NJPPSA hosted a Process Server Defense Seminar on September 13th where a 3rd degree black belt, Dan Hiltwine, came in to speak. This interactive seminar not only included a great meal but also tons of self-defense tips and even some board breaking!
Here’s what we learned:
How To Stand
Even turning the body slightly on an angle can help minimize damage if the person does unfortunately resort to an attack. It is easier to absorb a hit through the side of the body than it is something straight on, particularly if that straight on hit includes the face.
Open Your Hands
If you sense the situation becoming tense, simply step back (on an angle of course) and put both hands up, palms facing the aggressor. This gives the person the sense that you are not looking to fight and is meant to calm the situation. For you however, this means your hands are up and ready to block your head and face should a punch come.
It’s much easier to avoid a fight than to have to deal with one. Remember your role and what our job is. Going up to an individual with a negative attitude when emotions are already running high could quickly lead to an escalated situation. Rather remain calm and even smile. It will disarm most people more than you think.
Never turn your back
While at the meeting we heard a story from a member where as she was walking away from a subject, he grabbed her ponytail and she was dragged to the ground. A scary story and not one anyone would want to go through. To avoid these types of situations, Dan gives a recommendation similar to that of how to stand: walk away sideways. Dan also suggests not wearing a ponytail as “If you grab someone from the hair, that person is in total control of your body and where it will go. Don’t give anyone a reason to be able to control you at any time”.
While it’s difficult to walk away by backing up, you can always be slightly turned, even adding in a “have a nice day” as you walk away so it seems as though you are still turned in order to speak with the subject. This allows you to keep an eye on the individual and not be surprised with any unfortunate attacks from behind.
Get a routine
You want to constantly be aware of your surroundings and recognize any potential signs as well as be able to react quickly. To give the most attention possible to this, develop a routine. Keep your keys in the same place, should you need to access them quickly to enter your car. Always park your car facing the same way for the same reasons. Thinking about potential situations and developing routines to allow you to respond to them is one of the best defenses.
To show just how much strength we all have even if we are not aware of it, Dan had members of NJPPSA break boards. Even those who swore they “couldn’t hurt a fly” were able to break the board. It just goes to show you how much we are all capable of without even knowing it.
If you get a chance, definitely go attend a self-defense seminar or take up karate for a little while. The skills learned in this seminar were excellent and would be valuable for any process server to know. While we don’t want to get into a fight, we are all aware that any service could potentially result in given the nature of our business. Good luck serving everyone!