Self Defense- points of interest.

Learning impressive techniques is one thing, but actually performing them in the middle of a threatening situation is another. We’ve all been impressed by movie stars flying through the air or knocking someone unconscious with a mere chop. But the reality is this is seldom if ever the case.

In truth its generally the basics that will save you. More often than not your thought process and physical actions are hampered by the high levels of fear and adrenalin in your body.

Your automatic response is self preservation, not a Hollywood style performance. And only familiarity with these situations over time can dull or settle the levels of fear inside. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of having been in these situations time after time, so the quicker and easier we can escape the better. Therefore stunning or immobilizing your attacker for a few seconds can be the window of opportunity you need to make a hasty exit.

In most situations its instinct for the majority of people to get drawn into an exchange of blows (generally to the head). This becomes a competition based around who can inflict and endure the most damage. Surely the most important thing is not to get hurt?

For this reason I would like to suggest some ‘points of interest’. These are areas that could be vulnerable to the most basic of strike or impact.

A quite well known one (thanks to movies) is the windpipe or throat area. This is often overlooked because people feel aiming slightly higher at the face is more successful. In truth the mandible (jaw bone) and orbital (eye area) can withstand a more powerful impact. For instance have you ever taken an accidental knock to the throat? its not a pleasant experience. The groin is an exposed area that if attacked on its own can take the fight out of someone. Still how many people actually exploit this? Situated just above the groin is the bladder. It may not sound like it, but I find the bladder to be very effective, especially against people who have consumed large amounts of fluids, for instance alcohol. Directly above the belly-button we have the solar-plexus. And behind the lower ribs on the right arm side of the body is the liver. These last four points are vulnerable to a quick burst of knees when struggling in a clinch, from which an attacker may ‘fold’ loosening their grip allowing you a window to escape. ‘Stomping’ or driving your heel into the top of an attackers foot can create space for you and is most effective when grabbed or bear-hugged from behind. This is because the bones in the feet (metatarsals and phalanges) are quite weak.

While these few ‘points of interest’ can on their own or collectively be all you need to stun or immobilize an opponent, there is one point I feel is a must when it comes to surviving in these situations. This point is the eyes. Unpleasant as it may sound, focusing on the eyes is a simple and extremely effective way of dis-orientating an attacker. Possibly the most effective way. Frankly there is a reason ‘eye gouging’ is banned from all full contact competitions, right up to the pinnacle of mma- the ufc. Have you ever had a fly in the eye? or an accidental poke? How long did you spend rubbing the eye and blinking? Without sight an attacker is humbled and themselves become defensive.

If I had one piece of advice for someone lacking of skills and relevant technique in a frightening and aggressive situation, it would simply be “impair their vision”.

Focusing on these ‘points of interest’ may sound brutal or barbaric, but it doesn’t require learning special techniques. The truth is they’re a basic and quick fix for trying to stay safe. Still this isn’t the whole answer, and its better to have some kind of knowledge and experience behind you as familiarity through repetition is key to increasing confidence and clarity during times of need.

Self Defense For Woman
A former Ju-Jitsu instructor with over ten years experience. Trained for several years in MMA and competed in UK submission league.

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