While you can increase your level of safety by being aware of your surroundings, remaining calm is another way to set yourself up to successfully escape a physically threatening situation. Effective self defense moves do not have to involve carrying any sort of weapon, and your calm but forceful actions may be enough to diffuse an unsafe encounter. Simple and controlled movements can be deceptively effective, even against someone who is much bigger or stronger than you. If you react quickly and with purpose, your assailant may be distracted long enough for you to escape and seek help as needed.
It is important to note that self defense training is not the same as training in a martial arts. Most modern martial arts focus around competition, usually through the use of judged matches. While self defense systems often draw moves from various martial arts the two sets of systems could not be more different. The point of a martial art is to fight in order to win, while the point of self defense is to fight in order to survive. Mistaking one type of training for the other is incredibly dangerous in the real world, and can put an individual in more danger than if he or she was untrained.