BETHESDA, Md. (WUSA) -- We met long-time Tae Kwan Do Master Michael Coles near his Bethesda martial arts studio to get some tips to keep people safe while walking around, doing holiday shopping and errands.
His first tip? "I think we need to be a little bit more aware of our surroundings," he said.
If you think it won't happen to you, or you think you're safe because you're only a block from home, that false sense of security might help you become a target. Keep your eyes open and be alert.
Coles says the best ways to keep aware is to put your phone away. The phone always makes you an easier target to the bad guys.
Tip three: If you're a woman and you carry a pocketbook, always keep it in front of you, not on the side, and definitely not in back of you. "When it's in front, no one can pick-pocket your bag or try to take it," he said.
We saw several people out Monday night with their bags at their sides, and one woman with it swinging behind her.
But, what if, despite your best efforts, someone does try to mug you? When is it right to fight back? Coles says it's always better to give up the phone or bag. But if someone grabs you, here are four quick ways to stun and run.
1 - Use the soft part of the bottom of your palm and quickly jab your attacker in the nose.
2 - You can also use your palm to strike your attacker right underneath his or her jaw in an upward motion.
3 - Spread your fingers and with a poking motion, aim for the eyes. Coles says odds are one of your fingers will poke them.
4 - Use either the space between your thumb and forefinger or the far side of your hand to jab your opponent in the throat. Coles says, "If you can strike the throat, you stand a very good chance of disabling your opponent."
Coles warns, "The majority of times, you're not going to be capable of really hurting an opponent, but you can stun them long enough to get out of there."