Find the Right Self Defense Moves for You
On this page we show you some great self defense moves.
We describe blocking techniques you can use if you are cornered.
We tell you which kicks work in self defense and which don't.
We introduce you to joint locks.
And we cover a leg grab defense against a punch.
Self Defense Moves - Blocking
The first rule of self defense is always to avoid the attack.
But what you can't get out of the way?
Check out this photo. Carl Claassens shows a great way to block a kick if you are cornered.
First notice how he turns his head away from the attack and guards his head with his left hand and right shoulder (you want to avoid a kick to the head at all costs!)
Also it's good to realize Carl not just blocking with his arm, he's adding body movement which helps deflect the force of the blow.
Also notice how he drops his body weight... but not by bending his back. By bending his legs Carl keeps his core as upright as possible.
Now notice his right foot. By dropping onto the arch of his foot Carl is poised ready to swivel round, scoop the attackers leg with his right arm and take control.
When you practise your self defense techniques think about protecting your head, keeping your body upright, moving your whole body with the block and staying calm and focused for your next move.
Self Defense Techniques - Kicks
A well timed kick can be really useful if your attacker rushes towards you.
Here Carl lifts his front leg and side kicks his attacker to the lower abdomen or groin.
Timing is everything here - and to get this technique right you'll need to practice it many times.
Go to sparring classes - it's the best way to work on your timing.
Kicks in self defense are best at low level.
Roundhouse kicks to the soft muscle of your attackers thigh are great. You won't hurt your foot and but you will totally deaden your attackers leg.
You can also do a side kick to the knee or a front kick to the groin.
High level kicks are less powerful and can leave you off balance and vulnerable - save them for demonstrations or sparring bouts!
Locks and Throws
Joint locks and throws are great self defense moves because you can immobilize your attacker without causing them great harm.
The down side is that for locks to work you have to practice - a lot!
The key to good locks is not strength. As always... the key is good technique.
When you apply your technique you need to be sure that you don't support the joint you are trying to lock- a common mistake beginners make with wrist locks.
Your footwork is key! In this photo you can see Carl steps behind his attacker. Carl is balanced and upright. His attacker is off balance and vulnerable.
From here it requires no strength for Carl to sweep out the attackers leg and control him on the ground with the elbow lock.
If you want to learn more about locks and throws for self defense hapkido training is a great option.
Here's something to try if you're quick and agile.
When an attacker punches, the last thing they expect is for you to drop below their fist and grab their leg.
Note that Carl uses a wide stance to stay balanced throughout.
He bends his legs as much as possible to stay centered and in control.
By pulling the attackers leg towards him as well as upwards, Carl easily breaks his attackers balance.
Carl can now run fast in the opposite direction!
If you practice this technique with a partner just make sure they are happy with break falls first :-)