Basic Self Defense Tips Everyone should Know

A sad but very true reality of life is: bad things can and do happen. Knowing some basic self defense tips could help save your life someday. It’s not being paranoid to be prepared before something happens – it’s smart. Knowing how to defend yourself can be useful in a variety of situations. It’s important to try to avoid being put in a situation where you are forced to defend yourself but, when and if it does happen, there is a general rule: Hurt or be hurt. Here the best basic self defense tips that I’ve learned:

Firstly, try to scare them off

Most attackers are actually cowards. They look for easy targets. The best way to let your attacker know that you aren’t to be f*cked with is to Get Loud! Scream as loud as you can and tell them to, “GET BACK”! Push them if they are close enough. Sometimes drawing a lot of attention to yourself will cause an attacker to back off.

But, if that doesn’t work..

Know where the weakest points are on the human body:

If you’re ever attacked, you should know where you need to hit someone in order to get away. You need to make a move quickly, before they do, and you wind up in a position that is more difficult to escape. You can punch, chop, kick or use an object to nail an attacker in these weak spots to disable them long enough for you to get away:

  • Eyes. Use those nails girls. Gouge, poke and scratch the hell out of an attackers eyes. Even nailing them in the eyes with your knuckles can be highly effective. You’ll cause pain and impair the attacker’s vision, so you can scram.
  • Nose. Fun fact: it only takes between 6 & 9 pounds of pressure to break someone’s nose. Punch an attacker in the nose as hard as you can. It will cause their eyes to tear, (plus a good bit of pain) and you’ll have time to run the hell away.  (You can also use the palm of your hand to drive upward to break the nose of an attacker).
  • Windpipe. Elbow the attacker right in the throat. It will knock the wind out of them without much effort. You can also chop their neck with your hand to render them breathless.
  • Knees. If your attacker is further way and you see a chance to kick them in the knees before they get closer – do it immediately. People usually don’t guard their knees as diligently as other parts of their body. Kick them right in the knee as hard as you can and book it in the other direction.

This site has some great points & a handy diagram.

The strongest bone in your body is your elbow – use it.

If you have nothing else to defend yourself with, don’t panic. Your elbow is an effective weapon in itself. It’s the hardest bone in the body. Elbowing weak points of the body and the side of the head can hurt an attacker enough for you to run.

Anything can be a weapon.

Seriously, most objects can be used as a weapon, (if you don’t already carry one). However, I do recommend that you at least carry a knife with you, (just be sure to check your state’s regulations on knives). But, if you’re without a knife, or any other conventional self defense weapon – anything can become a weapon. A traveling coffee mug can be used to smack an attacker in the side of the head or face. Another good trick is to keep your keys locked between your fingers so if you have to hit someone, the keys in your fist will do more damage.

If you’re in a situation where you are being attacked, look around you for anything you can get your hands on. Grab it and use it as a weapon. Cause pain or possibly have pain inflicted upon you. 

 Your life is more valuable than your possessions.

If you’re attacked and someone is demanding your purse or wallet, don’t hold onto to it unless you have a very obvious means to defend yourself. A good tip is to throw whatever item the attacker is demanding behind them or away from them & you. 9 times out of 10, they are more interested in robbing you if they demand a possession so toss it – far away – so they have to retrieve it. This will give you time to book it.

Some things you should carry, (if you can, legally and responsibly):

  • Pepper spray. You can pick this up at any sporting goods store and I’ve even seen it at Wal-Mart. I carry one on my key chain. It’s an excellent way to be prepared if you have to ever ward off an attacker.
  • A pocket knife. Some states have regulations when it comes to the size and length of the blade so be sure you’re carrying something legal. I would always rather have my knife with my than not if it comes down to an attack.
  • A concealed carry. This is the best option if you have been trained with a gun and know how to use it. (Just make sure you have all the right licences).
  • Self Defense Rings. Yup – this is a thing. Any bulky ring will inflict more damage if it comes down to having to defend yourself but you can even buy rings that are for the sole purpose of self-defense. I’ll add some links below 🙂
  • A Stun Gun. Again, stay in regulations for your state but this little item can be a great way to get away in a bad scenario.

Take a self defense class and/or watch some YouTube videos & practice with your friends or your partner 🙂

Self Defense classes are great. You learn how to protect yourself and you get in a great workout. It’s a win-win. If you don’t have the time or money to put into taking a self defense class, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there that are very informative about self defense. Watch it with a friend or your partner and practice. Again, an informational workout. Check out the video below and their YouTube Channel.

FightTips is a great YouTube Channel for Self Defense.

Bite em’ if you have to.

If someone comes at you from behind and you’re not aware of how to escape, bite the hell out of their arm. Another golden rule for self defense: Always fight dirty. (It’s real life, not the UFC).

Bend their finger/fingers backwards.

If you have to, you have the ability to break someone’s finger. If they are holding on to you, grab hold of one of their fingers and twist it backwards, throwing all your weight into it. It’ll break their finger, or, at the very least, cause immense pain and give you time to get away.

The “Fishhook”

Get one or more of your fingers in their mouth (if you have to-gross), and pull as hard as you can. This hurts like hell and is absolutely fighting dirty but it can get an attacker to back off.

Know the Signs (Awareness)

There are some telltale signs that someone may be about to attack you. Knowing an attack is coming can not only help you escape it before it happens, but can mentally prepare you if you’re unable to get away. Here are some signs you may have an attacker on your hands:

  • A stranger is intently staring at you. Normal eye-contact is one thing but if someone is eyeing you up, they may have some nefarious intentions. Be prepared and do your best to just avoid that person altogether.
  • Obvious lingering. This can happen in hallways at hotels, in parking garages and a couple other places. If a person is clearly lingering for no apparent reason, they may be planning an attack. Avoid them. Don’t open the door to your hotel room until they are gone and – if alone in a parking lot or parking garage, be on your toes and/or get the hell out of there if your gut is screaming to you to do so.
  • A person obviously following you. 
  • Stance, body tension and sweat. If someone just appears to be standing with their legs wider than they should or if they are extremely tense and sweating – these could be signs of an impending attack.

Just to be clear, not everyone is trying to attack you. Use your instincts and learn to read body language. If something doesn’t feel right – it may not be so act accordingly. 

Lastly, the best option is prevention against an attack. Here are some tips to avoid being a situation where you are forced to use self defense measures:

  • Self Awareness. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are alone. If you’re distracting poking away on your phone – you look like an easy target. Self awareness is so important at all times. And be sure to always trust your instincts. If you feel like something isn’t right – get out of the situation. Never ignore what your gut tells you. If you were just being paranoid – that’s okay because if you weren’t, you may have just avoided injury or worse.
  • Stay in shape. It not only keeps you feeling great but will help you if the time comes when you ever have to ward off an attacker or run away from one.
  • Don’t engage in a ‘high-risk’ lifestyle. You may have heard that term used on a true crime show. A high-risk lifestyle means engaging in risky behavior like: hanging out with the wrong crowd, going to well-known ‘bad parts of town’, being a prostitute (which I hope you don’t have to worry about at all), and going out partying alone.
  • Stranger-danger doesn’t only apply to kids. It’s important for everyone. If you don’t know someone, don’t let them inside and if a stranger approaches you, stay at least 4-6 feet away from them. You don’t know that person. So, don’t trust them – there are some creepers in the world, for real.
  • Lock your doors. Ugh, just do it.
  • Drive away, don’t linger inside your car. If you’re alone and have safely made it to your car, don’t use the time to check Facebook, put the keys in the ignition and drive away. (especially if you’re in a sparely populated location at night).
  • Please don’t pick up hitchhikers. 

Other Helpful tips: 

  • If you think you’re being followed – go to the most public place you can.
  • On iPhones, if you tap your lock-screen button (upper right), 5 times rapidly, an option to call emergency services will pop up. There are also apps that can help you stay safe including:
  • If you find yourself locked in a trunk most newer vehicles have a release lever you can pull to get out. If not – kick out the taillight and flag down passers by.
  • If an attacker pulls a gun on you and insists you go with them – do whatever you can to not comply – chances are, what they want to do with you is a lot worse than getting shot. Run away – ZIGZAG – make as much noise as you can and draw a lot of attention to yourself.
  • When and if you have to fight back and can’t get away for whatever reason – be relentless – never stop attacking. Throw every trick in the book at the attacker. Usually, they will see you’re not worth the trouble and seek out an easier target.
  • Never hesitate to call 9-1-1. If you ever feel unsafe and you have access to a phone, ALWAYS call for emergency services. Don’t threaten that you’re going to call – DO IT. Knowing the cops are coming will usually always get an attacker to flee.

Disclaimer: I am no expert in self defense. This article is meant to be a general guide to help people if they ever find themselves in a bad situation (and mostly how to avoid one in the first place). The tips and information I’ve provided have been acquired through lots of research, practice and learning.

I sincerely hope nothing bad ever happens to you but being prepared is key to surviving situations you never thought you’d end up in.

Always stay safe, Always be prepared and SURVIVE. 🙂

Krissy October is a professional freelance writer, aspiring novelist and knowledge nerd who is dedicated to consistent self-improvement and finding clever ways to solve everyday problems.

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