Defending A Home Invasion: 4 Lessons Learned

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Defending a Home Invasion was a workshop we had planned for some time.

The idea of an unwelcome stranger or strangers in your house terrifies everyone, yet is unfortunately common enough in Sydney to prepare for. In fact, there are three home invasions a night in our local area of St. George.

On Sunday, 9 October 2022, SGS Krav Maga ran its inaugural Defending a Home Invasion Workshop with a full house of beginners and advanced students. The objective was simple:

Help students prepare for the unique characteristics and strategies of a home invasion and effective defences in a home invasion scenario.

The workshop was run mostly in low-light, covered armed and multiple attackers as well as a range of offensive and defensive weapons including those commonly encountered here in Sydney – knives, bats, and machetes. We wanted to give students the opportunity to adapt to space constraints and familiarize themselves with strategies specific to home invasions.

Here are four lessons we learned:

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1. Practice visualising defences that are unique to your home environment.

Everyone’s home is different and the insider knowledge of layout is a fact you can use to your advantage. Familiarity with the location is something the home invader does not have.

There are normally a number of “vulnerable” or obvious locations a home invasion can begin. Usually a door or window that can be accessed from ground level and from an ‘out-of-sight’ location.

Visualising the potential entry points and your best defensive positions depending on where you are at the time will help immensely if you are ever required to defend. Using the layout strategically, such as defending from doorways or hallway entrances will give you the strategic advantage.

2. A decisive attack is your most effective defence.

We wrote about the impact of decisive defenses in our blog previously, and the experiment once again bore fruit. Asking the home invader what exactly they may be doing in your house increases their mental preparation time for either a pre-emptive attack or a more effective defence. From what our students gathered – it’s a question for which there isn’t a good answer, regardless.

It also risks waking up vulnerable family members who may be in the vicinity, which will decrease your defensive options.

This is an important lesson to mentally prepare for and is very different to the usual scenario we teach and learn: there is rarely room for de-escalation. Decisive offensive action is your best defence.

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3. make your home an unattractive target for home invaders.

Considering how common home invasions are, and the likelihood that the incidence rate will continue to rise, there are things you can do to keep your home as safe as it can be.

These strategies are the equivalent of de-escalation as a means to prevention. In the same way as the first port of call is to attempt to diffuse an aggressor and walk away from the fight if you can, you can protect your home and make it unattractive to home invaders.
Install sensors on your windows, ensure you have security cameras, have valuables such as jewellery out of site and safely stored away, have an escape protocol that is communicated to all members of the household. Keep a common object by your bedside and strategically placed around the house to use if you need to defend. Install motion-sensing floodlights at the front, side, and back of your residence. And most importantly: KEEP YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS LOCKED.
These are basic precautions that will keep you safer. Avoiding a home invasion is the best defence against it.

4. regular training could save your life.

We had a mix of beginners and advanced students in attendance, which meant that the basics of knife defences, for instance, were on the training schedule for everyone, but at various levels.

Feedback we received from some new students included challenges such as defending a right-handed stab when the weapon happened to be in the left hand, and not being able to adjust the defence.

While there is always an element of surprise because no attack or attacker is the same, regular training at SGS means that you will be taught a vocabulary of defences for a variety of attacks.

We aren’t a martial arts system, so we will teach you the words, but will expect you to adjust to the attack and use what you know dynamically. Regular training will raise your overall “fight IQ” to be able to respond to different situations, different attacks, and adjust your defence dynamically.

These are critically important skills in a situation as stressful and dangerous as a home invasion that could mean the difference between success and failure.

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what did students tell us they wanted?
More, more, more…

Most of the feedback we received was that the workshop should have continued for an extra hour, which we will take into account for next time! It was an incredibly instructive three hours as it was – with skills learned and sharpened and the opportunity to practice in darkness, in chaos, with adrenaline rushing.

We set up the gym to mimic rooms with beds, and an invasion entry point. We practiced having a defensive weapon at the ready, as well as barehanded defences. We drilled single and multiple attackers. And as with all things self-defence, there is never enough time or enough practice to feel supremely confident…

As in regular training, we are chasing a skillset we hope we never have to use, so we would say the biggest takeaway from the event was the practice of the mindset.

Good attacking silhouettes in training, as well as attempting to mimic the adrenaline of a dangerous situation either through fatigue or low-light, gives you an advantage if it ever happens to you because you won’t be starting from zero. There will be a degree of muscle or awareness memory that we have given students exposure to during the three hours they spent with us.

We’ll run another workshop next year, incorporating your feedback. As always, bigger and better.

The next workshop will be next month. Make sure you sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date with events. The workshops coming up include carjacking, attacks in bars, public transport attacks, outdoor situations on uneven ground, and defences against attacks in the water.

See you at the next one!