Updated: Nov 30, 2021
We live in a world, where learning to defend yourself is no longer an option, but a necessity. While it is certainly not advised to get into a full-blown physical fight just for the thrill of it, you must know how to defend yourself when and if the need arises. This is why it is known as ‘self-defense’. The best move is always to run away towards crowds or obvious sources of help, such as the police, your car, or find anything you can use as a weapon. The objective is to outmatch your assailant and remove any possibility you will be involved in a fight. You should always run, because fighting is painful, and causing yourself pain isn't winning. Taking the necessary steps not to fight is winning!
However, you must know how to fight back. Now there are three elements required in order to be able to fight: the ability to move, breath, and see. If you remove any of these from an assailant, it is comparable to removing a leg from a milking stool. The assailant will fall, often physically, but at least psychologically.
Ability to move
Stomps to the groin or knees
If your attacker falls to the ground, a downward stomp can make sure they stay there. When you stomp the knee, don't stomp to the front, stomp to the inside or outside the knee. Using knee strikes or stomping is a low-risk, high reward method of defending yourself from an attacker.
Stomping the groin will cause extreme pain and possibly nausea, while a solid hit to the knee can disable the joint and make it impossible to stand. Fight over!
Ability to breathe
Make a knife hand*, but curl your fingertips toward your palm, then jab your exposed four knuckles into your attacker’s throat, breaking his windpipe. You can also do this using the edge of the hand. If he grabs his throat, disengage, and run.
*There are two versions of this hand. Draw back the two middle fingers with the knuckles bent, so the hand is half cupped. For an ordinary 'spear hand', straighten the fingers into a 'knife hand' to deliver 'chops' with the fleshy side of the palm.
Ability to see
Using a 'claw hand', reach out and claw the fingers of one hand into the attacker’s eyes. You can use 'loose fingers' (think of a friendly wave), or 'tight fingers' (think salute). You can also poke the finger(s) of one hand into one or both of the attacker’s eyes. Grabbing both sides of the attacker’s head and sticking your thumbs into your attacker’s eyes. This latter attack is particularly deadly and may blind your assailant, which may well be termed the use of excessive force by the police. If he covers his eyes with his hands, disengage, and run.
Either of these techniques are extremely effective and dangerous. Don’t use them unless you are actually in real danger of serious injury or death.
You can start with this Free Combative Course, which covers pre-assault detection, primary methods of striking, defense against common grabs, as well as an introduction to ground fighting.
Here are the five areas you can hit an attacker to cause the most damage from your blows. You should never leave your assailant hopping mad! He must be disabled, not in a fury! He will attack you for sure.
If grabbed round the waist, make sure your arms are free. Box his ears with both hands cupped. Do not do this in fun. If you strike hard enough, you can cause serious injury, including bursting his eardrums. This will cause severe ear pain, which may subside quickly, possible mucus or blood draining from the ears, vertigo, nausea, and vomiting. Try it lightly on yourself. An alternative would be to strike the philtrum with the heel of your hand.
When he lets go, step back and follow through with a kick to the knee, groin, or stomach, and get away.
A heel of hand strike to the philtrum (the midline groove in the upper lip that runs from the top of the lip to the nose), does not require a tremendous amount of force. It can make the attacker disoriented due to the excruciating amount of pain it causes. If you hit hard enough, you can break a person’s nose easily, which is more than enough to distract him and allow you to run away.
The 'pad' of the palm, with your hand at right angles to your forearm, is a surprisingly solid striking surface, and can produce more energy and cause more damage than a punch when utilized properly with far less risk of injury to yourself.
In the absence of a partner, a 'human', up to 6 feet (1.83 m) tall, free standing punch bag is a useful companion
If you ever accidentally hurt yourself on the base of your throat, you know how painful it can be. Now, imagine a full-blown open hand strike directly aimed at the trachea or the carotid artery to the side of the neck. It not only has the capacity to cause extreme pain, but can even be fatal. The throat is a really sensitive area, so you can easily knock someone out by striking them on the base of the throat. It can crush the windpipe, and even a more modest hit is going to hurt and throw the opponent off balance.
You have most certainly heard of, and may well have seen, the use of a headbutt in the movies. If you employ this striking technique, you should never use your forehead, even though it would appear to be the logical thing to do. You may well find yourself the loser, with blood dripping from your forehead and maybe a couple of black eyes! Remember, you are not a pachycephalosaur! Pachycephalosaurs were dinosaurs that were said to have used their skulls in interspecies combat. Their skulls were nine inches thick!
If attacked from the front, it is safer to drop your head down and thrust the top of your head into the attacker’s face. If you are grabbed from behind, tilt your head backward and ram the back of your head into the attacker’s face.
A word of caution — Fist versus open hand.
In a street attack situation, using your fist greatly increases your chance of receiving a serious injury to your hands, fingers, or wrists. The most common being a 'boxer's fracture' at the neck of the metacarpal bone below the pinky. Anatomically, women generally have smaller and weaker hands than men. Women also tend to wear more rings and other jewellery that may prevent them from properly closing their fists tightly while punching. These factors coupled together create dangerous conditions for not using your fists in the street. Nevertheless, men can have weak hands too. My advice is to use open hands, they require much less practice and skill.
NEVER FORGET — THE WHOLE OBJECT OF SELF-DEFENSE IS TO ESCAPE, NOT TO FIGHT!!