Practicing martial arts helps to build character and aids your overall health and wellness. But it takes time to learn all the techniques and nuances. Here are some quick self-defense moves you can learn. These are drawn from 3 of the most practiced martial arts in the world: Krav Maga, Karate, and Kali Escrima.
Why Should I Learn Self-Defense?
“Always be prepared.” That’s the age-old boy scout motto. And unfortunately, the world out there can be a nasty place. However, having the knowledge and instincts to act in a life or death situation can make all the difference.
Of course, you may never encounter such a situation (and may you never do). But if you do, wouldn’t it be better to have something to fall back on? It could save your life or someone you love!
Be Wise First, Grasshopper
One thing we would like to point out: these are last resorts ONLY. Your first priority should be to de-escalate situations when your life is in danger. And if you can avoid injury by losing your cash, wallet, or other material things, that’s fine. Your life and safety are more important than that.
And if you can run away, then run away. Getting yourself out of danger is the best self-defense move. It may be a little embarrassing, but it’s a much better alternative than putting yourself in harm’s way.
Finally, do not use these moves to brag. These self-defense techniques are for practical purposes only. They are not a license to act “macho.” In fact, every established martial artist would tell you, bragging and overconfidence entice danger.
Krav Maga: Elbow to the Face
Krav Maga is the self-defense system used by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). It is a practical system that borrows from multiple traditional and scientific martial arts. One of the most common features of Krav Maga is attacking using elbows and knees.
Elbow and knee strikes hit hard, due to the angle and hardness of the bones. A very easy move is to strike an assailant grabbing you from behind. Grab the thumb of your attacker with your hand and twist it hard.
Follow this up with an elbow to the face. Preferably, aim for the chin or throat area. The chin has little to no flesh or muscle to protect it. An elbow to that area will daze or even knock a full-grown man unconscious.
Karate: Punch to the Solar Plexus
Karate has had a long history of being the butt of jokes. But it is one of the most effective systems of martial arts in the world. Do not let the poses (i.e. katas) performed fool you. Karate literally means “way of the empty hand.” And this is most evident in the execution of the Chokuzuki (“straight punch”).
To execute this against an attacker going at you from the front, pull your dominant arm back, elbow bent at the hip. Close your hand into a fist, with the palm side up. When it’s time to strike, extend your arm, twisting your forearm so the palm side is facing down. Keep the wrist and forearm straight, with the contact point being the two front knuckles (from your index and middle finger). Make sure the thumb is bent inward to avoid injury.
Aim for the solar plexus. This is the area just below the middle of the rib cage, right between the heart and stomach. There is no bone to protect the area. A solid strike there will take the wind out of your attacker, giving you an opportunity to escape.
Escrima: Anything is a Weapon
Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) is as complete a self-defense system as you can find. A unique element about this martial arts style is how weapons drills are usually practiced before unarmed techniques. The same basic movements are used for both unarmed and weapons styles. More than that, FMA teaches how anything can be a weapon.
If you are forced into a situation where you have to defend yourself, check your surroundings. A rolled-up magazine with little space inside is a solid clubbing weapon. Your belt and buckle can be used for blocking and disarming. A bag of coins is a good sapping weapon.
Escrima is the stick-fighting style of FMA. If you have a rolled-up magazine, aim for the soft areas of your attacker’s body. The throat, eyes, solar plexus, groin, and nose are very vulnerable. An attacker will instinctively try to block or avoid being hit in these areas. Again, this gives you the opportunity to escape.
Self-Defense is a Necessity
Be ready to stand up to defend yourself when the chips are down. These quick self-defense tips give you a starting point. But as I learned through Tom Venuto’s “Burn the fat, feed the muscle” program, learn as much as you can when you can. It pays off in the long run.
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