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Self-Defense Tip #100 — Empty-Hand Defenses and Deniability

Self-defense techniques must be reliably effective, but they should also be deniable. Deniability is important in self-defense, whether you are armed with everyday objects or empty-handed. I have explained why in Self-Defense Tip #99, which applies to everyday objects you may use for personal protection. This tip though deals with deniability of empty-hand self-defense techniques.

Deniability is built into many techniques of the Basic Instincts of Self-Defense: Defenses Against Unarmed Attacks system; nevertheless you still need to talk about them “safely,” should you be interrogated after having to use these techniques. You should talk about them the same way when asked by anybody, no matter whether before or after. Remember: Whatever you say, to whomever, may be used against you.


Don’t say, “He grabbed me so I dislocated his arm.”
Say, “The assailant grabbed me with his left arm. To avoid being hit with his right arm, I ducked under the left arm that still held me. As I did it he screamed out, let go of me, and then rolled on the ground moaning. I have never seen anyone do that. . .”

Don’t say, “He punched at me [or threatened me] so I clinched him and wrenched his arm out.”
Say, “To keep the assailant from striking me I grabbed his arms and got close to him, but he was still trying to strike me and kick me, so I twisted to his side–and that was when he collapsed.”

Don’t say, “He grabbed me from behind, so I ducked and threw him [or face-planted him] over my head.”
Say, “The assailant grabbed me from behind, so I ducked and he fell over me.”

Once you try the moves of Basic Instincts of Self-Defense on your sparring partner (gently!), you will realize how little it takes to make them instant fight-stoppers, even life-altering.

Note that when “defenders” on the DVD Basic Instincts of Self-Defense throw their “attackers,” they hold on to the “attacker’s” sleeve or lapel. This is to make the fellow demonstrator fall safely. In a real fight this is not done.

Self-defense tip from Thomas Kurz, co-author of Basic Instincts of Self-Defense and author of Science of Sports Training, Stretching Scientifically, and Flexibility Express.

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