Since there’s more and more news about sexual assault and sexual harassment these days, here’s some basic information on self defense.
I know not everyone is going to take a self–defense course or register to carry mace so here’s some things you can do to defend yourself that don’t require any specialized skill. Of course it would be nice to whip out a Lightsaber and slice the arm of an attacker like Obi–Wan did to that schmuck at Mos Eisley Spaceport.
Not everyone has the luxury of being a Mafia daughter. Ever notice how this stuff never happens to them? Because if you’re dumb enough do that, you’ll at the very least need help brushing your teeth the rest of your life.
One of the things about a lot of men in their teens and 20’s nowadays is they’ve never been in a fist fight with anyone. So they don’t know if they can take a punch. They don’t know what a punch feels like and it’s definitely not pleasant. This can be used as an advantage—the shock of being hit for the first time.
This is done by clenching your fists tightly and raining blows down on an attackers face/head from above like you are slinging hammers. Two hammers coming down on someone’s face who shouldn’t have been in your face to begin with; Like you are a drummer playing drums with your fists. Think Chris Hemsworth in Thor. Hammerfists are your Thor’s hammers.
This type of punch is not allowed in professional boxing. It is a way to generate a lot of force and is useful when an attacker has grabbed you and/or when you are close or standing still—you don’t need to back up to hit someone.
Jumping up and down can add to the impact, and you can switch to this after you’ve already stung an attacker. Hammer them like a nail to the ground and run away to somewhere safe then get to a Police station.
Try a Hammerfist compared to a horizontal punch and see how much harder you can hit from above than throwing a punch like in boxing.
Skilled Martial Artists can knock someone down flat with one Hammerfist—not a slow backwards fall, a “Spagetti Legs” collapse. I experienced this playing Nerf football (so much for safer) taking a blow to the side of the head.
The other thing is when you are shorter than the attacker, you have to punch up at them which can limit the impact. Hammerfist is a more natural motion of the entire arm—this is how we’re hardwired to run. Watch Olympic sprinters and see the arms pumping up and down like pistons for speed and power in Hammerfist motion.
I had a few fist fights in my life I never went looking for but sometimes it’s the only way to get someone to leave you alone. From those, I learned I could take horizontal punches in the face, stay standing and keep punching—and those were against guys who are stronger than women. And I’m no Rocky Balboa. So don’t think normal punching is the best way to ward off an attacker especially if you don’t practice this kind of thing regularly.
2. Go for the neck
Land any kind of blow to the front (preferably) or side of the neck: punch, forearm, side arm Hammerfist, Spear Hand (when you tightly hold your hand in the shape of a spear).
Spear Hand is a Martial Arts move and will impact the throat with the 3 longest fingers. Because of it’s small profile as opposed to a fist, it can sneak in where a fist may be blocked. If you don’t think 3 fingers will hurt, hit yourself in the neck lightly with them. That part of the body isn’t exactly a turtle shell.
Land some blows and run away to somewhere safe, call someone you trust if you’re not able to drive safely & get to a Police station immediately. Don’t hang out to see if they need medical attention. They weren’t going to give you any measure of sympathy.
Don’t hang out to see if they need medical attention. They weren’t going to give you any measure of sympathy.
Spear Hand is thrown in normal punch motion. Palms can be facing down, upward or slanted facing left or right if you are left or right handed, whatever gives you an “in” to land a blow. Think of it like a cobra striking the neck.
If an attacker has grabbed you from the front facing you and there’s little to no space to hit the neck from the front, you can curve the Spear Hand and hit the sides of the neck—you don’t need a large range of motion for any kind of blow to the neck to hurt.
Playing sports growing up I’ve experienced all kinds of accidents and injuries—broken bones, dislocation, cuts, gashes, pain and bruises, concussion.
I’ve gotten accidentally hit in the kidney (illegal punch in boxing), and taken groin shots. In both cases, as well as broken bones, a little Sgt. Barnes from Platoon could have appeared on my shoulder telling me “Take the pain”, and I did. It hurt but I was able to function and keep going. I also wouldn’t panic or worry if I was bleeding—”I ain’t got time to bleed.”
The scariest thing that happened to me though was accidentally taking a blow to the neck. I paid the price for that layup (basketball). This is one of the reasons boxers fight chin down to not expose the neck*. If a boxer gets hit in the neck, it’s pretty much the end of the fight. They’re back in after groin shots and often kidney shots though.
*Chin fully to chest is also what friends and I do for turbulence on flights
Think of it this way: The thing everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Screech on Saved By The Bell have in common is we’re all 10–15 minutes of oxygen away from leaving this dimension at any given time. A blow to the neck is a kink in the fuel line. You kink the fuel line, you shut down the machine.
A blow to the neck is a kink in the fuel line. You kink the fuel line, you shut down the machine.
What happens with a blow to the neck is fear, panic and self–preservation taking over. The neck swells and there’s a reduction of oxygen, you want to curl up and protect yourself, it’s tough even to stand up, and it takes much longer to recuperate because it’s a scary experience to a very vulnerable part of the body.
Lions, cheetahs & leopards kill by suffocation. Even the lower animal kingdom knows it’s own weak spots.
If someone has you pinned down, their face and neck will be exposed but it’s more difficult to thwart. If you can still do these 2 mentioned above, they’ll still hurt even really close without full range of motion.
Fingernails jabbed or pressed into the neck can be done if you cannot punch, bite fingers, go Mike Tyson (bite) on the dirtbag’s ear if you have to. But ideally you want to shut it down before it ever gets this far—in other words, land as many blows while you are still standing.
Knees and elbows are among the strongest parts of the body and can take a lot of force. If you are being grabbed from behind, elbows into the chest/face can stun an attacker enough to escape and run. Keep them close to your body and go straight up/back for maximum impact (a motion like you are on an elliptical machine at the gym or power walking).
A blow to the breastbone or diaphragm area can knock the wind out of someone. It’s happened to me a few times in sports. In professional football, you’ll even see 250 pound men in full gear need a few minutes to stare at the sky to recoup after getting hit in the center of the chest.
If you see a lot of blood from Hammerfists, it’s probably a broken nose. The end part of it breaks easily and when they’re bleeding that much, they’ll have problems breathing and leave so much DNA everywhere for Forensics that they’ll get a nice orange jumpsuit and feel what it’s like to be raped themselves in prison. You reap what you sow.
It’s happened to me in a foreign country. I’ve also been targeted by thieves in popular tourist areas. See it before it happens and shut their window to act down. Be aware of your surroundings, who’s around you and stop looking at your cellphone every 5 minutes. Attackers prey on distracted, drunk/stoned/under the influence of drugs people and thrive on the element of surprise.
When I’m doing photography/video outside, I’m either not listening to my iPod or I only have one earbud in my ear. I need to hear what’s going on around me for my safety. Jogging with 2 earbuds in isn’t safe for even street traffic in the daytime never mind hearing if someone is approaching you or hiding nearby.
These are what I would do if I was attacked: Land a few blows then get out of there ASAP.
Land a few blows then get out of there ASAP
There’s too many unknowns to hang around even if I had gained the upper hand—You don’t know if the attacker has any kind or weapon or if there’s other people in on this and the attacker is just the first one to lure you in. Many people including trained Martial Artists have paid the price because they stuck around too long—the assailant had a weapon and used it out of spite, humiliation and frustration.
Learn to avoid risky situations before they happen. Hopefully you won’t have to use this information but practice doing these. This will help commit them to muscle memory if needed in situations where shock and panic can overtake you and freeze you from acting. In those situations you will not have time to think. Just knowing this intellectually may not be enough in a real world scenario.
As musicians, dancers, Martial Artists, athletes, etc., we practice the same moves hundreds and thousands of times so we can do things automatically, quickly and effortlessly.
Remember The Karate Kid? “Wax on, wax off?” Mr. Miyagi had Daniel do the Karate moves hundreds of times so he committed them to muscle memory (which is faster than having to think about what you should do). And when Daniel needed to, he was able to pull out a tool box of moves that was quick and automatic to attack and defend himself.
Be prepared that with any emotional or physical trauma that you will not be thinking clearly and have weird/inappropriate thoughts afterwards. When I broke my arm as a boy, my first reaction was laughing that I’d be missing school. The “Dude your arms in pieces” reality of the situation didn’t set in until later even though I looked right at it and knew that’s not how an arm should look.
I’ve also been close to Vets in my family who had PTSD their entire lives—though marriage, kids, church, careers, etc. So expect that as well (flashbacks and things triggering unpleasant memories) and go to a therapist or counselor to diffuse it as much as you can as soon afterwards as you can.
Don’t think being in love or falling in love by itself will heal it. Pop songs and movies aren’t reality. Don’t wait years for it to ferment and build up momentum. It’s bad enough it had to happen in the first place but the emotional aftereffects can continue to be crippling years later if untreated. Don’t let it continue to assault you the rest of your life. It takes courage to fight back. Continue being a survivor and get professional help.
© Composer Yoga