When you are physically attacked, you are dealt a hand that you have no choice but to play. There are no do-overs or trade-ins, just the situation that is presented to you. You must deal with it then and there or suffer the consequences. In some cases, those consequences are severe injuries or possibly death.
This “hand” you’re dealt could be a much larger opponent, with a solid frame and at least a foot and half-height over your own head. He may be muscular, and he might be half your age, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t even the odds.
Where does the secret lie? Is it hours at the gym to “beef” yourself up to his level?
More firearms training?
Although both suggestions have merit, keep in mind that there will always be someone bigger than you out there in the world. And, unless you always have your weapon ready, the attacker may surprise you.
The key to overcoming a larger opponent is to know how and where to strike.
Targeting vital areas
Vital areas, in simple terms, are described as points throughout the human body that a person cannot develop through weight training, exercises, or other physical regimens.
No matter how much time this person spends lifting weights or bulking up, it will do absolutely nothing to strengthen, enhance or protect his vital areas.
These vital areas include the eyes, throat, bridge of the nose, groin, ears, and several pressure points that run throughout his body, just under skin level. These include the sciatic nerve, which travels from the lower back and down to the foot, as well as large nerve groups in the neck and head areas.
All these vital areas, whether the target weighs 100 pounds or 300 hundred, can be exploited to give you a fighting chance to either escape your opponent or continue your barrage and overcome him.
The eyes, ears, bridge of the nose, and throat do not take a lot of pressure to be affected efficiently. If you jabbed him in the eye with four fingers or your thumb, it would produce two main results.
First, he won’t be able to see clearly and won’t be able to continue his attack. Second, depending upon the force of your attack, he may flee due to the extreme pain.
Cupping both hands and simultaneously striking his ears can disorient him. The impact of the cupped-hand strike on the eardrums allows you that micro-second to continue your barrage.
The throat is another good target area. Using the “V” of your hand or using your forearm (your forearm bone, preferably) in a quick, sharp manner will cause your attacker to possibly gasp, choke, gurgle, and momentarily relax, allowing you to escape if you are in his grasp.
Finally, the bridge of the nose, or just the nose in general, is a key vital area. Any punch you can land to his nose will do some damage.
If it doesn’t send a splatter of blood down his shirt, then the affected sinus area will cause his nose to drip, swell and throb as his eyes water incessantly. It’s an old, familiar saying, but it’s so true. If he can’t see, he can’t fight.
A lot of nerve
Nerves run throughout the body. Those very close to skin level are prime areas to exploit on an opponent. The sciatic nerve, which is one of the most popular and most well-known, runs the entire outer length of the leg. It is very sensitive to strikes.
If hit properly, it can cause the person to crumble to the ground and temporarily lose all use of that limb. One precise strike can affect it, several continuous hits, all directed at the same location, can topple him.
Your knee makes a perfect striking tool, as does your fist (or even better, just one or two knuckles), and so does the flat of your foot. When bone meets nerve, the result is pain and instability.
Attacking the sciatic nerve not only helps you take him down, but he won’t get back up to counterattack or chase after you if the pain is severe enough.
Other large nerve groups exist around the neck, throat, and up and down the bones in the arms. The proportion of fat tissue to lean muscle will make the difference as to which pressure points will be effective and which will not.
If you can’t get to the nerve, you can’t exploit it, and thick fat layers can cause this to be the case. Work on applying pressure to the nerves close to the bones and those that you can grip firmly in a claw-like grasp.
With nerve techniques, precision matters, and less is definitely more. For instance, apply only one pointed finger or knuckle to the nerve, as opposed to using all your fingers or your whole hand.
Whenever possible, try to land multiple strikes in the exact same location on your opponent’s body. This will wear down the nerves quicker and produce a faster result.
Get some help
Even though bare hands alone may be enough to produce damage on your opponent, in certain situations, incorporating a handheld weapon to assist may be necessary. These circumstances include when your attacker is wearing thick clothing or bulky coats or jackets, which may make it difficult to access the proper striking locations.
If your hands are smaller than average or if your strength is very low due to a physical limitation, then weapon assistance is a definite must.
The type of weapon that you carry should emulate a person’s own striking abilities. A kubaton (a 6-inch wooden or steel stick that fits onto a key ring) allows a victim to apply a precision strike with either the corner of the flat tip or directly with the pointed tip, depending upon the type of model they have.
An extendable baton also provides a blunt end to attack pressure points, but it adds an extra use—a solid ball tip that can be used to rapidly strike the assailant’s nose, throat, groin, or any nerve clusters that are accessible.
Improvised weapons can also be incorporated into your defense plan. Items like your car keys, an umbrella tip, or even a pencil or pen can be used against your opponent’s vital areas.
Multiple strikes or power hits
When confronted by a larger opponent and a physical response is your only option, keep in mind that multiple, quick strikes produce far better results than one or two “power” punches.
Putting all your energy and movements into a single punch will first, expose most of your body to your opponent, perhaps incurring injury, and second, waste precious time. In the amount of time it takes to throw one power strike at an opponent’s nose, for instance, you could land three to four short, subtler attacks and disrupt your intended target, his nose, eyes, throat, and possibly other areas.
Keeping your hands in front of you also provides you with the ability to parry or deflect any blows that he may throw. If your attacker has a knife, your arms can keep the deadly blade from your own vital organs.
Speed or strength? Which is better?
There is much debate over whether it’s more important to have speed or strength in a fight.
On one hand, the ability to throw multiple strikes against a foe can do some steady damage. On the other hand, a solid, strong power punch can end the skirmish in an instant if it lands. So, which is it, speed or strength?
The truth is … neither is better. The key factor is stamina. Being able to keep your body going at a steady rhythm when you’re defending yourself is the key.
When you’re face-to-face with someone, this can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as your need for oxygen. When the fight begins, the adrenaline surges and puts your body in overdrive.
Although this may sound good, as it gives you a surge of speed and aggression, it can also deplete your reserves much faster. Because of that, burn-out can put you on the ground and at the mercy of your opponent. The key to overcoming this condition is twofold.
First, regular exercise to enhance your stamina and endurance are a must. Second, the mental and physical process of controlling your breathing and relaxing as you move (or fight) must be learned and practiced on a continual basis.
If both can be achieved, whether you are large or small or fast or slow, you have the ability to win … not because you necessarily outfought your opponent, but actually, because you outlasted him.
How about picking up a tip or two?
The simple truth is that everyone is different. Some individuals may feel intimidated just stepping into a martial arts school to watch or try a class, while others may sign a self-defense class contract on site. What works well for one doesn’t always work well for another.
So, where does one go to learn at least some training basics that could be used if they are faced with a physical conflict? Luckily, the choices are many.
Martial arts dojo
For those looking for a long-term source for self-defense, martial arts schools are nearly everywhere. However, they are very diverse and offer a wide gamut of teachings. Some are useful for self-defense; some are not. It’s best to watch a class or two and then try out a free session yourself. Only when you are “in” that physical environment can you make an educated decision if that class and style is right for you.
Community center self-defense classes
A less binding alternative to signing a martial arts school contract, the local community center often has monthly classes for self-defense. It may be categorized as karate, kickboxing, or simply self-defense. You can usually find some basics taught at a reasonable price.
Books and magazines
Better as reference material than actual instruction, books and magazines can supplement your other training with new techniques, as well as your ability to learn about a varied selection of martial arts. They are relatively inexpensive, and you can read them during any downtime during your day.
Seminars and demonstrations
A weekend martial arts or self-defense seminar allows you to immerse yourself into a style without a long-term commitment. You can “test” out the martial art, and if it is to your liking, you can then seek out and sign up at a local dojo. If you attend a demonstration, you can ask the instructors any number of questions to help you make a choice to join that particular style or class.
These are a good source for step-by-step instruction, and they allow for constant review of the presented techniques. However, the necessity to have a partner while viewing is essential to “feel” the techniques presented on screen. The internet offers many self-defense and martial arts topics, so using it to choose a more permanent defense plan is a great idea.
Get yourself some practical helpers to help you defeat your opponent
Because your attacker isn’t going to play fair, there’s no reason you have to either. Fortunately, there are many handheld items that augment your important precision strike or allow you to gain some extra leverage to make a pressure point’s pain factor hit an 11 on a scale from 1 to 10.
Some were created to do specifically that job, while others are improvised weapons that will give you an edge when trouble finds you. Either way, they work, work well, and they should be incorporated into everyone’s self-defense repertoire.
A last word
Always remember that your larger opponent will not fight fair. He’ll use his size, strength, and weight, and it’s up to you to even the odds. If you target his large muscle masses, such as his chest, arms, or legs, you will most likely be looking up at him from the ground, injured and bleeding.
But if you think smart, don’t play his game, and know where and how to strike, the helpless victim he intended to overcome will give him a big surprise … one that leaves him completely overwhelmed and possibly out of the fight.
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