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Let’s get straight to it: we live in dangerous times. Woman, man, childnobody is safe today. No matter how much you avoid trouble, you cannot guarantee that it will leave you alone. Therefore, it is imperative that you learn self-defence. No, you don’t have to join a martial arts class to be able to do so. All you need is the ability to execute these moves perfectly.

Stay calm

When somebody comes at you with a gun, knife or some other weapon, your first reaction will be to panic. Avoid this natural urge and try to stay calm instead. Poorna Daftari, owner of a Mumbai-based fitness studio, Go Figure, advises: “First, try to run from the situation and run as fast as you can. Second, if you can’t run and the opponent is facing you, let them come close enough for you to be able to grab hold of their collar/t-shirt. Then use your knee to kick right between their thighs. This will knock them to the ground and you will be able to make a run for it.”

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Watch a detailed demonstration below:

Aim for the soft body parts

If you feel that a kick between the legs is tough to administer, there are other ways to counter a physical attack. Matan Gavish, founder and chief instructor at Krav Maga Academy, New York, instructs that you should aim for soft body parts. Doing so will cause maximum damage to your attacker, thus giving you ample time to flee to safety. He says: “Since people’s pain tolerance varies, don’t attempt to cause “pain” to an attacker. Instead, strike parts of the body that will easily break with intent to cause damage and restrict movement. Pain is subjective while damage is objective. The easiest soft spots to strike are the eyes, nose, jaw, ears, throat, groin, knees and the Achilles tendon. Aim for the targets you can see and easily reach.”

Watch how Gavish counters a sudden attack from behind below. You don’t need to be a Krav Maga expert to protect yourself.

Attack the ear and nose

A kick between the legs is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to knock your attacker off their feet. However, not everyone can get it right without practice. Kickboxing coach Iqbal Shaikh recommends something far easier and unexpected: hitting the ear or nose. An ear slap is both effective and extremely painful. To administer it correctly, swing your palm with as much force as you can at your opponent’s ear. A hard slap can easily rupture their eardrum and make them fall to the ground as they lose balance. No matter how strong he/she is, this will cause agonising pain and disable them for sure. If it doesn’t have this effect the first time, keep slapping them till it does. And if it gets to a stage when the attacker is sitting on top of you, hold the hair at the crown of their head tightly and headbutt their nose. Do not stop attacking them until they are severely hurt and disoriented. And then, get away from there.

Here’s a short demonstration of the ear slap.

Use what you have

Ideally, you should carry a can of pepper spray with you at all times. But when you don’t have any such weapon on you and can’t even think of making any moves, what should you do? Stay calm and use the power of your mind. For example, if you are carrying a handbag or suitcase with you, swing it forcefully towards your attacker. It won’t knock them down for long, but those few moments will buy you time to get away. You could also use sharp objects like a key, pen/pencil or nail cutter to attack the person, especially the eye, cheek and neck.

No matter what, don’t lose hope. Make sure you fight for your safety with all your strength and willpower. As far as possible, keep your wits about you, especially if you’re alone in a secluded setting, so that you can use your presence of mind if attacked.

What would you do to defend yourself? Leave your tips in the comments below.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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