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You’re walking down a city block or a suburban sidewalk at night. One moment, there are plenty of people around, and you’re happy to be out in the evening air. Then you turn a corner and find yourself unexpectedly alone. The streetlights are dim, and you hear someone behind you, getting closer with each step. You glance over your shoulder but see only a shadow.
Now is not the time to panic. Now is the time to think strategically and for swift action if necessary. Here are 10 self-defense tips to keep in mind if you find yourself in a situation where you feel physically unsafe.
If an attacker comes at you from the front, a good first response is to strike him in the face with the base of your fist. An important variation is to strike the assailant in the eyes with your keys.
Whether you are attacked from the front or from behind, try to get a hold of your offender’s fingers and bend them backward. If you get your hand around a single finger, twist with all your strength.
To escape from a wrist grab, twist your wrist toward the attacker’s thumb, which isn’t as strong as the combined four fingers of the hand.
If you are grabbed from behind in a bear hug, your elbows are your best defensive weapons. Brace your feet hard against the floor and throw your elbow backward toward your attacker’s head.
If you are grabbed in a headlock, lean forward and bend your head down. As you go lower, try to hit your attacker in the groin. Twist your head sideways and try to come out behind him. If you get your head free, kick the man in the back of the knee and run.
If you are attacked head-on, your best bet is to kick your assailant in the groin. If you are grabbed from behind, try to punch or elbow the groin. Everyone knows that is a man’s most vulnerable spot.
Whether you’re grabbed from the front or the back, an effective option is the head butt. Try to get your head below his and thrust upward as hard and as fast as you can, striking the attacker at the base of his jaw.
When fighting back against an assault, don’t punch with your fist, especially if you’ve had no self-defense training. The heel of your palm is solid bone and delivers a more punishing blow.
If you are knocked to the ground, kick your attacker as hard as you can. If you are able, use both feet to send your attacker flying.
Who knew that all that cardio could actually save your life one day? Remember, the goal is not to defeat your attacker but to get away from your attacker. In this situation, flight is always better than fight.
The first key to safety is to be aware of your surroundings and to assess potential threats. By maintaining situational awareness, you give yourself the best shot at avoiding dangerous encounters altogether. Unfortunately, not all confrontations can be avoided, and so it’s important to understand the fundamentals of how to defend yourself.
Looking for more?
If you live in Southwest Wisconsin
In this 15-lesson program, we will teach you how to neutralize the 20 most common attacks ranging from having your hair grabbed to being pinned to the ground by a weapon-bearing assailant. Each one-hour Women Empowered lesson addresses two techniques. You can start the program at any time and participate in any class without previous experience. Unlike most self-defense systems that rely heavily on strength, speed, and coordination, the techniques in the Women Empowered program employ leverage, technique, and timing, so anyone, regardless of age or athletic ability, can make them work against larger opponents.
Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry, collaborating with industry insiders and designers, getting insight on the latest trends.
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