Defend Yourself

Currently I’m working on the third book in my Moon Shifter series (1st book out in February 2012!) and the heroine in this story is trying to overcome some pretty traumatic stuff that happened to her. In doing so, she’s training to defend herself and be able to seriously incapacitate or kill someone. I usually go to my husband for help when writing fight scenes (as a former Marine, he’s very handy to have around) but a couple weeks ago at my local RWA chapter meeting we had a really cool speaker. Her topic was self-defense and I’ve been able to utilize a lot of the knowledge she imparted on us into my current book (which is always cool). But, her tips are helpful for all women, not just my fictional heroine, so I thought I’d share:


  • When someone is attacking you, you have approximately four seconds to decide what you want to do: fight or flight. Think about what you would do with that precious time.
  • If someone was watching you, would they be able to pinpoint exactly when you would be out of the house because of your routine? If your answer is yes, try to mix up your schedule.
  • Have an escape plan at your house. If you’re home and hear someone breaking in, you need to know what to do.
  • If someone is mugging you, throw your purse and/or car keys away from you. Don’t just hand them to your attacker. Throw your stuff then use that time they’re getting it, to run. Your life isn’t worth your purse or car.
  • If someone tries to get you into their vehicle, do everything you can, not to – if you get in, you have a 10% chance of getting out unharmed. I don’t like those odds!
  • Make eye contact with people – attackers are looking for victims, not people with confidence
  • If you go jogging or walking (which I do, every day!) and listen to your iPod (ahem, which I also do) make sure you take out one ear bud so you’re more aware of your surroundings.

Now on to the physical stuff!

What to do if someone is choking you from the front:

  • Use one finger to attack their eye as opposed to using two to try to jab both eyes (your pointer and middle finger). It’s harder for their eyes to follow where one is going that close up.
  • Using the palm of your hand, drive up into their chin or their nose. If you hit them hard enough you can knock them out (chin hit) or break their nose
  • Palm heel hit them on both sides of the head, cupping their ears. You can possibly rupture their eardrums this way.

I’m going to break this post up into two parts so it’s not all an information dump. Two weeks from now, I’ll be posting on a lot more physical stuff and some life & death techniques as well as some more tips and fun facts! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Katie Reus

Posted on September 20, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Thanks for this!

  2. Katie, I am so glad you shared these! I’ll be directing folks this way today! 🙂 I had such a great time listening to the self-defense expert at our meeting, and the practice was pretty fun, too! I’m definitely going to be using some of these tips in my books, too!

  3. I am posting this for others to see!

  4. Great info on defense. Care for some additional tips ladies?

    1. Don’t let them choke you (seems obvious, but I’m serious). You see them coming–aim a 5th-grade-worthy groin kick. (sorry boys)
    2. If you didn’t see it coming and they are in fact choking you—do not try to pry their hands from your neck, most likely they are stronger than you. Instead, drive your arm right up your side and pin it to your ear. Then pivot 90 degrees, hard and fast, so that your raised arm swipes across theirs. Jerk your arm down to break the choke. Then do your worst.
    3. Interested in self defense techniques (as a writer or as a human being—includes men)? Check out your local Krav Maga. I take Krav and I can honestly say I am able to lay a grown man twice my size flat on his back. Check it out:

    Thank you again for the info. I hope you don’t feel like this is any kind of sales pitch here. I just felt it was a good addition to your info. In my current work in progress, I used many of the skills I learn to help my own traumatized heroine overcome her past and protect herself. It’s believable and spreads the word to those who read the books.

    Thanks. I’ll be tuning in when you post the second round, to learn more!

    • Thanks for stopping by Kyla! One of the things the instructor actually said was a lot of the times, men who are attacking women w/ a specific purpose like rape, are going to expect the groin kick so if you can go for the throat or eyes, it’s a better option. That’ll be in my next post though! Very cool that you take Krav Maga! That’s some serious stuff 😉

  5. I agree with you 100%, Katie. All women should know how to defend themselves. I remember taking a workshop for kick-ass heroines a couple of years ago and the instructor, who was a black belt and taught self-defense, mentioned we should be constantly aware of the weapons we have at hand in our homes. Not knives, she pointed out that household cleaners are better as they give you distance between you and your attacker. Hairspray was another good one. Weapons abound!

    Can’t wait to read the next post!

  6. Well that’s certainly some food for thought this morning! I want to add a couple things that echo what you already said.
    -in addition to making eye contact with people, walk with your head up, shoulders high, radiating confidence. You’ll make a much more intimidating target that way, hopefully so much so that the would be attacker will leave you alone.
    -Even if you’re scared, try not to show it. Giving off nervous energy is palpable to predators, so be sure not to look around nervously/seem uncertain.
    -Hit an attacker in the face or throat if you can, with whatever you can. The back of your head, elbow, whatever you can use to get a shot in!

  7. Great post! Great info! I’m looking forward to the follow-up!

  8. Great post! I took karate years ago, and the one thing I really remember is to stop and accept that you’re being attacked. It’s too easy to waste those precious moments thinking…’this isn’t happening.’ If you accept it, you can move on to the next step, which is deciding to fight or flee.

    Can’t wait to the next part! 🙂

  9. Wow! Wonderful post! I wish
    i had some handy tips too, but glad I read yours.

  10. What a great post! Husband and I have a well-estabilished plan in the event someone breaks into our house. (Yes, we’ve practiced.) But to be honest, I never thought about throwing my purse or keys if someone approached me in public. Great idea. Good luck with the writing! I’m sure it’ll be great!

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