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Young Womenís Self Defense Class

I hope that you will never need the information presented here, but the truth is that most of you will experience some sort of violent crime in your lives. Of the statistics that are known, 1 out of 8 women in this country are rape victims, and those statistics are drastically under reported. You need to be prepared to defend yourself. You need to know how, and you need to know what you yourself are capable of.

If you read this material and participate in this class and then donít ever think about it again, chances are it wonít do you any good at all when you really need it. You need to take this out at least once a month and carefully review it. Think about these situations and how you will react before you need them. Be prepared emotionally and physically before a situation gets out of control.

Buddy System, body movement, and awareness

Donít travel alone, donít be by yourself away from lighted areas. Attackers will almost never attack more than one person. Be aware of your surroundings, know where the danger points are and stay with a friend. Always walk like you have a purpose, head up, shoulders back. Walking around timidly looking at your feet is like wearing a sign that says "attack me, Iím weak". You want to radiate self-confidence. If someone is looking for a victim, you want him to see that you are not a person to be trifled with, you want him to move on to the next person down the street, not you.

SCREAM

The most important thing for you to do the moment you first feel threatened is to let out the loudest, most blood curdling scream for help that you possibly can. Attackers rely on stealth and privacy. A good solid scream for help will be the single biggest deterrent you have available. When your attacker realizes that someone is likely to respond to your cry for help, they will probably flee. An especially effective addition to this technique is to use a piercingly loud whistle.

If you just arenít sure about a person and they are getting too close for your comfort, hold up your hand and yell "STOP" at them, use a command voice, you donít want it to sound weak, you want it to sound like a commandment from God.

RUN

If it doesnít put you at a disadvantage, you may decide that running away from an attacker toward lighted areas with people is your best bet. If your shoes are more of a hindrance than bare feet, better to replace a pair of shoes than to be attacked. If you do run, do it with all out effort, not a half way attempt.

DEFENSE - There is no such thing as a limited response!

Use the points above to avoid a physical confrontation. A man will be larger, stronger, and more aggressive than you will. You are much less likely to prevail in a physical confrontation. This is also the point where you have to decide what kind of damage you are willing to inflict on your attacker in order to avoid being raped. If you choose to defend yourself it must be an all out effort, you must be willing to gouge out his eyes, crush his neck, and break bones. If you are not willing to mount an all out defense, then you are only going to make your attacker angry and cause him to inflict more injury on you.

You are not to blame for anything that happens when someone attacks you. You are not to blame for the violence they inflict on you, and you are certainly not to blame for the damage you inflict on them in your defense. Many women are not emotionally capable of inflicting the kind of damage on an attacker that will bring him down. Those women fight back, but not with the resolve needed to destroy an attacker. That kind of response will only make a bad situation worse, it will make your attacker angry but wonít stop him. You must be prepared to either live with the emotional trauma of maiming or killing a man, or the emotional trauma of rape. I know people who have killed, and I know people who have been raped, and I can tell you that it is easier to live with having killed a man than it is to live with the aftermath of rape. Neither choice is an easy one, but itís best to discover now what you are capable of. In your defense it is absolutely critical to use the most debilitating blows as quickly as you can. You arenít going to win a fair fight standing toe to toe with an attacker but you can win a fast, devastating surprise attack and fight dirty.

Breaking Grips

Once an attacker has gotten hold of you, your chances of a successful outcome are greatly reduced. You must quickly break free. You may do so by any of the following attacks with your free hand and feet, or you may try a breaking grip technique. Pulling directly away from an attacker will not work, you must rotate your wrist inside his grip until the narrow part of your wrist forces his fingers apart and quickly snap your wrist through the gap in one fluid motion. This will be demonstrated in class. The other effective grip breaking technique is to grab one or two of his fingers at the farthest joint out and pull them quickly and forcibly backwards.

Gouge the eyes

This is by far and away your best option for defeating a larger, more aggressive attacker. You must be fast and vicious in order to make this work. Scratching at the eyes is not an effective enough deterrent. Force your fingers or other object as deeply into his eye socket with as rapid a blow as you can. Donít make it a big swinging blow that he will easily block by grabbing your wrist. You may want to try an unexpected move like using both hands at once. You can use fingers or thumbs in this attack, I believe fingers work best for a fast straight-hand blow and that thumbs work best in close quarters combat. We will demonstrate both kinds of moves.

Smash the neck

The neck is a terrific target. The front is especially vulnerable below the Adamís apple. Striking above the Adamís apple isnít nearly as effective, so aim low on the front of the neck. The sides or back are also great targets, especially if you have a hard object in your hand to smash into the neck. You can also use your fist, elbows, or knife edge hand. If he is on the ground, use your feet.

Another very effective technique is to put your fingers around one side of his neck, thumb on the other, just around the esophagus, and crush it in your fist. Your goal here isnít to choke him a little, it is to try to crush the esophagus between your fingers. Force your fingers and thumbs deeply into the groove on both sides of the neck and crush it.

Grab the testicles

They are about the size of walnut shells (itís important to know what you are looking for). Be sure to grab under the groin and press into him as well as squeezing, if you donít press hard into him while you squeeze you will lose your grip. You can grab them through clothing or when an attacker exposes himself. Grab and crush them as hard as you can. This is likely to be completely disabling to an attacker if done with enough force. Do not grab the penis, you wonít hurt him that way.

Bite

The neck is a terrific target to bite. Get the entire esophagus between your teeth and crush it.

The nose and ears are also good bite targets, they wonít disable an attacker but if heís holding you it may get him to release you so that you are free to deal out some more serious damage.

Smash the feet and knees

If the attacker is holding you from behind, strike down with the heel of your foot, try to crush the arch of his foot. You may also kick back and down with the heel of your foot into his knee, try to smash or dislocate the knee cap.

Once is never enough

If youíve dealt a critical blow to your attacker, DO IT AGAIN! And AGAIN! Donít let him up, donít let him recover, donít let him come after you again. If youíve managed to gouge one eye out or just poke it hard enough to stun your attacker, quickly go for the other eye. If youíve hit him in the neck and gotten him down, stomp or kick his neck and head with the heel of your foot as hard as you can. Swing the kubaton or something similar as hard and fast as you can at his head and neck.

Punches and kicks

Hit with the smallest, hardest parts of your hands and feet. This is the first two knuckles of your fist, and the heel of your foot. Focus to drive a punch or kick past your target, use total commitment and follow through. Most of the energy of a punch or kick comes from high speed and follow through.

The Two Finger Spear: With the first two fingers of your dominant hand, strike as fast as you can at your opponents eyes. Donít telegraph (or give away) your strike, just do it fast and straight. Donít raise your elbow, donít pull your fist back before striking, just fast and straight to the eyes. Focus on striking past your target, on driving your fingers all the way through.

The Thumb Gouge: Similar to the two finger spear but done with the thumbs of each hand. Do this rapidly with both hands if possible. If done properly the thumbs should be completely within the eye socket.

The Claw: can be done with just one free hand, the thumb is in the same position as the Thumb Gouge. Put the thumb into one eye and the fingers into the opposite eye.

Pepper spray

Pepper spray is effective when it gets into an attackers eyes and when an attacker inhales it into his lungs. It will temporarily blind him and shut down all but the most basic breathing. Donít spray up wind or you will only disable yourself when the wind blows it back into your eyes and lungs. Donít threaten a person with pepper spray, use it quickly and decisively without warning. Use it before the person is able to reach you. Use short bursts, donít use it up all at once. Aim straight for the eyes and face. DONíT pose with any weapon, use it before he even knows you have it. Donít try to hold an attacker off by pointing pepper spray at them, just wait until he is in range and nail him. Your attacker will probably try to block your spray with a shield or just his hands, get around any shield he puts up and get the spray into his eyes.

Kubatons (or ball point pens)

More painful than a knife. Once again, donít ever pose with a weapon, strike before he knows you have it. Aim for the head, eyes, or just about anywhere Ė these really hurt! They are easy enough to carry on a key chain anywhere in the country, they are completely unregulated and are small enough that they are not classified as any kind of weapon. Iíve even carried them onto airplanes in my carry on luggage.

Know how attacks are likely to occur

Grabbed from behind Ė break the arch of his foot with your heel, reach back and gouge eyes with one hand, grab testicles with the other.

Grabbed by the neck or arms Ė go for the neck and the eyes. If you get him to bend over enough, kick him in the head or hit him with a Kubaton.

Stunned by being punched in the face Ė watch out for this, it is disabling enough for the attacker to gain the advantage. Stunning a victim with hard punches to the head is by far the most common attack. This is why many rape victims look so bad after an attack, an attacker knows that eventually you will surrender or be disabled if punched hard in the face enough.

Drugged Ė be cautions of any food or drink, even if you are in a public place or are using the buddy system. Taking food or drink from someone means that you are putting absolute faith and trust for your safety in that persons hands. Even a small gumball has a hollow space in the middle big enough for a full dose of the colorless, odorless date rape drug GHB.

Stun gun Ė similar effect to being drugged or punched hard, it will disable you for several minutes. Donít let an attacker get close enough to use this. Scream loudly and either run or use the pepper spray.

Lethal weapons Ė most likely he is using it for intimidation, he has a specific goal in mind and killing you is contrary to that goal. You have to decide for yourself what to do in a situation like this.

Held from behind

Held from front

Held by the arm

Donít make a bad situation worse

The only way you are going to succeed is by either getting away or by causing enough damage to seriously disable or possibly kill an attacker. Anything less than an all out response is just going to make your attacker angry enough to hurt you even more. You are the one who has to judge a situation and decide what course of action is most likely going to protect your life and your safety. If you arenít absolutely willing to destroy your attacker, to take an eye or a life, donít fight him.

Things to remember

Always let out a good piercing scream first thing. 80% of all women attacked never scream. A good solid scream is by far your best defense when facing an attack.

Think about your surroundings, how you are carrying yourself, who you are with. Donít look like an easy target.

Think about different ways to handle yourself in different types of attacks. Think about the moves you would use, about screaming loudly right away, about running away toward lighted areas. Read this handout and keep these things fresh in your mind. It does you no good at all to go through this class and read this handout if you donít ever think about these things again.

Know where your attacker is most vulnerable, the eyes, the neck, and the testicles. Exploit these weaknesses without mercy. You are not responsible for the damage that occurs as a result of someone bringing violence into your life.

Seek help after an attack. You will never come away from an attack without physical and emotional scars, it is important to report your attack to the police immediately.

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