John Hollywood is a pop culture reporter that writes articles with a psychological twist or wellness slant.
Simple Self-Defense Tactics
Fighting back against an attacker may be something you have to do at some point in your life, regardless of where you live.
Think it won't happen to you? Perhaps you should reconsider.
If you keep one eye on the paper and one eye on the television, you soon discover that street crime is a growing concern in the United States, particularly in large urban areas where wealth and poverty often live side by side.
I am going to share a true story with you about a friend of mine named Steve who was able to successfully defend himself against a drugged out lunatic in Los Angeles who was hell bent on robbing my buddy of his cash.
What’s great about this story is that the mugger thought my pal was going to be an easy target because Steve is gay.
He thought wrong!
Attacked on Street
Fighting an Attacker
I want to say right here and right now that I do not support or in any way condone the use of violence. What’s more, I strongly discourage any type of physical contact with a street mugger whenever possible. Lastly, I am also not encouraging vigilantism.
Now that I have gotten that out of the way, let’s take a look at Steve’s story and then talk about how to fight back against an attacker should the need arise.
My friend Steve is 35-years old. He has a muscular build but has a small frame. He is probably 5’6 in height and maybe 145 pounds.
I’ve known Steve for several years after first meeting him at my gym. He’s a solid guy and super friendly.
He's given me permission to share his story to help others who may find themselves in bad situations, like the one I am about to tell you about.
You should know right now that violent crime can happen to anyone and doesn't matter if you are straight, gay, female or make - it's an equal opportunity problem. If you think it will never happen to you I suggest you think again.
Attacked on Street
Anyway - a few months ago on a Friday night, Steve was out at a neighborhood bar, hanging out with some buds and having a great time. He had two beers that evening and bottled water after that. He’s really not a drinker but will do it socially from time to time.
In any event … around 10 pm, Steve decided it was time to leave because he had to get up early for work. Hoping to save time, he walked out of the tavern and took a short-cut through a darkened alley to the main street.
It was then that he was approached by a drugged out, crazy eyed meth-head. His attacker was way bigger than my bud – around 190 lbs and standing at about 6 FT 1.
The thug quickly walked up on Steve and called him a derogatory name that is often used against gay people. From what I was able to tell, this scumbag positioned himself in such a way that caused Steve to be pinned against a brick townhouse that lined the street.
The creep demanded his cash and along the way, used lots of intimidation. Specifically, the thug got loud, pointed his fingers and hands in Steve’s face and made all sorts of threatening remarks, including: I’m gonna kick your (fill in the blank) tonight! The scumbag demanded Steve’s wallet, saying, “I won’t hurt you if you give me your money!”
Steve Fought Back!
As I mentioned earlier, Steve was pretty much pinned up against the side of a brick building. The mugger was right up in his face and from what I can tell, standing directly in front of him. The mugger’s stance made it very difficult for to try to get away.
After a short period of time, Steve slowly reached for his wallet with his left hand and as he reached backwards, he balled his right hand up into a fairly tight fist.
Steve then used a quick, upward jab with that same right fist into the street thug’s testicles. Steve proceeded to take his left elbow and with lightening speed, cracked the dude’s nose, using the full radius of his arm.
Finally, Steve then pushed the thug away and ran as fast as he could down the street to a 7-11 to call the cops.
Steve, thankfully, was able to successfully defend himself a possible attack and his actions may very well have saved his life.
What follows is a quick recap of the self-defense tactics used by my buddy that you may want to consider for yourself in the future.
Before continuing, let me say this – your goal should always be to avoid confrontation.
The most practical survival tip I can impart to you is simply this – avoid a confrontation whenever possible. This means that if your internal voice is saying be careful – you need to pay attention! I spoke to several therapists who specialize in human behavior and they all agreed - everyone has a flight or fight response that is hardwired into our brain. I can’t emphasize this enough – pay attention to that voice.
Examples: if you see a scary person down the street heading towards your direction, cross the street. If you need to hail a taxi and notice there are some scummy people lurking around, chill out for a bit or try to catch a ride with a bud. If a street thug is getting up in your face and somehow get away – run!
Again, your goal should be to avoid confrontation. The smartest “fight” you will ever be involved with is the one that you avoid. Being super aware of your surroundings is key to your safety. Pilots refer to this as situational awareness. In other words, know what the heck is going on around you!
This article however is not focused on prevention however; – it’s about how to defend yourself against an attacker!
Fear of Attack
Here are a few tips that you can tuck away in case you ever find yourself in a situation where you think you are about to get hit, punched, bashed or mugged.
Disable and Run
If you simply can’t avoid physical confrontation, your primary goal should be to disable your attacker and run away. Remember – this is not about fighting! The keyword to keep in mind is DISABLE. Basically, you want to disable your attacker just long enough to allow you to run.
Quick Self-Defense Tips
Let’s review some basic self-defense tactics. All that follows is designed to guide you in targeting your attacker’s areas of vulnerability.
1. Get Super Loud and Push Him Back!
As soon as a street thug touches your body or when it seems like escape might not be possible, you need to shout loudly with powerful voice and say: BACK AWAY! If the thug is too close, push him quickly, using your entire body. This should allow you that precious 2-3 seconds to flee because he will likely be stunned. Just run here folks and don’t stop until you reach a public place with lots of people around.
When you yell and push, it does two things: (1) it signals that you are in trouble to anyone within earshot of your location and (2) it communicates to the thug that you are not going to be his target.
Folks, this is not an iron-clad approach but can be an effective tactic to deploy initially.
Long story short - if you are able to push the jerk back and create enough space to make a run for it - do it!!
2. Go for the Family Jewels!
I am telling you straight up that if you are in a situation like Steve’s, you need to be OK with getting dirty. Being civil or rationale just won’t cut it! That means that if you are afraid for your life, the nuts are fair game! There are two ways to approach this:
1. Fist to Sack
If you are pinned up against a building or if the attacker makes it so you cannot run, you will need to deploy whatever self-defense tactics that are required in order to disable your attacker and flee. One easy way to do this is to ball your hand up in a fist (slowly) and then use a rapid upward motion with your palm facing outward directly to the attacker’s family jewels. With all your might, thrust that balled fist upwards and majorly mess up his balls! Don’t think about it – just do it and then RUN!
2. Knee to Gonads!
The second approach you can take involves the tremendous power of your knee. Using a quick, upward movement, take your left or right knee and land a crushing upward blow to your attacker’s sack. No kicking here or trying to get all jujitsu. Your goal is to inflict a massive, crippling amount of pain to his private parts just long enough for you to jet away.
3. Gouge Those Eyes!
Another tactic for you to think about is gouging his eyes. When done correctly, you will blind your attacker just long enough to get away. This can be a little risky because there is always the chance the thug will grab your arm.
If you want poke one of his eyes, press your thumb against your middle and index fingers. Then push upward, delivering a quick jab to his eye-socket. This painful tactic can give you a few seconds to run away.
Bonus: Palm to Nose!
If there is enough space to allow for this tactic, you can use the heel of your palm to his nose in an upward, swift motion. Use the entire weight of your body to cause the most pain.
If your attacker is behind you, you can crack his nose (from the side or front) with your elbow. Aim squarely for his nasal area and crack his nose open like a walnut. Remember, this is your life we are talking about!
If you are not able to reach his nose, try going for your his throat and jab that windpipe. Again, the goal here is to disable and escape.
The methods to protect yourself shared here are just but a few and are designed to give you very simple tactics for dealing with thug who wants to attack you. Steve was fortunate enough to avoid getting hurt by using these methods.
For Steve’s story, there are hundreds of more bad ones involving women and men who have become a crime statistic, replete with pictures of bruised faces, bloody noses and cracked teeth. Worse, others have been killed by an attacker who was simply motivated by a twisted desire to be violent.
Avoid situations that may make you vulnerable. Pay attention to that inner voice be ready to run when it speaks to you. Should you ever find yourself in a situation where you must get physical, remember the goal is to disable your attacker.
I encourage every person reading this article to learn more about self defense. Watch some videos online or sign up for a class in your community.
Steve did both of these things and he's alive today as a result.
John Hollywood (author) from Hollywood, CA on November 29, 2014:
Thanks, Nate! I am glad your stopped by. I was hoping you would check out this particular hub given your expertise in this area!
Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on November 29, 2014:
Good solid advice here all the way through: Staying aware, avoiding danger when possible, but taking effective action if necessary. This is good information for people to have, for them to be prepared to defend themselves. Definitely a shot to the groin and an elbow to the face is effective. Good stuff.
John Hollywood (author) from Hollywood, CA on September 08, 2014:
Thanks so much Motherofnations. I am glad you liked! I hope it helps someone for sure!
mothersofnations on September 08, 2014:
This is a great article. Definitely voted up and share-worthy!
God bless you.
John Hollywood (author) from Hollywood, CA on August 22, 2014:
Thanks Billy - I agree! Sometimes a person has to go there to disable someone for sure!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 22, 2014:
Nose and gonads....the strongest man will be disabled if those targets are hit....another good, practical primer on self defense.