Updated: Oct 15
Top Self-Defense Moves Every Woman Needs to Know
Self-defense is Protection
In a 2018 survey of 1,000 females in the U.S., 81% reported having experienced sexual harassment, assault, or both in their lifetime.
Of those surveyed, verbal harassment was the most common form of abuse experienced. Over 50% said they were touched or groped, and over 25% had survived physical sexual assault.
The University of Oregon authored a study which found that women who participated in a self-defense class felt:
A sense of improved personal safety strategy.
More positive about their bodies.
An overall increase in self-confidence.
Self-reliant having developed skills to handle strangers (or people they know) with regard to potential assault or abuse.
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel physically unsafe, having a plan, and knowing the steps to take both physically and verbally can make all the difference.
Tap Into Your Going Home Mindset!
The law enforcement community uses what is called the “Going Home” mindset. “No person or injury will stop me from going home to my family tonight.” It is this mindset that makes an officer with a gunshot wound, return fire, apply a tourniquet, call for help, and hold on until back up and first aid arrives.
The "Going Home" mindset fuels the surge of fury and blind rage that fills you when you realize someone is trying to hurt you or your child. This same mindset sparks a subconscious shift from prey to predator, as you prepare to attack those who seek to bring you harm.
Most importantly, this mindset drives you to respond. For this reason, it is critical to have a plan of action at a moment's notice. In doing so you can seize and an opportunity to take your attacker by surprise.
The following instructions are the top seven self-defense skills for females to help you feel empowered to defend yourselves in dangerous situations.
1. Hammer Fist Strike - Ice Pick Strike
Hammer Fist Strike is one of the easiest skills to learn and practice. You can do more damage to an attacker if you use your car keys. If you find yourself walking at night and it seems unsafe, position your car key as described below in a high ready position prepared to launch hammer strikes.
How to perform the Hammer Fist Strike technique:
Reposition items like a purse so you have both hands free.
Position your car keys with the longest largest key point out the bottom part of your hand like an ice pick.
Keep your hands in a high ready position.
Strike downward toward your target.
2. Groin Kick
Groin kicks may deliver enough force to paralyze your attacker however, it should not be relied on by itself. It is recommended to deliver 2 additional strikes.
How to perform the Groin Kick technique:
Maintain your balance as best you can.
Raise one leg off the ground and begin to drive your knee upward.
Extend your leg, drive hips forward, slightly lean back, and kick hard, making contact between your lower shin or ball of your foot and the attacker’s groin area.
Practice with both legs.
Option 2: When the attacker is in close range, drive your knee upward from south to north into the groin pushing it up and into his body.
3. Pre-emptive Open Fist Punch Strike / Palm Strike
If things are getting worse quickly you have the option of a surprise attack on your opponent. This move can cause damage to the nose, eyes, and throat. Position yourself in front of the attacker.
How to do perform the Open Fist Punch Strike / Palm Strike technique:
Flex your wrist.
Target the attacker’s nose /eyes, striking upward from the nostrils, or underneath the attacker’s chin/eyes, striking upward at the throat.
Pull back your hand and follow up with a combination of more open fist strikes using both hands.
Practice with both hands.
Option 2: Using a cupped palm strike target the ears and you will very likely rupture the attacker's eardrum.
4. Elbow strikes
Elbow strikes are an excellent choice for when an attacker is at close range. At close range would be when you do not have enough space between you and the attacker to effectively deliver a forceful palm strike or kick.
How to do perform the Elbow strike technique:
Very important to use your body's core muscles and legs to deliver this strike.
Raise your elbow to shoulder height.
Bend your arm at the elbow, shift your weight forward, and use your core, legs, and hips to strike your elbow into your attacker’s neck, jawline, chin, nose, or temple.
Deliver at least 2 more combinations of hammer fist, palm strikes, and elbows.
The target will have moved after each strike so anticipate and adjust accordingly.
5. Escape from a ‘bear hug attack
This move is best when the attacker is coming from behind. Getting low and create gaps between you and the attacker to free yourself.
How to do perform Escape from a ‘bear hug attack technique:
Lean forward at the waist. This shifts your weight forward, making it more difficult for your attacker to pick you up.
Find his hands at your midsection, locate any of the forefingers. Grab and bend back finger aggressively in one motion.
This will create space and angles to throw elbows from side to side targeting the attacker’s face.
Turn toward the attacker with one of your elbows and continue counterattacking with palm strikes and eyes gouges.
Escape and run.
6. Escape with hands trapped
Typically attackers use this move when they approach from behind. The attacker will bear hug you and your arms restricting your movement.
Prevent the attacker’s arms from putting you into a headlock by shifting your hips to one side. This creates gaps and space for you to hammer fist, palm strike, and squeeze the groin.
Raise your hand back up to your midsection and raise your opposite elbow to turn into the wrap. Turn into attacker while keeping your arms tight to your chest.
Counterattack with at least 2 more combinations of hammer fist, palm strikes, or elbows.
7. Escape from a side headlock
The attacker locks their arm around your neck and head from the side.
How to do perform the escape from side headlock technique:
Turn toward the attacker’s side as much as possible to create space around your neck to prevent from being choked.
Move the hand that behind the attacker's back, up and over their head. Drive your fingers into their eye sockets.
If possible push the attacker's arm into your mouth and clamp down.
With your other hand squeeze or strike the attackers groin with open-handed punches until you have enough space to remove your head from the choke.
Not physically capable of defending yourself?
If you do not feel capable of physically handling an attacker, here are some violence prevention tips
Remain in well-lit public areas. If you don't feel comfortable don’t go back home. MOve toward the crowds. Find the closest store or a restaurant and ask for assistance.
Call 911. If you feel you’re in danger locate a well-lit public area and dial 911.
Carry an Every Day Carry EDC weapon. Essentially it's a phrase or a tag associated with people that objects they deem important to carry every day. The EDC community is largely knife practitioners but includes pepper spray, personal safety alarm, lipstick taser, or any self-defense tools that help you feel more confident.
Learn to identify Pre Incident Indicators to avoiding Violence – How to recognize it before it happens! Recognizing the 7 Pre-Incident Indicators to Violence could save your life!
Women should carry some type of self-defense weapon, and be fully trained using it.
Day to day objects can be used as improvised weapons. Backpacks can be used as a shield, chairs, briefcase, umbrella, car keys, phone, pencil, rolled up magazine, or rock can be used as impact weapons.
Part of your situational awareness mental inventory review can discover improvised weapons that can be used to strike, throw, stab, or swing can be very effective.
Develop boundaries with strangers as wells as people you work with and know
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network www.rainn.org reported that sexual violence cases aren’t committed by strangers in dangerous cities, but by people we know: friends, family, partners, co-workers 70 percent of the time.
Crime can occur in our safe spaces not just in dangerous areas. it happens when our guard is down. We might not speak up for ourselves because we are too embarrassed, too shy, or too scared to hurt others’ feelings. We need to think about ourselves.
Critical principles of sexual abuse prevention include:
Personal Boundaries. Does someone make you feel uncomfortable? Why is it? Tell that person. If they’re somebody you should have in your life. They will respect your boundaries.
Situational Awareness. Walk with purpose. Maintain vigilance of your environment. put down your phone in public and reduce distractions when walking.
Where or how to get Self Defence Training
Online Self Defense Learning
AxxNox self-defense www.AxxNox.com magazine focuses on self-defense industry, education, news coverage, article stories. AxxNox represents numerous thought leaders and subject matter experts from a wide range of backgrounds. Our goal is to provide evidence-based analysis that can help men and women avoid and respond to a real-life crisis. The online magazine creates, curates, and reviews various types of self-defense skills and tradecraft. Education, techniques, and tips are delivered in quick how-to guides and videos.
Live Self Defense Classes In Your Area
Check out Krav Maga or Muay Thai classes if they are offered in your town, consider signing up. Krav Maga is a modern self-defense system. Muay Thai is a combat sport in Thailand that uses stand-up striking skills.
The importance of a person's physical fitness to survive violence can not be overstated. An individual with superior fitness with no other attribute will perform better in a violent encounter when compared to a trained and experienced person with little conditioning and a complacent mindset.
Training and practice will help you develop muscle memory. In a flight-or-flight situation, muscle memory takes over and helping you escape from violent situations.
More Self Defence Resources Skills & Tradecraft
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About AxxNox Self Defence Skills and Tradecraft Magazine
AxxNox self-defense www.AxxNox.com training that focuses on personal-defense industry, education, news coverage, article stories. AxxNox represents numerous thought leaders and subject matter experts from a wide range of backgrounds.
Our goal is to provide evidence-based analysis that can help men and women avoid and respond to a real-life crisis. The online magazine creates, curates, and reviews various types of self-defense skills and tradecraft. Education, techniques, and tips are delivered in quick how-to guides and videos.