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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 #14 — Selecting a self-defense system, Part I

This issue’s tip deals with selecting a self-defense system or instructor. In selecting a self-defense system, the foremost concern is with the validity of skills taught. In this article I use the term skill in the sense of art or trade and so here by a self-defense skill I mean the sum of your a) […]

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Self-Defense Tip #13 — Two approaches to learning self-defense skills

There are two approaches to learning self-defense skills. One approach starts with students practicing predetermined defenses, each against a known attack, for example, a left block against a right punch. With considerable practice, students eventually learn to anticipate the form of attack correctly and may respond instinctively with the most appropriate technique. This first approach […]

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Self-Defense Tip #12 — Front under-the-arms bear hug

This issue’s tip deals with an attack that can end up the same as the over-the-arms bear hug described in the self-defense tip no. 10. An attacker who grabs you in a front under-the-arms bear hug can bend you backward and push you down, trip you by hooking a leg behind your knee from outside […]

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Self-Defense Tip #11 — Knife attacks

If you think that knife attacks look anything like those typically seen in martial arts classes—you can be dead wrong. Real attacks, by people who are familiar with a knife’s properties and true potential, are a blur of short, noncommitted stabs and cuts that are practically impossible to stop. An attacker, with any idea of […]

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Self-Defense Tip #10 — Front over-the-arms bear hug

An attacker who grabs you in a front over-the-arms bear hug can either bend you backward and throw you down or lift you up and throw you down by sweeping your legs aside with his foot or by throwing you back overhead (judo uranage). To prevent any of these calamities, you need to simultaneously lower […]

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Self-Defense Tip #9 — Low fighting stances

This tip will deal with low fighting stances—often a neglected and poorly practiced element of fighting and self-defense. Low stances, most often seen in traditional karate and in northern styles of Chinese boxing, are very helpful in self-defense but only if understood and practiced well. Many top full-contact karate and judo fighters use very low […]

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Self-Defense Tip #8 — Hair or clothes grab from behind

The attacker grabs your clothes or your hair from behind and pulls you back and down into his or her strike or knee kick. What should your first reaction be when you feel a grab from behind? No matter if you are grabbed by the hair or by the clothes you should first squat down. […]

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Self-Defense Tip #7 — Sleeve grab

What should your first reaction be when someone grabs you by the sleeve? Should you first attempt to shake off the grip or to twist the attacker’s arm? Or perhaps you should first protect yourself from the attacker’s free hand? Let’s say that the attacker has grabbed your right sleeve with his or her left […]

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Self-Defense Tip #6 — Throat grab

What should your first reaction be when someone grabs you by the throat? First, protect your throat! Bring your chin to your chest to prevent attacker’s fingers or thumbs closing on your throat. If the attacker already has his or her fingers or thumbs on your throat, trapping them under your jaw will make it […]

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Self-Defense Tip #5 — Fighting stance and position

Here is what you must do when facing strikes and kicks. Put your arms “on guard,” your left leg forward to keep your liver (which is on your right side) further away from the attacker. A good shot to your liver could temporarily paralyze your diaphragm, or even cause internal bleeding, or rupture your gall […]

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Self-Defense Tip #4 — Rear under-the-arms bear hug

If an attacker grabs you in a rear under-the-arms bear hug, your first concern is to protect your bottom ribs from being squashed and also to make sure that you are not lifted up. Your assailant’s intent with this attack is to lift you up and then throw you down, driving your hips into the […]

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Self-Defense Tip #3 — Rear over-the-arms bear hug

An intelligent attacker, if he or she decides to grab you in a rear over-the-arms bear hug, will grab you at or below your elbows. Grabbing your arms this way immobilizes them nearly completely and does not let you use them to protect your rib cage. Also, the low grab makes it easy for the […]

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