Did you know that apart from fending off a potential attacker, knowing self-defence techniques can help you feel more confident? Here are five moves you should know to stay safe.
By Tasneem Sariya
What will you do if you are attacked? Will you be able to fight back and how? You need to ask yourself these questions today as incidences of molestation, rape and other crimes, are on the rise. It is time to take your safety into your hands.
Even today, many women are scared to walk alone at night or travel alone on public transport. Hence, knowing basic self-defence is vital. It can help you fight and get away unhurt from the attacker.
We spoke to two experts, Mickey Mehta, holistic health and fitness guru, and S Sreeram, Krav Maga expert, to find out the essential defensive skills every girl should have. Remember that these key moves will be useful even for those who do not have any training in martial arts or related self-defence techniques.
First, a little bit about Krav Maga. A Hebrew term meaning 'contact combat', Krav Maga is considered one of the most practical and effective forms of self-defence today. It is based on unarmed combat. More important, it uses your natural reflexes and makes them more efficient and effective. According to S Sreeram, the basic techniques of self-defence taught to women come under the following categories:
1. Hand hold releases: There are about 10-15 ways to free yourself when your attacker catches hold of you. If you are grabbed by the wrist, do not try to pull away. Instead, rotate your wrist towards the attacker's thumb to loosen the grip, then pull away.
2. Hair hold release: Quite often, an attacker can grab you by your hair or ponytail. In Krav Maga, there are specific moves aimed at teaching you how to free yourself from such a hold.
3. Bear Hug release: This method teaches you how to break free if the attacker tries to hug or hold you from behind or from the front.
4. Pinning down to the ground or wall: This technique teaches you how to free yourself in case the attacker pins you down to the ground or pushes you against a wall.
5. Attacking vulnerable parts: This is about using your knee, fist, elbow effectively in case the attacker comes at you from the front or back. In fact, knees and elbows are your strongest weapons you possess. If the attacker tries to hold you or comes too close, aim your knee at the groin as hard as you can or aim the elbow to his face.
Here are some other self-defence moves women can use:
Should you run or choose to attack the assaulter?
The best option is to run if there is a chance of escape. Engaging with the attacker should be the last resort. Run and make as much noise as you can to attract attention. And, call for help. In fact, as you run, keep screaming so that someone may hear you and come to your aid.
What if the attacker catches you off guard in a lift, cab, dark alley, or public restroom?
If you are attacked in a confined place, there are no chances of running away. Unless you can fight off the attacker. Strike with whatever you have in your hand. If you are in a lift, press the alarm button. If attacked inside a cab, surprise the attacker by screaming and counter-attacking him.
Krav Maga teaches women to escape from such situations by using basic moves that can be changed to suit different scenarios. As S Sreeram explains, every situation demands a different type of reaction when you are under attack.
Are you fit enough to use these self-defence moves?
In Krav Maga, different moves are designed keeping in mind your attire, the impact of the shock, the number of attackers, as well as physical strength. While you can practise the above-mentioned moves or look up videos online, it is equally important that you work on your fitness levels too. Staying fit and agile will help you be more prepared in case such a situation arises. To enhance your fitness, do light aerobic exercise, regular yoga practice or, join boot camps.
How can you mentally prepare yourself?
It is important that you remain mentally strong during an attack. If you fight rather than give in, there are greater chance of escape as well. After all, most rapes or incidents of assault are not premeditated attacks. Keep in mind that if you are able to fight back strongly, the attacker’s motivation may not last long.
Learning self-defence moves can boost your self-confidence and enhance feelings of self-respect. At the same time, it can help you be more prepared and alert. Remember, being attuned to your surroundings and to other people is crucial — it can even get you out of a dangerous situation.
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