Self-defense tips and tricks

According to the article I just read, one of the self-defense tips my mother showed me isn’t recommended any more:

It’s also a good idea to read the comments. (No, really.) They’re full of useful strategies for defending yourself, and discussions of the pros and cons involved in each one.

If anyone has any tips to share, let’s list them here.

I’ll start. Back in the self-defense course I took in college, the teacher told us, if anyone grabs you by the wrist or arm, pull away against their thumb. That’s the weak point of their grip and the easiest way to break the hold.


The comments are interesting – I loved the discussion about the cane – but this gave me pause:

I know cops who carry less than that during work hours.

Self-defense knowledge, great, but normalising walking around armed every freaking day… no. That’s when the “self-defence” of “maybe work towards moving somewhere you feel more safe” kicks in.


Front side kick into the kneecap.

Make a wedge of the hand and strike quickly into the throat.

My brother gave me these self-defense tips my first trip to Japan. Little did my brother know Japan’s males wanted NOTHING to do with me.


Just watched this the other day… seems like a decent beginner’s move (and could apply to more than just a knife attack), though very situational and could be tough to pull off without a practice run or two.


This sounds odd, but try to find a controlled situation where you can find out how it feels to get hit.

First time you get whacked is always a shock and too many people are stunned by that, even more so than the blow itself.

Don’t be afraid to do damage. Be bloody minded. Mental unpreparedness can be deadly.

Practice throwing punches and learn how to put your weight behind it. Don’t try to get fancy.


Any weapon you carry can be taken away and used against you.


Unless someone is actually trained, the shock of actually being attacked means most tips won’t be used.

The best thing to do is to keep from being the one they decide to attack: keep your head up and walk purposefully; do not have your phone out; if you see something hinky up ahead do not worry about seeming ‘rude’, turn and walk another way; counter-intuitively, looking someone in the eyes, nodding your head, and saying “hey, how’s it going?” or some such is actually quite effective if they’re actually right in your space; if all fails and you find yourself actually being attacked, act out-of-control (puke if you can, or scream gibberish) to confuse them and make them run away from the attention you’re drawing.

You want to be seen as a bad target. You want them to look elsewhere for an easier target than you. Yes, that means you have to accept that they’re going to attack someone else, someone younger or older or more infirm or less aware than you. That you can’t control at all.


This is true. Years ago, some friends and I were spending a weekend in New York. One of us split off from the group and found herself followed. She told us later that she met his eyes, said hi, made small talk… and he wound up walking away and leaving her alone.


Agreed that putting your keys between your fingers is not a great idea (padding your palm with a rolled-up handkerchief or the like would help), but the alternative given in the article of flailing at your attacker with a bunch of keys sounds pretty ineffectual, and easily blocked. How big a mass of keys do people carry anyway?

OTOH, a few years ago some testosterone-poisoned gentleman in Toronto picked a fight with someone and punched a key through his temple, killing him. He stood trial for murder or manslaughter, I forget which.

Another objection to using one’s keys as a weapon is not mentioned, but I think it’s more important. When you have your keys in your hand, it’s because you are approaching your house or your car—places of safety. If your keys are broken or bent (and that’s highly likely; they are only soft brass) you don’t have access to your best means of escape.

I have never taken lessons with a kubaton, so I could be wrong, but it looks to me as if keys attached to it would just get in the way. Note that a stout pen (not a “tactical” one) or a small flashlight would be just as effective without being classed as a weapon.


10 posts were split to a new topic: What to do when a dog wants to attack you

Good point, and when weapons are involved, people tend to focus on the weapon. Whether you’re the one with the weapon or not, overfocusing on it can leave you vulnerable to everything that you’re not paying attention to.

Many years ago, my keychain was a dog’s choke chain, probably about 24" long. One end had my keys on it, the other end had a padlock. It looked like a typical punk/biker wallet chain, but was convenient for locking things up and also could have functioned as a flail. A typical keychain though? No way.

First thing is not to run (unless you can get to a safer spot before the dog can get to you). Running is acting like prey and encouraging the dog to chase you. I used to carry beef jerky when I’d go walking and toss it as a distraction. Made friends with some strays that had initially had a hostile demeanor. But it’s certainly not guaranteed. I also had some success with just barking back and trying to look intimidating, but that may make some dogs more aggressive. Just standing still, not making eye contact, and looking boring/non-threatening and not afraid may cause them to lose interest if they think they’re defending, but maybe not if they’re actually on the attack.

This page describes what I was taught to do if actually getting bitten: (possible trigger warning) but luckily it never actually came to that. I only got two minor bites (neither were enough to break skin) and both times the dogs looked surprised and stopped after that one bite. What scares me is packs. Dogs get mob mentality just like humans.


I’m sorry, I read through it and thought that although it’s an unpleasant subject, the author seemed to be approaching it respectfully. I might’ve missed something though.

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These days I use the Rincewind method of self defense.

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Let the luggage deal with it?


I just randomly found this and thought it made some good points:

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