Feb 2

3 things we can learn from Anderson Cooper being attacked in Egypt

Anderson Cooper could tell us more than you might think about self-defense.

Today, while reporting on the Egyptian protests, CNN’s Anderson Cooper was attacked by members of a crowd in Cairo. Cooper said he was punched “like, 10 times in the head,” while passing at least one protester with a knife.

Despite being in the middle of a dangerous situation, Cooper eventually made it to safety.

I thought I’d point out some important lessons that Cooper’s incident in Egypt can teach us as martial artists.

Know what makes you a target

If you’re not going somewhere you expect will be dangerous, you might not have to address this issue as much. However, if you’re Anderson Cooper heading into demonstrations that have garnered worldwide coverage, you may want to know how you’ll attract attention.

“Anybody with a camera was a target on the streets of Cairo today,” Cooper said.

Having armed yourself with this information, you can attempt to make plans.

Work in groups

When you are entering a potentially violent situation, such as these demonstrations in Egypt, don’t go alone.

Being on air, journalists typically can’t both operate a camera and report the news. In this case, Cooper had a Flip camera and was filming himself as he reported. Without a doubt, he was accompanied by a CNN camera crew, and probably translators and guides.

If Cooper had ventured out by himself and tried filming with his Flip camera, he may not have gotten out as safely as he did.

Walk, don’t run

Cooper said in the video that he and his crew were “walking, not running so as to incite the crowd even further.”

Running would be a considerable sudden movement. In much of the footage I’ve seen, demonstrators have simply been walking. You’ve heard in movies not to make sudden moves in front of an animal. Surely the animal that is the group of demonstrators would have been on high alert with a strange man (or group of people) running through the crowd.

If you find yourself in a situation like this, use these tips and common sense. Anderson Cooper seemed to do all of the logical things – he knew that the camera would attract unwanted attention so he went in a group, and he tried to downplay the situation even further by just trying to escape.

Neither Cooper nor his crew tried to impress anybody by attacking the Egyptian protesters, but tried to quietly exit a volatile situation.

Update 2/16/11: Although Cooper escaped his incident, other journalists have not been so lucky. Last night, we found out that journalist Lara Logan was beaten and sexually assaulted by a mob until she was rescued by a group of women and members of the Egyptian military, according to CNN.

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Adam Bockler

Sensei Adam Bockler is a 2nd-degree black belt in karate and the owner of Metamora Martial Arts. He's been in the martial arts since 2003, and has received instruction in tai chi chuan, Hsing-i chuan, judo, tae kwon do and XMA. Sensei Bockler was inducted into the 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Karate Black Belt of the Year. He is the communications manager for Float Mobile Learning.

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