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I conduct several self defense seminars for high school students and women, as well as the various techniques shown in my regular classes. One of the things I teach those who participate in self defense courses is to have options available to immediately utilize.


For example, let me keep it simple and discuss a basic wrist grab. After determining the level of threat indicated, the person would pull his/her wrist against the opponent’s thumb, that finger being the weakest part of the hand in terms of grip. Depending on the intentions of the opponent, various follow up techniques can then be applied. However, what if the original pull-away doesn’t free the hand? I tell my students not to keep fighting because it isn’t going to work and will only bolster the resolve of the opponent. Instead, immediately apply two or three options, usually distraction techniques. These can be as simple as a stomp on the instep, kick to the knee, raking the shin with the side of the foot, poke to the eye, palm heel to the nose, or several others. Don’t forget to go back to the wrist release because that was the original goal.


Also remember to practice various techniques so you know with which ones you are most comfortable and are easiest for you to implement. If you aren’t sure about kicking, then that method would be wasted on an attacker.


In my book, Beta, the heroine, Mallory Petersen, a private investigator/martial artist, uses various techniques when facing the bad guys depending on the situation in which she finds herself.  In one scene, she plans to deliver a palm heel to the opponent’s nose, but because she has been hiding under a table, her calf muscles cramp and she stumbles during the attack. Immediately she changes her plans to a midriff tackle to bring the man down to her level before proceeding to incapacitate him.


Keep your options open and have a game plan already prepared before something goes wrong. You don’t want to have to be thinking of what to do next because seconds count in an attack.

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