Martial Arts do - the long way of the fighting styles

Basic self-defense moves

Self-defense is a set of several techniques whose aim is to counter or neutralize an aggression. Many jurisdictions legitimize the use of self-defense, although their interpretations vary widely.

Our aim is to show the most essential tips for self-defense. Many fighting styles include in their teaching techniques of self-defense. Some as Krav Maga are exclusively oriented in this area.


Prevention is a first form of self-defense:
• seek to know well the place around, walk and park in lighted areas, have your keys in hand when approaching the house or car, try to vary your path.
• walk confidently. The body language (be alert and confidant) can make an aggressor think twice about approaching you.
• walk with your head tall, without slumping your shoulders and avoiding to look at the floor.

Avoid confrontation

Hand your wallet or purse and get away or run rather than fight. Try talk to someone close to physically assaulting you. or yell for help. A useful resource is to carry a whistle, which can produce a louder and farthest sound. Or use a pepper spray.

Hitting the most vulnerable points

If none of these tips is sufficient, then we must react. Reaction should be executed fast (within few seconds) and efficiently (with a few moves), in order to decide to quickly decide a fight and allow you the chance to escape.

Vulnerable areas should be targeted with priority to get your aggressor off balance.

Eyes, nose, ears, neck, groin, knee, and legs represent the parts of the body where is it possible to hurt or wound seriously easily.

Body vulnerable points
Body vulnerable points

At very close range:
• apply an elbow strike to the face, as elbow is one of the hardest bones of the body.
• apply a headbutt.
• poke your finger into your attacker's eyes.
• target him with an upwards palm strike under the nose.

Knife hand strike on neck
Palm strike under the nose

• apply an ear slap. Cup your hands and slam your palm into his ear to send in a blast of air, which would pressurize the air canal.
• a weak blow to the vagus nerve (located slightly below the ear on the neck) cause intense pain and involuntary muscle spasms, while a stronger blow will result in syncope (loss of consciousness or death).
• if you are grabbed from behind, throw your head back and aim for the bridge of your aggressor's nose. Or lift up your heel and scratch it down the front of the lower part of his leg (where the shin bone is located) as hard as possible.

At close range:
• kick the knee or the groin.
Examples: Groin kick Side kick
• Hit at the side of the neck (both the carotid artery and jugular vein are located there) with a knife hand strike. All fingers held straight and tightly together, with thumb tucked and slightly bent at the knuckle.

Knife hand strike on neck
Knife hand strike on neck

A hit to areas such as the floating ribs, the philtrum and the solar plexus can knock the wind out of your opponent.

Vulnerable points
Vulnerable points

Defend yourself using objects like keys. Carry your keys in one hand and makes a fist pushing one of your keys between your middle fingers. Slash his face with your key with an upward movement.

Remember never to stand still at the same place. Always keep moving to make yourself less accessible to body grabs, kicks and punches.


If someone grab your wrist, rotate it so your thumb lines up with where your attacker's thumb meets his fingers and jerk sharply by bending your arm at the elbow.

Grabbing defense
Grabbing defense

This image is adapted from the book "At้mis et Jiu-Jitsu", by Robert Lasserre

If your wrist is grabbed with both hands, close firmly your fist, wrap it with your other hand, step back and make an back upward movement with both hands held together.

Grabbing defense
Grabbing defense

This image is adapted from the book "At้mis et Jiu-Jitsu", by Robert Lasserre


Against a choke, grab the baby finger of the aggressor's hand and twist it.

Choke defense
Choke defense

Or press firmly the pulse of your attacker with your thumb below and with the index finger and middle finger above.

Choke defense
Choke defense

Do this with both hands simultaneously. As the same time you remove the hands, apply a knee strike on his groin.

Choke defense
Choke defense


Example: Defense against a headlock from the side

Knife attacks

This is just a basic overview about how to act against knife aggressions.

If someone threat or attack you with a knife, always search to run or escape. Only react if cornered.

Against an armed attack, it is necessary to evade and apply a well-timed counter attack.

First, block or redirect the weapon and stabilize it by controlling the wrist or hand of the attacking arm of the assailant and then disarm the weapon by breaking the joint or by applying power to induce enough pain to force the attacker to release the weapon.

Causing a momentary shock (throwing water or coffee) allow to cause a delay which ease the evasion and counter attack.

For a better coordination, training is usually conducted at four basic speeds: one-quarter, half, three-quarter and full speed.

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