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Self-Defense Tips

Tips on how to defend against common attacks, how to use everyday objects in self-defense, how to tell realistic defenses from phony defenses, how to develop mental toughness for self-defense, how to select a self-defense system, a self-defense instructor, or a martial arts school.

Self-Defense Tip #95 — Don’t Speak the Language

When spoken to by a suspicious stranger, reply in a language the stranger doesn’t understand and keep on moving. Replying in a different language is better than not replying at all: No reply leads to repeated attempts of the “test line,” perhaps with closing the distance. An incomprehensible reply confuses first and then makes strangers […]

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Self-Defense Tip #94 — Six Myths of Police Training vs. Rational Training Know-How

I thought you might find interesting my recent article on skill training, because it quotes extensively from Hock Hochheim’s post “6 myths of police training that inhibit effective learning,” which, in turn, is based on Robert Bragg Jr.’s presentation on skill instruction at the latest conference of the International Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers Association. […]

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Self-Defense Tip #93 — Terror and Chutzpah

“You risked your lives to defend an idea, an idea of liberty, of freedom,” French president François Hollande told four of the six men who fought the terrorist, at a ceremony held at the Elysee Palace in Paris. “Since Friday, the entire world admires your courage, your sangfroid, your spirit of solidarity,” he said. “This […]

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Self-Defense Tip #92 — Terrorism and Altruism

Six people recently fought a well-armed terrorist, and with plenty of guts and a little luck, they won. Then, on the radio, I heard nonsense from a Yale psychology professor about how they altruistically risked their lives to save strangers. Where is the altruism? Altruism is when someone who is not in danger does something […]

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Self-Defense Tip #91 — Whack, Then What? Arrest?

A British policeman sees a problem with Unbreakable® Umbrella and suggests an improvement to help deal with an attacker one has subdued. Suggestion: I recently bought the telescopic model umbrella through your UK distributor. It is so inconspicuous that I walked right past the security at a bar in London last week and they didn’t […]

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Self-Defense Tip #90 — Punching After Takedown

Ronda Rousey, top, and Liz Carmouche during the UFC women’s bantamweight championship, in 2013 What if the opponent lying on the ground had a blade? How well would the punching go? It is one thing to punch someone when risking only a punch back but a much different thing when risking crippling cuts and stabs. […]

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Self-Defense Tip #89 — Knife in groundwork

Don’t you think there is something wrong with this book cover? Considering that in addition to the point, the knife has a sharp edge or even two, which can cut forward and backward with little pressure, why use it as if it were a dull stake needing a lot of force behind it? I don’t […]

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Self-Defense Tip #88 — Empty hands vs. knife

A very educational video of a real knife fight: It is amazing it was not over much sooner. . . . The video shows how difficult it is to defend oneself without an “arm extender.” It also shows that although the defender was brave, he lacked the common sense to take off his backpack when […]

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Self-Defense Tip #87 — Using Edged Weapons: Straight Razor and Bicycle Spoke

This tip continues the topic of edged weapons most often used in street attacks. Today, straight razors and sharpened bicycle spokes. Straight razor: This weapon slashes and is obviously not suitable for stabbing. In skilled hands, a straight razor can disable a knifer because a very light contact with flesh, say a knifer’s forearm, cuts […]

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Self-Defense Tip #86 — Using Edged Weapons: Knife and Machete

This tip and the forthcoming one are about general principles of using edged weapons, whether for attack or for self-defense. Unlike blunt weapons, edged weapons require very little force to do great damage. With well-sharpened blades, a touch and press is usually all it takes to leave an unforgettable impression. I write here only about […]

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Self-Defense Tip #85 — Using Flexible Weapons: Garrote

As you know from the preceding self-defense tip, most flexible weapons are blunt, but the garrote is a flexible weapon that cuts. It is easy to make in either the common version, with piano wire and metal handles, or the nonmagnetic version, with synthetic-fiber line and plastic handles weighted with lead. The following clip from […]

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Self-Defense Tip #84 — Using Flexible Weapons: Nunchaku

Now a word about flexible weapons. Most flexible weapons are blunt—I know, there are flexible swords and composite weapons consisting of chain and a blade, but the likelihood of encountering one of those is slim. (Then there are piano-wire garrotes, but that’s a topic for another day.) As with nonflexible blunt weapons, flexible weapons must […]

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