© Roger Salick All Rights Reserved
"What if someone grabs you from behind?"
This classic "What if?"came
up at our recent Women's Self-Defense Night. We've practiced this scenario in
previous Self-Defense Nights, but I'm glad it came up again.
Being suddenly grabbed from
behind by a determined attacker is one of a woman's GREATEST FEARS. Knowing
what to do in this situation is so important that it's worth revisiting for
anyone who might have missed it.
Let's break it down:
Odds are good that
attack will begin with a BEAR HUG. Men learn to bear hug when they're
they never forget it. They like it because it's sneaky -- they're able
to grab you from behind without having to face punches and
knees and most kicks-- and they get to instantly pin their victim's arms.
A woman who gets caught in a
bear hug has to MOVE FAST. If the attacker is strong, he can rip you right off
your feet and throw you just about anywhere he wants.
This is a dangerous hold. If
you're caught in it, you're in BIG TROUBLE.
But not helpless.
Danger #1: Getting the WIND knocked out of you when the grab
first closes. A man's arms connecting in front of you at the solar plexus can
hit you with the force of a decent punch. Many women have been incapacitated in
just this first split second of an attack.
Response #1: The INSTANT you feel contact at your back, bend your
legs, lean slightly forward and put the palms of your hands on your thighs.
This forms a PROTECTIVE TRIANGLE between limbs and body that will guard your
solar plexus and give you some space to work in. It takes practice to do this
fast enough to make it work.
Part TwoThe Problem, and The Plan
Danger #2: The first problem with a bear hug --there are
several-- is that he’s either going to try to crush
you with sheer strength or throw
you into something. A good toss --into a wall, the floor, furniture, down a
flight of stairs-- might injure you so you can’t resist further.
Response #2: The Plan is to unload on him...IMMEDIATELY. You’re going to attack him with so much ferocity that he can’t throw you, and
holding you becomes a liability. You’re going to be as dangerous to handle as a
nest of angry hornets. Here’s how...
- Within the space hopefully created by the
triangle (see Response #1, Part One), slam the edges of your fists into
his groin. Move your hips back and forth like a snow skier running a
slalom course to add power.
- Crash your head back into his face.
- Stomp hard on the arch of his foot. You’re trying to break
- If he tries to lift you, jack your heel up into his groin as forcefully as you
can. Your heel will almost have to touch your own buttocks. If you
connect, you’ll be amazed how quickly you’ll come back to earth.
- You keep this all of this up as if your life
depends on it until he lets you go.
Don’t worry about the order.
If you can’t do one thing, do something else. Just keep smashing him.
The instant his hands
release, you have to act fast.
Your goal is to run to safety. But unless he’s fallen to the ground or is
obviously incapacitated, You may have
only a microsecond before he recovers enough to chase you down and
finish what he started. And now he’ll be really angry.
RECAP: An attacker has you in
a powerful bear hug. You’ve used your self-defense training to prevent him from
knocking the wind out of you and throwing you to the ground. You used some simple but effective attack skills to
hurt him enough to break his grip.
Now is the time, if you can, to
RUN like crazy, shouting “FIRE!” at the top of your lungs.
Why “FIRE!” and not “HELP!”?
Because “FIRE!” draws people
and attention. FIRE conjures up images in your attacker’s mind of big men with
axes. This is all good for you, and bad for your attacker.
Shouting “HELP!”, on the
other hand, makes a lot of people hide behind their doors. It invokes their
avoidance mechanisms. They’re frightened. They don’t want to get involved. Sad,
BUT…if the attacker RE-GRABS
you before you can get away, you’ve got to do at least one of three things RIGHT NOW!
- Kick him in a knee hard enough to buckle it.
- Jab him in the eyes with your fingers or a
- Kick or kneehim in the groin so hard you fold him.
And then RUN, shouting FIRE!”
Do NOT stick around to beat
up further on your attacker.
Do NOT start yelling at him
and making speeches.
RUN, get to safety, get on a
phone, and call the police.
Then, continue your self-defense training at a place like Salick’s,
where you learn real stuff.
Those realistic skills might
have just saved your life.Tell your friends about
Salick’s Karate’s Women’s Self-Defense Nights! Every woman in America
should know this stuff.
Next: Defending Yourself When
Your Hands are Full
Stay focused, stay safe,
Any self-defense or martial arts questions
you'd like answered? Are there situations you'd like to see covered
in future Women's Self-Defense Nights?
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