10 Effective Self-Defense Moves That Could Save Your Life

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Most people who are living normal, law-abiding lives will never have much need to use serious self-defense techniques. However, just because someone doesn’t live in a bad area, or generally associate with shady people, doesn’t mean they will never run into a situation where they may need to know how to defend themselves and their families.

The kind of dangerous scenario where you will need to fight in self-defense usually occurs suddenly and without warning. If you are not already well prepared for the various kinds of attacks you could face, you may end up unable to come up with a proper response to your assailant. Below are some of the most common ways an attacker may choose to assault you, and some of the best ways to counter them.

10. How To Escape From A Front Choke-Hold

One of the most likely scenarios you are going to be forced to deal with in the unfortunate incidence of a physical assault on your person is a front choke-hold. This can of course be very dangerous. With sufficient force, it won’t take your assailant long to do permanent damage, or at least make you pass out, which could be very bad for you depending on the situation. It is therefore imperative for self defense purposes that you are able to break out of such a hold very quickly and efficiently. There are two really good ways to do so, and both have their advantages.

The first way, pictured in the video, is incredibly simple. You basically move your head to one side, under their hand grip and roll your shoulders. This will make their grip basically impossible to hold. However, it may not leave you with a lot of openings while you are doing so, and doesn’t really put you at any great advantage afteward. This one may be best if you are trying to get out quickly and simply run away. Another effective method involves placing your hands together, either palms flat or in a fist, and quickly push them up through the arms that are gripping your throat.

This will make it essentially impossible for them to maintain their grip, and also put you in a very good position for well placed strikes against their collarbones, or other vulnerable areas.

9. How To Best Use Your Keys As A Self-Defense Weapon

Many people who are not used to carrying weapons with them, and even some who are, have fantasized about using a key as a self-defense weapon if they are ever attacked in a surprising situation. It’s something that you will nearly always have with you, it’s made of metal, and it’s jagged, so it is naturally something people would consider to use as a weapon in a pinch. However, while most people have thought about using their keys, many of them may not have any idea how to use a key properly as a tool of self defense. It’s actually fairly important to know the difference, or you may end up not only not hurting your assailant, but actually hurting yourself.

The most common way is to hold it vertically between two fingers with the key pointing out as a sort of augmented fist. The problem is that this will cause for an unstable hold on the key, likely deflecting it away from your attacker and towards you. Making a fist and holding the key between your thumb and forefinger, as demonstrated in the video, is much more effective. If you have a key ring with two keys you can hold the other one in the bottom of your fist to make an even better weapon. Alternatively, you can use the key through the fist technique that many people naturally gravitate toward somewhat effectively, but only if you make sure to hold the head of the key flat in your palm to keep it stable — this option usually works best with two keys.

8. How To Escape A Bear Hug

When someone a lot stronger than you grabs you bodily from behind, it can actually be a fairly difficult hold to break if you don’t know any tricks to deal with them. This is a favorite trick of muggers and others who are trying to quickly gain an advantage over someone using the element of surprise — if done right a bear hug will trap someone’s arms and leave them feeling off balance. In order to escape from a bear hug, the trick is to take the advantages it has against you and turn the tables.

As demonstrated in the video, one of the most important tricks is to first loosen the hold. You start by pushing your arms up as much as you can. While this won’t get you out of the bear hug, it will loosen their grip enough for you to move further. The trick is then to drop your center of gravity, shifting your hips to the side and dropping your feet and body back further. If you are just looking to run away you may be able to wriggle away and run at this point.

If you wish to fight further, you could use your positioning of your foot behind them to take them to the ground. If you think you have sufficient strength, you can also perform a shoulder throw at this point, but you should carefully consider the size of your opponent before attempting this.

7. How To Escape A Strange-Hold From Behind

This is another favorite of muggers and abductors and if performed by someone who knows what they are doing, it can end a fight very quickly. For the victim of this attack, it is very important to know the basics of how to defend against it. While there are going to be many different opinions on the best way to break the hold, the most important thing is what to do the moment the hold begins, to stop them from quickly making you pass out. To avoid this as best as possible, you need to bury your chin in the inner part of your attackers elbow, as pictured in the video. This will make it a lot harder for them to quickly make you pass out.

In order to further break their hold, you can also use your hands to press inward on their elbow. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it will give you something to grab onto and make it harder for them to cut off your air supply. If you have sufficient strength you could mount a shoulder throw, but as always this can be tricky based on their relative weight and your skill. Alternatively, you can quickly pivot your body to one side while keeping a hold on their elbow and it should break the hold. From here, you will probably just want to run away, but you should be in a decent position for a counter-attack if you so choose.

6. The Best Ways To Take A Hit When It’s Unavoidable

While you may see a lot of martial arts movies where the hero manages to block almost every hit that comes his way, or just plain dodge it, even these same movies usually show the hero eventually come up against a villain who is more well matched against him. In these fights, even our skilled fighter has to take some very hard hits before he finally wins and the credits roll. It’s the same way with real life fights, where many people without a lot of experience don’t realize that they are going to be hit hard and they are going to be hit often.

In the world of professional boxing, fighters train constantly to take hits to various parts of their head, especially their jaw. One boxer commented that his neck was two inches thicker after a couple years of hard training, learning how to take harder and harder hits. In order to take seriously hard hits, you have to learn to roll with the punches.

For those into boxing, you may know that this is a real term, but some of you may have just known this before as a saying about dealing with life. It actually very specifically means that when you are going to be taking a punch, you move your body in the direction of the punch to avoid taking as much impact, as explained in the video above. If you absolutely have to take a hit to the face, you should be prepared to hunch your shoulders slightly, tuck your chin inward, plant your tongue on the roof of your mouth and try to maneuver your head so that you take the blow a few inches above the eyebrows on the corners of your head.

5. How To Quickly Disarm An Opponent Who Has A Gun

While most attackers are unlikely to come at you with a loaded gun, the possibility does exist, and it is important to know how to defend against it. We would like to stress, however, that if you are ever confronted with a gun, that unless you believe you are being taken to be kidnapped or something equally horrible, you should not try to disarm your opponent. In other words, if it’s just a mugger trying to get your money, it would be best to not even attempt such a move — just give them your money and move on. You shouldn’t be carrying too much cash on you for safety sake anyway, and credit cards can be quickly cancelled.

However, should you find yourself in a situation where you fear that your opponent may just decide to shoot your shortly anyway, or you fear they are going to take you somewhere quiet and out of the way to do something awful, then there are some techniques you can use. As shown in the video above, holding your hands up slightly to the side, moving your body to the side can help with positioning. After that, if you can get in close enough, slapping the inner part of the gunman’s hand with one hand while slapping the outer part of the gun with your other hand will effectively disarm your opponent and may even damage their trigger finger with enough force. We stress again though, that this should only be attempted in the most extreme circumstances, and that this should never be practiced with a loaded gun.

4. The Best Way To Escape A Wrist Grab Every Time

One of the most common moves an assailant may use against you is to grab either one or both of your wrists. This can be done in an attempt to control you or drag you off, and like all common attacks, it is important to know the basics when it comes to countering it. Most assailants who use this attack are likely going to be quite strong, as it is not going to be that effective to begin with if they are not. However, despite the strength of your opponent, you can throw them off effortlessly every time.

As shown with step by step pictures, and in the video link above, the trick is to use a simple rotation of the wrist that makes it impossible for them to maintain their grip. You simply swivel your wrist and palm in a full circular rotatation and it will break their grip every single time. You can do this easily whether they are holding one or both wrists, and then either run our counter-attack as you see fit. This is such an easy attack to get out of that a really quick escape may surprise your attacker and give you extra time to respond further, especially if they think that their physical strength is going to make their grip nearly unbreakable.

3. How To Fend Off A Knife Fighter Without A Weapon

In most cases you probably don’t want to be fending off a knife attack without any weapon at all, and if you are quick enough, you may happen to find some kind of object lying around to defend yourself with. Even a sturdy stick or anything with any length that won’t easily break would be a good way to mostly neutralize the threat in a pinch. However, sometimes there isn’t going to be anything around, or someone may come at you so fast you don’t have time to grab a makeshift weapon. In that case, it’s good to have the knowledge and the proper practice — as well as reaction time — to fight off the threat.

The video above is part of a mult-part series on defending against knife attacks while unarmed, and is worth watching in full. The main key is to hold your arm at a 120 degree angle, regardless of where the attack is coming from, create distance between you and your attacker with proper body positioning, and use your arm to block their arm so they can’t get in a proper stab or slash. This technique requires you to keep your hand open to give you more options to block with, and also gives you more reach to hold back their attack. In the chance that you do get slashed, even if only on your arms, it is also important to position your arms so you won’t be slashed across a major vein. Along with the above video, the US Army also has some good tips on the subject, with picture guides on how to do some of the moves.

2. How To Escape When You Are Bound By Zip Ties

Back in the old days, people just bound each other with rope or other makeshift forms of the same, but in modern days, kidnappers and other ne’er do wells have taken to using zip ties in order to restrain people. For the kidnapper it seems like the perfect deal. They are cheap, easy to carry and conceal and ensure your victim doesn’t move in any way you don’t want them to. However, they are actually much easier to break out of than many people realize, which is actually good for those who may end up on the wrong side of them.

Along with a guide in the video above, there is also a handy infographic by the Art of Manliness on how to escape from zip ties should you ever find yourself in such an unfortunate situation. If your captor isn’t too bright, you can hold your hands together with fists tight, which will give you room to twist your hands later and have wiggle room to escape. Of course, if your captor realizes this then the technique likely won’t work. In that case, you will have to switch to plan b.

While it may seem counter-intuitive, escape experts suggest tightening it with your teeth so it will be more affected by force, and then raise your bound hands above your head and bring them down on your stomach, with your elbows out. If you repeat this process with enough force, the zip tie should easily break. Alternatively, it is suggested that if you have the right tools and you are in the right position, jimmying a zip tie is completely do-able. If you can use a small implement to remove the bar you should be able to slide it right out.

1. How To Get Rescued While Trapped In The Trunk Of A Moving Car

Of course if someone is trying to kidnap you, it would probably be best to fight as hard as possible before allowing yourself to get trapped in the trunk of their car. However, if the nightmare scenario were to occur because of gunpoint or whatever reason, it would be good to know how to get out of the trunk and escape from your kidnapper. For starters, if your kidnapper wasn’t smart enough to disable it, a lot of modern cars actually have a safety release inside the trunk in case you or your child or something gets locked inside. If your kidnapper is smart then you will have to go to plan B, which will also be extremely effective.

Unless you are tied up and unable to move, you should be able to get to the cables for the brakelights and other rear vehicle lights very easily. If you are having trouble pulling out the cables in the dark, you could just start giving it a few good kicks. As demonstrated in the video, if you can pull apart a plate or kick out the light, you could stick your hand through and wave to motorists. A waving hand out of a back taillight will surely lead to a 9/11 call from other motorists, and even if you can’t get a hand through, broken or simply non-functioning lights will greatly increase the chance the authorities will pull over the car. After that, you can bang on the trunk door to catch the cops attention and achieve your goal of being rescued. You can also check out step by step instructions here on all the ways to escape from the trunk of a car.


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