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Train realistically


In most self-defense training classes, don’t learn techniques that will work in real self-defense situations. For example, in class, the attacker grabs your wrist and stands there while you perform an escape technique. In real life, the attacker grabs your wrist so tightly that your hand goes numb, their arm is so rigid that you can’t move it, and then they jerk you around like a rag doll.

Things an attacker probably WILL do

In a self-defense situation, there are some things a real attacker will probably do:
  • Make an unannounced attack.
  • Be larger and stronger than you.
  • Be super strong, even if small in stature due to adrenaline or drugs.
  • Use a sucker punch, usually from the rear hand that comes from over the shoulder.
  • Grab and pull you, often accompanied by a punch.
  • Squeeze your throat with both hands like he was trying to pop your head like a pimple.
  • Use penetrating punches with body weight behind them.
  • Use a dive or tackle.
  • Shove you.
  • Grab your hair grab followed by a punch or a knee to the head.
  • Use a scooping groin kick.
  • Be seemingly immune to pain due to anger, adrenaline, or drugs.
  • Attack with a blinding array of punches until he or she gets tired, goes down, or wins.
  • An instant struggle to grab you again should you escape the first grab.
  • Make an ongoing effort to keep you off-balance.
  • Keeping the mass of his or her body bearing on you all the time.

Things an attacker probably WILL NOT do

Contrary to what you have probably practiced for in a self-defense class, there are some things a real attacker will probably never do:
  • Attack from a low, traditional stance.
  • Use a straight punch.
  • Use a knife-hand attack.
  • Use a hammer fist to the top of the head.
  • Punch or kick from such a distance that the arm or leg stops, at full extension, before it hits your body.
  • Punch or kick from such a distance that the fist or foot only touches you.
  • Punch over your head or past your shoulder.
  • Punch, then leave the arm where it stopped for a few seconds.
  • Swing only once.
  • Attack from a distance that makes kicks possible.
  • Only attack with one hand, forgetting that he or she has another hand.
  • Grab you, and then stand there, waiting for you to react.
  • Grab you and then release you when you begin your defensive technique.
  • Be afraid to grab you with full strength.
  • Allow you to keep your balance so you can perform your escape technique. 
  • Ease up or stop when you are injured.

Train realistically

You should train realistically. The training should be done safely to prevent injuries, but it should be rough and tough, so you must work hard to make things work for you. The attacker should not cooperate with you and make it difficult for you.


  • Thompson, Geoff. [Online]. Available:
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