Self Defense Techniques: Be Responsible for Your Safety

Self Defense Techniques

As soon as you start your adult life you get all sorts of responsibilities that you don’t really want. As a fresh adult, you have financial responsibility, you need to learn how to support yourself and someday, your family. Still, no one thinks about the one responsibility you hold towards yourself and your own personal safety. Learning a few self-defense techniques should be one of the first lessons in preparing for your adult life. You may never have to use these techniques for real but having the knowledge allows you to be more confident in your own powers.

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Unless you live on the top of a mountain, you have to deal with other people every day. You never know when a violent fellow is going to cross paths with you or when a petty thief starts eyeballing your bag. Even though we like to believe we live in a civilized world, there are dangers lurking on every shadow and you could encounter an unpleasant situation after every corner. Being prepared allows you to handle the situation without requiring any other assistance.

It’s true, we have law enforcement organs and they do their job, but do you really want to base your hopes on someone who is a few miles away when you are face to face with an attacker? Here is where those self-defense techniques you’ve learned come in handy. You get to defeat the one who tries to scare and dominate you and even hand it over to the police.

Attacking Person

Another situation where you might meet thugs and low-lives is in the wilderness. As hard as it seems to believe, there are packs of thieves who go through the woods looking for a kicker who travels alone or for a group that seems vulnerable and easy to attack. They take advantage of the fact that there is no one around to help and they can steal your equipment (we know it’s expensive) and any cash you have on you.

It’s a very bad situation if you don’t know how to defend yourself! It’s not enough that you get scared and your ego is shredded to pieces, you are also left to manage survival in the wilderness without food, water and equipment. This is how an outdoor adventure that started pretty good can turn into a real nightmare.

So, even though it’s hard to believe, you may find yourself in a face-to-face situation with an attacker. Regardless of your size, previous training or the fact that you are a man or a woman, there are several basic self-defense techniques that can help you defeat your attacker.

Prevention – best self defense technique

As we already said, it’s good to know how to defend yourself but the best way to actually use self-defense techniques is to not use them at all. You can avoid a direct confrontation if you don’t look like a suitable victim in the eyes of an attacker. Most low-lives look for easy targets that can’t or won’t fight back so make sure you know your surroundings and take all the security precautions necessary. Here are a few basic safety precautions:

  • Before approaching your door or your car always make sure to look around and see if there’s no one around.
  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry or bags when you travel alone.
  • Park your car in a well-lit area and always keep your keys in your hand while walking to the car. If you stop right beside the car and start looking for keys in your purse your attention is distracted and you might miss someone sneaking behind you. If you keep the keys in your hand you’ll be able to unlock your car and get in quickly.
  • Don’t walk alone on a dark alley, late at night. Darkness is the best hiding place for this kind of people.
  • Don’t be predictable! Try to take different routes when walking home or to the store. This discourages someone who is looking for a pattern.

Sometimes even if you take all the precautions in the world, you might still end up with an attacker in front of you. If this happens try to defuse the situation if you think it’s possible. Even though you may be very scared your brain will still be able to quickly assess the situation. The most important thing is to not freeze.

Try and see if you can talk your attacker out of assaulting you. An attacker that seems unsure, who shakes or shows remorse might be opened to discussion. Also if they only want valuables from you it’s better to hand them over rather than fight. If the attacker has a gun don’t even think about it, simply hand over the purse or the wallet. Your life is definitely worth more than what you own at that certain moment in time.

If there’s no chance of getting out of this without physical confrontation (the attacker touches you or you are sure you won’t get out of this) it’s time to apply a few basic self-defense techniques. Don’t get intimidated by the size of your attacker. Even a big man (or woman) has his weak points. The main way to show the attacker you are not an easy target is to react quickly. Don’t let them take you by surprise, instead try to surprise them.

Defense techniques

The first self-defense technique is to get loud and push back. Shout as loud as you can “Back off!” and push the attacker back. Try to get as much as possible in his face. This will alert anyone else around you that you are under attack and it will also show your attacker that he’s not dealing with an easy target.

You can also make sure you’re always carrying an emergency whistle with you at all times – these are extremely loud and may take the attacker by surprise, especially if blown close to his/her ear. You can check out our reviews on the best emergency whistles on the market to see which product may fit you the best.

Of course, it won’t work in all cases but in more than half of the cases the attacker will get spooked. If you’re attacker doesn’t back off, you only have a few seconds to react and tip the balance in your advantage. Don’t think about it and don’t show any mercy in your hits. You didn’t ask to be attacked and once another person is in your personal space, grabbing you and trying to immobilize you its hit or be hit.

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The best defense is to aim for the weak points. Regardless of the person you have in front of you, these are: points situated on the head (eyes, nose, and ears), the side of the neck and the throat, the center of the torso, the groin area, knees, and legs. When under attack, quickly assess the situation and hit the points you can reach the best. Read forward to see how to attack any of these points.

Basic self defense techniques everyone should know

It’s easy to imagine a scenario where you are alone somewhere and a big dude comes at you with the obvious intention to hurt you. We’re making our attacker a dude right now because it’s easier to imagine it, but rest ashore, women can attack you too. Don’t ever think that your mother taught you to never hit a woman. If you’re under attack it doesn’t matter who is in front of you.

The head has a few basic points you can attack:

  • The eyes: an attack here will produce a lot of pain and it will let the attacker disoriented allowing you to escape. Try poking or scratching them with your fingers or your knuckles. Don’t hesitate and hit hard.
  • The nose: if you can reach it, aim for the nasal bones. Use the heel of your palm to hit upwards and do it with your entire body. If the attacker is behind you, use your elbow to hit hard and good.
  • The ears: they are weak points of our body too even if you don’t think about it. So, if you have the opportunity, do an ear clap. This means that with a quick, strong move you hit your attacker right in the ear forcing him to bend his head to the side, and you finish the move by punching him with the other hand.
  • Neck and throat: the side of the neck is where the main veins are exposed (the jugular and the carotid). These are the main ways blood flows through the brain and you can use an exposed side neck to stunt your attacker. Hit him with your hand like you would want to break a brick only with the inner part of your palm. All your fingers must be held straight and tightly together with your thumb tucked and slightly bent at the knuckle. The blow must be short and strong.

Here you can see a video tutorial on how to do an ear clap.

If the throat is exposed, use your elbow and your arm to hit him hard and choke him by cutting his breath. This will make your attacker back off and bend over trying to gain back his breath.

  • The center of the torso is another point that you can successfully attack. It’s right above the stomach, under the ribs. If you deal with a tall man this is the point you can reach the easiest. Use your elbow or your fist and put your entire body into this hit.
  • The groin area is a well-known weak point on men, so if you have the opportunity, use it! Kick him hard and run! It will take a while for the attacker to recover from a good hit in the groin allowing you to get to safety or get help.
  • Knees and legs: incapacitate your attacker with a good kick in the knee or in the shin. These areas are safe to kick without getting your foot grabbed by the attacker.

Of course that you can make combinations out of these self-defense techniques in order to completely submit your assailant.

Top 5 self defense techniques

Make sure to use all your body parts that can be used as a weapon: your head, elbows and knees. These are naturally hard and using the proper force they may become very good self-defense weapons. Also don’t hold back. Hit with your entire body force. You want to incapacitate the attacker not to enervate him.

Here we have a video tutorial on how to use three basic self defense techniques in order to escape an attacker.

Another very good advice from self-defense experts: get creative. We know it’s a bit hard to concentrate when you’re under attack but with calm and self-control you will manage to think of an attack. Grab on everything you can and use it as a weapon. Even your keys can be used to inflict more pain.

Of course, you can always have a real weapon on you, like a knife or anything else. We have a few great articles on this topic, and we invite you to read our reviews on the best self defense knives or best self defense weapon.

Self defense techniques to get out of common holds

There are a few common holds an attacker may grab you in trying to immobilize you. Of course that there are a few common self-defense techniques that allow you to free yourself from these grips and come on a position of superiority where you can attack the assailant.

Type #1 – wrist hold

Here the attacker grabs you by the wrist and keeps you tight. The basic self-defense technique to break free from this is to find the weak point of the grab. On this type of grab the weakest point is between the thumb and the four fingers. Try to rotate your arm (you will be able to regardless of how tight the grip is) in order to be with the narrow part of your arm at the weak point and then push your hand in that direction, thus obtaining your freedom.

Don’t try to pull, punch or kick the one holding you because you will lose your base and you won’t be able to control your position anymore. After you are free, you can apply one of the basic self-defense techniques we discussed earlier.

In order to make sure that you learn the move properly, here is a video above on how to get free from a wrist hold.

Type #2 – front and back choke

How can you defend yourself when an attacker grabs you by the neck? The first impulse is to grab is arms and try to remove them from around your neck but you won’t be able to. His arms are strongly positioned in place and you need to approach the problem from another angle (literally).  Put one of your hands on the guy’s esophagus, right on the throat area and push hard. During the same time, as you extend your arm, try to free your neck from the hold. Make sure to press hard on the throat with your fingers and push with full force.

Type #3 – bear hug

This type of hold is where the attacker comes at you from behind and grabs your body and your arms into a tight grip. If you can, stomp his feet (especially if you are a woman wearing high heels); if not, try to use your elbows to hit his head. Another good technique is to pull his fingers towards the back of his hand so he will let go of the hold.

Of course that there are other good self defense techniques to use but we are going to let these two boys in the video above explain you how to get out of a bear hug winning.

Type #4 – mount position

This is one of the toughest positions to get out of. You don’t want to get yourself pinned on the ground, on your back with a big guy on top of you. This is also the position low-lives use for rape so you must know how to avoid it and how to get out of it.  There are a few basic self-defense techniques to get out of one of the worst positions you can possibly be in, but we recommend the one presented in this video tutorial. Watch it and learn because you may never know what can happen tomorrow.

These are just a few positions that an attacker could get you into but the techniques used to escape them can help in other situations. Make sure you learn the techniques theoretically and then apply them in practice. Ask a friend or your partner to help you practice to make sure you know the technique correctly. Also there are plenty of variables during a real fight that can shift the odds in either way so you must be able to react quickly and intense to any changes.

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Remember: after you put your assailant down and incapacitate him don’t keep punching or kicking because that is aggravated assault and you will have to respond in front of the law for this. Just put him down, hit him a few times to make sure he won’t chase you and get out of there as soon as possible.  Once you start running don’t stop until you reach safety.

You may also want to check out our article on self defense techniques for women – an in-depth guide on how to survive in a world where women are considered weak.

Self Defense Techniques For Women

Basic self-defense techniques are extremely useful for both adults and children. Attackers consider children easy targets and they will be surprised when he or she will fight back. Make sure you teach your entire family about self-defense techniques and practice them as much as possible. Practice will help you react properly in a real assault situation.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Also, as an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If the information in this post has been helpful, please consider purchasing through one of the links in this article. Thank you.

About the author

David Dawson

David Dawson is a retired security specialist with over 20 years of experience. He worked for a secret manufacturing facilities and hospitals in Illinois. David's responsibility was to protect people in case of any disaster or cataclysm that might occur. Now he keeps on doing it through teaching others about how to prepare and survive flood, earthquake or even war.


  • I agree with the point about being unpredictable. Any fighter would depend their attack based on how their opponent would move. It’s like chess, and the best way to set them off course is to be spontaneous and unpredictable.

  • One has to be careful when applying these techniques, as they might result in serious injury or even death. I agree that the best way to “win” a fight is to avoid it altogether, once you’ve got your opponent on the ground or unconscious it is best to escape the scene and report it to the police if necessary.

    Anyway, I have a question, after watching and learning, I have nobody to practice with. I do some training on my own but I feel it isn’t enough, I try to keep my body alert and aware at all times. How could I find somebody to train with?

  • If you are really serious about self-defense and being prepared, then you need to get fit. You have to get stronger to be able to do those moves effectively and confidently to escape your attacker. You don’t have to be a gym rat, but improving your endurance and strength can help you during these unfortunate situations. I also agree that shouting really loud is a good self-defense technique to start with. It draws attention to your situation and can throw attackers off. Don’t just read these self-defense tips. Practice them at home.

  • Self-defense classes will give you the ability to protect yourself and overcome an attacker, but you need to be committed, and take advantage of any skill that you can learn, either from this article or from an actual person.

  • The best line of defense is always to keep your distance, but I believe arming yourself with a taser, stun gun or a pepper spray is a very good idea.

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