Drop Any Big Guy in Three Moves

There you are, its Friday night and you're out on in the pubs when all of a sudden, this shady looking character approaches you to try to start a fight. You decide to high tail it out of there, but its no use - he has caught up to you outside on the street. You are faced with the responsibility of defending yourself against an attacker, bigger than you, who looks as if he could clean the street with you - what do you do when fighting him is your only option? What you need is to cover yourself with some basic self defense moves.

Three Quick Fight Finishers

The objective Strike first and create an opening whereby you can get away as soon as possible.

What Not To Do:

  1. Do not contest his strength. The worst thing you can do is to try to go "toe-to-toe" with someone bigger and stronger, let alone younger and bigger boned. You will likely be overwhelmed as you need to have superior speed and ability to match his superior size and strength.
  2. Do not let him hit you first. When you know you are facing imminent physical harm, the law provides for you to use reasonable force to protect yourself. Here, since you are dealing with someone larger than you, who is the aggressor the so-called "disparity of force" is against them.
  3. Do not try any movements that require the use of fine motor skills. When you are put into what your nervous system thinks is a life-or-death struggle, you have a massive adrenaline dump. This is good in one way, it provides for the "fight-or-flight" response which will give you the heightened awareness to survive. But it is bad, as adrenaline degrades your fine motor skills too rapidly to render them useful. The fine book "Sharpening the Warrior's Edge" talks about this in great detail.

What To Do:

Attack his weakest areas with gross motor movements. An old military maxim is to destroy the enemy's systems, is to destroy the enemy. Your attacker's systems here are: his vision, his breathing and his mobility. One of the reasons why I didn't pick the groin as a self defense target is that men instinctively protect that area. Even the guys with no practical self defense training skills do this as second nature. This could well be because our distant ancestors, primates, attack each others groins in an attempt to castrate each other in combat.

Attack His Vision

Attacking his eyes with a finger jab is one of the best means of dropping a big guy. Bruce Lee's favorite technique was the finger jab, deployed with an open hand, with the fingers outstretched. Just think of it as a jab would be in Western boxing, but rather with the fingers - flicking them into the opponent's eyes.

To avoid telegraphing the move, try to come upwards on a 45 degree angle, rather than horizontally. Not much force is needed to create an opening for escape. Also, look at some of the UFC fights that have been stopped due to accidental pokes in the eye.



Attack His Breathing

 A solid strike upwards into his nose with the heel of your palm will generate enough force to break his nose and cause temporary breathing issues. Forget the urban myth of driving the nose bone into the brain. The thing about the palm heel strike is that a) you don't have to learn to punch like a boxer, and b) you can deliver maximum force while not having to worry about hurting your hand. I once saw a 250-260 pound bully get dropped by a little 160 pound guy with one shot with this move! Lean into it and make sure that your feet, hips and torso are all into it.

If your life is in danger due to an armed attack or multiple attackers, you could consider a strike to the throat. By making a fist but only folding the fingers back to the second knuckle and punching using the second knuckles as the striking surface against the windpipe is lethal.

By aiming at the point where the collarbones meet in the middle at the top of the sternum ensures that you will hit into the throat (if you aimed at the throat, its likely you might hit the chin). A knife hand strike is another option to destroy the attacker's breathing.



Attack His Mobility

Finally, here we are talking about on of the hardest targets to block - the knees. The best way to attack them is with a low-line side kick, while leaning away from your attacker. Again, the incomparable wisdom of Bruce Lee - the side kick to the knee was one of the three favorite self-defense moves he advocated. (besides the finger jab to the eye and the vertical fist jab).

You can also use an "oblique kick" - a front stomp kick landing with the bottom of the heel but with the foot turned 45 degrees outward to ensure a better margin of error than an otherwise vertical foot.


For further thought, if you want to expand this short list, a good place to begin might be to have a look at the list of banned moves in the UFC. There is a good reason some of the moves listed on the first link are outlawed in MMA, as anyone of them would likely result in a career ending injury. Not good for the viability of the UFC business model.

*disclaimer* You could seriously injure someone if you don't use force judiciously. You and you alone are responsible for your actions. This level of force again, should only be used when there is no chance of avoidance or evasion/escape - which is what self defense is all about!