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Self Defense

You have the right to use reasonable force to prevent a crime including defending yourself
If you must fight back, adopt what police term the "bash and dash" approach.
Primary targets are the eyes, nose, chin, throat, groin, knees or shins; whichever is easiest to get to.
Once you've have stunned your attacker, run away!
Do not use excessive force (e.g. to “teach the attacker a lesson”) or use anything that the law would regard as an offensive weapon
- you could end up being charged with assault.

Self Defense Strikes
In a self defense situation one tends to be in close contact with an attacker so the main weapons to strike an attacker are fists, elbows and knees.

Fist strikes
Making a closed fist

Many hand techniques require one to make a fist and it is important that it is done correctly.

  • the fingers should be curled tightly into the palm
  • the thumb lays tightly on top of the fingers.
  • the fist must be tight, loose fingers can break when hitting an object.


Try to avoid hitting the face with a straight knuckle punch as shown in the picture alongside:

(a) fingers and knuckles are VERY likely to be damaged

(b) if the wrist is not straight it can twist and even break

In self defense it is much better to use a palm heel strike, back fist or a hammer fist.
  • The palm faces the opponent, hand bent back with fingers curled under.

  • The strike is with the heel of the palm, the arm straight with the weight of the body behind it.

  • The strike can either be to the chin or up under the nose.

    Some books and videos show palm strikes with fingers straight (i.e. hand is flat) - the danger is that if the person raises their head and the fingers strike the chin they will
    bend back and break - it is recommended that the fingers are curled over as shown above

  • The hand is curled into a normal closed fist striking with the first two knuckles of the back of the hand.

  • The strike is either:
    o to the front of the nose if one is to the side of the opponent
    o to the top of the nose if one is in front of the opponent

  • In classical karate fighting a back first is usually to the side of the head but it is difficult for this to be effective in a self defense situation.




Elbow strikes

Elbows are very effective either striking under the jaw, across the face, into the back, the solar plexus or into the groin, e.g. if on the floor.

Avoid elbow strikes to the spine or neck; such blows can cause serious injury or even death.


Knee strikes
The legs are very heavy and capable of delivering powerful blows to an opponent. In classical karate many powerful kicks are taught but these are often not applicable if one is in close contact with an attacker; in such a case knees can be very effective either striking into the solar plexus, the groin or the face.


Self Defense Techniques
Wrist grabs

Same side wrist grab
Opposite side wrist grab
Double wrist grab
Both wrists grabbed
Side Wrist Grab

Front attacks

Double collar grab
Single Collar Grab with Punch
Side Headlock
Front Headlock
Roundhouse punch
Roundhouse Kick

Rear attacks

Rear Strangle
Arm around shoulders
Full nelson
Hammer lock
Rear Strangle with Hammer lock
Foot or Knee in Back

Bear hugs

Front arms free and arms pinned
Rear arms free and arms pinned

On Ground attacks

Arms Pinned Punching

Club attacks

Side Club

Knife Attacks

Front stab
Over arm




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