10 Effective Self Defense Techniques

These techniques are intended for the beginner who wants some solid basics and for the advanced student who might want to reinforce what they most likely have learned. This is very basic material, more advanced techniques are better suited for the school where you can get detailed instruction. These are basic ideas of self-defense that work.

First, it is important to put your body and hands in a position in which you are not looking aggressive, so that you don’t antagonize an attacker, and in which you can readily defend yourself. This means your body must be sideways enough to obscure your targets and your hands must be above your opponent’s where they can quickly block an attack without too much movement.

This is achieved by stepping back, turning a little sideways and putting your hands up in a “I don’t want any trouble” position.

Observe the following images.

Aggressor on the right becomes antagonistic


Defender on the left steps back and puts his hands up.

From this position with your hands up you can more easily block and defend yourself. Which leads us to the first self defense technique: The simple block and strike.

Block and Strike: Heel Palm and Eye Strike

When you block, you want to cover your center-line where your targets are that you want to protect. You can block inwardly or outwardly.

In addition, you can add a strike using your rear hand. Since it is your rear hand doing the striking, there will be more travel on the strike so there will be more power in the strike. A heel palm strike is done with the bottom hard part of the palm. It is an effective strike because the heel of the palm has no give to it, unlike the fist. While the fist, the fingers and knuckles, can be damaged when delivering a punch, the heel palm really can’t be damaged and it is a very hard weapon. Observe the following illustrations of this technique.

In addition, the eyes are a good target, they are soft and easily hurt, to put in simple terms.

The main point is, you want to get the attacker’s mind on to something other than attacking you. A hard strike to the bridge of the nose or chin or fingers into his eyes will induce enough pain and distraction for you to get away or follow up with something to really discourage him or stop him longer enough for you to make your escape.

It is important to practice your strikes on a target in which you feel the impact of hitting something and you can work on your accuracy and focusing your power. Repetition of the strike burns it into muscle memory and neural-pathways so that you improve form and become faster, because then both brain and muscles do not have to work as hard at performing the movement correctly since it’s burned in. It is best to use focus mitts, having a partner assist, especially with the heel palm strike.

For getting an even better feel for actually striking a person, consider the punching bag, Bob, found here:Bob XL

The Groin Kick

Getting kicked in the groin is excruciatingly painful, creating spasms that last quite awhile and will definitely stop an attacker at least temporarily, if not stop him completely, if done hard and effectively enough. It is a simple technique, a front kick into the groin, but very effective and a good piece of your self defense arsenal.

You start the front kick by raising the knee and use the knee for aim.


Then you unleash the kick into the groin, using the instep, shin or ball of the foot.


Again, it is important to practice this technique, to acquire correct form and speed and power. A kicking shield is a very good tool for practicing the front kick. Practice at least 5 repetitions each leg. Have a partner hold it horizontally with the target facing downward so you can practice the kick as if it is going up into the groin. It is important, again, to get the feel for the impact of hitting a target and to work your aim, focus and power.

Elbow Strike

The elbow is a very hard, compact, strong weapon that can easily knock someone out if used accurately and strongly on the right target, such as the temple. To use this weapon properly, the arm or hand must still be connected to the body to lend a base to the weapon and the weapon must be made compact and tight. For the inward elbow, the fist is still connected to the chest, as with the outward elbow. For the back elbow, the arm is slid and kept close to the body at the ribs.

Observe the following images.

Defense Against the Straight Wrist Grab

It is a common attack. The brute wants to grab your wrist to punch you or pull you into his car. The scenarios are endless. Main thing is, attackers want a handle to handle you.

This defense is against someone grabbing directly in front to grab the arm straight across from theirs; if they grab with their right hand, they’d be grabbing your left wrist.

You have to turn your hand and wrist, to make it horizontal, so that you have a skinny opening between the attacker’s thumb and fingers to escape.

Observe the following images.

Pull your wrist toward yourself to slip out of the grip.

Escape from a Cross Wrist Grab

This time the attacker has reached across to grab one of your wrists. If he grabs with his right hand, he’d be grabbing your right wrist.

Observe the following.

You have to angle your arm into a position to allow escape by tucking your elbow into your body and pulling your wrist toward your shoulder out and back, as you step back with the foot on the same side as the wrist that’s been grabbed.

An alternate defense against this grab is to use a push-pull effect, or opposing forces. Push-pull creates leverage and opposing forces generates power. By striking the nerve on the opponent’s wrist (the push) while pulling with the arm that’s been grabbed (the pull), you can escape the grip, if done quickly and strongly.

Two-handed Wrist Grab

The attacker might be even more aggressive, really trying to control you and grab your wrist and arm with both hands. You can assist the escape by matching his power by introducing your own other hand into the mix.


As a distraction and softening move, you can insert a poke to the eyes.

Reach between the attacker’s arms and grab your own hand.

Pull your wrist out of the grip as you step back with the foot on the same side as the hand you pull with.

Escape Defense Against a Two-handed Choke from the Front

This is common attack, someone is just straight trying to choke you, grabbing your throat from the front with both hands, trying to block your windpipe and cut off your air.

First you must relieve the pressure from your windpipe. You do this by stepping sideways, which re-positions the hands on your throat in a way that turns them away from the windpipe. Then you want to break the grip completely by dropping a strike down on the offender’s arms.


Two-handed Choke from Behind

The attacker might also use the same choke from behind. In this defense, you must step at an angle that takes the attacker’s balance away, loosens the grip and puts you in a position to escape. From there, you circle your arm around and on top of the arms of the attacker and shed off the grip. You can add a strike for good measure before you make an escape from the aggressor completely.

You have to bring your hands up above your attacker’s.

Step toward the right.

Turn your body toward the right.


Get on top and shed the attacker’s arms off.

You can add an elbow strike to allow you to get away or follow up.

Defense Against a Commando Choke

This is a sneaky and dangerous choke from behind in which the attacker uses the hard bone of his forearm to put pressure on your windpipe. It is important to remember that a broken windpipe means you can’t breathe which means an attack on your windpipe is potentially fatal. So the first thing to do is protect the windpipe by grabbing the attacking arm and pulling it off of the windpipe and then tucking your chin to cover your throat.

Observe the whole sequence, including the escape from the hold.

Pull the arm to relieve pressure off the windpipe and tuck your chin.

Strike the groin to loosen him up as you step to the right with your right foot to get a base and better position to maneuver.

Slide your left foot toward your right foot.

Slide your left foot behind your attacker in a position that will give you better leverage to peel him off.

With your left reach for your attacker chin and grab it.

Pull back and down on your attacker’s chin and head.

Pull him all the way off of you and to the ground.

This technique is a good example of using the opponent’s head to control and manipulate him.

Defense Against a Bear Hug from Behind

They’ve grabbed you to toss you or control you. The first good thing to do is establish a base, so that you can’t be thrown and have a foundation to work from. Next, you will maneuver to a position that will allow you, again, the leverage to get the attacker off of you. Using proper angle and position, you can pull this technique off.

Step to the right with your right foot to gain a base and position.

Slide your left foot around the attacker’s right foot and place it in back of him.

Deliver an outward elbow strike to the attacker’s face.

Drive your left arm outward and down and throw your attacker over your left hip, using his face or chest as leverage..

So, those are some basic self-defense techniques for some common attacks. It is important to practice these, because you will be able to do them effectively and powerfully by repeated practice; they will be burned into muscle memory and the brain, so that you don’t even have to think about them to pull them off.

In addition, it is necessary to practice kicks and strikes on the pads and equipment mentioned, to get a feel for impact, to work on accuracy and the focus of power. These will also build muscles, muscle memory and memorization.

Also, it is important to train with a partner, especially concerning the escapes from grabs and holds, because then you get a feel for how the techniques work and what works.

If you want to learn more advanced self-defense, it is best to learn from an experienced instructor.

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