A mugger with a baseball bat

8 Steps to Self-Defense Review

Over the years, I taught many Self-Defense classes and workshops. We reviewed my 8 Key Points of Self Defense Basics , 10 Things to prevent attacks3 Things to think about before getting mugged, and demonstrated a few easy techniques.  I decided that I should really explain or recap those techniques. These techniques are designed for complete beginners. There are better methods and moves but these should serve those who have little or not training — other than my class.

demonstrated a few easy techniques. That is a lot of information to remember.

To help retain this information, I will explain or recap those techniques here. These simple techniques are for complete beginners. There are better methods and moves, but these should serve those who have little or no training — other than my short class.


Step out in a wide stance and bend your knees. In formal training, this will be called a Horse stance, Half-moon stance, or Fighting stance. Just remember to lower your center of gravity by squatting down. This squat is the first move of all the following techniques and happens after you remember to breathe.


The arms move downward or upward in a large circle. It looks like you’re madly crushing crackers in a bag on the table. These act as scans to deflect incoming strikes, as blocks for incoming strikes, and as hammer strikes (your offensive strike). Remember that unless you learned how to perform a front punch properly, it is better to do a hammer or elbow strike. A poorly done front punch will hurt you more than your opponent.

Secondly, this Windmill move is also a wrist escape — a grab defense we teach at White Belt. Spin your arm in the direction their thumb is pointing or on. This action releases the grip. After you are free, you run away.

Choke Defense

The key to all defenses against grabs and chokes is to start it before it makes contact. Use your upward Windmill to deflect the attack. Shuffle or step in, and double hammer strike the villain’s collar bones. Screaming like a berserk Viking helps too. Then it is time to run away.

Shoulder Grab

From your squat position, knuckle-strike the inside of the bad guy’s upper arm. Don’t hit the tricep or bicep. Strike the flat tender section in between. While he thinks about how much that hurt, you slap or hammer strike his face. Then you run away.

Bear Hug

Think of bears, honey, and bees. This imagery will help you remember the trick to get out. As the bad guy starts to hug the life out of you, pinch his ribs or fleshy inner upper arm like a bee. You can also bee sting (the pinch) the inner thigh area. Once he lets go, run away.

Never Stop Fighting

The final rule for self-defense is never, ever stop fighting. Never, ever give up unless you get your way. Punch, strike, hit, yell, and scratch until you are free. Pretend you are a cat just about to get a bath. Be the cat.

You should also read my posts about personal space and 5 ways to distract your opponent to round out your self-defense preparedness. Getting comfortable with a mugger so close to you and having a plan to distract him will provide you with ample opportunities to getaway.

For the best results, you should refresh your self-defense skills periodically.

At our San Diego schools, we offer a Ten Week Self-Defense Course that will take your skills to the next level. The course isn’t ten weeks of Karate lessons which you’ll never remember. The course is actual and practical self-defense scenario training with adrenaline-filled drills and street-smart awareness.

Sign up today before the waitlist begins. I want real self-defense!


  • Bryan Bagnas

    Grandmaster and Founder of Golden Leopard Kempo Martial Arts School, teaching Philippine Combatives, Kickboxing, and Self-Defense to San Diego students for over three decades.