You are walking alone at night. The streets are eerily dark and quiet. And there are no alternative routes. How would you avoid being attacked or mugged?

How would you stay safe when walking alone at night on a seemingly deserted street?

Bruce Lee has some safety tips for walking alone (in this book). Here is my take on his advice…

How to avoid being attacked at night, when alone?

Needless to say, always avoid dimly-lit streets with little foot traffic at night. Criminals hate being caught in the act.

Key to NOT Becoming a Victim of Mugging

But, avoiding quiet streets isn’t always possible.

So, reduce your chances of becoming a victim by being alert and aware.

Assailants, muggers, and sexual predators rely on the element of surprise. Many remain hidden until you’re within range.

So NEVER get caught off-guard when entering a risky area or neighbourhood. Being alert to your surroundings gives you time to react.

5 Safety Tips for Walking Alone at Night (Bruce Lee)

Bruce Lee’s safety tips for walking alone deals with two common-sense factors:

  • Avoid any blind spots, as it reduces the chances of you getting caught off-guard.
  • Perk your senses to detect anyone following (or approaching) you

So, how to be safe when walking alone at night? These are five things he mentioned.

Keep to the outside of the path

Keep to the outside of the path

Keep to the outside of the pavement when walking. This prevents an assailant from jumping out from hidden-view (i.e. bushes, house, pillar, garden) and catching you off-guard.

Keep to the middle of a lane

Keep to the middle of a lane

In dimly lit areas without street lamps or where no designated path exist, keep to the middle of the lane. This also prevents anyone from jumping out at you from either side.

Avoid patches of deep shadows

Avoid patches of deep shadows

Avoid deep patches of shadow. Especially at night, when your vision is not at its advantage, you don’t know who or what could be hiding within.

Listen for approaching footsteps

Listen for approaching footsteps

Perk your ears and listen for anyone approaching.

Watch for shadows

Watch for shadows

Watch for shadows of people behind you. They will be cast in front of you. Light sources from street lamps, houses and passing vehicles will reveal shadows that aren’t supposed to be there. This is an indirect way of detecting people walking behind you.

What should you do if you detect someone close by?

What should you do if you detect someone close by?

Immediately glance at the person to see who they are. The reasons are twofold:

  • You find out if the person is indeed following you and if they are a threat
  • You let the person know you’ve seen their face (and can identify them in a police lineup)

If you feel uncomfortable with that person in your vicinity, cross the street. Do not be afraid to offend the person.

And if he or she does indeed follow you when you suddenly cross the street, there is no mistaking their intentions.

Bruce Lee emphasized that the purpose of being aware is to see the attack coming and then deal with it swiftly. Make sure to scream, shout, and make a lot of noise during which!

This is my take on the small extract within ‘Bruce Lee The Tao of Gung Fu‘. For more on Chinese kungfu and Bruce Lee’s perspectives on self-defence please read the book.

And for more on self-defence tactics from an ex-CIA officer, check out the following course.

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