You probably know someone who has given you self-defense tips. How do you know that person has any idea what they’re talking about? There is a lot of information out there about protecting yourself against an attacker, but unfortunately, some of it is wrong.

Operating with the wrong information can mean placing yourself in danger when it can be avoided. Don’t fall prey to the following 5 self-defense myths, and you have the best chance at protecting yourself against an attacker.

1 – Running Away Is Always the Smartest Move:
Given the right situation, running to avoid a confrontation is smart. Not every encounter with an attacker will give you this option. When you run you expose your back. If you have a good lead on your assailant, that is probably not a problem. However, if you’re attacker is close to you, your undefended back offers a large, easy-to-strike target.

2 – When You Are Mugged, Throw Your Valuables Away From You:
Have you heard this bit of advice? You are recommended to toss your wallet, keys, phone or other valuables away from you so you will send your attacker in the opposite direction from your escape route. Muggers are often violent and unstable. Throwing your valuables away can make them angrier than they already are.

3 – You Should Practice Overkill in Your Self–Defense Response:
Some self-defense classes stress “finishing off” an opponent after you’ve taken them down. Once you have disabled your attacker, you add unnecessary punches to the face and head, or break an arm, leg or ankle. This is almost never the correct response. Once you have disabled your assailant, flee the area as quickly as possible.

4 – Women Don’t Have Much of a Chance Against a Larger Attacker:
Krav Maga and Tae Kwon Do were created to allow smaller people to effectively disable a larger opponent. Pepper sprays, tasers and stun guns can take down a 600 pound grizzly bear, and are equally as effective on any sized human being.

Women, as well as men, should take self-defense classes to boost their ability to defend themselves against an assailant. Hands-on self-defense training, especially when accompanied by nonlethal self-defense weapons, means a larger attacker is not guaranteed have the upper hand.

5 – Your “Street Thug” Attacker Will Not Have Any Close Quarters Combat Training:
In all likelihood, if you are attacked by some street tough, he will be using the elements of surprise and intimidation. In most cases, muggers and other personal attackers meet little resistance, so these techniques are all they need to succeed.

However, you should not immediately assume that your attacker is not trained in close quarters combat. This means that you definitely need to attend self-defense classes and training, keep alert and aware about your surroundings at all times, and never underestimate any opponent in a physical confrontation.