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Important Self Defense Tips

Sep 3, 2008
So you've taken a few karate lessons, maybe you've got a colored belt. I'm sorry to break this to you, but if you are attacked on the street, your attacker isn't going to press his palms together and bow politely before he makes his move.

Martial artists adhere to a code of honor that has not caught on with the criminal population. A typical drunken or doped up thug will try to surprise you if he can. From behind if he can. With something so scary or force so overwhelming you won't think about resisting. He's not looking for a fair fight, or any fight at all. He's after your money, your jewelry, your car, your dignity, or all the above.

Your ability to defend yourself from a street attack will not depend on your knowledge of slick martial arts moves as much as it will on your determination to act quickly and forcefully to end the attack and escape.

This is not to say that Jet Li has much to fear in a dark alley. He doesn't. But you're not Jet Li and never will be. You will have to rely on intelligence, determination, and when possible, the advantage a small, non-lethal self defense product can provide.

Here is a run down of the most practical means for non-lethal self defense you have available to you.

First, you can just run away. Happily, drunks and junkies are, as a rule, not overly swift of foot. Removing yourself from a dangerous situation is often the safest thing you can do. If you are confronted by a hostile jerk, he has probably already decided how and when he is going to go after you. You are at a disadvantage right from the start. If you see an opportunity to skoot, skoot.

Ok, you're not a track star either. Try distraction. Do the unexpected. Cause a scene. Scream at him, or about him, or at some passers by. Break something that will attract a lot of attention. The distraction may give you time to go back to plan A and get out of there.

That didn't work? You're trapped in a small space. The jerk is between you and the only exit. He's actually grabbed you?

Now is not the time to be trying to remember your last karate lesson. Whether you have a keychain weapon or not, the eyes, nose, throat, solar plexus and groin offer the best opportunities to inflict enough pain to cover a get-a-way.

We'll work from the top down for no particular reason. The most important thing to remember is not to hold back. Give it all you've got. Don't hesitate. The targets we're talking about are the most vulnerable whether you have a weapon at hand or not.

The two finger poke to the eyes was not only hilarious when Moe, Larry and Curly did it, well struck, your attacker's tighly shut eyes will give you plenty of time to make your exit.

A fist, or the heel of your hand, or your forehead, or any handy striking weapon applied forcefully to the tip of the nose will cause great pain and close the eyes of the recipient quickly.

So will a blow to the throat. The tips of your fingers, a fist, an elbow, or any form of kubaton will serve the purpose admirably. The thug's breathing difficulties, and he will have them after being hit hard on the Adams apple, can only work to your advantage. Once again, don't hold back.

One of the down sides to a lot of karate practice is that punches are often stopped or pulled. Bad habit. Punch as though your target was a foot behind where it actually is. Get your body weight into it.

Another vulnerable spot is called the solar plexus. It is a bundle of nerves just below the breastbone. A strong blow to it, from fist, elbow, knee or what have you will collapse most people instantly.

And, of course, the ever popular groin kick, when well landed, will rarely fail to give you time for a hasty departure. It is impossible to say this too often. Give it all you've got. Don't hold back.

You can increase your chances of a successful escape by carrying a simple self defense weapon. Kubatons and other small keychain striking and cutting weapons will greatly increase the effectiveness of any blow you deliver. Leather saps, small folding batons and similar striking weapons can make even the smallest person a formidable opponent. Your targets remain the same.

Pepper spray and stun guns are the next step up, offering the ability to thoroughly disable an attacker quickly and in the case of pepper spray, at a distance. If you decide to carry these weapons, once again, your determination to use them, your lack of hesitation and mental attitude is as important as having them at hand.

If you carry pepper spray, or a stun gun, or a keychain weapon, know how they work and how to use them. Have the weapon ready in your hand when you are in vulnerable situations. Entering and leaving vehicles or buildings are particularly dangerous times. Carrying packages and fumbling for your keys make you doubly open to attack. Look around you. Don't be surprised. Be ready.

If you are attacked, hesitation will only benefit your attacker. Drop your purse. Drop the groceries. Keep your eyes on the threat. Strike hard and fast until the threat is no longer in sight. Put a safe distance between you and your attacker as quickly as possible. Call the cops.

Mental preparedness is the most critical factor in effective self defense. An air of confidence and decisiveness will even make you less likely to be attacked in the first place.
About the Author
Xavier Tico writes about Self Defense Products and about more general matters at his blog The Extremist.
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