Self-Defense Tip: Use a “Code Word” for Emergencies

Note: It’s been a while since I’ve posted. All is well, training as usual, just focusing my time on my fitness coaching / personal training business. The thought of “getting caught up on my blogging” is overwhelming. So I’m not even going to try. I’ll just jump in and start posting… again.

“Self Defense” Isn’t Just About Getting Mugged

Often when I talk to people about Aikido, if they are at all familiar with the non-violent, non-fighting, non-badass philosophy of it at all, they grasp it on the level of “it’s just for self defense.” That’s a start, but it’s a very incomplete understanding of the art – especially the “-do” aspect, the way of being the Aikido supports.

Keeping oneself safe in the world is an important thing to think about. In my experience, 99.9% of self defense has nothing to do with being able to fight well or fend off an attacker. Real-life self-defense tips have been occurring to me recently, and I’ll be sharing them as I have time. For now, here are a few that came up in a discussion with friends this morning.

Use a “code word” for emergencies

A friend’s 90-y/o mom just got one of those “your son is in trouble and we need you to send money” kinds of calls.

To avoid future drama and worry, the family came up with the idea of reinstating the “code word” idea from childhood. You know, the one you needed to hear if someone pulled up in an unmarked windowless van and told you they were your mom’s friend, and she was hurt. (An excellent self-defense tip for kids, by the way.)

Also, their mom has caller ID, so some folks mentioned the idea of just not answering unknown numbers. (The caller can always leave a message.)

Both are good ideas, but I have a couple of issues to consider.

A few weeks ago received a call late at night from an unknown number about an actual friend who was actually injured (needed a ride to the ER)… Luckily for me, the phone’s owner was able to hand it to my mostly-coherent friend, so I could talk to him directly.

First, emergency calls likely would not come from the person’s own phone. They would come from the police, hospital, or lawyer. That’s why I don’t have unknown numbers blocked at night – or ever. (In my friend’s case the call came from the people in a nearby house who heard him yelling for help out on the sidewalk.)

Second, if the person were unconscious (as my friend nearly could have been – he’d hit his head) or unavailable, they would not be able to give the code word. So be sure it’s entered/written along with one’s emergency contact phone numbers, like on a paper behind one’s driver’s licence, or in the emergency info/Medical ID in one’s phone*. And of course keep it secret otherwise.

p.s. Keep your Medical ID info in your phone (or in your wallet)

Did you know that on the iPhone you can set up Medical ID information, including emergency contacts? It enables first responders to get important information about you, like known medical conditions (diabetes, epilepsy, having a pacemaker, etc.) that could help in treating you. You can include medications you take, allergies, any notes, and contact info for anyone you want to be called if you are found lying on the sidewalk or something. One would hope emergency personnel might look there for it.

Here’s how to set up Medical ID on your iPhone. Be sure to keep it current, including updating any medications that have changed. There either is, or isn’t, something similar on Android, depending on the model or version of the OS. I’ll leave it to you and Google to figure out if it’s available on your phone.

And of course it’s a good idea to put all this info in your wallet, too. Handy if your phone gets smashed in a wreck, or you don’t have it with you, or the paramedics just don’t think to look at your phone or can’t find it. Old school, but effective.