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Mythbusting and self defense

Self Defense Myth: Only big, strong, or trained people can survive an attack.

Most movies and media show the bad guys or the heroes winning fights.

Women, children, handicapped people, and older citizens rarely come across as anything but victims or needy characters the hero must protect.


As a black belt and Emergency Medical Technician, I know the human body has many vulnerable points. You know this too if you have ever been momentarily disabled when you:

  • Run into a low doorway or glass door
  • Blast your shin against a coffee table
  • Catch your finger in a heavy door
  • Have the wind knocked out of you
  • Catch a fold of skin between bi-folding closet doors
  • Stub your toe so hard you drop to the floor in agony
  • Hold a baby who rears back and slams its head into your face
  • Drop a large object on your foot or a horse steps on it
  • Twist your ankle by stepping into an unseen hole
  • Have a bug or wood chip fly into your eye

As for that last one listed, I love the scene in the television series Bones when main character Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan abruptly pokes a creepy, verbally threatening murderer in both eyes as he is taken into custody. When the man shuts up in agony, she says with a small smile, “I find very few people scary once they have been poked in the eye.”

Any of those previously mentioned moments of pain can be re-created by you on an attacker in this “Self Defense Made Easy” guide:

  • Heel palm strike to chin or bring any object down on bridge of nose
  • Shin kicks
  • Smash someone’s hand into a wall or table while they are grabbing you
  • Elbow strikes to the solar plexus
  • Pinch sensitive skin areas
  • Step on toes
  • Use your head to smash forwards or backwards into attacker’s nose repeatedly
  • Stomp toes and feet
  • Make someone lose balance and twist or fall painfully
  • Gouge eyes — with fingers or anything handy

These self defense moves aren’t complicated — anyone can do them. They allow a window of opportunity to get off the attack track and take action.

If you decide the moment is right to fight back, you must be like a wild mother bear or cornered badger:  total ferocity, loud yells, and a resolve to do whatever it takes to get to safety.

Question: Have you ever accidentally injured yourself or someone else with these kinds of non-martial arts moves? Perhaps a coffee spill or turning too fast around a corner and knocking someone to the ground?

Thank you for visiting and learning about self defense.
If you think others can benefit, please pass it on!

Lori Hoeck

Photo credit: faster panda

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • vered | blogger for hire December 17, 2009, 5:15 pm

    This is such an important post. I think the entire idea is that someone “weak” can fight strategically to overpower someone “strong.”

  • Lori Hoeck December 19, 2009, 12:38 pm

    Hi Vered,
    I’m a big believer that tenacity, resolve, and a few striking points can get you pretty far in self defense, no matter what your size. Of course years of training is preferred, but if someone doesn’t have that opportunity, there are still these types of things that can turn the tide in an attack.