Self defense techniques...find what works for YOU
In this section of our site we start with basic self defense techniques. We talk about avoiding attack and staying safe. And we cover blocking and basic self defense moves.
We give you links to more advanced techniques.
And we give specialist advice for rape self defense and self defense for women and children.
Let's start with some basic advice.
You are unique.
You have strengths and weaknesses just like everyone. The right self defense moves for you depend on...
They depend on things like your age, your physical build and condition and your level of training.
There are thousands of self defense techniques out there. And many of them are really simple.
Simple is a good place to start. When you start learning self defense, concentrate on good, solid basic techniques. And work on them until they are right.
At first learn to avoid, evade and block.
Then in time you can let your own self-defense program evolve as you evolve. It's great to discover your unique talents and as your skills develop.
As the great martial artist Bruce Lee said 'absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is uniquely your own'.
The first rule of self defense. Don't be there.
In this photo Master Park shows great movement. He steps out sideways to evade the attack and at the same time he blocks the punch with an open relaxed hand.
This self-defense technique requires NO strength. The force of the punch is forwards. So you don't need any strength to knock it sideways. And the stronger the punch comes in, the more a well timed block like this will send an attacker off balance.
To do this technique well you need to be aware, have good movement and timing and soft and yielding technique.
The more relaxed you become. The more effective your block will be.
Time and practice are all it takes. And with time and practice your movement and block will become an instinctive part of your taekwondo self defense.
Once you avoid the hit, stay safe and take control
You're out of the way and you blocked the punch.
Chances are your attacker is pretty angry that his punch missed. And he's fired up to attack you again.
You need to do something.
You can see in this example that Master Park grabs the attackers wrist and pushes the arm up. At the same time he steps into a solid, centered horse-riding stance and chambers his other hand ready to strike.
The attacker is off balance and vulnerable. And Master Park is balanced and poised to attack.
This would be a good moment for the attacker to surrender!
Next do what works best for you
You have loads of options from here.
Are kicks your strength?
Because Master Park is a Master in hapkido (as well as taekwondo) he's gone for different approach. He steps in, brings the attacker's hand to his body and rolls his left hand over the attacker's elbow.
From there downward pressure on the elbow and upward pressure on the wrist create a very effective elbow lock.
Master Park demonstrates more advanced technique
From there Master Park continues to lift the attacker's wrist up while keeping downward pressure on the elbow.
This forces the attacker backwards and it's easy to sweep him off balance onto the floor.
Master Park then uses a wrist lock to roll the attacker round his leg and onto his belly.
We put these later photos in to show you what you can achieve.
You might feel that the last few techniques are too complex for you at the present time.
That's fine. There's no rush to reach this level. Everyone's self defense starts from nothing.
Just an awareness of how to move and block is enough to start you on the road to good self defense techniques.
A good instructor will guide you slowly through self defense. And help you to gradually build your techniques on top of a solid taekwondo base.
How do you know if your self-defense techniques work?
Of course it's not just good self defense technique that counts.
You also have to learn how to cope with a confrontational situation.
Just because you've got great taekwondo timing, blocks and kicks it doesn't mean you can defend yourself.
Great self defense techniques only work in the hands of someone who has a cool enough head to use them under stress. If you freeze or panic. Your techniques won't work.
The best self defense programs teach you great self-defense techniques. And they also get you to put your great techniques to the test.
This starts slowly. Maybe you have to defend yourself against a single punch or grab. Then a bear hug or a double nelson. And eventually this might lead to 'anything-goes' sparring with multiple attackers.
And as you gradually push yourself out of your comfort zone, you develop better and better self defense techniques and a cooler and calmer mind.