Unarmed Self Defense Basics

In unarmed self-defense the entire body becomes a weapon, using the body extremities to deliver strikes that cause pain and damage to an assailant. Learning to defend can only be accomplished by studying with an experienced instructor with knowledge of unarmed self-defense basics and continuous practice. Therefore rigorous training is a must.

Some of the easiest and most effective strikes used in unarmed self-defense originate from the arm. There are approximately 24 strikes you can use from the elbow down to your fingertips, starting with the elbow, all sides of the forearm, wrist, thumb, one finger, two fingers, four fingers, knife hand, palm, back fist, palm heel, and clenched fist. These should be your first line of defense. Learn to use a few of these strikes at different ranges. The effect of strikes should be such that the person receiving the blow will be disabled to the point, the defender can safely depart from the harmful and dangerous situation.

By far the most effective strike is the Karate punch. With a little training the punch can be delivered with extraordinary force making it the weapon of choice. This technique is very natural and instinctive.

Another powerful striking technique is the knife hand as demonstrated by many martial artists using this technique to break concrete blocks and rocks. This is considered an open hand strike. There are many reasons to use open hand strikes. One is open hand strikes allow for speed. Another is open hand strikes work well striking and attacking vital areas. Some vital areas to strike, but not limited to, are:

  • Temple
  • Neck
  • Throat
  • Eyes

The elbow is a striking techniques used in very close quarters. Some common target areas for the elbow are:

  • Ribcage
  • Chin
  • Cheek

Other types of strikes involve the legs. There are numerous ways to strike with the legs. These are called kicks. There are several types of basic kicks that you want to use sparingly. They are the front kick, sidekick, round house kick and back kick. Minimize leading with kicks. Kicks should be combined with hand techniques, usually following hand techniques. Unless you train to develop lightening speed in your kicks they are going to be slightly slower than your hand techniques. Therefore the response time of a semi athletic assailant is going to be quicker than your kick on average. Leading with a kick should be minimized because of this. When kicking a moving target the kick is not as effective as when the target is standing still. With a good kick delivered to the right area the opponent can be rendered disabled.

The knees are used in close quarters situations. Use only when you’re wrapped up with the assailant. The proper way to execute a knee is to pull the target down with your hands while striking with the knee at the same time for maximum striking force.

As the world sees economic distress leading to an increase in violence many of us are concerned about our safety when we venture out. Learning unarmed self-defense basics is a necessary element in surviving a dangerous and violent confrontation. Fighting systems comprised strictly from street fighting techniques without training is flawed in many ways missing major elements of unarmed self-defense basics. Formalized street fighting martial arts developed by so-called experts who say, “What you learn in the martial arts just doesn’t work.” They lack the dedication in training and true understanding of self-defense basics.