9 Self Defense Moves Everyone Should Know

  • Awareness - blah, blah, blah.  Everyone talks about it.  No one does it. How often are your eyes on your smartphone?  And not the sidewalk or the people around you? And what does awareness really mean?  Well, it means looking over your shoulder, it means peeking around corners, it means using your eyes (in addition to your ears, nose, etc), it means using reflective surfaces like a glass door to see what’s happening around you, it means sitting with your back to the wall, it means paying attention.  It’s more of habit. Exercise:  Close your eyes.  How many people are in the room?  Who is the closest? Where is the ‘other’ exits (not the main one)?  Where are the ‘weapons’? More on that later. One more point: Most assaults are from someone we know.

  • Voice - We seldom practice this skill, but it’s really worth developing.  Learn how to say, “No!” like you mean it. Remember when your parents would tell you to go to bed and you pretended not to hear them?  Because you knew nothing would really happen. And then - at some point - your mom or dad would yell, “GO TO BED!” and you almost pee-ed your pants.  Well, you gotta practice saying no like you mean it. Fill the room with your energy. Turn your body to the side. Make yourself big. Stick your hand in your assailant’s face and say, “NOOOOOO!”  Exercise:  Go around the room.  Let each person try. The first one to give the rest of the class goosebumps wins.

  • Eye poke - There’s nothing that will drop a 6’5” linebacker quicker than your finger deep in his eye.  He will cry like a baby. You can then run away. I like to tell my students: When you’re in a tough situation and you must physically defend yourself,  YOU decide who is going to the hospital. You or him. We have this fear of hurting people. Throw that fear out the window. Your life is worth fighting for. Fight dirty.  Drive your finger(s) deep into his eye(s). Squish the grape. Then run. Exercise:  Get close to your training partner, like you’re about to kiss.  But instead of puckering, grab the ‘bad guys’ head and PRETEND to drive your thumbs deep into his eye sockets.  Don’t do it for real this time. That eyeball is easily damaged. Permanently.

  • Never, ever let the bad guy take you anywhere.  He will never take you to a nice place. Always, always fight to escape BEFORE you find yourself in a remote place.  The bad guys hate attention. They hate public places. They hate noise. If/when you sense danger, head towards all the other humans.  Pull the fire alarm. Lay on the horn. Scream for help. Keep screaming.  Exercise:  Take a quick look around the room.  What could you do to generate a lot of noise?  Break the glass window? Pull the fire alarm. Btw, where is that fire alarm?

  • Combat slap - This is a whole body technique and it’s actually quite vicious.  I wrote a little poem for it: Put your hands in the air like you don’t want to fight, turn your body to the side with your (rear) hand out of sight, use your whole body and hit with all your might.  (I will send you a video.) Combat slap can be a knock out technique. Easy to learn, easy to do. Exercise:  Practice the motion.  The power comes from the whole body movement - not the arm.

  • Hair pull - To lead a horse, you use a halter.  To lead a person, you use their hair (assuming they have some!).  Need someone to fall backward, pull hair on back of head and watch him fall backwards.  Need someone to turn sideways? Grab hear on side of head and yanks hair towards you. Watch him twist.  Need to steady the target so you can do a perfect combat slap? Grab hair and smack away. This technique is so basic, anyone can do it:  Open your hand, fingers wide. Scoop a fist full of hair near the scalp. Closer to the scalp, the better. Now, squeeze your fingers together into a fist.  Bring all that hair with you in the squeeze (it will lift the skin from the skull). Keep squeezing hard while you do your business.

  • Groin - Yes, men have spent all their lives protecting that little area.  And for good reason. It hurts when struck! So use it to your advantage.  Ever want to see a man drop his hands to his waist? Pretend you’re about to strike his crotch with your knee.  It’s reflexive. He’s spent his whole life trying to protect that area. Nothing’s going to change now. When you hit the groin - or any body part for that matter - you MUST go through the target.  Don’t stop at the surface. So if I want to smash the groin, I will concentrate on going through it. If I want to smash your face, I will concentrate on going through it. It’s like swing a baseball bat.  Swing through the ball if you want a home run. And we love home runs!

  • Every day weapons - The good news is there are weapons all around you.  They may look like pencils, cups of coffee, laptops and even smart phones, but they are weapons and they work really well.  If you’re attacked, the assailant is most likely larger and stronger than you. The bad guys never pick on the muscle bound tigers.  They want easy targets, like 3 legged zebras (Stop looking like an easy target!) So, that means you have to even things up a bit by grabbing the everyday weapons around you and using them viciously to your advantage.  That cup of hot coffee? Ouch to the face. The laptop? Smack across the face. The smart phone? Throw it at his head.

  • Guns & Knives - If you have one, use it.  But if you’re on the other end of one, run!  Run like you’ve never run before. Want my wallet?  It’s yours (toss to the side). Want my car? Take it.  (Toss the keys to the side.) The point is: Very few things are worth dying for.  The bottom line is: If you fight someone wielding a knife, you will get cut. I don’t care how good of a fighter you are.  Try to disarm me from my gun? I’m going to pull the trigger. More than once. Now, try to take my wife or my kids? I don’t care how many guns you have and how many knives, I will fight to the death for that.  But that lesson is entails much more training. For now, let’s concentrate on the basics.
James Kerr