My 17-year-old son, John-Marc, was mugged at knife-point at around 8a.m. June 23 while on the greenbelt near our home for his usual morning run.
I’ll share more details in a moment, but his is the latest incident in a rash of burglaries and other violent crimes to occur to our family members and neighbors.
Now, as my friends in America frequently see on the nightly news video of mob-incited violence engulfing various communities across their country, the need to prepare for potential confrontation is a rising concern. Through John-Marc’s experience, I hope to provide some thoughts on how one can best respond to such an attack.
Running into trouble
When mugged, John-Marc remained situationally aware thanks to his Krav Maga training. He first noticed two men, one with a bicycle, loitering in the area on his outbound run. They wore hoodies and face masks. On his way home the two had moved from the grassy area to the gravel pathway on which he was running.
To avoid contact, John-Marc ran off the path and onto the wet and muddy grassy area. As he passed them, one of the men lunged out at him with a knife. John-Marc turned around and tried to pick up speed to avoid a confrontation. Unfortunately, he slipped on the wet grass and fell to the ground.
As he tried to get up, one of the thugs stood over him, making stabbing movements with a knife. John- Marc said that his Krav Maga training kicked in and he was immediately prepared for a counterattack. For a start, he could have kicked the attacker where it really hurts.
“Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” Psalm 144:1
Two things stopped him: The thug standing over him was clearly not going to stab; he was just threatening. Also, while lying on the ground, John-Marc could not see the accomplice.
He was body-searched and his iPhone, which he’d saved up for, was stolen.
What impressed me was John-Marc’s attention to detail. After the incident he clearly explained what the knife looked like, the clothes worn by the attackers and the sequence of events. When a neighbor produced security camera photos of the thugs, they were identical to John-Marc’s explanation.
Clearly John-Marc’s self-defense training played a decisive role in the way he dealt with this incident and the way he has psychologically processed it.
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:18
We praise and thank the Lord that John-Marc was not seriously hurt, and we are thankful to Rudolph Roos of Elite Defense Academy Cape Town, under whom John-Marc trained for a time such as this!
Unfortunately, he’s not alone in such encounters. Some examples:
- A while back, Sonja’s sister was mugged outside our front gate. Her handbag was ripped from her shoulder so violently the strap snapped. We are thankful that her only injury was a sore shoulder.
- Thieves stole cars belonging to neighbors living within yards from our home on at least three occasions.
- One morning, an attacker forced open a security gate and door, gaining entry to our neighbor’s house. At home at the time, the neighbor startled him. A fight ensued and our neighbor was stabbed in the arm. The intruder later jumped our boundary wall into our garden. The police and another armed neighbor pursued on foot and arrested the stabber.
- We have also had items stolen from our garden and lately an attempt at breaking into our garage.
- About 100 yards from our home, another neighbor’s visiting father was murdered by thugs hiding in their garden.
I can go on and on about the burglaries and attempted killings, including thieves trying to drive over an elderly neighbor who caught them red-handed and others being robbed at knife-point. I am told by friends in the United States that “good fences make good neighbors.” Well, armed neighbors make even better ones—especially in Africa.
This family update is being sent to you because of your labors of love and steadfastness in partnership with us in the Lord’s work. We really do not know how to thank you enough for your sacrifices on our behalf, and for being such a help and blessing as we march on to further Christ’s Kingdom in Africa.
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers…” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
Thank you for mentioning me and my family in yours. Clearly, they were answered.
Remember to, “Put your trust in God; but mind to keep your powder dry.” – Oliver Cromwell