On my journey to find the best self defense system I uncovered what I intuitively already thought was true. This truth is that the most simplest move or technique is usually the best and most effective. You can search high and low and learn the most intricate and deadliest martial art out there. But what good is it going to do you if cannot perform it under stress or if it takes ten years to become proficient at it?
The largest barrier to self defense is your mental state. Everyone reacts differently but most people will initially freeze up when faced with a life threatening situation. The only way to work past this mental state is through realistic practice with a partner and by knowing the most vulnerable areas to attack on another human being.
I absolutely do not recommend practicing the following self defense moves full force or full speed on your partner. Instead you want to practice them slowly and deliberately so that you will have them hard wired into your brain and your muscle memory will take over when the pressure is really on!
The following targets and descriptions of the basic self defense moves are violent and graphic. I have watered down my language describing them so as not to offend some people. Obviously great care should be taken not to injure your training partners. When training with a partner you should stop before the point of injury and visualize continuing all the way through the target.
The best way to practice them is to have your partner put you in a situation and your job is to go slowly and identify a vulnerable area and practice accessing that target from whatever situation you may find yourself in.
The following moves and targets are given in no particular order.
Self Defense Move #1 – The Eye Gouge
This one is pretty straight forward however it warrants some discussion.
Us “normal” people have a natural aversion to harming another human being. Attacking someone’s eyes is absolutely no exception. Morgues are full of people who left scratch marks all over their attackers face but for some reason they never had the nerve to stick their finger or preferably their thumb directly into the eye socket of their attacker.
I am not talking about scratching at the eyes here either. I am talking about sinking your thumb all the way in up to your knuckle at the inside corner of the eye, rupturing the eyeball and then dragging your thumb knuckle deep all the way across and to the opposite corner of the eye.
This will definitely cause a reaction from your assailant that will buy you time to escape to safety. The police should have no problem identifying your attacker at the local hospital emergency room either!
What if they have glasses on? Simple you slide your thumb from the cheek bone up and under the glasses. I could elaborate on proper technique but that would make for a much longer article.
Self Defense Move #2 – The Ear Slap
A good and properly performed slap on the ears will at worst disorient your attacker and at best rupture their ear drums sending them crumpling to the ground in pain. Let’s say for example that someone has grabbed you in a bear hug from the front underneath your arms and is carrying you off to their trademarked creepo van.
You know where his arms are! He has left himself wide open and defenseless!
For some reason or another you have decided not to gouge the eyes. Maybe you are saving the eye gouge as your last option if the ear slap does not work. Anyways the critical component of this technique is to cup your hands just like you would if you were clapping loudly at a sporting event. No opera claps here! With both hands cupped you “clap” or “slap” both ears at the same time. If you only have access to hitting just one ear that will do just fine too!
The important thing is that it should be a good hard clap with a cupped hand. This point is critical. Your fingers should also be pressed tightly together. The cupped hand creates a vacuum which ruptures the ear drum of your attacker.
Take care with your training partner here! Do not actually clap over your training partner’s ears. This can cause permanent damage and a lifetime of pain for your partner! For practice just go slowly and keep your fingers spread open to avoid an accidental injury. In real life keep your fingers tight together and hand cupped.
Also in real life you are aiming to have the center of your palm seal your attackers ear canal.
One word of warning! How you practice usually dictates how you will actually strike when the real pressure is on. So you may want to improvise and practice an ear slap on an empty Javex bottle or something like a watermelon that your training partner is holding up. If you get to know the feeling of performing this technique properly you will be able to tell the police to look for the guy with a ruptured ear drum at the hospital emergency room. Injuries make it so much easier to identify your attacker!
Self Defense Move #3 – The Ball Buster
Nothing new here! If you can reach the testicles with your knee, foot or hand you have found one heck of a sensitive area!
The real issue here is launching your attack without setting off any radar. Guys are conditioned from a very young age to instinctively respond to any incoming threats to this vulnerable area. An attacker can usually respond in time to avoid most kicks because they see it coming and subconciously respond or flinch! Ideally you want to get close and use your knee because it flies under the peripheral view.
The goal is to kick or knee the testicles and follow through. In a self defense situation you are aiming to try and kick or knee them up through the groin area and try to follow through all the way up to their neck!
What if someone has grabbed you from behind in a bear hug over your arms? Stomp on their foot and get an handful of their family jewels and squeeze as hard as you can for as long as you can till the guy either drops to the ground or lets go. You want to squeeze until you feel something burst. Then you run to safety.
Self Defense Move #4 – The Throat
This self defense move can be lethal so do not mess around and take it easy on your training partner.
A strong forearm strike to the windpipe can cause enough damage to collapse the wind pipe and your attacker will suffocate. Surfaces that you can attack this area with are endless it can be a punch, edge of hand blow, forearm strike, elbow, hammer fist or even the webbing of you hand that is made when you make an “L” shape with your pointer finger and your thumb.
You can even place a cell phone inside your fist so that the bottom of the phone is just slightly protruding out the bottom of your fist and then you hammer fist the throat. The unforgiving structure of the cell phone is sure to cause serious damage.
The one thing to always remember is that a strike with to the throat area can potentially kill the other person. A strike to any area can potentially kill another person if they have the right pre existing medical conditions!
You can even take this target further and include what I call the “Ring Around The Collar”. The sides of the neck are vulnerable due to the nerves that run through this area. The back of the neck is where the brain stem is and is the one common connection between your brain and the rest of your body. Impacts to the entire “Ring Around The Collar” can cause serious life threatening injuries. Take special care of your training partner and never go full speed or full force on any of these areas. Use a light touch and slow controlled movement in practice. Practicing in this manner will build muscle memory.
Self Defense Move #5 – The Lower Leg
The vulnerable spots here while not immediately life threatening can lead to injuring your attacker either directly or indirectly. When I say indirectly I mean if you manage to break your attackers ankle and they go crashing down onto the side walk and split their head open.
If someone has grabbed you from behind tying up your arms the areas of the lower leg to aim for can look something like the following. You can use the edge of your foot, assuming that you are wearing shoes, and scrape as hard as you can down the attackers shin. This is should get them to loosen their grip! Whether you are wearing shoes or not you can stomp your heel as hard as you can directly onto the top of the attackers foot as high up and close as you can to where the foot meets the ankle.
How about if someone has knocked you to the ground and is standing over you? What you can do in this situation is bring your knee up and in line with the ankle and then lift up and place the front of your shin directly on their lower shin just slightly above the ankle joint. Then you press down and slam all your body weight across and down into the pavement.
The ankle joint attack takes practice. It can be done standing and stomping across and down. It can be done from the inside of their legs by rolling all of your body weight outwards.
You are looking to strike just above the to knobs that you can feel on each side of your ankle joint. This tears the ankle joint and sends your assailant either limping away or crashing down into the pavement.
Be careful with your partner. Go easy and go lightly. On the ankle attack you want to go slow and give your partner time to roll ahead of your pressure and simulate falling to the ground. Be careful. When in doubt go slow! Even if you are confident, go slow and do not injure your training partner!
Those are the five easiest and most effective self defense moves that just about anyone should be able to perform to stop just about any assailant. Seriously injuring your attacker will free you up and buy time to get to safety.
When your own life and safety is on the line a pain/compliance, pressure point kind of defense will usually do you no good because the second you release your attacker and try to make an escape they will have an opportunity to attack you one more time.
These moves can be deadly so the utmost respect should be taken when practicing them with a partner.
The five self defense moves discussed should only be used in situations that warrant extreme self defense and all other options have been exhausted.
Stay safe and respect your training partners!
Scott Smith is a researcher and reviewer of various self defense systems and products. His reviews and opinions can be viewed at http://www.my-self-defense-journey.com
A free seven week mini self defense e-course is available on his website which includes video instruction on some of the self defense techniques discussed in this article.