Basics of Unarmed Self-Defense
You may think that by having weapons in the home you somehow don’t ever need to understand unarmed self-defense. The thing is, you can’t guarantee that you will always be near your weapon when someone attacks you. You also can’t guarantee that you won’t drop a knife or other weapon or that they won’t function correctly when you need them. The best weapon that you have is your own body and it is all that you need to stop an attacker in their tracks.
Take the time now to understand the basics of unarmed self-defense and learn what you need to gain the edge over an attacker.
You could be the biggest and baddest guy going but if your mind is not in the right place, you are going to lose the fight. You need to refuse to be a victim and tap into the instinct that we all possess. You need to fight to win!
Too many people lose a battle, not because they were weaker than the opponent but because they concentrate too much on the potential negative consequences of being attacked such as being injured or killed. Think about getting hurt, you will get hurt! Think about failure, you will fail!
Focus on winning, on power, and hitting them as hard as you possibly can and as often as you possibly can until they can’t continue.
Blocking an Attack
When being attacked you shouldn’t wait for them to strike just so you can block and counter. Don’t give them a chance to strike. The less time that you spend defending, the better off you’ll be.
Keep your chin tucked at all times and use your elbows to shield your head as you transition to an offensive response. Don’t focus on every single strike or while you are wasting your time on that, one or more strikes will slip through and connect.
If you are sure that an attack is about to happen, strike preemptively. This will allow you to bypass defense, which is by far the most difficult and dangerous aspect of fighting. Don’t do so if all they are doing is being verbal but if they actually look like they are about to strike, take action immediately.
Striking an Attacker
While your fists are generally what most people automatically want to strike with, they are not your only effective natural weapons. Your palms, fingertips, elbows, knees, shins, feet, head, even teeth can all be used effectively.
When striking, you want to strike with all of your weight behind each blow “through” their body as if hitting something just behind them. This will allow you to generate as much force as possible with your attack.
Related: Defend Against a Straight Punch
The key to powerful strikes is in all in the hips. Without hip rotation, a punch simply involves the muscles of the arm which doesn’t generate enough force.
Vulnerable Target Areas
A solid strike to the head can render an attacker unconscious which gives you plenty of time to escape. Knockouts are particularly common when struck on the chin which is another reason you should keep your chin tucked.
The eyes are fragile and impossible to train to take a blow. Any shot to the eyes is going to hurt and causes a predictable reflexive response that involves blinking, turning the head away, and bringing the hands to the face. This is where you can turn the tables on the attacker or make your escape. Any strike to the throat is going to do damage and interfere with an attackers breathing.
Related: Self Defense for Wheelchair Users
Our knees move quite easily one way but not so much in the opposite direction. It is going to cause an incredible amount of pain and possibly even broken bones if you strike here. It doesn’t take much force to knock an attacker off-balance and distract the attacker, leaving him vulnerable to follow up strikes.
Finally, we have the groin area which is going to hurt if you receive a strike here no matter who you are. This is very easily done if you find yourself in a headlock. As with any strike, don’t just strike the once, repeatedly strike.
The Clinched Position
In almost every unarmed fight, you will find yourself in a clinched position with the attacker. It is not a very good position to find yourself in as you are too close for many strikes to be effective. Your best strikes from this position would be elbow strikes, knee strikes, and headbutts. You can also stamp down on the attacker’s leg below the knee which should collapse the attacker’s leg and send him crashing to the ground.
You need to try and avoid the fight going to the ground at all costs. If you do find yourself taken to the ground, you are in a very dangerous position and need to do whatever it takes to get back to your feet as quickly as possible. Even if it means shoving your fingers in the attacker’s eyes or squeezing his testicles, do it.
Using the Environment to Your Advantage
Never deliberately back up against a wall or anything else that will limit your mobility. Doing so to an attacker would work in your favor and because they are backed against something solid, the power of your strikes would intensify. If there’s an object nearby that could trip an attacker, try to circle to a position where you can force the attacker into the object to better the odds of knocking him down when your strike.
If the attacker goes down, stomp the attacker’s knees, ankles, or groin to limit his ability to pursue you as you make your escape.
Self-defense isn’t about striking unnecessarily. It is about doing what needs to be done until you can safely make your escape. If you can escape before any strikes have to be made then you should do so.
Sometimes complete avoidance just isn’t possible in which case you need to be aggressive and fight to win using your body’s natural weapons. Sticking around and beating them to near death when you could have escaped will probably see you thrown in jail.