The Right Coast

April 28, 2005
Self defense for women and others
By Tom Smith

I hate stories like this. The 32 year old bride to be will probably turn up dead somewhere, and forensics will indicate she was raped and then killed by strangulation or blunt trauma.

Many of these tragedies could be avoided by application of basic self defense principles, which surprisingly few people know. Rule number one. Never, ever get into a vehicle or otherwise go to a place directed by a bad guy, even if the bad guy has a gun or a knife. The reason why the bad guy wants you in the car is that is a better place for him to kill you. The street or parking lot is exposed; the car is better for him. If he has a gun, run. Chances are he won't shoot, and if he does shoot, chances are he will miss. It is difficult to hit a moving target with a pistol. Only the movies make it look easy. Even if you are hit, your chances of survival are much better than if you get into a car. If he has a knife, run away. If he has a hold on you, struggle. It is better to get cut than to be strangled in a car. Your chances of survival are better. Never, ever get into a car with a bad guy. Same for going with the bad guy to some place he has picked out to rape and kill his victim. Run before you get to the isolated spot he has chosen. Don't wait for your chance, unless you know you are truely a cool customer, like say, a military veteran. It is much better to do something than nothing.

Some random, useful self-defense advice, in addition to just run, and never get in a car. If you are facing your attacker, one of the best all purpose moves is to hit him under the chin, thrusting upward, with the heel of your hand. Pretend you are trying to launch his head over a goalpost. If you can, when his head comes back down, try to get your fingers into his eyes. When you sense his reaction to that (it really, really hurts) break off your attack and run. A knee to the groin is good, but women tend to overestimate its effectiveness. Better than nothing, however. Also, unless you are trained, forget about fists. Punching with fists is overrated. It's very hard to do properly. Use the heel of your hand and the edge of your hands to direct blows at the attacker's face, throat and where the sides of the neck meet the shoulders. Eyes jabs, biting, and hair pulling is good. Swing your head around like a cannon ball and try to smash his face with the back or top of your head. Head butts can be very, very effective. Try to inflict as much damage in as little time as possible, then run. Bad guys rely on intimidating victims into not resisting, then overcoming resistance by inflicting pain. Most of them aren't really up for a fight. But they will kill you to cover their crimes. When did you last hear of an abduction, rape, and release?

Gernerally, for breaking holds around the throat or on some other part of you, focus on peeling back the smallest finger you can reach. Peel it back in break it off, like you are trying to dismember a lobster. Fingers break easily and it really hurts. It's not allowed in UFC to do this, for example. If you are down on the ground with someone on top of you, try to get your knees up between you, buck to throw off his punches, protect your face with your forearms, but look for chances to attack his face with eye gouges, scratches and palm heel strikes.

If an attacker grabs your arm or wrist, pull your arm out with a twisting motion, moving against the attacker's thumb. This is very effective. For a two hands on one arm grip, you can use your free hand to eye poke him, then grab the hand of your trapped arm with your free hand and use the strength of both arms to wrench free.

I'm talking about abduction-rape-murders by strangers. Philosophies differ about what to do if attacked by someone you know, as in a date rape situation. Strangers who abduct and rape, however, are usually organized and plan to kill their victims. You have to fight.

This is a good book on self defense written by some cops/black belts. This book is full of sensible advice on self-protection by a bodyguard to the stars fellow.