While none of us want to think about being the victim of a crime, not addressing the situation won’t solve anything. So what is the solution? Safeguarding our well-being comes down to three things: education, awareness and protection. Protecting ourselves from a potential attack does not mean that we need to become an expert in martial arts. Self defense is about learning a few simple moves to catch an attacker off guard, giving you the opportunity to run away and save your life.
According to Jarrett Arthur, a Krav Maga (a modern and practical style of self-defense training) and lead instructor of M.A.M.A (Mothers Against Malicious Acts), these six basic moves are a great place to start.
1. Fighting Stance
Maintaining a solid fighting stance enables you to generate more striking power. Keep your body balanced and your mind prepared to make a run for it as soon as the opportunity for escape presents itself.
1. Keep your feet shoulder’s width apart. Take a step forward with your weaker leg (i.e: left leg, if you are right-handed and vice versa).
2. Your toes should be pointed forward, with your feet spaced an equal distance apart.
3. Keep your knees bent and raise your back heel slightly.
4. Tuck your chin, shrug your shoulders slightly and bring your hands up in front of your face. Keep your palms facing forward in a stop gesture
2. Palm Strike
A palm strike is not only a safer alternative to a punch, it is just as effective. Aim for the nose or the throat of an attacker, striking powerfully to create an opportunity to escape.
1. Keep a solid fighting stance (as described above), and with all your strength, drive your palm forward in a straight line, away from your face.
2. Your hips and shoulders should be at a slightly rotated angle. This rotation will help you generate power.
3. While aiming to strike, keep your palm and fingers open, making contact with the heel of your palm, not the wrist.
4. Upon striking, take your hand back to your face.
3. Knee Strike
This up close and personal strike aims for the groin of an attacker, or their face if they are bent over.
1. From a fighting stance, aim for a knee strike with the leg that’s in the back position.
2. Fold your leg completely, tucking your heel in near your gluts, then drive your knee upward and forward into the groin, pushing your hips forward with all of your strength to generate power.
4. Elbow Strike
The elbow strike aims for the face or throat and is best done when you are in close proximity to your attacker.
1. Fold your arms tightly, so that your elbow forms a sharp point.
2. Make contact with the flat part of your elbow, located 1-2 inches above or below the tip of your elbow. If aiming your elbow upward (as shown in the image) you will need to use the tip above. If you’re aiming downwards, you need to use the tip below.
3. Just as you’re about to strike, rotate your hips and shoulders, to help you generate big power.