Staying Safe: Self Defense Outdoors in Portland

 Feb, 02 - 2015   FitnessNinjitsuSelf Defense


Pictured: One of our owners Mark White doing… Mark White things.

Maine has a lot of fantastic places to go out running. Whether you enjoy trails, beaches, or you’re the insane type who prefers 14 miles of mud and electric wires (I’m talking to you, Mark), there are tons of opportunities to get fit outdoors. Cities like Portland encourage this as well by providing places like the boulevard as a venue for walkers, runners, and bicyclists.

We’re lucky that Maine is a fairly safe state, and Portland is a fairly safe feeling city. However, even Portland isn’t exempt from dangerous people. Statistics through Neighboorhood Scout indicate that you have a 1 in 355 chance of being a victim of violent crime (classified as murder, rape, robbery, or assault) in Portland. In terms of violent crime, Portland’s safety rate is only 12%; that means it is safer than only 12% of cities in the US. A bit shocking? I thought so too.

We’ve had our share of crazy stories too, especially as runners. A couple of years ago we had a suspect on Back Bay stalking running women (I am unable to find the article, my apologies). There was the Preble St. garage sexual assault in 2013, and again the victim was a female runner. In 2010, we had an assault on a Portland man that ended in his death right in the Oldport. There are many cases of other violent crimes in Portland, like this horrifying one.

I bring these events up to remind people that while we can enjoy ourselves outside in the city, we can never assume 100% safety, especially for those who are outside and even more so at night. This qualifies a lot of outdoor fitness enthusiasts as potential crime victims. For example, in the stalking case, the victims were almost all runners/walkers on the Back Bay trail, though some were USM students. The Preble St. case involved a woman who had just finished running around the Bay. I personally do a lot of my running at night, as I have a rather busy life during the day. I know I’m not the only one!

night runnerIt is a wise investment of time for those of you who enjoy the outdoors to have some basic self defense training. You can stay safe by learning what signs to look for, how to use normal items as self defense weaponshow to find an emotional state of mind that will stop you from becoming a victim, and more. Discovery also hosts an annual “Runner’s Self Defense” seminar (partnered with the Maine Track Club) that teaches runners how to avoid, and if needed handle potentially dangerous situations. We cover topics including those mentioned above, and provide hands on training with basic, practical self defense techniques. We have our 2015 event coming up this Thursday, 2/5. Attendance is only $5 and we will donate all proceeds to the Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine. SARSSM is a fantastic source of support and information for the community and victims of sexual assault. We are excited to support them. (UPDATE: Attendance has reached it’s max capacity for this event. To schedule an event like this, continue reading.)

We have a large group expected this year and want to share this experience with as many Portland area residents as we can. Discovery does host many forms of group training for both adults and kids. If you are interested in scheduling an event like this for your group, simply visit our group enrollment pages for adults or youth and we’ll take care of the rest! In the meantime, stay fit, stay safe, and continue to enjoy and appreciate the kind of outdoor experiences only Maine can provide.

Which for now means Polar Bear dips!



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