Women's Self-Defense Tips: How to Keep Safe

women are commonly weak and they are attackers’ main aims. How should women protect themselves? By learning some of the basic principles of self-defense you can take control of your life and your safety whether you’re at home, in the parking lot of the mall, or in the clutches of an attacker.

Fight or Flight

When confronted by an attacker, you will probably only have a split second to make the decision as whether to run for help or stay and fight. Contrary to your instincts, running away isn’t always the best solution. If there is no where to get help nearby there is a good chance your attacker will catch up with you, at which point it’s futile to try to intimidate him or tell him to “back off” because he already knows you’re afraid. Only run away if there is a way to get help within sprinting distance or if you’ve physically disabled your attacker enough to get away. Otherwise, your best option is to convince your attacker to leave you alone through what you say or through physical force.

Using Your Body as a Weapon

To successfully fight your way out of a dangerous situation you need to know which parts of your body make the best weapons and how to use them. Here are six natural weapons every woman possesses:

Hands – Despite what Hollywood tells us, a punch is not the most effective way to take a person down. For most women, a punch will be ineffective in stopping an attacker and may hurt the victim as much as the perpetrator. Instead, use hands for grabbing and tearing at soft flesh to inflict maximum pain. The underside of the arm and the inner thigh are two good areas to aim for.

Elbows – The elbow and forearm make for great weapons against an assailant. The key is to twist at the waist and throw all the weight and power of both your upper and lower body into the hit. When used correctly, the elbow can cause a lot of pain in the ribs, sternum, diaphragm, throat, and groin.

Knees – A woman’s legs are the strongest part of her body. The area around the kneecap can do unthinkable damage when brought up between an attacker’s legs.

Head – The skull is made of very hard bone that can do a lot of damage when brought in contact with the fragile parts of an assailant’s face, particularly the nose. Whether you’ve been grabbed from the front or from behind, slamming your head into an attacker’s face can cause a lot of pain.

Feet – Use the ball of your foot to kick an attacker’s ankle, calf, or Achilles’ tendon or use your heel to stomp down on their instep.

Teeth – It takes no training to know how to bite, and a bite will hurt no matter where it’s placed. One thing to consider: when biting, it’s possible to end up with the attacker’s blood in your mouth, which may carry any of a number of infectious diseases. Use your own judgment to decide whether or not a situation requires you to bite.

Hit ‘em Where it Hurts

To truly end an attack and make a successful escape you’ll need to know which parts of your attacker’s body are the most vulnerable and the most vital. I like to use the acronym “GET” to help me remember, as in, “Get lost creep or I might have to hurt you.”
Groin – Don’t try to kick a man in the groin. There’s a good chance you’ll lose your balance or your attacker will grab your foot or leg. Instead, aim for the assailant’s testicles with your knee or crush or swat this area with your hand or fist. Even a tap in this most sensitive of places can bring an attacker down. When you grab or knee your assailant in the groin, be sure to stand to either side of him and not in front as his first instinct will be to fall forward at the waist.

Eyes – While the eye socket may be sturdy, the eye itself is completely unprotected. If an attacker grabs you it means his hands are occupied. Use one hand to grab the back of his neck and pull him down. With your other hand grind your thumb into the inner corner of his eye. Wrap the rest of your fingers around his ear or skull to stabilize your hand for this attack and dig away.

Throat – The windpipe is a delicate area that can be seriously damaged by a strike or grab. To strike the windpipe, keep your hand open (as if you’re holding a glass), and strike at the front of the throat with full force. Punch through the neck, as if you’re trying to knock his windpipe out the back of his neck. Remember to hit or strike with a strong movement instead of just shoving. To grab a windpipe, move your free hand or hands up your attacker’s throat, sink your thumb and fingers into his voice box or windpipe, and squeeze as if you’re trying to make a fist. Squeeze with all your strength and pull outward, as if you’re trying to rip his windpipe out. This kind of counter-attack can be effective even with very little force.

Practice Makes Perfect

In order for any of these moves to be effective, they need to be practiced in a safe environment. Don’t expect to know or remember what to do in the heat of the moment when you’re feeling afraid. Instead, grab a friend or spouse and practice on them. One word of caution: all of these moves can cause severe damage to the body, even when done with little force. Only practice these techniques in slow motion with no applied force. You’ll still learn to feel comfortable with the actual movements.

Knowledge is Power

You don’t have to live in fear. While avoiding dangerous situations in the first place by being aware of your surroundings is by far the better choice, knowing how to take down an attacker if you have to is vital to your safety. study and practice some of the basic moves of self-defense until they feel like second nature to you. Learn to feel your own strength and be comfortable with the way your body moves. Most of all, be mentally prepared to react even in the worst of situations. You might just save your own life someday, but even if you never need to employ these skills, the strength and empowerment you’ll feel as a result are a wonderful bonus.

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