Ten Top Self Defense Moves

3 May

1) Say “I’m Sorry.” I’m not going to regurgitate what I wrote in The Prepper Next Door, mainly because I want you to buy my book! But in short, most violent situations develop because somebody feels personally wronged. They get upset about it, can’t control their emotions, and start swinging.

Simply saying “I’m sorry” can defuse many bad situations. A great scene in the movie Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid has the famous gunfighter Sundance sitting at a table playing cards. The other guy, not knowing who Sundance is, stands up and accuses him of cheating. He’s spoiling for a fight. Sundance says he wasn’t cheating.

Butch verbally intervenes to talk Sundance out of the confrontation. Sundance says if the other guy invites him to stay and play, he’ll leave. Butch calls Sundance by name and the guy realizes he’s in trouble. He’s challenging one of the best gunfighters to a gunfight. Butch pleads with the other guy to ask Sundance to stay, so they can go. Butch tells him, “You don’t even have to mean it.”

You don’t have to mean it, but you should mean it. There’s certainly something you’re sorry about. Apologize for that. “I’m sorry” you’re upset. “I’m sorry” this happened.

2) Walk away. Run away. Don’t let yourself get sucker punched or attacked from the rear, but make a graceful exit. Tough guys walk away. If you’re up against a really bad situation, run away. I know, it’s not the Chuck Norris thing to do.

3) The heel hand strike to the chin or the nose. This is a good technique for women who feel they need to take action against a larger male attacker. The heel of the hand is pretty solid. Explode upward with as much force as you can, throwing your whole body weight into it. Strike from a close distance.

Once a fight is underway, it’s not easy to land a heel hand strike to the nose. If you compare the heel hand strike to a boxer’s uppercut, you’ll find the uppercut is faster. Even with large boxing gloves on, most uppercuts miss. Moving the head a bit to the side evades the blow.

Here’s a good video of the strike from “Dr. Ruthless” (instruction starts at 3:50. Some good commentary between 1:10 and 3.37. Ignore the cheesy music video part):

4) Knee to the groin. Keep your balance. Nuff said. In Muay Thai some of the best fighters are tall and thin. The height makes their knees particularly devastating, especially against a shorter opponent. On the street, you only need to reach the nats. This works when you and the attacker are very close, in a “clinch.”

5) Inside Savate kick to knee. This is the kick I wrote about in the book. You need to be relatively close. It’s good if you can follow through well past the knee.

From the Human Weapon TV show (aim kick more at knee for defense):


6) Toe kick to groin. Quickly. Nuff said.

7) Attack to the eyes. The eyes are the primary target in a violent encounter. Blind your attacker and try to escape. Before jacking up your fingers, consider your other options: car keys or a pen.

8) Jab. This is most effective for tall guys with a lot of reach. A quick and solid jab to the aggressor’s nose will convince many they don’t want to fight. It’s no fun getting punched in the nose.

9) Guillotine choke. Why this choke? Some attackers will put their head down and come at you. Wrestlers like takedowns. If the person has hair, you can grab it and push their face down. If you can sprawl your legs back and transition into a choke, you have a chance to subdue them.

This video from Youtube does a great job describing the choke (but it shows the MMA (BJJ) version of “pulling guard.” For defense: Sprawl, keep arm tight to neck, and put your weight into the back of the attacker, keeping head behind arm and shoulder):

10) Shrimping. Nothing to do with sea food. If you’re on the ground, it’s about trying to move away from an attacker and get your feet out from under them and free. Best described by a video. I’ll find one and link:

Shrimping Drill (from Youtube):

One of the first defenses you’ll learn to being in a “mounted” position in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a trap and roll technique. That can work well. But even in MMA, many fighters can’t escape with it. If you’re a 115 pound female against a 200 pound male who has halfway decent balance, it’s difficult to bridge your way out of this bad position.

In self defense, it’s crucial to defend yourself early enough, aggressively enough, and fast enough to avoid really bad situations, like being mounted by a much bigger and stronger attacker. If you wind up in this bad position, you’ll know one method to escape.

We’ll I’ve covered ten top self defense moves. You notice I didn’t call this post, “Top Ten Self Defense Moves.” Everybody will have their own favorite techniques. There are some great techniques that didn’t make my list. No elbow to the solar plexus or knife edge chop to the side of the neck. No straight right. No rear strangulation choke or Kimura escape. I omitted some instinctive things, like raising your arm to block/deflect a hook.

What would your ten top list include?

Charlie Palmer -Author The Prepper Next Door

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