Below is the handout provided for a Self-Defense
Seminar presented by RiverRoadPark and
the Emerald Dragon Karate and Self-Defense school in Eugene, Oregon.Readers are welcome to use any or all the content of this document.The purpose of the seminar was to provide a service to the community and
publicize the three martial arts schools involved.The seminar was free to all participants’ ages 10 or older.
The seminar was offered through
the Lane County River Road Park District of Eugene, Oregon, a community of about
150,000 residents.The winter
catalog and quarterly updated website advertised the free seminar for 5 Feb 05.The seminar quickly filled the 30 slots available resulting in a follow
up seminar scheduled later.The
seminar was about four hours long. All participants were women and girls, though
males were encouraged to attend.Two
head instructors of the local Junsui Seibukan Karate-Do Dojo and from Bailey’s
directly assisted at the seminar.
The class concentrated on striking
effective targets and striking methods, with emphasis on the two most effective
weapons, the brain and the voice. Self-defense information and statistics were
discussed each hour between exercise sessions.Most statistics were acquired from the four books listed below on the
recommended reading list.The light
physical training included palm heel strikes to the head, football type front
kicks to the groin and front, and back elbow strikes to the head.Increasing the force of the blow with shifting body weight and twisting
the upper body was stressed.Included
in the seminar was a basic wrist release, a rear throw from a rear bear hug,
defensive kicks when on your back to a standing opponent and throwing an
attacker off your chest from the prone position.The use of mace or pepper spray and large dogs were discussed as
effective deterrents.Defensive home
and automobile tactics included escaping from a car kidnapping, dealing with
impersonators, and the three most likely questions a criminal ask to distract
the victim before he attacks.Discussion
included acting on intuition, even if it seems illogical.
Three male seminar assistants were
available to allow the participants the chance to throw and break away from a
more forceful opponent.Several
demonstrations were staged to effectively explain how a smaller person could
overpower a larger person with the physical principles of balance and leverage.
Weapons defense centered on the
concept of isolating the hand with the weapon and immediately striking effective
targets.We used sticks, knives and
guns, with specific focus on the uses and defensive risks of each type of
weapon.Heavy emphasis was placed on
the control of the weapon hand, with repeated reminders that only the hands can
brandish a weapon.
The final defensive technique
involved the attacker between the victim’s legs, which was uncomfortable, and
one person declined participation.After
the class the mother of that participant confided that her daughter had recently
been attacked, and she expected the seminar experience to assist in her
daughters emotional recovery.
Afterwards various participants
indicated how empowering it felt to actually yell and use the body to fight off
a mock attacker.Evaluation forms
from the participants indicated appreciation the seminar was free, and requested
that it be offered annually.
by the River Road Park District & River Road Park Karate and Self-defense
instructor David DeHart
include instructors of River Road Park Traditional Taekwondo & Junsui
Seibukan Karate-do of Goshen)
up and waivers.(Assign
assistant to take care of this)
of instructors and assistants.
and open discussion
and Effective Targets
Phase 2:1:10 – 2:00
ups: joints, neck, arms, hands, hips, and knees.
palm heel to face; horizontal elbow to head; rear elbow to face; single
strikes and double strikes.Principle
of rotational force with hips and shoulders.
forward leg front kick to groin; rising knee to groin
palm heel strike, grab and twist
hammer fist to groin; standing and stepping to left side and right strike to
partners if time in phase 2.(Note
no groin cups on participants)
Phase 3:2:10 – 3:00
of strikes and kicks with partners.(Note
no groin cups on participants)
release – weak point of grab is the thumb and forefinger.With partner.
defense against chokes – leverage and full body principles.With partner.
throw – 3-leg table principle. With Partner – throw only assistants.
against weapons.Watch the
hands; weapon control.Knife
will cut; gun will discharge.With
defense – kicks from the ground, front and side, crab maneuvers, push off
kick with spin out (attacker between the legs) with partner.
Q and A.
fill out Evaluation sheets on your way out.
SStay on your feet
If you are knocked to the ground your primary goal is to
get up and escape the attack.
Focus your defensive strikes against targets that have the
most effect, the eyes, head, neck and groin.
FForce the attacker
to the ground
With multiple strikes or a throw, force the attacker to
the ground so he has to get to his feet before he can chase you, thus giving you
more time to escape.
Your primary goal is to escape and survive the encounter.Don’t let pride or ego push you to stand and fight.The longer you fight the lower your chances of escape become.
is your best tool.It is best to
avoid all conflicts and persons that may place you in a self-defense
and everything can and will go wrong. The methods and circumstances of an
attack are endless.
best weapon is your brain.Defensive
situations can often be terminated with quick thinking and the willingness
to take assertive action.You
must decide ahead of any conflict that your life is worth fighting for with
all of your abilities.
second best weapon is your voice.In
any self-defense situation use your voice to attract attention to the
situation.Be loud.Criminals do not want to be seen by others.Sadly, people in a group may not respond to a general call for help
so try to point at a specific person “you – in the blue coat – call
the police.”Yelling loudly
when you strike or kick will startle the opponent, increase your adrenaline
and courage, and draw attention to the attack.
primary goal is to escape.Do
not stand your ground unless you are forced to do so.Ego is not a legitimate reason to stand your ground.
counter strike the attacker with multiple strikes as forcefully as you can.This forces the attacker to stop attacking you, start defending
himself, and re-evaluate his reason for picking you as a victim.Attack the head, eyes, neck, and throat whenever possible.Most conflicts end by who gets hit first and hardest in the head.Violently attacking his eyes will divert his attention the fastest,
and will almost certainly force him to cover his eyes.Do not attack the chest unless you have no other target.A man is very strong in the upper body and can take a lot of
punishment.The groin is also an
excellent target.Do not
hesitate to strike, grab and pull the attackers groin.Strike the side and back of the attackers knees with kicks.Don’t bother kicking the kneecaps unless his leg is already
straight when the strike impacts.
fast and hard.The quality of
the technique is unimportant.Simple
and repetitive strikes and kicks are the most effective.
today’s world the attacker will likely be on drugs and be capable of
attacks are very short if a defense is executed immediately, ending in a
less than a minute.You won’t
need to have incredible stamina to defend yourself.Adrenaline will sustain your energy for several minutes.
not kick above the waist.Use
kicks to strike the groin, knees or stomp on feet.Use a rising knee strike to the groin or to the head if the attacker
is bent over.Kicking above the
waist greatly sacrifices your balance and reduces the power of the kick,
especially if you are wearing tight clothing or on a slick surface.High kicks look pretty but are largely impractical.
at all possible avoid being knocked to the ground.If you are on the ground your primary goal is to get back on your
feet.Be aware that you are
extremely vulnerable on the ground – you can’t escape until you can get
up.Don’t hesitate to hurt the
attacker any way you can, kick, bite, scratch, throw dirt, spit, hit, vomit
on him, yell and scream, etc.
wrestling matches.The longer
you are on the ground the less your chances of escape.Wrestling, arm locks, chokeholds, and throws take 4 times more energy
to execute than kicks and punches.You
may need that energy to escape.Only
a police officer needs to attempt to restrain an attacker.Your goal is to escape.
your opponent to the ground if you can.This gives you the opportunity to escape while he can’t chase you.Use throws, trips, knee kicks or multiple strikes to force him to the
ground.Run as soon as he drops.
not be passive to any attacker; this only emboldens him to continue.Studies clearly indicate fighting back is the only option for
possible defuse the situation without throwing any attack.Talk loud, lie, cheat, act crazy, talk to aliens, yell help to your
unseen friend “Bob” or “John”, wave at the unseen friend behind the
attacker, act like you know the attacker as your long lost mother, or
anything that would confuse his plans.Every
confrontation has extensive risk of injury, so defusing the situation is the
you are grabbed the first thing you should do is break the grip.As long as the attacker has a hold of you he has control of you and
the situation.The exception is
if the attacker has a weapon (see Armed Attacks below) then you must control
the weapon first.
allow yourself to be transported to another location by an assailant.Once he has you in his environment he will have complete control of
you thus greatly increasing the risk of being seriously injured or killed.
phones are wonderful security inventions.Calling the police has never been easier.Carry the phone everywhere you go.If the phone has a camera take pictures of the person stealing your
car or wallet.Savvy cell phone
users have caught many criminals on camera, greatly increasing police
language can tell you much of the opponent’s intentions.What is his facial expression; Intense, relaxed, urgent, angry,
depressed, hyped up?Where are
his hands; in pockets, clinched, shaking at you, hiding one in coat or
behind back, across his chest, on his hips?Is the tone of his voice agitated, angry, loud, cracking, slurred,
hoarse?Does he appear drunk or
on drugs?Is he out of breath
from running, talking really fast, looking beyond you, not making any eye
contact or too much eye contact, checking out the surroundings (determining
if you are alone)?If he asked
you a question is he trying to get closer to you?Has he entered your personal space and made you uncomfortable with
theft is rapidly growing and new laws are being passed nationwide to address
this crime wave.Only give your
social security number to persons in official capacity face to face or when
you have personally called the official.Generally only employers and government persons require SSN for
identity.Credit cards numbers
are another favorite identification to be stolen.If someone calls you, do not give him or her your credit card,
checking or savings account numbers, or place an order of any kind.Personally call the organization on the phone.That way you know whom you are actually talking too.Victims of this crime spend years correcting records to clear their
name of the criminals influence, and often find they’re identities still
being abused by other criminals some years later.
in the martial arts certainly improves your odds in a physical confrontation
but by no means guaranties success in all situations.One of the goals to martial art training is to learn self-defense
concepts to increase you’re knowledge and defensive skills.
50% of rape and attempted rapes are by a man the victim knows.Statistics show that as many as 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted
in their lifetime (some statistics indicate 1 in 3).From a mans perspective, that means one of the following four women
you love, mother, wife/girlfriend, sister, or daughter, will be raped in her
50% of rape and attempted rapes are in the victims home or the home of
someone the victim knows.
than 50% of all assaults to both men and women are by a person the
campuses are exceptionally dangerous for women.One in four college women are raped or sexually assaulted on campuses
around the country.A female
student’s first year is the most risky because of the new environment and
newfound freedoms.Date rape
drugs are commonplace on college campuses.Because of the effects of these drugs, victims may be
physically helpless, unable to refuse sex, and can't remember what happened.
The drugs often have no color, smell, or taste and are easily added to
flavored drinks without the victim's knowledge. Date rape drugs are stolen
or acquired from medical or vet clinics and are used as anesthetics or sleep
of women that fight their attackers avoid being raped and escape.Rape is considered an act of
violence, not an act of sexual desire.The
rapist wants to completely dominate the victim, to make him feel powerful.Fighting back is really the only option.
of all convicted sex offenders will re-offend, often escalating the violence
level of the attacks.
the known violent criminals, only 6% commit about 70% of all violent crimes.
of reported domestic assaults the female is the victim and the male is the
perpetrator.The last 5% usually
includes a male accomplice with the female.
of all female murder victims are killed by their current or former husband,
boyfriend or partner.
commit more than 95% of all violent crime and 99% of all sexual abuse and
is best to assume an attacker has a weapon and to be prepared to counter
attack the weapon hand/arm.In 26% of incidents of violent crime, a
weapon was present.Offenders
had or used a weapon in 55% of all robberies, compared with 6% of all
rapes/sexual assaults in 2000.Homicides
are most often committed with guns, especially handguns. In 1999, 51% of
homicides were committed with handguns, 14% with other guns, 13% with
knives, 6% with blunt objects, and 16% with other weapons.
the weapon as soon as possible.Get
a hand on it, push it away, or take it away, although do not concentrate on
taking the weapon away.Do not
restrict your defense to the control of the weapon, immediately strike
effective targets at the first opportunity, eyes, groin, throat, etc.
you see a weapon or have good reason to believe he has a weapon than do not
hesitate to use excessive force.If
you don’t see a weapon or it turns out he doesn’t have one the law will
be on your side as long as it can be determined that a “reasonable
person” would have felt the same.
attacks are usually a right hand horizontal strike to the left side of your
head.These are very
devastating.The overhead club
attack taught at most martial art schools is an extremely unlikely attack
(probably an old holdout from an empty handed jujitsu defense against the
against the club requires getting very close to the attacker inside the
range of the club.
knife attack will most likely leave you bleeding.A common attack is a grab from behind with the knife to the throat.Protect your vital areas, i.e. throat and chest.Your arms, legs and face can get cut without usually being fatal.If a knife is pointing in your back, turn away from the point and
deflect the attackers knife arm with your arm.
best defense against a handgun attacks is to run away.Pistols are very inaccurate at distances and even more inaccurate
with a running target.While
running the shooter only has a 4 in 100 chance of hitting you.Running away in a zig-zag pattern makes you extremely difficult to
lock the doors to your home.A
very common entry is a unlocked door or window.Thieves and burglars are usually opportunist and are looking for a
quick, easy and silent entry.
sticks in windows and sliding glass doors to back-up the standard locking
mechanism.Sticks are especially
useful in the summer months when you may prefer windows partially open.Other types of back-up locks are available at hardware stores.
door openers should be checked to determine if the security activation code
has been changed from the factory number or is rotating automatically per
use.Always lock the door
leading from inside the garage to the interior of the house.This is another very common entry point.
motion sensitive lights.Although
slightly more burglaries occur during the day, when adults are at work,
extra lighting helps deter nighttime entry.
all garden gates and detached buildings.Only unlock them when working around the property.Meter people require access to utility meters so call to get a lock
from the utility company that allows you to share a common key.
deadbolts to exterior doors. Exterior doors should be solid core or steel
construction and the doorframe should also be solid.The deadbolt strike plate should be installed with a minimum of 2”
long wood screws.
doors are exceptionally vulnerable to forced entry.Add slide bolts to the top and the bottom of each door in the center
where the doors meet.
an alarm system for extra security.If
you have a pet do not get interior motion sensors.
your car all the time – no exceptions.Carjacking is a growing trend in America.It is just a car; do not sacrifice your life or someone else’s life
for a car.Carjackers use direct
confrontations and indirect tricks to get the car.Criminals regularly enter unlocked cars with the owner only a few
feet away.Carjackers will
follow you home and steal your car at gunpoint in your driveway.A common tactic is to enter occupied unlocked cars at stoplights.The latest (gateway mall - unconfirmed) is to put a flyer on your rear
window, which is seen after you start to back the car out of the parking
spot.When you get out to grab
the paper the carjacker jumps in the running car.If the carjacker approaches you directly as you are preparing to
enter the car consider throwing your keys behind him so he has to turn
around to get them, then run and call the police.
not get in the car with a carjacker.If
he forces you to enter before him than scoot out the opposite door, run and
call the police.If he gets in
before you, turn and run.
in the backseat before entering any car.If you are attacked while inside your car then constantly honk the
horn and drive into an inanimate object like a light pole, a bridge column,
or a guardrail.Better to have
an insurance case then a hospital visit.
not hitch hike. This is the best opportunity an assailant can get.You just placed yourself in a location controlled by a potential
allow the attacker to transport you to another location.If pulled into a vehicle your life is definitely on the line - assume
he intends to murder you.Do
whatever is required to stop the vehicle or create an opportunity to jump
out of the vehicle.If you are
not a driver get acquainted with how to stop a vehicle or disrupt the
driver.Force the driver to
wreck the car by stomping on the gas pedal or brake pedal and sharply
turning the steering wheel.This
will also likely get other drivers attention and possibly get the police
involved.Forcing the gearshift
(auto or manual) forward or backward shifts the gears and disrupts vehicle
function, especially the reverse gear (pulling).Pull the hand brake, roll down the window and hang out yelling, open
the door and jump, or pull the keys from the ignition and throw them outside
or in the back seat.Teach the
non-drivers in your family how to do this.
escape: If you are thrown in a trunk than kick or punch out the tail light
and stick a hand or foot out.People
following the car will call the police.Newer cars have been equipped with a fuel disconnect in the trunk to
stop a car if you are trapped inside the trunk.Pull out every cable you can find in the trunk.
of vehicles parked close to your vehicle in parking lots, alleys, and narrow
pulling a victim into the next car or van while they fumble with their keys
or bags, grabbing your purse setting on the hood of your car and driving
away, or luring you into helping them load their own vehicle and shoving you
with no windows should be watched extra carefully.The police pay extra attention to windowless vans because it is the
kidnappers vehicle of choice.Once
inside nobody can hear or see you.
not get lured into standing to close to somebody’s open vehicle window.They can grab you and pull you in or grab your purse and drive away.This is also a common tactic to kidnapping children, usually with a
ruse like “I’ve lost my dog, can you help me find it”.Teach your children about this tactic.
not pick up hitchhikers.A
criminal on the run can escape an area and continue his crime spree on his
newfound Good Samaritan.
aware that criminals may have set your car up for a breakdown with the
intent of following you and offering you that badly needed assistance.If help arrives immediately after a car breakdown then be extremely
suspicious.Good time to use a
aware of your surroundings.Do
not go places that make you feel uncomfortable.If you get that “gut feeling” don’t ignore it.Nature provides the “fight or flight” sense to humans but
unfortunately modern humans think we are above those primitive emotions.If you get a “gut feeling” while with someone or in someplace do
not pass it off as nothing; something is wrong but the rest of your senses
haven’t picked up on it yet.The
worst that can happen is you might embarrass yourself a little.You can live with that.
corners and alleys provide quick and easy access to the unwary pedestrian.Make a habit of stepping away from walls of buildings at corners and
windowless vans, make blind corners wherever they are parked.
Pepper Spray or Mace.Red pepper
spray is said to be more effective.Aim
for the face and run.Downsides
are spraying into the wind (back into your face) and time to get the mace
out of your purse.Carry on the
key chain, clipped on a belt, or on wrist bracelet.Carry it anytime you are alone.Carrying
mace on your key chain will help to remind you of defensive precautions
every time you handle your keys.
extremely common tactic for thugs is to ask one of three questions to
distract you; “Do you have the time?” “Can I use your phone?” “Can
you give me directions to…”.if
you choose to respond, do not turn your back to the person and do not move
closer to the person.The phone
question is used to get you to let them into your home or car.Instead offer to call the police or tow truck for them.
alert in strange settings.Tourists
are more vulnerable because they are unfamiliar with the surroundings, tend
to be more relaxed (less alert) and often think they are in a safer
environment.Just because you
are in a luxury hotel or fine establishment does not mean that you are safe
commonly distract or trick the tourist.Thieves are very creative, spraying mustard on your clothes,
distracting you with a talker while another lifts your bags, or cause you a
delay in security so they move ahead of you in line and take your carry on
should be labeled for identification, not for everybody to know who you are.Use tags that have a flap that covers your luggage identification.Keep travel papers and reservations on your person.Do not discuss your plans loudly with anybody; criminals will listen
in to phone calls, reservation desk, lobby help, taxi-drivers, or anybody
you speak with.Personal
information can be used as a surprise weapon to catch you off guard, stalk
you in your temporary lodgings, or enable the criminal to impersonate
someone that might cause you to drop your guard.
personal items in a bathroom stall makes theft of your coat or purse within
reach of anyone able to reach over the top of the stall walls.Keep luggage and hanging items close to your person and watch for
hands reaching under or over the stall walls to grab your personal items.
Workplace and other public buildings:
can be traps for attacks.Stay
near the control buttons.If you
are attacked press the buttons for every floor, the e-stop button will stop
the elevator and trap you. If someone hits the emergency stop without cause
prepare to defend yourself.Do
not be afraid to get off on a different floor if you get that “bad
feeling” about somebody.Elevators
can be even worse after business hours when the regulars have gone home.
are also considered to be a trap.You
can be isolated and attacked without help hearing your screams.Take the elevator.
aware of disgruntled workers.It
is worth your time to consider what you would do if an angry or former
employee brandishes a gun or attacks a co-worker.It is not as unusual as it should be.
workplace is the scene of 8% of all rapes and 16% of all assaults.
you are alone and answer phones, never say “you” will be there; always
say “we” will be here, to indicate multiple people are present.
attention to your surroundings and the goings on of company employees.Disgruntled employees, recently fired employees, and recent
relationship breakups are the most common cause of workplace homicides.
the escape routes in your workplace or any public building you enter.Notice exit signs, fire escapes, elevators and stairwells.
objects can serve as improvised weapons.Umbrella, purse, car keys, comb, hairbrush, tin can, belt, ink pen,
chair, table, cup of hot coffee, etc.
about anything you happen to have in your hands can be used as a weapon or
at least to distract the attackers attention.For example, throwing a bag of groceries can set up an excellent
distraction prior to a counterattack or escape.
objects, such as nail files, keys and pens, can be used as makeshift knifes
to stab an attacker.
and canes can be used to distract an attacker to keep you at a distance,
poke him in the eye, or jam into his groin. Umbrellas and canes are not
heavy enough to be effective as bludgeon like a baseball bat, so strike the
soft targets like the face, eyes, throat and groin
make excellent weapons.If you
fear for your life than do not hesitate to use your transportable 2000-pound
weapon.Remember, it’s just a
car, and is replaceable.You are
The law and self-defense:
old self-defense saying: Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.
is a right, but can be judged as unnecessary or excessive by the law.If you can escape the situation than every effort should be made to
do so, and claiming self-defense usually requires that escape was
valid in the eyes of the law if it can be determined in court that most
people would have reacted to the threat the same way you did.For example, an attacker with a weapon gives you a lot of legal
latitude in a self-defense case.
into fights knowingly is where the law gets sticky for you as a victim.Shouting matches, verbal threats to each other, and general chest
thumping can put either or both of the combatants in jail.If one maims or kills another in such a confrontation than legal
action will likely follow.After
the heated moment witnesses will tell the police if you or your opponent
said things like “I’ll kill you...” or “I don’t want to fight
you…” and this is often critical to who goes to jail on what charge.If you yell “I’ll kill you…” and you happen to kill him then
you are likely to face felony charges of manslaughter or murder.
law also notes intent and ability to do harm.If the attacker is a 120-pound female yelling “get away from
me…” while beating a 200-pound man with her fist, the man has the right
to escape or restrain the female, but excessive defenses would be viewed
illegal.Examples would be:
breaking her arm, maiming, killing, using a weapon, or continuing the
counter-attack after the attacker is unable or unwilling to continue.
call the police after any physical attack.It is best to flee to safety and then call the police in most
situations.Do not put yourself
at risk of further attack by his nearby buddies or allowing him time to
recover and resume attacking.Safely
escaping the conflict is your only goal, let the police do the job of
finding the attacker.Try to
recall any characteristics of the attacker; height, weight, hair, clothing,
tattoos, weapons, voice, smell, breath, shoes, beard, eyes, etc.If the police capture the attacker you have probably saved somebody
else from suffering the same fate.
impersonation, or the impersonation of other officials is a common ruse to
catch you off guard.When your
car is pulled over insure the police vehicle is actually the police.Even unmarked police cars look like a blue and red “flashing
Christmas tree” when used in traffic.A small red or yellow light is not the police.Get the description of the car (hopefully including the license
plate) and call the police – they don’t like impersonators much. Police
uniforms are difficult to purchase without credentials, but not impossible.Fake badges are easy to get.A
plain-clothes officer should have a badge on his body, a pistol in a
holster, business card, access to a radio, and usually a car.Call 911 if you have any suspicions of the vehicle or officer, the
dispatcher will be able to verify the officers location as your location.The officer won’t mind, unless he is not real.
a worker or an official is another common tactic used by criminals to drop
your guard and casually enter your home.Acquiring a worker uniform is easy compared to getting a police
officer uniform, and thus very easy to impersonate.If a worker shows up you don’t expect, ask for identification and
call the company or organization to verify the current location of this
person.ID cards are also very
easy to fake.
Recommended reading list:
Sense for Women, Louis R
Mizell, Jr. (1993) ISBN #0-425-13971-9
Not an Easy
Target, Paxton Quigley
(1995) ISBN #0-671-89081-6
Defend Yourself, Every Woman’s Guide to Safeguarding Her
Thomas, Loveday and Strauss (1995) ISBN #0-380-77458-5
A Woman’s Guide to Personal Safety, Janee
Harteau and Holly Keegel
Womanly Art of Self-care, Intuition and Choice,
Debbie Leung (1991)ISBN