectations of warmth and carefree good times. It’s a time to take vacations and to celebrate with family and friends, a time of preparation and giving.
Criminals also love the holidays by preparing to steal your joy.
Since most of us rarely think about crime prevention during the holidays, let’s learn to be aware of both actions and surroundings when shopping, out for dinner and on vacation. If you have children, be aware of their presence, where they are and what they’re doing. Also be aware of predictable body changes when eating everything around us and failing to exercise. As a martial arts and fitness instructor, I always try to observe my surroundings carefully at a restaurant or movie, and while driving and shopping. I’ve learned anti-crime awareness from 10 years’ duty at a maximum security prison, as an officer, in the US Marine Corps and as a Krav Maga IDF (Israeli Defense Force) Self Defense instructor.
To be academy certified to work at a prison, you’re taught how to be constantly aware of your surroundings simply because a convict is always planning to be one step ahead of you, and having 24 hours to think about deceiving an otherwise alert guard.
When hardened criminals go to prison, they learn newer strategies to ruin the holidays thru surveillance, robbery attacks and sophisticated stealing techniques. Upon leaving prison (or what I call “Thug University”), they’ve become even better at committing a crime.
Parris Island (N.C.) boot training for U. S. Marines instills awareness instinct under stress for 16 hours or more hours a day, seven days a week for 12 weeks. Boot camp graduates not only walk and talk differently, they’re confident, sharp, lean and mean and totally aware of their surroundings. But you don’t have to enlist in the Marine Corps to stay safe this holiday season.
For most adults I recommend learning Krav Maga as taught to the Israeli military. It’s a way to get fit, learn crime awareness and gain the confidence to defend yourself and your family.
A few tips to help you stop making it easy for the criminal mind to make you a victim:
Predators seek easy targets so those appearing alert are less likely to become victims.
Body language combats the attacker picking the victim, so learn to walk like a predator, not the prey.
If you have a poor body image, it will show in your posture, movements and the way you handle yourself. Carry yourself confidently, upright and purposefully.
Low self-esteem shows in facial expressions and tone of voice. That’s bait to a shark – so learn to act with mannerisms of the shark—not a goldfish.
This holiday season, walk proud, be aware and alert, and you shall walk in peace.
Have a safe and joyous Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year.
Julio Anta has owned and operated Anta’s Fitness and Self Defense in Doral since 1998.
You can contact him at 305 599-3649 or via the internet at www.AntaMartialArts.com