It’s 8 PM and dark outside. You grab your bag with clenched fists and speed walk as you see a man walking behind you. As he walks ahead of you without paying you any attention, you breathe a sigh of relief. But the sound of a footstep behind you has your heart racing again and you go back to clenching your fists and walking as fast as you can.

Unfortunately, this is not the story of one woman, but every single woman. There’s no woman who hasn’t been harassed by a man in one manner or the other. A catcall here, a grope there is far too common for women. In an ideal world, self-defence wouldn’t be a requirement for every woman. Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from ideal.

As women, we live in a constant state of fear. But that’s not really a feasible way to live, is it? It is always handy to know a few self-defence moves so that we can protect ourselves against an attacker. And in order to protect ourselves, it is also important to know some of the sensitive body parts that we can hit to immobilise a man.

self defence moves

1. Scream as loud as you can and run

Screaming is the obvious choice, but in the heat of the moment, we often freeze. The first rule of self-defence is to get safe as soon as possible. The aim is not to show your attacker that you can fight, but to make yourself safe. So, if you feel threatened, scream as loud as you can and run as fast as possible.

2. Palm Heel strike

Palm-Heel strike

The palm heel strike is one of the safest self-defence moves for an inexperienced fighter. In a palm heel strike, you attack with the heel of your palm. Take care not to strike with your fingers or upper palm as that could result in a broken wrist. As the heel of the palm can bear the most weight, strike with the heel.

When to use a palm heel strike: Use this strike if the face of the attacker is uncovered and you can reach the face with your arms.

How to do the palm heel strike:

  1. Bend the wrist of your dominant hand upwards, with your fingers open and elbow down.
  2. Keep the other hand up to protect your face or use it to grab the attacker’s arm to stop them from hitting you.
  3. Push the heel of the dominant palm to hit the attacker’s nose, chin or throat.
  4. As soon as the attacker staggers backwards, run away.

3. Groin kick

groin kick

A groin kick is a highly effective way to get an attacker to release you. The groin is one of the most sensitive areas for men and hence a good body part to attack. You can use your knees to hit your attacker or use a front kick to the groin.

When to use it: If someone is attacking you from the front. This is effective if the attacker is taller than you or you can’t reach their face.

How to use it:

  1. Make sure you are balanced and not staggering on your feet.
  2. Lift your leg and drive your knee upward.
  3. As you extend your leg forward, lean back slightly to maintain balance.
  4. Kick with as much force as you can.
  5. If you are using a front kick, make sure to hit the groin with your lower shin or the heel of your foot. Do not use your toes or the front of your foot because this can injure you.

Use your knee to kick the attacker if he is too close and you have no space to move away. Thrust your knee up with maximum force and hit the groin.

4. Hammer fist strike

hammer strike

A hammer fist is a versatile strike and also a fairly easy self-defence move for women. You can throw a punch in any direction and from any position. Standing, sitting or even if you are lying down, you can strike a hammer fist. You can use a hammer fist to attack the throat, nose, jaw, stomach, or groin.

When to use it: A hammer fist can be used in any situation where you find yourself in danger.

How to use it:

  1. Hold your key in a tight fist and hold it like a hammer, with the sharp edge pointing towards the attacker.
  2. Thrust downward with maximum force to hit your attacker.

5. Straight punch


A punch is the easiest way to get someone out of your personal space. But it is also important to remember to throw a proper punch. Else, you could end up with broken fingers.

When to use it: When someone is standing in close proximity and you wish to remove them from your personal space.


How to use it:

  1. Make a proper fist by curling your fingers starting with the little finger. Envelop the fingers with your thumb. Depending on the length of your thumb, make sure the thumb is over your index and middle finger. Do not wrap your fingers around the thumb as that’ll ensure you break your thumb while throwing a punch.
  2. Thrust your hip and fist forward at the same time while you use the ball of your foot to balance.
  3. Throw a punch with maximum force and aim at the aggressor’s eyes, nose or throat.

You can also strike with your elbow if the attacker is too close and you can’t get enough momentum for a punch.

6. Knee kick

knee kick

In cases where the aggressor is too close, throwing a punch may be difficult. In such scenarios, a knee kick is an effective way to push your aggressor away and get yourself to safety. You can attack a person’s neck, stomach or groin with a good knee kick. This is also more centralised than a front kick.

When to use it: When an attacker is too close and you don’t have enough leverage to throw a punch.

How to use it:

  1. Keep one leg slightly forward and your dominant leg slightly back.
  2. Lift the knee of your dominant leg and hit the attacker’s groin with full force.
  3. Make sure you hit with the bony part of the knee and not the thigh.
  4. If possible, grab your attacker by the neck and shoulders to get more leverage for your kick. This will also allow you to kick their nose apart from the groin.

7. Eye strike

eye strike

A very simple self-defence move that can be used in any situation. An eye strike forces your attacker to loosen their grip on you and allows you to use a more forceful move or run away altogether. Since the eye is a sensitive area, striking this part renders the attacker helpless.

When to use it: In any situation where you feel you are threatened and the attacker is facing you.

How to use it:

  1. Poke your fingers with full force into your attacker’s eyes. This will force the attacker to back up and give you the time to run away.

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Related: 7 Things For Which Women Get Death And Rape Threats In India


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