Sometimes the first thing that happens in many self defense situations is that an aggressor will start getting in your face. In other words they will get very close to you breaking into your personal space, testing your resolve and trying to put fear into you. Obviously in a perfect situation you’ll see this individual sooner rather than later from having a well-trained self defense mindset.
If this first line of defense hasn’t helped and you’ve arrived at the point where an assailant has entered your personal space, the next thing you should do is what we call posting a barrier. Simply back away to a reasonable distance from the aggressor, making sure you are moving into open space rather than towards a wall or any barrier of some kind. (Open space allows you more chances for escape if you need to run.)
If the attacker follows you and continues to try to enter your personal space again, put your hand out and stop them at arms length. If they push into your barrier, make it quite clear you are not intimated or scared, but nor do you want any trouble. say something along the lines of “Hey, I’m off now” or “Dude, I’m going home, OK!” Maintain a persistent barrier between you and the would be attacker. As you attempt to move away from the would be attacker you can also try to move towards a busier area. If you are on a side street, move onto the main street, etc.
One thing to remember is not to push the attacker or shout abusively at them. Doing this may further aggravate their aggression and prompt them to attack. One of the most seen street attacks is a punch thrown by an aggressive person after they have been pushed by someone trying to keep them away. Try to make “the barrier” nothing more than that; a barrier, not a push. At the same time you should be aware of any attempt to grab or strike you. Regardless, you should continue to withdraw from the person, keeping your barrier up persistently.
Once you have managed to put some decent space between you and the aggressor, move off down the street ensuring that they are not following. Do not turn your back toward the assailant. Continue to face them as you move away. Do not run or turn away until you no longer feel threatened and are in a safe area.