How to Save Your Ass with Self-Defense

How to Save Your Ass with Self-Defense

It’s awesome if you can take a self-defense course…but most of us don’t have the money (or time) to commit. So instead of putting it off any longer, learn some quick and easy tips CASSANDRA KAPP SEP 2, 2009

\nDid you know that only 10 percent of self-defense is actually physical? That’s what Angie Tarighi, CEO and founder of the Women’s Self-Defense Institute, told us. The rest of your defense is just being aware of your surroundings and taking preventive measures. Here, how to fight an attacker before he strikes…and then some sharp ideas for how to react if things really do get physical.


1. Be a hard target.

Attackers tend to look for women who appear insecure or unsuspecting. Hunching over, chatting on your cell, or being distracted by your iPod or text messages make you an easy target for a bad guy. Instead, walk confidently with your shoulders back and chin up. Make eye contact. You want to send the signal that you’re a secure chick who could kick anyone’s ass.

2. Get bitchy.

If a stranger says he needs a hand — but you get a creepy vibe from him — you don’t have to be nice. Simply say, “Sorry, but I really can’t stop to help right now,” and keep moving.

3. Don’t get sloppy during after-hours.

Don’t go to the ATM by yourself at 2 a.m., leave the windows to your house open at night, or walk home from the bar wasted. You can’t control the predators but can control the opportunities you give them.

4. Be discreet online.

Avoid having your contact information on your Facebook page, and actually know all the friends you approve. Try having a different profile account for your close friends than you do for your acquaintances.

5. Be on the lookout.

Parking lots are popular places for attacks because you’re distracted, your hands are often full, and there aren’t other people around. Other places attackers hide: between cars (even on streets), stairwells, bushes, and alleys.

6. Let them have it.

Often, an attacker or predator just wants your money. If this is the case, throw your purse as far as you can, and then run in the opposite direction.


7. Use what’s in your hands.

Whether it’s an umbrella, pen, cell phone, or even hairspray, anything can be a weapon. Keys can especially do a lot of damage: If an attacker comes at you, scratch his face or jab at his eyes with the keys.

8. Aim for weak points.

When fighting off an attacker, go for his vulnerable points like eyes, throat, and knees. If he attacks you from behind, stomp on the top of his foot. You should hit the groin last, as your attacker expects you’ll go there first.

9. Throw your elbow.

Your elbow is way more effective than your fists. Make sure to bend your knees, twist your hips, and put your whole body into it as you swing your hooked elbow across his jaw.

10. Use your palm.

A great skill to know is the palm heel strike. Get your hands in the high-five position with the palm pushed forward and your fingers back. Step into the attacker and forcefully bang your palm at the top of your attacker’s nose, just below his eyes.

SOURCES: Angie M. Tarighi, CEO & Founder, Women’s Self-Defense Institute; Joy Williamson, head instructor, Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense in Austin, TX