Reading Time: 25 minutes
You don’t need to be Conor McGregor to defend yourself against an attacker.
It seems like whenever we scroll through Facebook or watch the evening news, we see stories about people getting attacked. Violence is common in our society, but not everyone is victimized. People who are more vulnerable and susceptible are the ones being attacked, because let’s face it - predators are cowardly and generally go for the easiest victims.
So how do you change from being a potentially easy victim to a formidable opponent that predators avoid?
Well the answer is quite simple: be a formidable opponent. In a nutshell that means:
Oh that's all, huh?
While it may seem like a lot, this is your life we're talking about. Even if you invest a little bit of time and practice into the above, you'll immediately become a more difficult target, and therefore you'll be safer.
The Ultimate Guide to Self-Defense was written in Spring 2019, and it's the most up-to-date, comprehensive self-defense guide for the modern day person out there. And it’s completely free.
In this guide you'll learn:
Without further ado, let's dive right in so that you can begin to learn strategies to feel more confident and empowered every day.
Lifestyle and Physical Exercise
The first step to modern day self-defense is being physically healthy and able, and living a confident daily lifestyle.
Your fitness and health will play a large role in your ability to physically defend yourself in an attack. A consistent daily lifestyle will give you the confidence and resilience you'll need to survive an attack, and avoid potential dangers.
Planning and Preparing
People who are good planners and preparers are less susceptible to violent crime.
Planners like to research and organize in advance so they know what to expect. Preparers learn skills and practice scenarios, to make themselves ready to deal with situations that might arise in the future.
Planners and preparers maintain a consistent, stable schedule which reduces dangerous situations. If they do encounter a dangerous situation, they're able to react and respond more effectively and efficiently due to their preparation.
In general they're able to control their environment due to their planning, and react to their environment if necessary due to their preparation.
Here's an interesting article regarding how to be a better strategic planner in achieving a goal or vision: Strategic Planning
When you eat dinner with a friend, do you plan ahead, look up the restaurant, research which train to take and which stop to get off at? If you don’t plan this in advance there can be negative consequences like accidentally traveling to a dangerous neighborhood or getting lost. Always stay alert and awake on the train, as nodding off can make you very susceptible to crime.
How can you be vigilant on the subway if you’re passed out from getting only 4 hours of rest? Or how can you physically defend yourself, if your body and muscles are fatigued from lack of sleep?
If you’ve gotten the recommended 7-9 hours of high quality sleep, you’ll be physically and mentally refreshed, and ready to take on any dangers that arise.
Proper sleep makes you alert to your environment, and able to process information and situations faster. Studies show that quantity and quality of sleep are correlated with positive moods, confidence, and communication skills, which are key powerful self-defense traits.
Sleep is an important maintenance period for your body to rebuild and rejuvenate all of its moving parts. After a good night's rest you're able to perform physical self-defense skills like blocking, striking, kicking, or running away at much higher levels.
Getting the proper amount of quality of sleep is important for children to the elderly, and all ages between. Another important factor of a healthy, powerful lifestyle is diet since you are what you eat.
What you eat impacts your mental abilities, physical capabilities, and energy. A smart diet will keep your body refueled, and your mind alert. A lazy diet will make your muscles susceptible to fatigue and your mind unfocused.
A healthy diet with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and proteins, will lead to greater mental, emotional, and psychological benefits. It can decrease anxiety and depression, improve cognitive abilities, increase memory and learning, improve mood and emotions, and reduce the likelihood of mental disorders and diseases.
Physical capabilities will be diminished with a bad diet. Putting on unhealthy, large amounts of weight can severely impair your ability to defend yourself. You’ll put more stress on your bones and joints, and on organs like your heart and lungs. Eating more food in general can negatively impact your speed, endurance, flexibility, and conditioning - all of which are important physical self-defense skills.
Diet also has an effect on your energy. Ever notice how after a big meal you get sleepy and want a post-lunch nap? Eating large and unhealthy meals forces your body to use more blood and energy to digest food which sends less blood to your brain, which slows mental processes and makes you want to sleep. Overeating can zap your energy. If you regularly overeat, then your energy will be regularly diminished and it will become a habit.
There are many foods that give you energy and help you focus like:
Your diet should be well-balanced and comprised mainly of “good foods”.
A healthy diet will give you more energy, sharper mental abilities, and more optimal physical capabilities for self-defense.
Some unhealthy foods to eat in moderation or avoid altogether are:
Bad foods are okay in moderation, and everyone is guilty of pigging out on fries or ice cream (or both at the same) every once in a while.
While bad foods can be consumed in moderation, there are some substances like drugs that should be avoided altogether that can harm your body and make you more vulnerable to crime.
Drugs / Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol are directly related to self-defense and personal safety. Drugs are an illegal substance, and any involvement with them will directly associate you with an illegal activity and put you at greater risk. While alcohol isn't illegal, there are many negative consequences for drinking alcohol in excess or regularly.
Drugs and alcohol can have negative mental, physical, and psychological effects such as:
- Poor decision making and judgment
- Slower reaction time
- Impaired motor skills, balance, walking
- Impaired vision
- Memory loss
All of the above negative effects will make you more vulnerable to crime. Drugs are an illegal substance and we'd encourage people to avoid them both for legal and personal repercussions.
While drugs and alcohol weaken the body, physical exercise does the opposite; it strengthens the body.
Strength plays a crucial role in individual self-defense. A predator targets weaker victims and overpowers them with his strength.
Strength is how much force one person can exert onto someone else. If you build up your strength and can put up a good fight, it will make your chance of survival much higher.
You don’t have to become the next Mr. Olympia like Arnold Schwarzenegger, to be strong enough to defend yourself. But strength and bone density decrease as you age, and it’s important to regularly train these muscles to maintain your strength.
Here are some great strength resources and routines:
- Nerd Fitness Strength Training Exercises
- Simple, Practical Equipment for At-Home Training
- Runner's World's Body Weight Exercises
- Basic Strength Training Program from Mayo Clinic
To improve strength you can work out at a gym or at home with body-weight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. While being strong has many advantages, running away from your attacker is not only another option, but it’s the preferred option.
Speed has a direct correlation to safety. In the wild, if a deer can outrun a cheetah, then it will survive. Similarly with human self-defense, if you can outrun your attacker, you will survive. It’s as simple as that and utilizes the human survival instinct of flight.
The best way to improve your speed is by doing cardio and running. Specifically you can include sprinting exercises to train your muscles and fibers to fire more quickly, which is what you need to run away from an attacker. Cardio will directly improve your speed, but another very important benefit of running is your increased endurance.
Here's are some exercises targeted at increasing your speed: 4 Tactics for Speed Running
The definition of endurance is having the discipline and willpower to overcome difficulty. It can relate to both mental endurance and physical endurance, both of which are applicable and important in self-defense
Are you someone who gives up at the first sign of resistance or challenge? Or do you keep pushing through the pain knowing that it will make you stronger and more resilient?
If you’re running from an attacker and losing your breath, do you keep going or do you give up because it hurts? Self defense situations involve duress. If you don’t have great mental and physical endurance, you won’t survive.
To improve endurance, willingly put yourself into uncomfortable and fearful situations, and embrace the discomfort and pain. Do things that you hate doing, but must be done.
Public networking is a great example of mental endurance. It’s uncomfortable to put yourself out there and meet new people who might reject you. But putting yourself into uncomfortable situations and dealing with it, makes you more resilient in the future.
Running is a great example of physical endurance. Many people don’t actually enjoy the act of running, but do so regularly to develop their physical and mental endurance. Remember to stretch before you run so you don’t pull a muscle.
The connection between flexibility and self-defense is more obscure than other physical capabilities. It’s not like you can do a split when being attacked to save yourself.
Stretching allows you to:
- Kick higher
- Punch smoother
- Run faster
- Reduce injuries
- Take hits from an opponent much easier
- Greater range of motion with self-defense moves
This is a great resource for a beginner's guide to stretching: VA Government Beginner's Stretching Exercises
The best part about flexibility is you can stretch anytime and anywhere. Conditioning is also a universal exercise as you can condition your body anywhere from a park to your apartment.
If a predator punched you in the chest, would you fall down whimpering in pain or would you be able to withstand his punch and engage in self-defense fighting to save your life?
Conditioning is one of the most important parts of self-defense training. If you punched a large attacker in his arm, would your fist hurt afterwards? If you’ve never punched anything before in your life, then your hand would be very sore.
Conditioning is basically preparing your physical body to deliver or withstand impact. In other words training your body to be attacked and withstand the hits, or to fight back and be able to deliver strong hits without injuring yourself.
You train with conditioning by intentionally delivering small but gradually increasing amounts of force to your body.
You can spar at a self defense class or at home with a partner. You can even punch the boxing bag at the gym pretending it’s an aggressor. You can D.I.Y. condition by striking surfaces in your home such as the floor, walls, or doors. If you consistently condition, you will strengthen your skin, muscles, joints, and bones.
A healthy lifestyle and physical exercise are the foundation to a powerful life. Once you’re in real world situations, you’ll also need a confident presence to keep you safe.
How you present yourself in the world and how you’re perceived by others impacts not only your personal safety, but many other areas of your life.
A strong, calm, and confident presence can deter would-be attackers by signaling to them that you're not an easy target.
Attire and Appearance
We make snap judgments about others based on their appearance without exchanging a single word. While we preach “don’t judge a book by its cover”, human beings naturally rely on visual cues to quickly process information and make decisions. Your attire and appearance are how you physically appear to the public regarding clothing, shoes, makeup, hair, and accessories.
If you represent someone who is important, powerful, confident, strong, and athletic, you will be less of an easy target than someone who gives off the impression of weakness, vulnerability, ignorance, or obliviousness.
We encourage everyone to express themselves however they wish in any form. This guide is simply to understand how certain attire and appearances can have an impact on your personal safety.
Attire that makes you look and feel confident is great for self-defense. This is nondescript because it’s more about the feeling you get from wearing the attire. Predators will rarely target people that look strong and confident because they’re afraid they’ll fight back. Conversely if your attire makes you feel low-value or unimportant, you might stand out as someone who is weak.
Functional clothing is better for self-defense compared to restrictive or obstructive clothing. Examples of this are running shoes vs. dress shoes, or flats vs. high heels. Clearly it will be harder to run, fight, or do any physical activity in high heels versus flats.
If you wear flashy, expensive, or revealing clothing, it can attract both good and bad attention. Most of us like wearing expensive or cool clothing once in a while to show off. Keep in mind that you’ll also be noticed by people that have bad intentions and you can be targeted due to your appearance.
Communication is 55% non-verbal. That means you’re constantly communicating with everyone around you without saying a single word. That’s why body language is so important for personal safety. Your goal should always be to deter potential predators without engaging them, and body language is one of the best ways to do this.
Body language includes body posture, eye contact, facial expressions, and hand gestures. Body language that positively impacts self-defense means presenting yourself with confidence, strength, and awareness to the public.
Posture is how you hold your body when you’re standing, walking, or sitting. Good posture for self-defense includes specific body positions such as:
Proper body posture allows for optimal breathing, strong organ functioning, and less stress on your joints, bones, and muscles. It also displays power and assertiveness which can deter predators.
Eye contact is one of the most powerful forms of communication between two people, and crucial for self defense. “The eyes are the window to the soul”.
Eye contact shows what you’re paying attention to. If your eyes are glued to your phone, a predator knows that you're oblivious and vulnerable. If your eyes are carefully scanning the street and you make eye contact with the predator, he’ll know you are paying attention to your surroundings, you’ve seen him, and you may not be an easy target.
The best self-defense strategy for eye-contact is to be deliberate about your eye contact. Inspect and observe new environments and people. Utilize powerful eye contact to deter potential aggressors. Be smart and look away if someone doesn’t pose a threat to you so that you don't accidentally challenge him.
Facial Expressions and Hand Gestures
Imagine how former US presidents speak while giving a speech, or how basketball coaches rally their teams. Yes there’re words and verbal communication, but a subtle and very important aspect of their presentations are their facial expressions and hand gestures.
The best self-defense facial expressions and hand gestures are ones that exude confidence, calmness, intelligence, and vigilance. Generally speaking, having a slight smile, a raised brow, calm facial muscles, and a steadfast expression connote confidence and power. Slow, steady, wide-ranging hand gestures that are precise and deliberate tend to connote powerful and confident body language.
Is body language the most meaningful form of communication? Less-evolved animals rely mostly on body language to communicate which shows how important it is.
In addition to your attire, appearance, and body language, your actions play an important role in your perceived personal safety capabilities. Your actions comprise normal, everyday things like walking, talking, and moving around.
Here are some tips to confidently walk down the street and emanate a powerful presence:
Speaking is one of the best ways to demonstrate intelligence and influence. It’s no surprise that charismatic speaking can be beneficial to your personal safety. Here are some tips to talk more confidently and powerfully:
How do celebrities and bosses move? Are their movements quick and frantic, or are they slow and controlled? Here are some tips for your movements:
Think about how Superman would react if he heard a gunshot. Would he quickly duck and take cover? Of course not, he’s invincible to bullets and he doesn’t fear them.
Powerful and confident people are non-reactive. They control their own world and nothing phases them. When someone tells Angelina Jolie she’s beautiful, do you think she blushes and melts inside? Of course not. She's heard that a million times, she knows that she’s confident and powerful, and she doesn’t let other people’s comments affect her.
The bottom line is powerful, confident people are less reactive. They are in control of their emotions and actions, and live in their own world where they’re comfortable with whoever they are. Don’t be swayed or affected by other people’s words or actions, and you will come off as more powerful and experienced.
Situational awareness is how you observe, perceive, and process your surrounding environment. It's similar to being vigilant, but includes more meaning and further action to take.
The definition of situational awareness is:
“the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their future status.”
The three main components of situational awareness are:
Perception of the elements in your environment
- For self defense this means: Where are you? Who is around you? What are they wearing? What is that guy doing over there? What are the different areas in this bar?
- For self defense this means: You’re in a library and there’s a security guard plus many library employees so it’s relatively safe in here. You’re in an empty train station at night, so there’s not many people out now, people who are out might be suspicious, and you’re currently alone so you should be extra vigilant and ready to take action if necessary.
- For self defense this means: If the suspicious man wearing a large overcoat in the summer enters the empty train station at night and is acting weird, you should leave the train station or alert the authorities.
Situational awareness spans all aspects of your life. Do not underestimate the importance of being extra vigilant in all situations, processing elements and attributing meaning to them, and taking quick actions.
If you’re in a fight, you’ve already lost. That’s why non-contact self-defense is as important as learning fighting skills. Part 3 will analyze various ways to defend yourself without physically engaging the aggressor, or to reduce the likelihood of engagement.
Speed walking is a self-defense tactic in which you quickly walk away from a potential attacker. Speed walking can achieve a few desired results.
One, you quickly walk away from a potential attacker and he views you as a more difficult target because you’ve created distance or you’re proactively escaping the situation.
Two, you quickly walk away from a potential attacker, and he also quickens his pace to keep up with you. While this didn’t help you escape the situation, it alerts you to his true intentions and allows you to prepare for a potential attack.
Three, you quickly walk away, which buys you time and distance to retrieve or arm your self-defense weapons. While it won’t give you a lot of time, it will increase your preparation for a self-defense situation by potentially several seconds which is valuable extra time in a sudden attack.
Attackers like controlled situations where they initiate and create action. By quickening your walk, you’re changing the situation and taking the power away from him, and forcing him to act.
Some people believe a disadvantage for this tactic is encouraging a predator to take action and strongly pursue you. They believe that similar to prey drive in animals, once one animal starts running, the other animal starts chasing, just based on instincts.
We think the pros of speed walking in a dangerous situation far outweigh the cons. We believe in proactive self-defense and speed walking has many beneficial outcomes.
There’s also a proper way to speed walk. The best speed walk is to deliberately and confidently take bigger and faster strides with a purpose. Feel free to get your body and arms into it. We’re not trying to create a spectacle, but we’re trying to make a point - that you’re assertive and strong.
Crossing the Street
Crossing the street is another simple self-defense tactic similar to speed walking. Crossing the street is exactly as it sounds. If you see someone suspicious walking towards you, or if there’s someone suspicious following you, cross the street. This can accomplish a few goals similar to speed walking.
One, you may deter the perpetrator from attacking you, as you’re now a more difficult target. You’re a moving target that has changed trajectories and have created a situation that the perpetrator has less control over.
Two, if a perpetrator is determined to attack you, crossing the street will help reveal his true intentions. If he follows you across the street, that’s a good indicator of his bad intentions and you’ve forced him to reveal his cards.
Three, if the perpetrator follows you across the street, or even if he doesn’t and you are still suspicious, this tactic should allow you extra time to retrieve and arm your self-defense products.
De-escalation refers to verbally communicating with a potential aggressor to decrease the intensity of the situation to help you escape.
Before you begin verbally communicating with him, make sure the following:
- Verbal de-escalation is necessary and you can’t simply ignore him or walk away
- If engagement is necessary, make sure you’re calm, collected, and in a good state of mind so that your emotions are conveyed
- Take a deep breath, stand confidently, and speak in a low, neutral voice
Here are some de-escalation tactics to diffuse a potential tense or dangerous situation:
Compliance can be a life-saving self-defense tactic since the aggressor may feel that you're agreeing to his requests, and he doesn’t have to use excessive force. Compliance means obeying, agreeing, or conforming to a rule, order, or request.
If an attacker asks you to give him your wallet, you should comply with his request. Throw your wallet 10 feet away so the attacker has to go and retrieve it which will give you time to flee the scene. If the attacker is trying to perpetrate a violent crime against you and your wallet is not his priority, then his true intentions will be revealed.
Compliance alerts the opponent that you’re not a threat. He may lower his guard due to your lack of opposition or he may feel that he doesn’t need to exert as much physical force since you are not opposing. This may give you the opportunity you need to either fight back, retrieve a weapon, or make a run for it.
Appeasement is an unfortunate but useful self-defense tactic that can potentially save someone's life. Appeasement means to pacify, please, or placate someone by giving in to their demands.
We would never suggest giving up one’s principles to appease an aggressor, but there might be times that this can save your life, and you’ll have to make a difficult decision. The most direct example is sexual harassment or rape in which giving in to the demands of the aggressor might save your life. Again, we would never advise someone to give in to an aggressor’s sexual demands, but if you believe that he is willing to exert life-threatening physical force, you will have to make that decision.
One thing you should never do is allow a predator to kidnap you and bring you to his car or house, even if he has a knife or gun. Once a predator moves you to a second, more secluded location, your chances of survival are close to 0%. Even if he has a gun or knife, don’t allow him to move you to a secluded location. If you are in a public location with the predator and he is forcing you into his car, or to a second location, you should fight back as if your life depends on it.
Lying is an excellent non-contact self defense tactic, where you tell a fib or say something false to escape a dangerous situation. In a self-defense situation where you’re potentially fighting for your life, anything is on the table.
Here are some potential lies to tell a potential aggressor:
- “There are cops right around the corner” and then run towards that corner screaming “Help! Police!”
- “I’m a police officer”
- “I have a gun”
- “My friends are down the block meeting me here”
The purpose of lying is to scare the attacker away by suggesting that there are more people closeby who will help you, you have a weapon, or the repercussions of hurting you are not worth the crime.
Arming yourself with a weapon or self-defense product is one of the smartest things to do in this day and age. However it’s not easy. Weapons are heavy, bulky, and burdensome. And you may never ever have to use it. Is it worth carrying around a can of pepper spray every day that you never use? That’s the reason why most people don’t carry weapons. Many people believe if the weapon's not in your hand at the time of the crime, you might as well not have it.
Weapons and self-defense products also face legal restrictions as many are highly regulated, which is a good thing for those seeking trouble, but bad for people with good intentions.
Practicality has always been a major issue for modern young adults as no one wants to carry around knives or cans of pepper spray in their bags every day. However the self-defense industry has seen recent innovation which includes practical protective products like tech and jewelry. These products allow the user to seamlessly integrate protection into their everyday lives without the burden.
Guns will always be one of, if not the best self-defense weapon someone can use. A physically smaller and weaker victim can use a gun to effectively take down a larger, stronger, opponent.
We’re not advocating every fearful individual to purchase guns and carry them for protection. It would be impractical, expensive, and not very effective. Guns are one of the most serious responsibilities that require licenses, practice, money, and discipline. If you are willing to take the appropriate measures to use a firearm, then it’s your 2nd amendment right to do so, and we would encourage that. But don’t purchase a gun for a quick fix.
Knives such as pocket knives or hunting knives are an excellent, potentially lethal self-defense weapon. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and can be very effective at disabling an aggressor. Please note that carrying a knife can be illegal in some jurisdictions.
If it’s legal to carry a knife in your jurisdiction, then we suggest you consider it. Find a knife that is the size, weight, and functionality that suits you. Practice opening it, holding it, and performing defensive moves.
Pepper spray is one of the best self-defense products someone can purchase and own. Inexpensive at under $20 and powerfully incapacitating, every person whether male or female should include pepper spray in their self-defense supply. Check your local laws to make sure you’re legally allowed to purchase and own pepper spray.
Here are two inexpensive pepper sprays you can purchase from Amazon.com:
Keychain Pepper Spray - Pepper spray in the form of a keychain
Pepper Gel Spray with Holster - Stronger pepper gel spray with a belt holster
Similar to pepper spray, stun guns are relatively inexpensive and can be forcefully effective. One major disadvantage is that some stun guns are contact weapons and must be used in close quarters. We’d discourage engaging in any physical altercation with an attacker in close quarters, so stun guns should be a last resort weapon. Nevertheless they’re a good addition to your self-defense arsenal.
Mini Stun Gun - Small, handheld, rechargeable stun gun
Keys should never be your first choice, but having keys to fight with is better than having nothing and fighting with your bare hands. They're also one item that you'll almost always have on you, so you should practice using them for self-defense. Holding keys between your fingers is a highly debated topic. If done properly, holding a key or two between your fingers can give you a great metal weapon to defend yourself with.
Practice putting keys between your fingers to determine the most stable position for them. Keep in mind that you’re not trying to strike the aggressor in the chest with keys - you’re going for his sensitive, fleshy body areas like his eyes or ears.
Whistles can be great at calling attention to someone attacking you, and perpetrators never want the spotlight on them. A whistle is not a top priority weapon, but it’s better than having nothing. A whistle might draw attention to the attacker and encourage other people to physically intervene or call the police. Or a whistle can spook the attacker and deter him from committing a crime in the first place.
Whistle Keychains - Convenient, inexpensive whistle keychains from Amazon
This everyday writing instrument can be a usable self defense tool. Fighting off an attacker with a pen or pencil is better than using your bare hands. Hold the pen or pencil in your fist with point facing outward/downward similar to holding a knife. Make sure the back of the instrument is locked in place with your thumb. Aim for fleshy areas of the body like the eyes, face or neck.
If you happen to be drinking out of a glass bottle, use it to your advantage. If there’s a dangerous individual approaching you with bad intentions, hold the glass bottle by the neck, and break the bottom of the glass bottle on the ground so you have a sharp weapon to use. The act of smashing the glass bottle on the ground may also discourage the aggressor from targeting you in the first place as that’s pretty badass.
How to Break a Glass Bottle into a Weapon - One clean, safe way to turn a glass bottle into a handheld weapon
The purpose of using projectiles is to keep distance between you and your attacker. A second purpose is to injure or disable him with the projectiles.
If he’s able to close the distance separating him from you, you become more vulnerable and your chances of survival decrease. Projectiles can be anything you can throw at your attacker. They should be small, heavy, and if landed can cause damage. Examples of projectiles are:
Nearby Objects As Weapons
Most people will be weaponless in a sudden attack. However there are many everyday objects that can be used as a makeshift handheld weapon. Using anything in your general vicinity can be better than fighting with only your bare hands. Here are some great everyday objects you can use:
Our list above consists mostly of small or light handheld objects that can be used with one hand. We’d discourage using large items such as chairs, lamps, or tables.
Jewelry that has self-defense capabilities is a new industry that appeals to individuals wanting practical self-defense products. Instead of carrying a can of pepper spray in a purse, women can wear beautiful jewelry that also function as protective weapons. The dual purpose of self defense jewelry makes it practical and functional in today’s fast-paced world without compromising fashion or comfort.
There are many self-defense apps that can help you in a dangerous situation. We think the best apps are ones that track your location and movements. Therefore if you’re attacked, kidnapped or possibly killed, there will be a trail of your movements up until the attack occurred and afterwards.
One of the most popular smart phone safety apps is called Life360, which you can see here: Life360 Smart App. It allows you to track, chat, and stay connected with members of your family.
There are some apps that can call the police, alert your family, take pictures of the attacker, shine the phone’s flashlight, and play loud sounds. If you have the app open at the time of the attack and can utilize these functions, they can help in some situations. A good example might be in crowded areas like malls or out in public. If you’re in a desolate location like hiking on a mountain, instead of holding your phone, it might be better to arm yourself with an actual weapon that can increase your chances of survival. You also have to determine the intent of the aggressor. If he wants to kill you, bright lights and loud sounds won’t deter him and you’re better off grabbing a physical weapon.
Fighting an attacker should be your last resort, but a necessary skill set. Fighting an attacker means that all other strategies have failed and you are physically engaged with him. In these cases, you’ll have to use your natural self-defense weapons: your arms, legs, and body.
Strikes and Kicks
There are many punches in the martial arts world that have different forms, uses, and desired outcomes. Here are 3 of the most practical and powerful punches you can use in a self-defense situation.
The closed-fist punch is what we imagine when we think about a regular punch. It's also known as a cross punch in boxing and some martial arts. You create a fist grip out of your hand, load your fist into the chamber position, and release the fist in a straight motion out in front of you. Here are the basic steps to a closed-fist punch:
- Cock your fist in the chamber position which will give you more power with your palm facing upward
- Release and extend your fist outward straight in front of you at your target while rotating your fist toward a downward facing position
See this video to view a descriptive instruction how to perform a closed-fist punch: How to Throw a Closed-Fist Punch Video
Closed-Fist Hammer Punch
The closed-fist hammer punch follows the same motion you would use hammering a nail. This strike is good for weaker individuals as you use the power of gravity to assist with the up and down force of the strike. Here are the basic steps to a hammer punch:
- Raise your fist upward above your head in the chamber position with the full length of your arm aligned with your target
- Release your arm downward and pull down to create more power on the strike
For a detailed video on how to throw a hammer punch, please click here: How to Throw a Hammer Punch Video
Closed-fist hook is a powerful punch that utilizes torque. The hook is a punch that moves in a semi-circular motion in which the target is at the opposite end of the circle. It’s a punch that comprises speed, power, and the element of surprise. Here are the steps:
- Load your fist behind your body as if you were trying to reach behind yourself.
- Release your fist along the circular path while rotating your body slightly in the same direction to increase its power and speed
View this video for detailed instruction on how to throw a closed-fist hook punch.
Similar to punches, there is a wide assortment of kicks that someone can use in a self-defense situation. Below are three of the easiest kicks to use that can also disable an attacker.
The snap kick is a famous kick across all martial art disciplines. It’s known for its speed, sting, and element of surprise. It’s not particularly known for its power due to the top of the foot being used and the motion of your leg. Here are the steps to a snap kick:
- Raise your knee so that it’s parallel to the ground
- With your toes pointed downward, extend your leg outward towards the target, pivoting along your knee joint
- Aim for contact with the top of your foot
Front kick is another common kick seen across many martial art disciplines. It’s the kick people use when they want to kick in a door. The front kick has excellent power and is an immediately accessible kick, but has below average speed. Here are the steps:
- Raise your leg with your foot flexed and your toes pointed upward
- Extend your leg outward and forward
The knee strike is an effective and powerful leg strike that can cause damage to a perpetrator. The knee strike has limited range of motion, requires an attacker in close range, and normally requires grappling for it to be effective. Here are the steps of a knee strike:
- Grab the perpetrator either around the body, by his arms, or by his shoulders
- Shift your weight onto your planting leg and bring your striking leg’s foot upward
- Aim your knee at the perpetrators groin area or head if it’s in range
Main Target Areas
Secondary Target Areas
Multiple people attacking you is the worst situation to be in. Even if it’s only two people, it’s still double everything. Double the strength, the punches, the angles, and more. If you engage in fighting with multiple attackers, you are setting yourself up for defeat. If they have bad intentions, you will have to use every trick in the book to escape. Your best bet is to not engage in any physical altercation with multiple attackers.
An attacker with a gun or knife puts you in a deadly predicament. You’ll have to evaluate the situation appropriately to determine what his intentions are.
For example, if he wants to kill you, then everything is on the table.
If he wants to rob you, but doesn’t have the intention of killing you, then compliance might be the best course of action.
Other options are using compliance and appeasement to trick him into lowering his guard, then engaging in weapons or fighting skills to incapacitate him This will give you time to flee or call for help.
If you can implement most of what you've learned in this guide, you will be a very difficult target for any predator.
The strategies and information in this guide are by no means easy fixes, especially if you've been living a life drastically different. Therefore it will take time to incorporate some of these tips and truly internalize the lessons. However, when you do, you'll not only be a strong and more powerful person, you'll realize that you're actually safer.
Additionally you'll find that many of these strategies, tips, and techniques can be applied to other areas of your life such as your job or career, your relationships with family and friends, and your purpose in life. The heart and soul of this guide is improving yourself to become stronger, more confident, and more empowered, which are keys not only to self-defense but for a fulfilling life.