Self-defense, part 1 – let’s get physical

Male or female, this post has vital information to ward off an attacker. For the sake of continuity after my previous two articles on how not to get raped, the following is addressed mainly to women coming up against a male attacker. But men could use these tactics too.

Women, we are stronger than we think; and we are also smart, agile and resourceful. We can run and hide, dodge and duck. And when fearful, our adrenalin flow makes us much stronger than usual, like three times as strong – but also, when fright kicks in, sometimes confusion does too.

That’s why mind rehearsal is a good idea. No, it will not be your favorite form of daydreaming, far from it! But it’s important. Police women are trained to call on their wits in a hairy situation and they practice mentally by inventing dangerous scenarios and thinking up ways to escape.

GET FIT AND STRONG! Work out regularly, doing both cardio and muscle strengthening exercises. Your own safety is yet another good reason to keep a regular exercise program. Women’s muscles are not weaker than men’s; they’re simply smaller, putting most men at an advantage over most women. Our large leg muscles can be our ally in defense, but that takes balance, skill and know-how — in a word: training.

Get MAD if someone tries to take advantage of you! Be willing to HURT THEM. If it came down to who would survive, you or them, you would want it to be YOU. React like you are fighting for you life; you may well be!

Just as a weapon can be turned against you, physical combat is not a sure thing. Better to stay out of reach, scream and run; but if someone has a-hold of you or tries to, you may need to use physical force. STRIKE FIRST. Get the first lick in! Catch him off-guard before he catches you off-guard! Surprise works in favor of whoever makes the first move.

Strike quickly and with all your might at an assailant’s weak spots with the intention of wounding. After all, if someone wants to hurt you, hurt them before they get the chance. MAKE IT COUNT so you’ll be able to break away and get to safety. Here are some ways to fend off an attacker:

  • Jab your knee into his groin or whack him there with something hard — just make sure you don’t miscalculate and that you do it forcefully. This move may be blocked if the assailant is wearing a heavy coat.
  • Gouge the eyes with your thumbs. This is a very vulnerable part of the body. Poke hard. Yes, it sounds disgusting, but DO IT. You want to LIVE.
  • Strike his Adam’s apple, nose, or temple; you can use your purse or any heavy object, even the force of your hand — just be careful to not hurt your hand.
  • Grab his neck, try to aim for his windpipe, squeeze real hard. Poke him right in the soft spot in the middle of the neck above the collar bone; aim!
  • Use your fingernails; scratch hard.
  • Bend his fingers back. When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible pushing down on them with as much pressure as possible.
  • Bite if you have to. Do whatever it takes.
  • Your elbows are strong and sharp. Use them if as weapons: for instance, gouge an attacker in the ribs with your elbows.
  • Kick him in the shin(s) so as to disable him.
  • Knees are very vulnerable; a good swift kick here can take down even a big guy.
  • If grabbed from behind, smash down hard on his instep with your heel.
  • Also if grabbed from behind, head butt him in the face by quickly and violently throwing back your head.
  • If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the arm between the elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh real hard. These are sensitive areas.

Rapists interviewed behind bars concurred: they’re not looking for nor wanting any type of resistance; they’re hoping for easy prey. If you start causing trouble, making a real racket and fighting him off, chances are better he’ll flee.

Gals, some of these suggestions may turn your stomach. By nature, we are nurturers and don’t want to hurt anybody. But consider this: You don’t want to be hurt either! BE FORECEFUL when you fight off an attacker.

There is probably not a single person in the whole world who won’t benefit by taking a self-defense class or at least learning basic self-defense tactics — especially students, women, anyone living in the city, especially in a high-crime neighborhood, or anyone who is ever out after dark — that’s probably all of us. Don’t approach this half-heartedly, thinking that one class will enable you to street fight. Every bit helps, but it’s best to take a full complement of classes. A good school that teaches women basic self-defense and specializes in using the leg muscles is Impact – I was very impressed when I went to a girlfriend’s graduation to see how they teach women to use their thigh strength to ward off attackers. There are many self-defense methodologies out there. Choose a class and go.

My father, who wrote books on staying safe, gave me a book with a strange title — yet it contained great advice: “100 Deadly Skills,” available online. You can even learn how to disarm someone with a weapon – though such things take continuous practice.

DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE; see yourself as strong and capable; carry this vision of yourself wherever you go! Watch some inspirational movies about women who fight back and win. There are plenty of popular movies with athletic, superhero-type women. They are not squeamish; they fight when necessary! Hopefully this will become more of what the ideal woman will be like in coming generations. You can start to be this woman now!

James Bond is the ultimate survivor, as are many commonly revered movie heroes. Next time you watch such a movie, don’t just enjoy it, but let the survivor mentality rub off on you while taking note how to survive. You may find yourself in a life-or-death situation where you have to think fast. What would the James Bond character do, or Angelina Jolie in one of her tougher roles? YOU CAN SURVIVE!