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Self Defense, simple moves anyone can do

Robots vs Zombies, vs Ninjas vs Pirates

Self defense made easy? A list of the best, simple moves?

Well, as close to it as I can get on a blog post. This is from my Think Like A Black Belt newsletter #10, which you receive when downloading my free self defense ebook.

Some of these moves can knock someone out, but they also create a few moments of shock and pain for the attacker, otherwise known as distraction, so you can escape.

Unless you are trained, one move may not be sufficient, so be ready to run to safety or follow-up with another move.

NOTE: Some of these moves are graphically explained, so proceed at your own discretion.

With wrist bent back toward your own arm and fingers out of the way, the lower, fatty part of the hand makes a good striking surface. For a chin strike, an uppercutting motion is best. The motion is similar to a pushing someone away, but the hand moves in a rising motion from your chest or stomach level forward and up under their chin. Strikes need to drive through the chin, not stop and bounce back, but don’t lose your balance leaning forward.

Take a pen or pencil and tap the long part of it across the bony, top part of your nose. Start softly, but then tap until it hurts a bit. You will find it takes very little tapping pressure to cause some pain. Now imagine bringing down a closed hand, a rock, or a bottle of water on someone’s nose, and you have some idea of how effective this can be.

If you’ve ever hit your own shin, you know this pain. This strike can be made with a quick, powerful kick (no long wind-up like on TV) or swinging a very hard object downward onto the shin (like a bat).

When someone grabs your wrist or arm, find ways to quickly and forcefully slam an attacker’s hand into something to cause their grip to loosen or release. This is especially painful for them if you hit their fingers or top part of their hand against a metal door knob, the edge of something, or the corner of a wall.

The elbow can strike in many directions: forward or backward into the ribs or upwards into the solar plexus or chin. One strike is very similar to the motion you make to reach back across yourself in the car to grab your seat belt. The trick is to strike while putting some weight behind it. Just throwing an elbow with arm muscle power alone won’t be too effective. Think more like a batter getting reading to hit a baseball — use the hips and body weight behind the elbow to give it power.

OK, so a super-macho person may laugh at the idea of a pinch, but it’s about location, location, location. Imagine where you would never want to be pinched and you know where to pinch an attacker. Any place the skin is thin, like the back of hands, are most painful. You can try it for yourself it you want.

We’ve all dropped something on our toes or stubbed them. The pain can drop you to your knees. To do this, your knee comes up (which raises your foot) and then strike down onto their foot with your heel. Best to have some weight behind it. Also, it takes very few pounds of pressure to drive a high heel through another foot (or other body parts).

Think about how you sneeze. The head tilts back as you breathe in before the sneeze and then comes forward fast and hard during the sneeze. That’s pretty much how you do a head butt, except with deliberate power and targeting.

Hit with the area of the forehead close to the normal hairline. A good target is coming down on the bridge of the nose, but the cheek bones, hinge area of the jaw, eye socket, and temple are vulnerable to the head butt’s power.

Timing a hip check on an attacker as they pass by something like a coffee table, cliff edge, or a sharp, pointy object can cause them to fall or worse. Think hockey player, but don’t give the move away early.

It’s nasty sounding, but a blinded attacker is a lot easier to free yourself from and escape. No, don’t try to do a Three Stooges eye poke — unless that’s all you can remember to do and then do it with power and repetition. The thumb goes in the eye at the outer edge of one eye socket while the middle finger goes in the other eye, also at the outer edge of the eye socket. Push in, bring thumb and finger toward one another (closer to the nose), and pull.

When you make a fist, the pinky or little finger side of the fist is called the hammer fist. Imagine bringing a hammer fist down on a nose! It can also be used to strike powerfully down on the front side of the shoulder to break the clavicle. If grabbed from behind, you can hammer fist backward into the groin.

Eardrums are vulnerable because they can’t take sudden pressure change. You can create that sudden change by cupping your hands and bringing them forcefully together like a powerful clap, but instead of clapping hands together, you clap (strike) the attackers ears at the same time.

Yes, this is painful and it takes hardly any pressure to perform. The trick is to grab the finger before they pull away and to bend the finger in the direction it will break. Just grabbing a finger and flailing won’t help. You must grab and snap it painfully back with full power.


It’s best to visualize and practice these before you need them. If you can learn to flow powerfully from one move to another, you will add immensely to your self defense options.

Disclaimer: Consult a doctor before engaging in any physical activity and do not practice this with a partner unless under the supervision of a trained instructor. Use them only in self defense situations in which you feel your life or the life of another is in imminent danger.

When using self defense moves:

  • Feet must be apart or you will lose balance as you create power.
  • Use “whole body” motions instead of just the arm or leg muscles.
  • Stepping with a strike can add power, but watch your balance.
  • Strikes must be delivered with a powerful & resolved mindset.
  • Since one strike may not work, move quickly to repeat the strike or move to another.
  • Keep striking until you can free yourself and get to safety.
  • Use deep, powerful yells to add power, attract attention, & psyche yourself up.
  • If you are grabbed by the wrist or both wrists — practice deliberate calm — you still have many other weapons at your disposal.

Thank y0u for stopping by to learn about self defense,

Lori Hoeck

Photo: kennymatic

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Barbara Swafford July 20, 2010, 12:36 am

    Hi Lori,

    Thank you for these. The eye gouge sounds pretty gross, but if we’re in danger, I’m sure “gross” is the last thing we’d be thinking about.

  • Hilary July 20, 2010, 11:26 am

    Hi Lori .. once I’ve moved and settled again .. I thought I might do a martial arts course .. gentle one?! So I’ll need to come back and check through the various ideas .. the nose job – has sunk in!

    Thanks .. these are such helpful guides .. and who knows how we’d each react .. but with your ideas in our heads, then we’d be somewhere on the way .. and with some courses behind us .. even better … the fitter we are – the better able we can care for ourselves out in the big bad world .. baddies breed on the weak – sadly.

    Great – have a good week .. Hilary

  • Lori Hoeck July 22, 2010, 5:01 pm

    Hi Barbara,
    Yes, gross doesn’t much matter in life and death situations!

  • Lori Hoeck July 22, 2010, 5:04 pm

    Hi Hilary,
    Frequent visualization is the key to keep them fresh in your mind.

    There are so many martial arts to choose from, so go with an instructor you instinctively trust. Also, ask lots of questions.

  • Steve August 16, 2010, 4:19 am

    Nice one Lori!
    I rather do the gross thing than become a victim.
    Defenses with the use of an elbow is a very effective one and a must especially if your smaller than the attacker.