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Victim or Survivor: What would you do if you were attacked?

victim or survivor

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In a matter of seconds a walk back to your car or a refreshing run outside can turn life-threatening. If you’re ever attacked will you be a victim or survivor?

The difference may depend on just a few critical decisions. KRDO’s Brynn Carman put herself to the test, and she joins us now with potentially life-saving information. 

With the help of a martial arts expert, we created a simulated attack. Brynn knew the attack was coming at some point, just not the exact moment. It was scary and felt very real. 

Brynn thought she put up a good fight: screaming, kicking and attempts to roll away.

“You bucking your hips was perfect,” said Robert Koski. “You facing your assailant was perfect. You were trying to fight him. You don’t want to turn around and give your back. Once you are face down he has control.”

Even though Brynn did some things right, it wasn’t enough to get away.

“It’s frustrating, you think about it over and over and what would you do in the moment and when it all happens your adrenaline is running so fast and if you are already out running you are out of breath a little, so it was tough," said Brynn.

So what did Brynn do wrong?

“Running and having earbuds in you have no environmental awareness,” said Koski. 

Koski owns Krav Maga of Southern Colorado. He has over two decades of law enforcement training and martial arts experience. In addition to ditching the headphones, Koski says you have to learn how to control panic and react fast. Something that’s easier said than done.

“Training your mind comes with training your body,” said Koski. “There is a direct mind and body connection.”

In addition to practice, carry something that can be used as a weapon may be key.

“With this I can use it as a weapon and strike him in the face and to the throat and it’s a force-multiplying because I am taking that same impact area and shrinking it down to that little quarter-inch diameter, said Koski.

After learning some moves. Brynn hits the trail again. This time without headphones and discreet weapons in hand.

For the second attack, Brynn had a handheld alarm that caught her assailant off guard.

“Initially that threw me off and my focus went from you to trying to shut that up and hold you down while you were fighting,” said Jered Case.

“My grandma gave me this a few years ago for Christmas,” said Brynn. “It’s called a NanoBanshee and you can pull it this way, there’s a flashlight on one side and a button on the other side for the alarm. Obviously this is a great deterrent for people around and hopefully someone else on the trail biking, out with their dog or on a run can hear you. It brings attention and then you combine it with this and you’ve got yourself an actual weapon.”

“Then you used the kubutan and I could feel every one of your strikes and there was one time you got me and I could feel the nerves in my hand  give up and then right as you got away you hit me in the top of the thigh just above my knee and as soon as you did that I couldn’t get up to grab you,” said Case.

It wasn’t the most graceful escape, but I sort of got away.

“The adrenaline of the fight and getting away took over, I needed to calm my mind down and reignite my legs because, like we can see in the video, total jello when I got up because I was happy to be free, but you’ve still got to keep that focus,” said Brynn.

“Even though I overpowered you, I weigh more than you, I am bigger than you, you still fought the entire time and ended up getting away,” said Case.

In the end, there are three things Case and Koski say you need to do to survive. 

1. Scream at first, but then focus on the fighting.

2. Don't forget to use your legs.

3. Aim for the groin, neck and eyes.

“At that point you can just start throwing punches, elbows, hitting him in the groin and get up and run,” said Koski.

They also say it’s important to carry something you can defend yourself with. It can be anything, a walking stick, kubuton, alarm, pepper spray, whatever makes sense for you. But even more paramount that that is that you don’t give up. Even if it seems like you won’t get away, you have to keep fighting."

“Inside of each of us is that primal tiger and when you grab that tiger by its tail what do the tiger do? It turns and rips that person to shreds and that is the type of attitude that you have to have,” said Koski. That you are the tiger and there are some times to be nice and times to fight like a tiger and you are going to rip that person to shreds.”

You can buy all the self-defense gadgets Koski and Case recommended online. Most of them aren't expensive and are discreet on your keychain.

1. Alarms can be bought online for under $15. Click here for the one Brynn uses.

2. Hiking sticks are a little pricey, but can be used for much more than just self-defense. You can buy one here.

3. Kubutons are less expensive and smaller. Amazon sells a pack of 3 for under $10.

4. Pepper spray and pepper gel are very popular, and can be bought in most sporting goods stores or online for less than $10. Click here to find the best one for you.

Colorado Springs / Local News

Brynn Carman

Brynn is a morning anchor for KRDO.