The best self-defence option is to learn a martial art, or
other fighting technique which can teach
you how to block a blow or kick, how to take a blow if an
attacker gets through your guard, and how to fall properly, to
avoid breakages and so that you can get up again quickly. It will
also improve your general fitness, co-ordination and reaction
speed. Martial arts courses are widely available in most
countries, and there are plenty of nodes on e2 about individual
styles and schools.
Specialised women's self-defence courses are another option.
They often cater for the less fit or physically able, and deal
with specific attack scenarios and how to deal with them. They're
also a good experience even if you think you will never have to
defend yourself - they teach a lot about self-confidence and
assertion. Most universities run women's self-defence courses,
and most local women's centres will have information on where to
find them. In the UK, local community centres, the WEA and adult
education centres often have them: in Australia, try your local
TAFE or check out free local papers.
If you can't get to a course or don't have the time (or are
far too lazy) self-defence videos and books are another option.
Amazon.com has a fair selection. Always try to practice
the techniques with others: the knowledge is not much good in
your head, you have to be able to use it. Male friends are best
to practice on - if you can persuade them (be sensible here -
obviously don't practice poking their eyes out!) Get them to come
at you in a variety of ways and holds, and practice getting out
In the meantime, here's a few tips I've picked up which you
don't have to be tough or fit to use:
- If an attacker comes at you from the front, kick his
knees or shins, hard.
- If he grabs you before you can kick, ram your knee up
into his groin.
- If your arms are free, use 'em to punch his head - temple,
eyes, under the ears, mouth, nose.
- If you don't have enough leverage to punch - jab your
fingers into his eyes; grab his lip and pull sharply down;
get hold of a finger and bend it back; grab his Adam's
apple by digging your fingers hard into his throat and
pulling at his windpipe.
- If you can't move your arms or hands, you can spit or
- If he grabs you from behind, move your hips so you can
drive your elbow back into his solar plexus (under the
breastbone and between the first few ribs) and follow it
up with a blow, using the back or side of your fist, to
the groin. Or grab his balls and squeeze hard, or yank
sharply downwards if you can. Or kick back hard into his
knee with your heel, slide down the shin and stamp on the
instep of his foot.
- Joints bent in the wrong direction can be very painful.
If someone grabs you by the wrist, flip their wrist
backwards, or, if you can, slip your body under their arm
(as in ballroom dancing!) while keeping a grip on their
wrist, and bend their arm the wrong way up their back.
- If someone comes at you with a broken bottle, or other
weapon: duck your head and throw your full body weight,
led by your head, at their solar plexus to knock them off
balance. And then run.
None of the above are foolproof. Be prepared with more than
just one technique, put your whole body into the blows, keep your
balance, use adrenaline and anger. Shouting "NO!" while
you do any of the above as loud as you can reinforces your
intention of fighting back, and shows the attacker that you're
not an easy target. Remember, the object is to GET AWAY AND RUN
LIKE FUCK. Don't hang around to see if you hurt him - get out of there fast.
NB: It's always better to be taught by a recognised professional.
Go back to: women's self-defence