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The more people gather at a particular place, the better the mood very often.
But with the rising size of a crowd the clear overview for an individual vanishes. The opportunities for potential criminals are rising!
So, how can we stay safe?
As much as I understand the wish for safety a clear all-fits-one recipe does not exist.

But Self-Defence is our core competence at the EWTO CYPRUS and from whom could you expect answers to such questions if not from us? So even if there is not a one-fits all solution, I have come up with three general principles, which are valid for all mass events that may help you when visiting this year’s Carnival Celebrations all over Cyprus.
My aim is not to judge how the government handles the safety issue of its citizens or how the local police is doing their job, but to educate the interested readers with expert knowledge and counteract the current hysteria and cluelessness of many of us as a result of increased weapon sales that are freely available here in Cyprus. According to the Cyprus Weekly Report in 2017 knife attacks have sky rocketed in comparison to previous years!

And even though I understand the wish for a very concrete advise on how to handle such violent situations, such an advice could barely cover for the very detailed training that we offer in our schools on how to handle any violent situations – be it in our “Crash Course Women Self-Defence” in only 3 hours or the full scale WingTsun Education for Children and Adults that lasts years. It is very difficult to summarize in a few sentences everything that you learn in a many-year Training Curriculum. For this our education is far too versatile.

Besides it is not possible to generalize what “danger” means with regard to a mass of people .
Criminals enjoy as part of the mass a huge level of anonymity and have plenty of opportunities for their crimes.
The one and only answer is not available, and it would be very unprofessional to present one particular advice as a dogma for this problem. And before you ask: No, also “Self-Defense SPRAY” is not the solution – definitely not!
Who really has the need to find concrete answers to all different possibilities of violence in mass events, I recommend you becoming an expert yourself. Make Self-Defence your hobby!
But since Carnival is approaching here are my three tips, which can help you to prevent dangerous situations, before it gets physical! See below:

1. Where are my Escape Routes?
Regardless if you are at a concert, a big celebrationor a City Festival like the upcoming carnival: right in the middle of the crowd the vibe is the best. But, if you need to escape suddenly this may often be the problem.
My suggestion: Scan the environment! Not in a paranoiac way, the priority is to enjoy your event, but rather sharpen your awareness!
• Where are means of escape and emergency exits?
• Where are the points where Security Personnel or the Police is located?
• Who is present in my immediate surrounding? Avoid being near to aggressively looking people or guys who are strongly under alcohol. The mood can swing in these circumstances much quicker than you can guess.

2. Stay in a group or join one in case of emergency
Are you alone or just with a few people, you may look isolated or vulnerable. With groups of five to six people, perpetrators think twice if you are matching their victim profiles. Individual women or small groups of women are particularly in danger.
If you are suddenly feeling observed, have a look around! Maybe you can talk to someone and join their group to give you “shelter”. Many people still like to help. Much better would be of course if you arrange to go with a group of friends and stay together in a group.

3. Switch of your EGO
Whenever an escape is possible it must be the preferred option towards physical self-defence. At all times! Nobody can guarantee that you have identified all people involved in the assault against you! Possibly you may miss one of the aggressors or you discover him only when it is too late. I especially call on young men: Leave your ego at home – here the application of common sense is king! Such a retreat has nothing to do with being a coward. Even us, who are dealing with Self-Defence on a daily basis, would always go this way.
Wishing you all a great safe Carnival this weekend!

Sifu Alexander Olich
National Chief Instructor