Last updated on January 5th, 2018
Everyone should learn and practice some basic self-defense techniques. When it comes to your personal safety, the best approach is to hope for the best while preparing for the worst. If push comes to shove, and confrontation can’t be avoided, knowing how to strike back can make all of the difference.
In this guide, we’ll go over some essential self-defense training techniques that you should be able to pick up and practice with little to no martial arts training. While these training exercises will help to get you started on the right path, signing up for a local self-defense class can really help to solidify and expand your skills.
Avoid Conflict Whenever Possible
Self-defense techniques should only be used as an absolute last resort. Your first instinct should be to escape the situation. If someone tries to steal your purse or wallet, it’s always smarter to hand it over. No amount of money is worth your safety. However, if violence becomes inevitable, you’re going to want to be prepared to fight back.
As soon as someone starts getting physical, you should start getting loud. Screaming attracts people nearby who may be able to assist you or call the police, and it also shows the assailant that you’re not going to be an easy target. While yelling may not always dissuade the attacker, it can surprise the perpetrator and knock him off his guard long enough for you to make a quick escape.
Kick the Groin
If the attacker is a male, the groin is an extremely vulnerable area. Stand with your dominant leg positioned slightly behind the other leg in a staggered stance. Face the assailant, and start the kick by propelling your knee forward, and then allow your knee to unfold.
Kick as high as possible, and don’t stop the kick once you making contact. Your goal should be to kick “through” the groin to maximize power and speed. Your shin has a larger surface area than your knee or foot, and it delivers a stronger impact, so try to aim with your shin.
One of the most effective and instinctive self-defense techniques is the straight punch. Start in a fighting stance with your legs slightly wider than your hips, with your knees bent slightly, and your fists up. Use your legs and core to thrust your fist forward. Use the ball of your rear foot to increase momentum. Keep your wrist straight, and try to make contact with the knuckles of your pointer and middle fingers.
If the assailant has his hands down, try to strike the throat, nose, or chin. If his hands are up, strike low. Hopefully, he will move his hands down to block the punch, and then you can strike his vulnerable upper areas.
Spend some time practicing your straight punch. Watch videos online to get a better idea on how to refine your technique. Eventually, it will start to feel natural, and you won’t have to think about the steps involved. Your goal should be to be able to throw a good punch at a moment’s notice.
Learn to Strike with Your Elbow
The elbow is extremely rigid, and you can generate a significant amount of power to strike with. Begin in a neutral stance, raise your elbow to your side, and then propel it outward, away from your body. Try to make your movements crisp and fast, and avoid moving your elbow up or down in a flapping motion.
A well-placed elbow strike can do a significant amount of damage, especially if you hit a vulnerable area such as the side of the head, sternum, nose, chin, or throat.
Work on Knee Strikes
Like your elbows, your knees can do a substantial amount of damage. Start in a fighting stance. Grab your opponent by the arms, and pull his body forward while thrusting your hips and knee in one fluid motion. Aim for the groin, solar plexus, leg, kidney, liver, sternum, or even the head if possible. After making contact, bring your leg back down quickly to prevent the attacker from grabbing it.
Be Prepared to Use Your Head
Head-butting your opponent in the eyes or nose can quickly put a stop to an attack. Not only are you able to generate a significant amount of power from your body, but it’s an unexpected attack that gives you the element of surprise. The top of your head is a large surface area that increases the likelihood of hitting your target.
To perform a powerful head-butt, tense your neck, and drive your head forward. Try to connect the top of your forehead at your hairline with the attacker’s nose. While using your head as a weapon may sound painful – and it can be – you’ll have plenty of adrenaline coursing through your body, and a headache is certainly worth escaping.
Stay In Shape
Knowing self-defense techniques won’t help if you’re not able to use them effectively. Exercising regularly helps to keep your body functioning at its highest capacity, which is naturally going to make you a better fighter. Join a gym, or better yet, take a weekly self-defense class. Not only will you learn new techniques to add to your arsenal, but you’ll become stronger, faster, and fiercer in general.
Work on Combos
While your first instinct is usually going to be to stun and run, that’s not always possible. If you go for a groin kick and it doesn’t connect, you need to be prepared to follow it up with an immediate second attack. Try to have at least three self-defense techniques ready to go, and practice linking them together and moving from one to the next fluidly.
Practice with a Partner
The best way to get better at fighting is to spar with a partner. Practicing self-defense techniques on someone helps to make the situation feel more realistic, and it helps you to gauge distances and work on your aiming. Of course, you should never use your full strength unless you’re practicing with a qualified professional who is prepared. A punching bag can also be a worthwhile investment for more effective practice sessions.
Get Started Today
The best time to start learning self-defense techniques is right now. After all, there’s no way of knowing what the future may bring. The first step is to simply become familiar with these basic moves, and practice them until they feel natural. As you become more confident, you’ll feel comfortable working on more complex techniques. Start building your repertoire now so you’re ready if the unthinkable should ever occur.