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Physical Attack Advice

Attack Advice

Being physically attacked or assaulted whilst peacefully going about your day to day business is very rare but can still happen.

Almost in every situation where this is likely to occur, another person, your attacker, has decided to commence the aggression towards you.

Sometimes, no matter how diplomatic or careful you are whilst away from home, you may cross paths with these types of people.

You may not carelessly be displaying any signs of wealth or adopt an aggressive demeanour but may still be singled out as a potential victim.

A good way to avoid conflict in the first instance would be to read and adopt some of the tips outlined in the Personal Safety Advice section.

These tips are not going to give you advice on how to actually win a street fight. We would not recommend getting involved in a fight in the street without expert and lengthy training from professional instructors.

However, the latter parts of this guide will give you some advice on what self defence moves can be used against an attacker. Some of these moves can cause serous injury or ever death to your assailant and should be seriously considered before being put into practice.

The best course of action is to avoid possible attack in the first place.

Try not to put yourself in dangerous situations to start with.

Good attention to awareness would prevent 90% of confrontations turning physical.

Walk and act in a confident manner but do not purposely hold eye contact with strangers for longer than you normally would.

An attacker has a plan of action.

For example, a street robber will act in such a manner as to shock you into submission.

If you can change or upset this plan, you will be moving control away from him.

Women, as well as men, always have a useful weapon at all times – their voice.

Use it in a threatening situation. Scream anything! “Help!” “Rape!” “Attacker!”.

If you possess a Personal Alarm, activate it as soon as you feel threatened.

Women, generally, are more timid than men. This lack of confidence in situations that may lead to a physical confrontation makes having to resort to actually defending themselves in combat very difficult, but it can be done.

If you feel that an attack is imminent, and you have no other choice but to defend yourself, you must now be prepared to use physical force.

Reasoning with your opponent may be the best course of action to start with. If it doesn’t work, you will be forced to resolve matters another way.

Preparedness to confront or fight your attacker sends out a very clear signal. You are not an easy target.

However, depending on the circumstances, the best course of action when confronting a mugger or street robber is to give up your property in return for your safety.

You should be aware that your compliance may not guarantee your safety. They may still decide to try and inflict injury on you.

If, however, it becomes clear that you will not be aided by other people who may pass by, can not reason with your opponent or escape by running, you must be prepared to fight.

A rape is very unlikely to occur in the middle of the street. People have been dragged hundreds of yards to waste ground or buildings where the assault happens. You will no longer have any chance of other people coming to your aid. Your last chance to escape is before this happens.

You can not afford to stay stunned by your attacker. Now is the time to fight – do not simply resist. You may believe that your compliance now may prevent the rape or attack. This is most likely not the case.

It is worth repeating:



  • Ignoring your assailant
  • Reasoning with your assailant
  • Using your voice to gain attention
  • Activating a Personal Alarm
  • Handing over your possessions
  • Running away
  • Aggressive beggars can normally be controlled with an assertive “No!” if you feel intimidated

All of these actions are preferable to a physical confrontation.

In the case of a possible rape or actual assault situation, you should consider the need to use physical force before the attack on you escalates.

Never let your attacker see a weapon you may have – it may be used against you!

We are not referring to any illegal objects such as a knife, but even an umbrella can be useful in these situations.

The use of a Criminal Marker Spray may be an option if an attack is imminent.

Point it at your aggressor, warn them, deploy the spray if you believe the situation warrants it and then run or move away to a place of safety as fast as possible.

If you have an umbrella or other legal object to hand, do not raise it up in a threatening manner.

This gives your opponent time to see and evaluate the threat you pose to him.

You must act quickly. Strike your attacker hard. Do not be afraid to target sensitive parts of their body including their eyes. You are legally entitled to use appropriate force if in fear of your safety.

It confuses your attacker if you do the reverse of what he is demanding.

They are trying to weaken you both mentally and physically.

Keep your distance if you see a knife and be prepared to run.

Hit and run is the best practise. Do not hang around to see what impact your blow has inflicted.

Be particularly wary of drunk or drugged opponents. Drink and drugs dull the fear response. It is not usually possible to scare them into submission using aggression in your voice and demeanour.

If you must fight, be prepared to kick, punch, bite, elbow, gouge with your nails but also use your rage! This all sounds very brutal but you must believe you are fighting for your very survival.

Women may find a strike along an attackers face with a door key more effective in buying you time to escape than trying to punch.

Do not target points of the body that are heavily clothed. Your strike to the chest area of a thick coated assailant will have little affect unless your blow is extremely powerful.



If you find yourself in a situation which is going to reach an inevitable conclusion and you ‘honestly believe’ will end in violence against you, you may have to strike first to gain control of the situation.

You may decide you have no choice providing all other avenues of compliance against your attacker would be futile. This situation may occur when facing an aggressive drunk, on public transport or due to a street robbery or attempted rape.

You now have to consider your targets.

Head and Face

The most obvious place to strike is the head and face. A man may aim a powerful punch and a woman a nail gouge. Although the head and face provide available targets, most of the head is essentially ‘armour plate’ and so can actually make a poor target. Areas around the head such as the temples are actually pressure points and can be used to gain control and compliance.

It is possible to actually knock out an attacker with a very well aimed strike to the bottom inch of the jaw line which shakes the brain causing unconsciousness. This is most likely to fail in a frantic street fight and should be avoided as a viable attack move.


Striking your attackers eyes can inflict serious damage and bring the confrontation to a swift end. If he can’t see, he can’t attack you. The problem with this form of defensive manoeuvre is the eyes present a small, difficult target.

Although women find the inclination to punch far less strong than a man, they tend to have hang ups about targeting the eyes due to the consequence of squeamishness. Most women, even when being assaulted, find it difficult to inflict damage to someone in this way.

If you try to condition yourself to accept that you may have to target an attackers eyes, you may find it slightly easier to carry out this type of defence should the situation ever arise.

Eye strikes can be delivered at arms length, with your fingers out stretched and straight giving you a few more inches of range. Use a flicking action at distance and a gouging action at closer range.

Long range eye strikes are very effective at distracting your attacker and the consequent physical response will most likely disable your foe.

Eye gouging will take place at a much closer range, usually when grappling but certainly when on the ground.

As with eye gouges, you can employ mouth pulls where you hook your fingers into the mouth, avoiding the teeth and pulling sideways. This causes extreme pain and discomfort to your attacker.

Eye strikes at a distance, especially under the stressful situation of you being attacked, require skill (or luck) to deliver effectively. If your attacker slightly moves his head, your strike can miss.

It tends to be a better idea to strike your attackers face or jaw with the palm of your hand, allowing your thumb or fingers to find the eyes as your blow lands.

If this strike also hits the nose, their eyes will water and produce pain that will distort their vision further but will not cause enough discomfort to stop them entirely.


Certain self defence systems advise a strike to the side of the neck and there is good evidence to support this as a target area.

Striking the anterior part of the neck, on each sides of the larynx can cause unconsciousness. It is possible to deliver a strike of this kind using the edge of the hand or the lower part if the forearm. A weapon you may have available such as an umbrella or even your shin can be used.

The Brachial Plexus is triangular in shape and runs down the side of the neck into the shoulder. It is very susceptible to strikes and grips.

A strike in this area from the front or rear is very effective as a good blow will disable the whole of the neck and upper arm area. Very useful if you need your opponent to release someone.

The Clavicle, at the front of the neck is very susceptible to being broken wit a strike from the front.

Be aware, there have been cases where a broken clavicle has punctured the subclavian artery causing death.

A less serious clavicle injury will disable an entire arm.

He neck and throat are also targets for strangles and chokes. Properly applied, a strangle technique can bring the most violent aggressor to a state of unconsciousness.

It should be noted that the danger of death is present when using this type of defence. Deaths have occurred when a strangle becomes a choke which has crushed the Larynx.

A strong strike to the neck can also cause swelling to the throat and cause breathing problems.

Due to the serious nature of injures that can be inflicted by targeting the neck, consider this area only as a last resort where there is imminent danger to your life.

Be aware of the damage you can cause and the legal implications you could face.


Much has been made has been made of striking the groin area of your attacker and is described as a prime target in many self defence books.

Some people have been able to take a substantial kick to the groin area, seemingly without any ill effects and still continue with the attack. An attacker may not show an immediate effect from the strike and may take some time to show any signs of pain or injury. This means your attack may not cease immediately.

A groin strike can be delivered by feet or hands. Be particularly careful if attempting a straight kick to this area. Your attacker may see you lining up to kick and catch your leg as you kick forward or turn away from the kick.

Before any physical confrontation commences, consider the use of your voice as a primary weapon in your defences.

Your voice, if used correctly, is far better than physical violence against your attacker.

Speak in a firm but low voice. Never plead unless you are attempting to lull him into a false sense of security. Maintain eye contact and deliver whatever message is required.

Remember, you can also use your voice as loud as possible to get the attention of others if the quite approach fails!

Before resorting to any of these self defence moves, remember they are the last resort and never the first. You should only employ them if you believe you are in serious danger of harm.

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