When we think of self-defense we tend to think of para-military training or ancient martial arts techniques that take years of training to learn and execute. Fortunately for those who want to protect themselves when things get dicey there are a lot of truly simple self-defense techniques out there that anyone can learn. All it takes is a bit of practice, and remembering them when the chips are down.
Simple Self-Defense Techniques Anyone Can Use
1. Getting Away When Someone Grabs Your Wrist
A wrist grab is one of the most basic forms of physical control. It stops you from striking with that hand, and it stops you from running away. You don’t have to yank your arm out of the socket to get away though; just rotate your wrist in your attacker’s grip so that when you pull you’re putting pressure on the area where his thumb and index finger join. Just bend your arm and unless you’re being snatched by some kind of superhuman mutant you’ll break away rather easily.
2. Go For The Knees
Lots of self-defense guides tell you to go for the eyes or the groin. This isn’t bad advice, and if you can do it the fight’s going to be over pretty quickly. The problem is that blocking these areas is pretty simple, and if you miss your attacker is going to be ready the next time you try.
It’s really hard to protect your knees, though. Not only that, but you don’t have to do some complicated spinning maneuver to shatter someone’s leg; just kick the side of your attacker’s knee. The best case scenario is that you’ll hurt them bad enough to end the fight, but even in the worse case scenario you buy yourself enough time to run while reducing the chances that person can run after you.
3. Use Your Elbows
While punching someone feels good and looks cool, it also puts your hands at risk. Even if you’re experienced at fighting with your fists you can sprain your wrist, break your knuckles, or worse with a single, ill-landed blow.
Use your elbows instead.
Your elbow is hard, sharp, and if you drive it into a soft place (like someone neck or stomach) then you’re going to hurt them. If you hit someone in the face with your elbow then you stand a good chance of cutting them, which means they might get blood in their eyes and making it harder for them to threaten you.
4. Go For The Eyes
You don’t need to dig your thumbs into someone’s eyes to take them out of a fight (though even a gentle poke in the eye can be enough to render anyone useless for a little while). Throw sand in their eyes if you’re at the beach, or if you’re at a bar throw your drink in their face. You get the added benefit of alcohol burn, and that will buy you time to get away.
5. The Ears Work Too, Though
While it might seem juvenile there’s a reason parents grab disobedient children by their ears. Twisting someone’s ears hurts, and if you yank hard enough there’s the chance of doing real damage. If your attacker has prominent jewelry in sensitive areas (lip rings, nose rings, industrial piercings, etc.) then yanking those out can also cause enough pain for you to end a fight and get away.
6. Shout It Out!
Battle cries might seem quaint in today’s age of tasers and laser-sighted sniper rifles, but if we’re getting primal a loud shout and aggressive approach can throw someone off his game. This is especially true if that person thought he was the aggressor, and suddenly has the tables turned when you unleash your inner King Leonidas. Martial arts even have a name for this concentrated audio aggression; it’s called a kiai!
7. The Perfect Head Butt
The head butt is one of the great close-quarters equalizers, but there’s a myth that it will hurt you more than it will hurt them. It won’t, if you do it right. All you need to do is grab your attacker by his lapels (or the approximate place on the shirt), and push them back. This makes them less rigid, and when you yank them forward into the top of your head it creates a whip-lash motion that will have them seeing stars. You might have a headache, but they’ll certainly be worse off than you are.
8. The Sleeper Hold (It’s Easier Than You Think)
The sleeper hold is a kind of legendary wrestling move that’s actually really easy to execute. Get behind your attacker and slip your non-dominant arm around his throat. Your forearm and bicep should be on either side of his neck, and his throat in the hollow of your elbow. Put your dominant hand on the back of his head, and grab your dominant bicep with your non-dominant hand. Push down on his head and flex your arm. This cuts off blood to his head, and it can render him unconscious in as little as 10 to 15 seconds. It’s an opportunistic hold though, and not something you’ll be able to manage if you’re face-to-face with someone.
While these simple tips can be a big help when the chips are down it’s important to remember that your personal safety is the goal, not winning a fight or showing how tough you are. If you have the opportunity to run, or to get help, you should always do that in order to take the least amount of risk possible. When you can’t run or have no one to turn to though, you need to be able to fight free in order to get away from a bad situation.