*Note: This is a reprint of an article I wrote under another name a while back.*

I’ve said that self-defense is an attitude backed by knowledge and skills. The knowledge and skills critical to self-defense are very useful in other aspects of your life. And practicing them in your life will keep them sharp for when you need to keep yourself safe.

1. Knowing where things are or can be found. Everyone knows that “awareness” is part of self-defense, but few people understand it in everyday terms. Do you know where the nearest fire extinguisher is? How about the nearest box of Band-Aids? In a more mundane example of awareness, imagine this: you’ve just come home from a long day. You enter through the front door and walk through the living room in order to get to your bedroom so you can change out of your office attire. Did you notice what was in the living room? Where was the remote for the TV? What was on the coffee table? If you saw a magazine on the coffee table, but that it wasn’t lying flat, and couldn’t find the remote for the TV, instead of digging through the couch cushions (because that’s where you found it LAST time), you might find it under the magazine.

2. Knowing who’s around. Ever have someone sneak up on you without meaning to? When was the last time you knew where everyone around you was without having to make visual contact? How about shouting out to someone, only to turn around and find they’ve been standing in the doorway? If someone asked you, “Where’s David?”, could you actually tell them where he was?

3. Finding out about people without asking. I scared someone a couple years back. It was at a reunion, and I’d just been introduced to him. Someone asked him where he was living now, and before he could say anything, I said, “Hondo.” I was a guest of one of the attendees, no one else knew me. The guy gave me a nervous look before confirming my statement. How did I know? He had a key tag with “Hondo Public Library” hanging out of his pocket. When I told him this, he laughed and pushed the tag all the way into his pocket.

4. Knowing the area. How can you give directions if you don’t know your area? Do you know which neighborhood dogs are friendly and which are not? If you’re in a hurry, do you know which alleys and side streets offer the quickest way from point A to point B?

Beware of assuming something taught in a self-defense workshop is properly used only in a self-defense situation. The skills associated with self-defense are useful for a great many tasks beyond their stated purpose.