Defending yourself from an attacker

Attacker with a knife

Are you able to protect yourself and your family from a violent attack? Do you know what you would do in a situation that required you to stop an attacker?

If you’re like most people that I talk to, your first answer is probably with your guns. But what happens if someone gets a drop on you or blindsides you and jumps you before you can get to your weapon? I love my guns just as much as the next guy, but to truly be prepared for anything, you also need to be able and have the knowledge to protect yourself without them.

Self-defense is a critical skill that everyone who is serious about preparedness needs to put on the top of their list of priorities. As we document in our social unrest section of the site, violent attacks are not only a growing threat, but, in our opinion, the number one threat to your survival that you face on a daily basis.

Self-defense is far more than owning a gun, and it’s not just about physical strength or fighting skills, but it also involves mental preparation, situational awareness, and self-confidence. In today’s world, where crime rates and the ghettoization of our culture are at an all-time high, self-defense has become necessary for everyone. This article will discuss how to defend yourself from an attacker and the different self-defense techniques you should be studying.

Different Types of Attacks

Self Defense situation

Before we talk about the different self-defense techniques, it is essential to understand the different types of attacks that can happen and the legal ramifications of defending yourself:

Basic Physical Assault

A physical assault can happen anywhere and at any time. It can involve hitting, punching, kicking, or choking. It can also involve using weapons like guns, knives, or blunt objects. Defending yourself from these attacks will depend on several factors, but be aware that even a single punch from an attacker can be deadly, so never underestimate the need to be able to fight back, and quickly put an end to the threat.

Sadly, depending on the state you live in – especially if it’s run by liberal politicians that favor criminals over law-abiding citizens – you need to be aware of your local self-defense laws and when you can and can’t legally defend yourself. But, and this is not legal advice, in my opinion, it’s better to come out alive and worry about the legal bullshit later. “Better to be Tried by 12 than Carried by 6”!

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault involves any form of unwanted sexual contact, including unwanted touching, groping, rape, or other forms of sexual violence. According to the FBI, every 68 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. It can happen anywhere, but what the media will never admit — and yes, we know this isn’t politically correct — one of the best ways to protect yourself from this type of attack is not to put yourself in stupid situations. Most sexual assaults occur because of bad decisions and drinking – Sorry, BUT THOSE ARE FACTS!

Riots and Politically Motivated Violence

We are living through a time of unprecedented violence, chaos, and social unrest. As a result, we have seen a considerable uptick in the number of violent protests and riots. Check out our article on surviving a riot for a detailed dive into the subject.

Violent Flash Mob Attacks

Technology is changing how we live; unfortunately, it’s also making it easier and faster for criminals to communicate, plan, and execute their crimes. With the advent of texting and social media, it’s never been easier for large groups of criminals to come together and wreak havoc in a matter of minutes. Check out our article on mob attacks for a detailed dive into the subject.

Mass Shootings

While active shooter situations are still pretty rare, it’s a phenomenon that does seem to be increasing in regularity. Check out our article surviving a mass shooting for a detailed dive into the subject.

School Shootings & School Violence

While technically, this could fall under the category of mass shootings, the fact that we are dealing with children requires some extra training and caution. Please read our article on

Home Invasions

When it comes to defending your home, nobody can do a better job of protecting it, and more importantly, the people who live within its walls than you. Unfortunately, we live in a society that has grown increasingly reliant on the government to protect them in every little aspect of their lives, believing that when trouble hits, some random government agency is going to be there to help. They are not! You need to learn how to protect yourself, and the people in your home – here is how!

Car Jackings

Although it doesn’t receive as much media attention as some other types of crimes, carjacking has once again become one of the top crimes in the country. For unsophisticated car thieves who can’t bypass modern-day car alarms, the crime is an easy way for them to steal a vehicle.

Check out our article surviving a carjacking for a detailed dive into the subject.

Verbal Assault

Verbal assault involves any form of verbal abuse or threats. It can include name-calling, bullying, and harassment. Remember, while it might feel good to knock the shit out of some troublemaker mouthing off, the judge will probably see it differently – so keep your cool, be ready for the loudmouth to escalate, and if you can, leave the situation ASAP!

How to end the Fight Quickly if you don’t have a weapon!

Guy attacking a woman

Remember that these tips should only be used in a life-or-death situation, as they could cause severe damage or death.

When defending yourself from an attack, every move you make should be made in an effort to end the altercation as soon as possible. This is not the time to start slugging it out or pretending you’re in the UFC.

Every punch or kick you throw should be delivered to the weakest or most vulnerable areas of your attacker’s body.  This is because your strikes need to cause serious damage, and your main goal should be to end the fight and immobilize your attacker as fast as possible.

Attack Vital Points on the body!

Diagram of the vital points on a human body and where to hit an attacker

When defending yourself, aim for the vital points of the body. The eyes, nose, ears, throat, and groin are all vulnerable areas that can incapacitate an attacker, giving you time to escape. Use quick, sharp movements that inflict the most damage. It’s your life or their life!

EyesIf they can’t see you, they can’t hit you. Jabbing your attacker in the eye can temporarily blind them, allowing you to gain the upper hand. However, if done hard enough, it can actually cause permanent blindness.

Nose – A Palm strike or punch to the nose can have a devastating effect on your attacker. While it probably won’t immobilize them, it may be enough to cause them to retreat. A well-executed strike to the nose will cause immense pain and cause the eyes to fill with tears instantly. This will allow you to either run away or quickly end the fight with a follow-up attack.

Throat – The throat is one of the body’s most vulnerable areas. When attacking the throat, there are two areas that you should focus on.

  • First, the Adam’s Apple –   A blow to the Adam’s apple can collapse the attacker’s airway and can literally kill them with one strike.
  • Second is the soft area where your throat meets your collarbones. This area can be jabbed with the fingers to cause your opponent to lose his breath temporarily.

Groin – A good kick to the groin can cause a man to drop to the ground instantly. Just remember that this target is usually the most well-guarded and may be difficult to strike.

Knee Caps – The Kneecaps are highly vulnerable to attack and can be easily dislocated or broken by a well-placed kick to the knee. A kick to the side of the knee can also cause a considerable amount of damage.

Feet – Stomping on your attacker’s feet probably will not end the fight, but it can cause a huge amount of pain. Foot stomps are often used to escape from a hold and can give you time to setup for your next attack.

Self-Defense Techniques you should know!

Self-Defense Techniques

Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Study the Art of Situational Awareness!

The first thing you must do to protect yourself is to be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to anything that seems out of place and watch for suspicious behavior. Keep your head up, look confident, and don’t be afraid to make eye contact with people.

Please read our full article on How to Protect Yourself by Developing your Situational Awareness

Don’t be afraid to Use Your Voice

This one is important for women and children. The use of your voice is a powerful tool to deter attackers. Scream, shout, or use a whistle to draw attention. By making noise, you let people know you are in trouble, and the attacker knows that people will hopefully come to your aid.

Carry and KNOW HOW To Use Weapons

If you have access to a weapon, then you should use it to protect yourself. Remember, people can die from a single well-placed punch, so if you feel your life is in danger, then you need to access the force required to stop that danger!

Check out our Weapons Articles:

Take a Self-Defense Class

Reading about it is one thing, but one of the best ways to learn self-defense is to take a self-defense class. These classes teach you how to protect yourself, avoid dangerous situations, and feel more confident in handling difficult situations. In addition, you will learn different techniques, including striking, blocking, and grappling, as well as how to use weapons effectively.

Related Self Defense Articles:

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  1. Nice and easy but in an actual situation the adrenaline will usually override any pain from a groin strike and it will not “cause a man to instantly drop to the ground”. Its an effective target, just don’t hit it and lean back waiting for him to collapse.

    • You’ve obviously never been in a fight. It doesn’t matter how much adrenaline is pumping through your body. If you get hit hard in the groin during a fight, you’re going down. I know this from personal experience. Every time I got kicked in the groin in a fight, I had to stop.

      • Have you ever had a frustrated African American gangster attacking you? Stupid loser, it’s not possible with a kick to the balls!

      • I have been kicked in the groin in fights before and have not gone down. It hurt like hell, but I knew that if I went down I was done. Same could go for attacker if they have any training.

        • This thread is mentally retarded and so are the posters in it. No one has time for ‘hand-to-hand’ combat that is so third world country.

          First and foremost, I would STAB your ass if you got close. My goal is to take your silly ass down from a distance, not in range so you can try and get me.

          • Same, except if I’m range, slit the throat of the attacker. It most likely (98%) killer him or her. If from distance with gun, go for the foot or knee. If you hit, they will fall and lose balance. If they get back up (if that’s possible) shoot ’em again.

  2. If your attacker is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, attempting to inflict pain on him may be useless. Best to go for the eyes or throat as suggested. What ever you do, have NO MERCY!

    • Punching somebody in the face bare handed is risky business. You stand a 50% of breaking your hand with each strike.

      I’ve trained in Muay Thai for almost 2 decades now. I can say without a doubt my two “go to” methods of attack in a “street fight” situation are lateral elbow strike to the face and a straight teep (front push kick) directly to the knee.

      • Elbow and knee strikes are the best truly, but if for the moment they are not an option, you use the palm of your hand and aim it at your opponents nose. You’re less likely to break your hand and, like the site said, you can cause considerable damage.

  3. Don’t forget the ears. A strike to the ears can throw off your attacker’s equilibrium. I’ve also have heard that a very hard strike to the outer thigh can cause a loss in consciousness.

  4. A good cupped hand strike to the ear can be very effective. Or a strike to the stomach area. I have actual used this to take the wind out of a subject, but it has to be right on the money and quick. My 2 cents

  5. Personally I find shooting your attacker in the face stops any attack no matter how big they are or if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

    • And what would you be to do If you misjudged and didn’t bring it?or maybe disarmed?you need to use anything at your disposal.and about the singular enemy,I you get behind them and yank their head back,which will stun or end him and his fight,then ou can hit his Adam’s apple.street rules are necessary.

  6. Martail Arts is a good way to cover the basics of self defense, it will not only show u how hard to hit but other vulnerabilites of the human body. The sternum and the spine are also weak to disabling attacks, DONT DO IT UNLESS YOU MEAN IT. You can kill or paralyze PERMENANTLY. I love the picture =D

  7. Because of movies, many people believe a fight is a game of turns. My turn, your turn. This will undoubtedly put you in a world of trouble if you think your attacker is going to give you the option to fight back. Likewise, you should fight an unfair fight. Attack as if your life depends on it because it probably does. Don’t give your opponent the option to strike you back. Be ruthless and be a dirty fighter. Forget honor for a minute and remember that winning is the only thing that is important. No one will think less of you for kicking someone in the groin as long as it helped you to win the fight.

    • Agreed. As a woman, and more importantly a survivor I wholeheartedly agree. If you’re not aiming to kill the aggressor you should at the very least have it in your mind to do damage enough to maime him. If someone’s after you, they plan to mess you up-big time.

      • EXACTLY!!!

        Even the more so, as women we need far MORE protection than men. Men have more muscles and adrenaline than most of us do. That’s why it’s imperative when a guy gets close it’s to take him out!!!

  8. When teaching counter-terror tactics we never relied upon pain compliance techniques. They’re too iffy in general and require people with little or no training to think quickly and act effectively in a highly stressful situation. Instead we preferred destruction of the body. Kneecaps are great. Nobody, even experienced fighters, protects them. They’re easy to hit and make it much harder for an attacker to continue the assault. Just keep in mind the self-defense laws for your state/community as judges frown upon crippling an assailant, no matter how well-deserved the punishment.

  9. I’m an experienced fighter, both street and sport. In sport, there are rules. “Don’t kick below the waist, don’t attack joints, don’t attack the spine.” etc. Generally, anything that’s banned in sport is a high value target on the street.
    You’ll often people say “he won the fight because he didn’t fight fair”. But on the street there are no rules.
    Some tips:
    Spit in their face/throw dirt/sand into their eyes. This temporarily disorientates them, allowing you to follow up with an attack.
    The more viscous the attack, the faster it will be over.
    Bite their fingers off, gouge their eyes, crush their larynx with your thumb and fingers (it requires surprisgly little force).
    Learn the value of continous attack. Don’t give your opponent time to think about his next move. Be fluid in your own.
    Once you have committed to a move, execute it. Nothing is more dangerous than a half completed attack. It leaves you off-balance and very open to counter-attack.

    Just remember that the law will only support you as far as reasonable behavior. This means that if you pull your gun on somebody for pushing you over, you’ve overstepped the mark.
    That said, if your survival is at stake, there is only one rule. You may do everything and anything to ensure yours.

    I find that the best thing to do is to avoid the fight altogether. Situational awareness is key here. Look out of dangers, be aware of them, and you will be able to avoid them 9 times out of 10 .


  10. Would refrain from biting fingers off/contact with blood due to so many illnesses which are bloodborne. Otherwise a good article and solid replies.

    Best of luck!

  11. Just remember that when combat starts, the attacker is now your problem and you have to stay on him til he is no longer a threat

  12. Palm the nose, hard kick too the knee(or the other way around) I pull my knife and go for the throat fast and hard with a stab or solid slice whatever I have access to is under attack, no mercy in survival. Very surprised knifes aren’t in here, clearly the point is unarmed but personally I don’t even sleep without a solid, sharp knife withing 6feet, if not on my side! I carry a knife at every possible time, preferably not a a folding knife there to slow and unreliable. But I grew up on the farm and hunting so that’s just a habit. Not many zombies on a farm but if you have ever had a shirt caught in terrifying piece of spinning metal you never forget your knife!

  13. I’m a slender female, how do I defend myself if attacked from behind but not knocked out? Say they put the knife to my throat from behind or just start choking me from behind?

    • Drop to your knees – this will loosen their hold. Drop down low and flip them over your back. When they land on their back immediately kick the top/back of their head. This could kill them or cause severe brain damage.

  14. Rest assured if you don’t follow through decisively on an attack whether offensive or defensive, if your adversary eventually gets the upper hand they will almost certainly kick the living crap out of you. This applies now or even years later.

  15. I always go for the throat.

    An adams apple punch will cause your attacker to quit breathing. It will swell and block their air and blood.

    Take your belt off and swing it buckle first around their throat. You can then stick your knee in their back and tuck & roll.

    If someone pulls a knife, grab the blade and then rub the blood in their eyes. The wet blood will blind them and as it drys their eyes will be stuck shut by the coagulating blood.

    This was taught to me by a NZ/OZ SAS guy who literally ate dead bodies after he was abandoned in Biafra by the crown. He said that the Russians tasted bad because they all smoked. Eat the locals he said. Better than bush meat.

    Sadly to say, I have used his techniques and they work and so I suppose the rest of the story may also be true.

    For training, try Hap-Ki-Do

    • That’s disgusting man. Eating dead bodies. For survival sake couldn’t he just eaten something else?

    • He would go down for sure, or run until he drops. I would say a knife to the back or stomach will end the fight.

  16. I would not grab the blade because this could also cause you pain instead grab their wrist and twist this can cause them extreme pain and will cause them to drop the knife

  17. I have a HUGE problem. Got a commercial from my ex. All I heard was him say, “f*** her up about now. Two guys (Jamaican accents so likely much larger than me) said, “I’ll have someone do.e up from behind” and “straighten that b**** out”. Tonight a large man pulled into where I was getting gas. Pulled into self-carwash (11:30 pm & no lights) turned through, stared me down, pulled back in and came into the store where I was. I’ve reported the fall to the police & got a pic and his tag no. tonight. I live alone & have no friends here. Plus, I’m in SC where it’s a weapons free-for-all. This is disconcerting. Is a taser too slow or powerful? I really don’t want a gun but I want to stay alive.

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