We’re heavy on the dating and relationship topics here at Tips and Life and Love. We’re also aware that a woman needs to know self defense just in case dating goes wrong (definitely not something we like to dwell on). Steve Kardian, author of The New Superpower for Women shares his tips for walking the walk and scaring off predators.
When you see a hero or heroine in a movie, ready to save the day, they stride forward, chin up, head held high, chest forward, and shoulders back, prepared to meet whatever challenges lie ahead. Take Katniss Everdeen, the young heroine from the book and movie series The Hunger Games, for example. Just by looking at the way she walks and holds herself, you can tell she is confident and determined. Even if you have the sound off or have never seen The Hunger Games, or barely understand the story, her self-assurance comes through by the way she moves. And yes, that is an actress in a role, but her walk conveys power and strength, and that is something you want to do, too. And yes, this behavior can be learned.
Differences in stride or foot movement might be subtle, yet working together with other movements such as posture, alertness, and even level of energy, they convey an overall impression of how vulnerable you might be. You will be assessed by unfriendly eyes to see if you are weak, are easily intimidated, or suffer from an injury. When you know what the signs are, you can influence the signals that you send out to the world.
Ask a friend to record you walking across the room toward them to get an idea of how you look when you walk. I’d suggest doing it in several places, such as down the street, in the park, in the grocery store. Watch the videos, paying particular attention to your stride length, foot movement, arm swing, body weight shift, posture, and speed (when appropriate). Try experimenting with how you walk. Imagine that you are the heroine of a movie, ready to win the day, and record how you look when you walk with that in mind. Practice walking with purpose and confidence for a few days, get another recording of yourself, and compare the two. Is there a difference?
While you may not be able to consistently control the nonverbal signals you give off, the knowledge of what the criminal is looking for gives you an enormous advantage. You can try to incorporate that knowledge into your daily movements and influence how you are perceived.
WALK THIS WAY
Stride length: Take forceful, dynamic steps with a medium stride length when compared to your body height. When you walk, it looks effortless and natural.
Foot movement: Swing your feet gracefully forward in a fluid motion.
Arm swing: When you walk naturally, your arms are slightly bent at the elbows, and you let them swing back and forth. It’s natural for them to move to counterbalance your leg motion. When your left leg comes forward, the spine goes into a right rotation and the right arm moves forward. And then it repeats on the opposite side.
Body weight shift: Walk smoothly, without jerking your body. Have an internal flow to your motion.
Posture: Your posture tells the world a lot about you and is an easy fix. Chin up, spine straight, and shoulders back, looking around, taking in your surroundings.
Speed: Walk at the same pace as the foot traffic around you, or slightly faster. This way you won’t draw much attention to yourself or, at most, you will give off the signal that you are more energetic or athletic than everyone else.
Stay safe, ladies. For those of you traveling alone, don’t forget these safety tips from a former Navy SEAL.