Would you be able to defend yourself? if someone were to physically attack you? It’s a question most of us don’t want to consider, but violence is, unfortunately, a fact of life.
Thankfully, regardless of strength, size, or previous training, anyone can learn several effective self-defense techniques. Here’s how to prepare for and stay safe in common real-world violent situations.
Prevention Is the Best Self-Defense
Would you be able to defend yourself? first, remember that prevention is the best self-defense. Attackers, whatever their objectives, are looking for unsuspecting, vulnerable targets. So be sure to follow general safety tips like being aware of your surroundings, only walking and parking in well-lit areas, keeping your keys in hand as you approach your door or car, varying your route and times of travel, and other personal security precautions.
Apart from avoiding confrontation, if you can defuse a situation (talk someone down from physically assaulting you) or get away—by handing over your wallet/purse or whatever they want, do that. Hand over your money rather than fight. Nothing you own is worth more than your life or health.
Would you be able to defend yourself? If violence is unavoidable, however, to really defend yourself, you’ll want to know ahead of time how to fight back effectively—it’s possible even against someone bigger or stronger than you. Here are some basic self-defense techniques that can keep you safe:
Get Loud and Push Back
As soon as the attacker touches you or it’s clear that escape isn’t possible, shout loudly (“BACK OFF!”) and push back at him or her (for simplicity’s sake we’re going to use “him” for the rest of the article, although your opponent could be female). This does two things: it signals for help and it lets the attacker know you’re not an easy target, this is the first thing you need to do. It may not dissuade all attackers but getting loud will warn off those that were looking for easy prey. Would you be able to defend yourself?
The Most Effective Body Parts to Hit
When you’re in a confrontation, you only have a few seconds and a few moves to try before the fight may be decided. Before an attacker has gained full control of you, you must do everything you can—conserving as much energy as possible—to inflict injury so you can get away. (This is no time to be civil. In a physical confrontation that calls for self-defense, it’s hurt or be hurt.) So, aim for the parts of the body where you can do the most damage easily: the eyes, nose, ears, neck, groin, knee, and legs.
Depending on the position of the attacker and how close he is, will determine where you will strike and with what part of your body you will employ. Do not step in closer, say, to strike his nose with your hand, when you can reach his knee with a kick.
When striking a target on the upper half of the body you will use your hand. Effective strikes can be made with the outer edge of your hand in a knife hand position, a palm strike or knuckle blow for softer targets or a tightly curled fist.
Eyes: Gouging, poking, or scratching the attacker’s eyes with your fingers or knuckles would be effective, as you can imagine. Besides causing a lot of pain, this should also make your escape easier by at least temporarily interfering with his vision.
Nose: If the attacker is close in front of you, use the heel of your palm to strike up under his nose; throw the whole weight of your body into the move to cause the most pain and force him to loosen his grip on you. If he’s behind you, you can strike his nose (from the side or front) with your elbow. Either way, aim for the nasal bones.
Neck: The side of the neck is a bigger target, where both the carotid artery and jugular vein are located. You could possibly temporarily stun your attacker with a knife hand strike (all fingers held straight and tightly together, with thumb tucked and slightly bent at the knuckle) at the side of the neck. (For even more injury, you could thrust your elbow into your assailant’s throat while pitching the weight of your body forward.
Knee: The knee is an ideal self-defense target, vulnerable from every angle and easily kicked without risk of your foot being grabbed. Kick the side of the knee to cause injury or partially incapacitate your attacker. Kicking the front of the knee may cause more injury but is less likely to result in imbalance.
Use your elbows, knees, and head. Those are the parts of the body that are most sensitive when hit. Now here are the parts of the body used most effectively for inflicting damage: your elbows, knees, and head (they’re your body’s bony built-in weapons).
Use everyday objects. Everyday objects you carry around with you or things in your environment can also be used to your advantage as weapons. Hold a key or pen between your middle and ring finger while you’re walking home in the dark for more assurance. Outdoors, you can toss some dirt or sand into your attacker’s eyes. Women are often told to spray perfume or hairspray into an assailant’s eyes. The point is, use whatever you can to make your defense stronger.
Leverage your weight. No matter your size, weight, or strength in relation to your opponent, you can defend yourself by strategically using your body and the simple law of physics. This is the principle behind martial arts systems where a smaller person is able to defeat a larger one.
If you are going to fight back…
If you have pepper spray, use it! – Open your pepper spray and aim it at your attacker’s face. Spray it onto their face and try to get it into their eyes. As soon as they react to the spray, turn around and run away as fast as you can.
Typically, the effects of pepper spray wear off in about 15-45 minutes. Some people have a very high threshold of pain, so it’s possible the attacker will keep advancing on you. If they attack again, strike their eyes or nose.
Scratch your attacker in their eyes – Make your dominant hand into a fist and punch your attacker in their eyes. If you have keys, jam them into their eye. As another option, scratch at their eyes with your fingernails. This may scare off your attacker and might temporarily blind them so you can escape.
Keep in mind that you’re not trying to blind your aggressor, just inflict some damage so you can escape the scene. That being said, do what is necessary and if your attacker gets hurt, too bad! Maybe they`ll think twice before attacking someone next time.
Aim for the nose with a fist or open hand – Punch them in the nose with a closed fist or push your open palm up into the base of their nose. Alternatively, use your elbow to strike them in their nose if they’re within 2 feet of you. Keep your momentum going as you make impact, so your strike has more impact.
The nose is a vulnerable, sensitive area that’s easy to injure. Hitting your attacker in the nose will leave them in immense pain and should give you time to quickly leave the area. When someone feels blood running out of their nose it’s a huge deterrent.
Punch their Adam’s apple or throat – Ball your hand into a fist or turn your hand sideways. Then, aim for the soft patch between the attacker’s collarbone and the base of their neck. Strike them as hard as you can to temporarily interrupt their breathing.
Be aware that a hard punch to the Adam’s apple could collapse someone’s airway and kill them. Unless you are literally fighting for your life, don’t hit the attacker as hard as you can in the Adam’s apple. This is strictly a life and death punch.
A kick to the groin works great – Aim for the center of the groin, directly in the center of the attacker’s legs. This should incapacitate the attacker for several minutes while you run away. No matter how big and strong anyone is, this will bring them down immediately.
Keep in mind that your attacker will likely be expecting a kick in the groin and may quickly move away or block your kick.
If you’re being attacked by a woman, kicking her in the groin isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but it won’t be as effective as it will against a man.
The knees reduce their mobility. Kick the front of their knees to cause a serious injury and immense pain, or the sides of their knees to knock them down. Keep kicking until they fall or back away from you. This will cause them a lot of pain and limit their ability to chase you.
If your attacker has already knocked you to the ground, don’t give up the fight! Strike at the sides of the attacker’s knees with your elbows. It will be harder for the attacker to grab your feet if you’re kicking them in the knees because they’re lower to the ground.
Once your attacker is down, run! – Run and escape as soon as your attacker is down. Get to a safe location and call 911 to request help. Explain what happened, then file a report with the police.
Never try to “finish” a fight or detain your attacker. If you see that your opponent is in pain (e.g., because of a blow to the throat, eyes, or groin), don’t wait around to see if they are ok. Run away and get to safety: your car, inside a building, or in a crowd of people where the assailant won’t be able to find you easily, if at all.
I cannot stress this enough, how would you handle being attacked? once your attacker is down, do not admire what you’ve done, do not hang around for any reason what-so-ever! get out of there immediately. Live to fight another day. Would you be able to defend yourself?
If you are unfortunate enough to be attacked, you cannot predict what you’ll do, because once the adrenalin kicks in there’s no telling what’s going to happen, as it will be a spur of the moment action, how would you handle being attacked? this is where self-defense plays a huge part in giving you the confidence to protect and defend yourself in such a situation. Learn today, it could save your life! the question is, would you be able to defend yourself?