One of the most important survival skills that you can learn is how to defend yourself in a hostile environment. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend years mastering martial arts, or even be particularly large, strong, or fit to defend yourself effectively.
When people think about self-defense, many immediately think of martial arts. Martial arts are all about style, form, grace, mental discipline and physical control. Self-defense in a survival context – at the street level – has little to do with any of that. If you find yourself in a confrontation, and you have no weapons with which to defend yourself, you’re literally fighting for your life. There are no rules, you don’t pick up points for style, and no one is going to care if you fight “clean”, or “fair”.
In a civilized society, most moral, emotionally stable people don’t like the idea of harming another human being, but when that society breaks down and people get desperate, there will be those who won’t think twice about hurting, or even killing you in order to take what you have. If you hesitate, or have reservations about doing what it takes to neutralize an imminent threat, you will become a statistic. You can’t use diplomacy, you won’t be able to talk your way out of it, and nobody’s going to come to your rescue.
Below are 7 basic self defense principles to keep in mind:
Simplicity & Speed
You don’t need elaborate, tricky moves to incapacitate your attacker. The simpler your moves are, the more quickly you’ll be able to execute them. The quicker you end the fight, the better your chances are of survival. The longer a fight drags out, the riskier it gets, as fatigue will set in and your attacker will have more opportunities to take you down. Most fights usually only last a few seconds, and if your opponent is not down by then, you probably will be.
Kick him in the jimmy!
I don’t think I need to explain this tactic too much. Just one pointer; when executing this move, it’s better to strike with your shin than your toe for more surface-area contact. And don’t get too hung up on whether it’s “fair” or “dirty” fighting. When you’re fighting for your life, everything’s fair. Just bear in mind that this is not always a fight-ending move. Due to adrenaline, or mental block, or fight-or-flight response (I honestly don’t know what the reason is, actually) there can be a delayed reaction to the pain from being struck “down there”. It actually happened to me once. I’ll tell you, other guy was quite surprised when I didn’t fold up like a lawn chair. But I sure felt it after everything was over!
If an Attacker Can’t See, He Can’t Fight
There are several ways to temporarily blind your opponent. You can simply poke him in the eyes with your fingers, a car key, or some other object. You can throw something in his face (sand, boiling water, alcohol, whatever you can get your hands on). You can also hit his nose, which will cause temporary blindness, and watery eyes.
Also, there are simple ways to maneuver around an attacker and quickly end up behind him. From this position, he cannot see you at all, while you have access to some very vulnerable targets on his body: the back of his neck, small of his back, back of his knee, Achilles heel, etc. You can also very easily get into the choke holdposition once you’re behind him.
If an Attacker Can’t Focus, He Can’t Fight
Obviously, if your opponent can’t think straight, he can’t fight well. The attacker usually uses the “element of surprise” to his advantage. You should turn the tables and use that strategy against him. Any technique that will temporarily throw him off, even for a second, will give you the added edge. Striking the ear in a certain way will cause his ears to ring, which will throw off his stability for a bit. Striking the nose (as mentioned earlier) will also stun him for a bit. Screaming can also work very well in distracting and/or confusing him, at least a second or two. Remember, every second counts, the moment you see him startled, deliver the lethal blow.
Any move or strike that causes quick, sharp pains can work well to distract the attacker, at least temporarily. Strikes to the eyes, nose, ears, temples, throat, upper lip will do the job.
If an Attacker Can’t Stand, He Can’t Fight
If a man loses his balance, he usually loses the fight. There are various ways to take an attacker down. Use his weight and momentum against him. Push or pull him the right way, or put his knees out of commission. The knee is an especially vulnerable area. A well placed kick will cause a great deal of pain. If you force it to bend the other way, it breaks. And, as soon as the knee gives out, the attacker goes down, no matter how big or strong he is. Break the knee and you take him down. A kick to the crotch is also very effective, for the same reason. The opponent can’t help but buckle from the pain.
Finally, if the attacker is rushing towards you, you can simply brace yourself and stop him by pushing against his jaw, neck or upper chest area. The effect is similar to a person moving forward and suddenly being stopped by a clothesline that hits his face or neck area. His body is still in forward motion while his head comes to a stop, causing him to fall fast.
If an Attacker Can’t Breathe, He Can’t Fight
This move is a fairly dangerous, and you should only use this if you run out of other options. Striking the attacker anywhere on the throat can cause temporary breathing problems, but it can also cause permanent damage, and even death. This includes striking the Adam’s apple, or the small indentation where the neck and chest meet. Striking at the solar plexus (right below the ribs, front and center) or the floating ribs (sides of ribs, below the chest) can also cause loss of breath temporarily.
If an Attacker Can’t Catch You, He Can’t Fight
Of course, the first winning move in self defense is not to get into a fight in the first place. Sometimes the fight may come to you and you may have no other choice but to defend yourself, (such as if you’re cornered, or protecting your home or family) but you should never put yourself in a situation where you will have to fight.
When venturing out of your “safe” zone, stealth and evasion are your highest objectives. If trouble should cross your path and a confrontation seems imminent, seek a path of escape first. I don’t care how big and tough you are, or what color your belt is; societal collapse in an urban environment won’t be like the dojo, or the schoolyard, or a bar fight… it will be all too real. Anyone who has a mind to attack you will be desperate for whatever you’ve got (even if it’s just the clothes on your back), and desperation can turn a human into a sociopath.
You can never tell what kind of situation you’re getting yourself into. Where there’s one assailant, there’s likely to be more lurking in the shadows. They’ll more’n likely have weapons, and I can guarantee you, they won’t hang back and fight you one at a time, like in the movies.