Friday, July 27, 2012

Part Three-Tried and True Self-defense Techniques

Welcome to part three of my series on Self-defense. You can find Part One here,(;postID=4403068653682043077) where I talk about the ABC’s of Self-defense. Part Two, the Psychology of Self-defense, can be found here.(;postID=8430491088434212925) Today, I’ll address the physical aspects of self-defense. This covers a lot of material, so I’m going to try to boil it down to the must know information. The suggestions below are just a few of my tried and true favorites. For an awesome video of techniques that will work every time, no matter your size or strength, go to I’ve also recently been introduced to Dr. Ruthless, an amazing woman with a fabulous philosophy and great tips for finding your inner “Neander-babe.”

The techniques below are only to be used in a defensive situation. They are meant to disable an attacker and allow you to escape and get help.

Targets to aim for: Eyes, ears, nose, throat, solar plexus, groin, joints.
Weapons you possess: Fingers, fingernails, cupped palm, loose palm, elbows, knees, feet, head, (that includes your brain!) Look for ANYTHING in your immediate surroundings that can be used as a weapon.

If someone approaches you and means you harm, you must react. You have a few choices here, but your job is to survive and escape.

1)      You can attack them first. This option should only be employed if an attack is imminent. We don’t want to mistakenly beat the crap out of the pizza delivery guy.

Scream as loud as you can, FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! And don’t stop screaming. Kick them in the groin (see the video for an extra special technique called a “Scoop kick”), scratch or poke the eyes, cuff the ears with cupped palms, and then grab the ears and pull their face down into your rising knee. If you choose this method, you must not hesitate. You have to follow through and be willing to disable your attacker. This requires an incredible amount of courage, self-confidence, and practice, but if done right, your attacker will never see it coming.

2)      You can wait until they have their hands on you and react.

If they come at you from the front and grab you by the wrist, follow through with the above scenario or use a circular movement of your wrist and hand to break free and escape. If they have their hands around your throat, employ the “stick ‘em up”, or “combing the hair” technique. Basically, to break someone’s grip on your throat, you shoot ypour hands straight up into the air and turn your body away. You can see the “combing the hair” technique on the video and it will make perfect sense. Once you turn away and their grip is broken, take a step back and drive your elbow in a horizontal striking motion and slam it into their temple. Follow this with a slap to the groin. I learned the groin slap from watching the video, but it makes sense. A loose wristed slap will have a greater vibrational impact on the groin than a closed fist which is more compact and requires more accuracy.

3)      You can fake collapse.

If someone attacks from behind, this is a good option. If you feel overpowered, rather than struggle, go completely limp, bend your knees, and drop toward the ground in a crouch. This takes a tremendous amount of self- control and presence of mind. An attacker will not expect this and they will have to change their grip to hold you up rather than hold you still. It will also disrupt their balance and have them leaning forward.  Once their grip has loosened or their guard is down, you can respond with springing up on your knees and slamming the back of your head into their nose. This should loosen their grip enough to allow you to drive your elbow into their solar plexus or temple. Turn around to face them, cuff the ears, grab the ears and drive their nose into your rising knee. If you are caught in a standing position and are being choked from behind, it is sometimes not an option to drop into a crouch like this. In that instance, scraping the side of your shoe down their shin and slamming your heel into their instep is an effective attention getter and will force them to loosen their grip. You can read about this sequence in detail in SAVAGE CINDERELLA, when Cody is teaching Brinn to fight—team Cody lovers think this scene is kind of steamy). You would then follow with that elbow to the solar plexus, groin slap, poke to the eyes, and cuff to the ears. Another technique that will bring your attacker down to your size is a kick to the lateral side of the knee, a great option if you are fighting from the ground.

Basically, the rule is fight and don’t stop fighting. Use whatever tools and weapons that you have at your disposal. Scream, kick, scratch, bite, or gouge. Do whatever it takes to survive. You have a right to defend yourself. You have a right not to be a victim.
Any questions?

Author PJ Sharon's Bio:
I knew I would be a writer someday when I was a little girl sitting on my grandpa’s knee and telling him stories that he would help me put on paper. By the time I entered kindergarten I could already read and write, and I couldn’t wait to look up new words every morning in the ginormous Webster’s Dictionary that sat in the book case at the bottom of our stairs. I would get on the bus and ask my friends, “Do you know what pulchritudinous means?” Between that and challenging the boys to push-up contests at the bus stop, I mostly sat alone on those bus rides to school. But that just meant I had more time to make up stories.

I went on to many other endeavors in life, including the world of figure skating, and later, earning a black belt in martial arts. Though I was a mom at seventeen, I did manage to finish school and somehow made it through college, earning a degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant. After nineteen years, two sons, a divorce, and some fairly lean years, I found that it’s true what they say about life beginning at forty. It was about that time when I reunited with the love of my life and worked my way to owning my own business as a Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, and Yoga Instructor—all of my favorite things. To make my bliss complete, I moved out to the Berkshires and found my muse waiting for me there amongst the lilacs and humming birds.

I now write Extraordinary Stories of an Average Teenage Life in order to share hope with others, especially teens, that no matter how tough life gets, there is always a bright spot waiting just around the corner. My published books include the award winning YA Novels, HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, and SAVAGE CINDERELLA, available through Amazon and B&N Booksellers.

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I want to thank PJ for all the great information she supplied in this three-part series. I know I have re-read it several times so it is imbedded in my head.


  1. Paula, I want to thank you for sharing knowledge with us here this week. I found it very helpful and so have many others who let me know off loop. Thanks again, Marian

    1. You are very welcome, Marian. We live in a dangerous world, where being a woman is still a disadvantage in the survival arena. But it doesn't have to be that way. We shouldn't live in fear, but the only way to level the playing field is to be prepared. I love empowering women to be bold, to be confident, and to be ready to conquer whatever comes in life.

  2. Wow this is great and so informative. It's also good for writing fight scenes. I suggested our writing group get someone/group to show some self defense moves but it never came through. Thanks so much for this, PJ.

    1. Donna, thank you so muc for stopping by. I'm glad it helped and I will pass this on to PJ. She's awesome about sharing her knowledge. She did a whole class at our RWA meeting about stretching for writers to keep our juices flowing.

    2. Thanks, Donna. I just did a workshop called "Writing Fun Fight Scenes" at the CTRWA Fiction Fest in May. It was loads of fun and I'd love to do more of that. I live in Western Ma. but I'd be happy to travel (in the Northeast) if you're ever interested.

    3. I loved that work hsop at Fiction Fest. Going to use the information someday in the Jake Carrington Series. Thanks, Paula.