This article discusses self-defense and legal protection strategies for making the best of a dangerous situation when efforts to detect and avoid such a situation have failed. These strategies are based upon the assumption that the aggressor is most likely unarmed.
The defender should step back, splay his fingers, open his hands with his palms toward the aggressor, and say, “I don’t want to fight.” By doing so, the defender is demonstrating, both orally and behaviorally, to the aggressor, to bystanders, and to possible future court jurors that the defender is not the aggressor, or an armed threat.
Stepping back also increases the space between the defender and the aggressor. This additional space helps the defender to better see and prepare for an incoming attack. At no time in the stepping back process should the defender turn his back to the aggressor.
The defender should also slowly and non aggressively turn her body so that it faces sideways to the aggressor. This gives the most protection to the vulnerable areas of the defender’s body. From this position, the defender also can more easily lean away and step back from punches thrown at her head.
The defender should scan the environment to see how to conduct his defense and to determine what he can use to his advantage. If he gets higher on a staircase, he has the advantage of the high ground. Perhaps he can keep something like a table or car between himself and the aggressor. If the environment is cluttered, the defender should sidestep the aggressor’s attack instead of backpedaling from it. While backpedaling, the defender could trip and fall backwards.
When the aggressor gets too close and might be able to punch the defender, she should use both hands to grab the aggressor’s shirt material near his elbows. This move can temporarily restrain the aggressor’s punches and allow the defender to knee, stomp, or bite her aggressor.
Even if the defender has wrestling experience, he should not allow the aggressor to take him down on a dangerous surface such as a hard floor, sidewalk, or road. Holding onto a solid object such as a fence or car door handle can help the defender to remain standing. If he is knocked off of his feet, the defender should rotate from his back so that his feet are always facing the aggressor and able to kick the aggressor.
In a more optimistic scenario, the defender might kick the knee of the aggressor, and then outrun the limping aggressor.