Firstly in a dodgy part of town, never look lost or uncertain, and keep away from un-light areas. Spot potential trouble as far away as possible and get ready to deal with it; putting anything in your hands into your pockets or giving to your partner to carry, leaving your hands free outside any clothing.
Change direction and try to walk away without appearing aware of any threat. Never stare at the threat – keep under observation out of the corner of you eye, as if looking at something else, or not looking at anything at all. Only run when you are sure you can escape, as running is a sign of fear and excites predatory instincts Avoid eye contact without looking shifty or anxious.
If confronted and you can’t escape, whatever happens, you mustn’t appear frightened, flustered or angry, but calm, as if well-used to dealing with such incidents. One tactic can be to pretend there’s a real problem and appear concerned to solve it. You may sense a moment in this to walk confidently away, as your would-be trouble-makers can’t decided amongst themselves whether to attack you or not. Any signs of indecision in them, try walking away, with a polite “Nice to chat with you” or something similar.
A group of trouble makers has a leader, and is often trying to work itself up into the anger needed to attack you. Be very polite, so as not to give them any excuses. The leader is usually the largest one, but the mouthy one may be the smallest. Address remarks to the largest one with great politeness, but don’t let the mouthy one anger you.
Thereafter it all gets difficult. Self defence people argue the advantages of letting them get close, so that anything you do will hurt at least one of them, and they get in each others’ way. You make sure you’re well-balanced, keep your hands held high, as if half-surrendering, which in fact gets your fists closest to being able to punch effectively.