Self Defense Tips

“To defend yourself properly you need the will and the means (proper conditioning, ability to relax under pressure, proper strategy and tactics.”


Preface: What are some of the ways of attack and reasons for attacking someone?

a). Empty-handed,

b). Weapons, e.g, Gun/Knife/Bludgeon, e.g. stick/bat

c). Multiple attackers

  1. d) Drugs e.g., date-rape drugs
  2. e) Some Classifications (responses before getting physical) for attacks

1)   For power/bully/ego/mentally psychotic/antisocial/protect territory, (get away)

  • To take property (often for drugs), (use discretion/just give it to them)
  • By people under the influence, (get control of situation, leave)
  • rape, (get out)
  • temporary insanity (road rage/jealous partner/outraged parent), (Calm person down as you’re getting away)


  1. The Best Defense is Common Sense” – Don’t be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The best block is not being there.


  1. Apply “Boyd’s Law”, named after Colonel John R. Boyd who codified it, is a way of quantifying reaction times in combat. It consists of the OODA loop:

Observation [think awareness with details], Orientation [hands up, one leg back],

Decision [decide to flee or enter], and Action [flee or enter], then do over and over.


  1. Keep it Simple – The more choices you have available, the longer it takes to make a decision, thereby, reducing your chances of effectively defending yourself precipitously.


  1. An important aspect of Self-Defense that starts right at the beginning of a confrontation is physical and verbal boundary setting. This is vital, not only in possibly stopping an assault before it becomes physical, but also in establishing the intentions of a potential attacker.
  • Physical boundaries define where your “comfort zone” with another person lies.
  • Mental boundaries are those areas in which you do not care to answer questions or

engage in conversation.

  1. Defining your own boundaries, mental and physical.
  2. Communicating those boundaries.  Making others aware of your comfort zones may lead to less intrusive behavior on their part if they were previously un-aware of causing discomfort.

Thoughts on Keeping yourself Safe

  1. Be resolved to defend yourself
  2. Distract and guide your opponent to do what you want them to do
  3. Use your brain and your voice
  4. Remember Action is always stronger than Re-action
  5. Never go with an attacker
  6. Be aware of other potential attackers
  7. If you decide to strike, do so decisively
  8. Take action at the first sign of a threat; otherwise, you’ll be “frozen” by fear
  9. Keep yourself in shape.
  10. Train in a martial art to keep your skills sharp.


  1. Decide to Flee, Manage the situation or “Close/Strike”. So again, Observe the situation/Manage the Situation, Orient yourself, then Decide and Act. Lastly, Escape ASAP.  One decision is does calling 911 make sense?


5 Elements of Closing on your perceived opponent

  1. Read Motion
  2. Startle yourself (get hands up)
  3. Enter (close space)
  4. Biceps shutdown (two open hands on both biceps)
  5. Spin opponent and strike if appropriate (FYI, no harm, no foul if you were wrong about the perceived threat and just reacted and grabbed someone’s biceps)


  1. Basic Techniques that are proven to work best in self-defense situations:
  • Strikes (done going in or off-line, using READI – Relax, Elbows in, Hit at the Proper Angle and Direction, done with lot of Intent, and don’t forget to Yell/Kiai)
    • Elbows and Knees
    • Palm heel
    • Foot stomp
    • Shin Kick
    • Biting
  • Blocks
    • Knee/Elbow Shield
    • Standing sprawl
    • Bicep shutdown
  • Stance/Self-Defense Posture
    • Weight shifted on balls of feet, hands up and open, good eye contact (not stare down), body “tucked” in, with weight dropped down at the center, breathing, Hands up and open in front of you
  • Proper use of Voice
    • Confident, clear tone (if it goes down, then yell NO! BACK OFF!)
      • Use your wits and try distraction (ask a question, “what would your mother think of you doing this”, “do you know such and such”, “what do you think about the Red Sox pitching this year” or anything that might get their mind off of the engagement they have started.
      • If that doesn’t work and your assailant(s) start to “woof” you, look calm and tell them how it will go down. “No, this is what is going to happen, I am going to get back in my car and forget this ever happened. Does that make sense?”
      • Be prepared to move forward, keeping proper distance and one leg in front of the other.


 7.  Techniques that are tougher to make work, depending on your skill level

  • High Kicks (most people lean back and make themselves vulnerable to being taken down)
  • Basic Punches
  • Joint locks
  • Throws
  • Advanced Pressure Points (vs. easier vulnerable areas in the body, which may or may not be a “pressure point”)










Awareness Tips

  • Be aware at ALL times (99% of Self-Defense) – Have 360 degree vision.
  • What are your problem areas??? – Public transit, bars, walking, parking, neighborhood

Awareness around cars

  • Check out back seat of car
  • Park facing forward
  • Look around car before getting in or out
  • Don’t use Key FOB until your next to car.
  • Don’t walk between cars
  • Don’t give a stranger a ride
  • Always leave an escape route (in traffic, leave enough room between your car and the one in front of you)
  • Keep car in good running condition, and gas full, windows up, doors locked, valuables and packages out of sight. If disabled, raise hood


Awareness While Walking (Don’t look at your Phone! Or have noise cancelling earbuds)

  • Walk in groups
  • Call someone if you are alone
  • Cross street if someone makes you uneasy, walk near curb/avoid shortcuts
  • Be able to look around corners by walking away from walls or close to alleys
  • After passing someone, peek behind to make sure they keep walking
  • If car follows, turn and walk in the opposite direction

More Tips

  • If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t
  • Trust your gut and use common sense
  • Calm your breathing. Talk yourself into being calm, e.g., “Center”
  • Call 911 if you feel threatened and can make the call
  • Alcohol etc. will make you an easy target
  • Bad guys look for easy targets
  • Always keep your eye on your opponent, so you can protect yourself and it also makes it tougher for the assailant to attack you when they see you as a fellow human being.
  • Keep the assailant at a distance
  • Ask the assailant their name (not only useful to police, but it changes the thought process of the attacker. Also, remember characteristics of your assailant)
  • Talk with your hands and Keep hands and body ready. Hands up/One foot forward
  • Kiai, or shout “Stop” at a distance and NO” when closer or “Fire” in a populated area
  • If assailant turns away, back up
  • Strike vital areas, eyes, clap ears, jaw, throat, groin, knees, & feet
  • Act deranged, cough, throw-up, drool, feign disease etc.
  • Use available weapons (keys, umbrella, pen, cell phone, dirt, Kitchen items, etc.)

* Specifically, what can you carry to defend yourself? And, what is around you that you can use to defend yourself.

  • Hit panic button on device or phone
  • Know where exit are at all times
  • Leave an elevator if you don’t like who is on it (when you get on or someone else gets on-leave)
  • What can you carry to defend yourself? And, what is around you that you can use to defend yourself.

–     Be aware in bathrooms, house when coming home etc. Keep valuables out of site


PS – Mass Law – Ignorance of the law is not a defense, so research the law, your rights and your duties.

A few things to remember (but educate yourself), You have the right to defend yourself and you can only use an appropriate amount of force.  Unless you are in your residence, you have a duty to retreat