7 Basic Self-Defense Moves For Beginners

instructor teaching self defense

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If someone physically attacked you or a loved one, would you be able to fight back? The reason I ask, is because unfortunately, violence is a fact of life. As you read this, someone, somewhere in the world, is getting assaulted. But there is good news: once you learn basic self-defense techniques, you’ll be in a much better position to defend yourself (even against bigger and stronger attackers). Below we’ll talk about 7 techniques that anyone, including beginners, can do.

Important Note: Join an academy! No matter how many times you read this article, you won’t truly “get it” until you practice these techniques with other people. To ensure that you’re doing these techniques right, you want someone there to correct your form. For this reason, I highly recommend you join a martial arts academy. Type “Jiu-Jitsu Academy + Your City” in Google and see what pops up. Most martial arts memberships are between $50 and $150 per month depending on the quality of the class, the experience of the instructors, etc.

7: Breaking a Choke

One of the most basic self-defense techniques you can learn is how to escape from a choke. There are several different ways that an attacker can choke you. For example, they can choke you from behind (known as a “Rear Naked Choke”), from the front, standing, from the ground, and even with a tool like a rope or belt. No matter what type of choke it is, your first instinct should be to KEEP YOUR CHIN DOWN. By that, I mean physically tuck your chin towards your chest. This will prevent the attacker from sliding in their arms or hands very deeply. If the choke is from behind, immediately grab the attacker’s hands to prevent them from reaching your throat. This is a basic self-defense technique that you should definitely know, especially if you walk alone a lot at night

6: Blocking a Punch

Most attackers won’t have any formal training in fighting whatsoever. For this reason, it will be easy to block their punches once you learn how. Blocking a punch is another basic self-defense technique you must know. Most attackers will throw a punch called a “Haymaker”. This is a type of punch designed to deliver a lot of force. Fortunately, haymakers are easy to block (since they aren’t very accurate and don’t rely on proper technique). Here’s how to block a haymaker: if the attacker is punching towards the right side of your face, grab the back of your head with your right hand. The same for the left side. Make sure there’s no distance between your arm and your face. This is kind of difficult to explain through writing, so let’s look at a video to see how it’s done:

5: Breaking a Wrist Hold

The next basic self-defense technique we’re going to talk about is how to break a wrist hold. Wrist holds are a bread and butter move for attackers. They will use wrist holds to restrain you (and even possibly to drag you to a more private location to continue the attack). But again, breaking a wrist hold is really easy to do once you know the proven steps, especially against an untrained attacker. The best way is to bring the wrist that’s being held towards you while using your opposite hand to break the hold. This isn’t the only way to break a wrist hold, but it’s one of the most effective. Once you break the hold, use that split second where the attacker isn’t touching you to get away. Let’s see how this basic self-defense technique works in real-time:

4: Escaping a Bear Hug

A bear hug is a move in which the attacker wraps their arms around your entire body (including your arms). This will severely limit your mobility, and won’t allow you to fight back. Once in a bear hug, an attacker can drag you anywhere they want. The basic self-defense technique for stopping a bear hug is to BEND YOUR KNEES and LIFT YOUR HANDS. This will give you enough space to move your hips sideways and ultimately escape the bear hug. It will take some practice to get right, but once you have it down packed, it will be difficult for anyone (even larger attackers) to keep you in a bear hug. Let’s look at how to do it using proper technique:

3: Escaping a Mount Position

Whenever you’re lying flat on your back and an attacker is on top of you, it’s known as a “Mount Position”. This is a very vulnerable position that you’ll want to escape from as quickly as possible. There are a few ways to do it. The first is to “trap” the attacker’s arm with your own, and then hip roll to the side that’s trapped. Another way to escape is to get on your side, push the attacker’s knee backwards, and escape your legs. This basic self-defense technique can be a real life-saver since so many fights end up in this position. In MMA, most fights end in this position, simply because the bottom person isn’t able to get away. Here’s how to escape the mount:

2: Escaping a Clinch

A clinch is different than a bear hug. Although they look similar, a clinch when someone has your body trapped from the front, and you’re still able to move your arms. There are many basic self-defense techniques for escaping a clinch. No matter which one you use, the key is to stay on your feet. When you’re in a clinch, it’s very easy for the attacker to trip you to the ground, which will make you very vulnerable. You can decrease the chances of this happening by keeping your center of gravity low. Also, if it’s a front clinch, you’ll need to use your hands to prevent getting kneed in the face. The following video will provide you with a few effective ways to escape from a clinch:

1: Escaping a Hair Grab

If you have long hair, it might become a target in a self-defense situation. When someone has a hold of your hair, it can be extremely difficult to do anything. Once an attacker has your hair, they can manipulate your head in any direction they want. Where your head goes, your body follows. When someone has a hold of your head, it will be easy to keep you under control. Fortunately, there are some basic self-defense techniques for escaping when someone has grabbed hold of your hair. Let’s learn about what they are:

Basic Self-Defense Moves – Bottom Line
Will the above basic self-defense techniques “guarantee” that you survive an attack? Of course not. Your survival will depend on a variety of factors, including whether the attacker has a weapon, how persistent the attacker is, whether there’s more than one attacker, and many others. However, these basic-self-defense techniques will increase your odds of survival. As I mentioned earlier, it’s recommended that you join a martial arts academy so that you can get instructed by a professional, as well as practice these moves on other people.