If you have a daughter that is going to high school or college this fall I am sure that you are concerned about her safety to some degree. Truthfully, having a daughter or son, presents the same number of concerns. It is daunting to think, that you can guarantee your teenager will face all sorts of new challenges and decisions. Without taking anything away from the love we have for our sons, I am going to focus on daughters.
The list of things I think a young girl must know in order to protect herself is longer than what I am presenting here. Truth is, training is required to possess a well-rounded set of skills to defend yourself against a violent attack. But if I had to pick a few things young girls could actually learn from a photo collage, it would be these few ‘combative’ moves.
The reason why I chose these 3 movement sequences (2 are variations of the same) is because they are not intuitive to most people. If I presented pictures of scratching, head butting, slapping, kicking to the groin, punching, striking with your palm or eye gouging; I would feel that I am not filling the voids most people have in their natural defensive ‘fight-back’ reflects. After teaching these movements for 20+ years now, I have found that most people have never learned how to strike or be combative from these two situations. Once again, I am picking these positions because striking early and aggressively from them can prevent a far worse progression of violence. I am highlighting two basic set-ups.
- Being approached from behind and you ‘feel or sense’ the attacker when they are very close. Your arm(s) are free because they are slightly elevated from the sides of your body, i.e putting your keys in your door.
- In the midst of an attack or struggle you have fallen on the ground. There are many other situations we can illustrate where a girl is on her back and a person is moving down towards them while they are on their back. We are focused on being combative and aggressive before the attacker has mounted to pinned the body.
To some degree the totality of any circumstances are going to impact how correct one sequence of actions are in comparison to another. But my goal is for parents to share these types of strikes with their daughters and even practice them. Keep in mind; I believe 100% in the following types of combative reactions as well:
- Gouging eyes
- Stabbing anywhere on the face/throat with your keys
- Smashing your cell phone the face/throat
- Punching/palm striking to the face/throat
- Kicking to the groin/knees
- Head butting
(I am limiting myself to these 6 movements because I think they are easy to understand and I want to keep this story concise.)
The rules for striking back:
- HIT HARD, HIT FAST, HIT OFTEN, until you are free & safe.
- Do not wait to strike, do it immediately! Do not give an attacker the benefit of the doubt- EVER!
If your daughter ever finds herself on the ground and she is not able to get up faster than the attacker can close the distance, this is the position she should assume. It is similar to doing a pelvic bridge. One leg is on the ground, the other leg is loaded up (bring your knee close to your chest), your hands are in front of your face and your foot is flexed (to strike with as much surface on the bottom of your foot/shoe as possible). From this position you can throw many kicks and you can aim at more than just the groin. Kicking should cause damage to the attacker and also help to create space, allowing the opportunity to get up quickly. You can see that both pictures offer various kicking applications. Remember do it hard and fast to get up as quickly as you can.
Up Kick & Other Kicks from the Ground
One situation: Fighting off someone who has knocked you down and trying to sexually force themselves on you. The attacker is bending/hinging forward to grab, strike or mount your body.
While laying on your back:
- Slide your feet close to your hips, bending your knees.
- Cover your face and create a guard over your face (placing your hands in front of your face and elbows parallel to your body).
- Load one leg up, by pulling your knee close to your chest. The foot on this leg should be flexed (make contact with the bottom of your foot and shoe). This movement will lift your hips slightly off the ground.
In order to the throw the Up Kick:
- Lift your hips up and off the ground when kicking your leg out in front of you.
- Drive the foot that is flat on the ground into the ground to create more power and assist with lifting your hips.
- Keep your hands (or guard) up and in front of your face.
- Avoid hitting your head on the ground when throwing the kick.
- After the kick is thrown, re-load the leg to the starting position.
Rear attacks are tricky because the best defense relies on your ability to ‘sense’ a person closing the distance behind you. The sooner you can turn around; ultimately facing the attacker, the easier it is to defend yourself. If running away or changing your environment is not available when you recognize a threat from behind, you can use an elbow strike on the attacker’s face. The elbow strike can cause damage and create space between you and the attacker. This space is valuable to recognize immediately because it will allow you to strike back with more instinctual strikes like scratches, knees, gouges, kicks and punches.
One situation: You are putting your key in the door and an attacker approaches you and you are trapped against a wall/door.
- Fold your arm in half to create a sharp and pointy end.
- Look at the attacker and launch the boney end of your elbow explosively at the attacker’s face. The elbow will be sent up and behind your body.
- Rotate your body in the same direction as the elbow, and commit all your body weight into the elbow without losing your balance.
- Use the energy of this rotation to turn yourself forward and throw as many strikes as you can to remove your body position from up against the wall/door.
- If you have your keys or phone in your hand, use them as an extension of your arm and aggressively strike back at the attacker. Do not do this before throwing the elbow. Keep elbowing and be as combative in your energy to get your body turned around to escape.
If you seek out additional training for your daughter it is worth signing her up for muay thai, boxing, MMA or Krav Maga classes. Although Krav Maga will focus only of reality based self defense, the other systems of fighting will build her confidence striking and hitting hard.