Five Posture Tips For Self Defense

By: Chris Gill

Whether you’re using your hands or a self defense product such as a TASER, stun gun or pepper spray, posture counts! After a clear head, a prepared body is the most important aspect of self defense. Now it’s easy to get bogged down in useless information. Martial arts experts recommend dozens of different fighting stances, but most of the fine points belong to the “art” part of martial arts, not practical self protection. According to Self Defense ATL the average person should just keep a few things in mind when he or she believes it might be time to fight for safety. Let’s boil these down into five tips:

Keep Your Hands Up!

Boxers, MMA fighters and other full contact fighting methods all emphasize keeping your hands up to intercept blows to the head. Don’t worry about fancy hand gestures or making fists (“putting your dukes up” before the fight can increase the likelihood of an attack, since you’re signaling that you want to fight). If you feel threatened, get your hands in front of your body and between the potential attacker’s hands and your head. You can be very subtle about this by just “talking with your hands.” Stay relaxed and if the guy starts swinging, trust your instinct to flinch with your hands forward to intercept the blow. You may not blog it completely, but you could very well reduce its force, giving you time to draw pepper spray, a stun gun – or just run. This is a great reason to keep a cell phone stun gun or key ring-based self defense product, since you can hold them in a raised hand without looking threatening.

Tuck Your Chin!

A blow to the chin or jaw violently turns the head, causing a knockout. That’s why full contact fighters routinely keep their chins tucked. It makes the chin harder to hit, braces the jaw up against the shoulders and makes the head as a whole harder to knock around. Like hand position, chin tucking can be very subtle. Just dropping your chin an inch or two can be effective. Don’t bend your back (this makes it harder for you to move overall) just tuck your chin enough that you can’t turn your neck as far in each direction as usual (try it out) – a sign that you’re braces against your shoulders.

Keep Your Feet Shoulder-Width Apart!

When threatened, many people narrow the distance between their feet – a big mistake. This makes you easier to trip or shove around. On the other hand, big wide stances keep you from running effectively. Instead, keep your feet shoulder-width apart. For most people this is slightly wider than they think – a couple of inches in each direction. This gives you stability against being shoved, but still gives you enough mobility to run.

Bend Your Knees!

To generate the biomechanical power you need to run or fight you’ve got to bend your knees – not a lot, but enough to be able to push off of either leg. To use full body power you have to push off of the legs first. If your legs are already most extended you have very little room to build that initial momentum. Plus, if you’re pushed around bent knees let you push back to absorb the incoming force. Or step away completely. Once again, this can be a very slight bend – not enough to look like you want to fight.

Don’t Face Threats Head On!

Your body is designed so that many sensitive areas like your abdomen are more vulnerable from the front, where your hands can intercept oncoming danger. Nevertheless, if you suspect an attack is coming, stepping one foot back can help immensely by pointing the vulnerable front of your body away from attack, reducing your frontward profile, and providing stability against pushes and grabs. Don’t drop into a “stance.” Just take a normal step back. Make sure there’s space between your feet when viewed from the front to stay stable – you don’t want to have one foot directly behind the other, since that makes it easier to trip.

Practice – and Relax!

Practicing defensive postures will greatly increase the chance you’ll use them in a confrontation, giving you time to run, use pepper spray or a stun gun, protect yourself with your hands or use another weapon. If you’re not bound for a boxing or karate match all you need to do is be ready to use these posture tips naturally without making it a “fighting stance” You can use all of the tips in this article without appearing aggressive – but you’re ready to fight back and get away. Naturally, self defense products such as training DVDs, sprays, stun guns and formal classes can all increase your chances of success, but taking the first step never hurts.

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Self Defense ATL is the Atlanta region’s provider of self defense products for the average person. Visitors can buy pepper spray, buy stun guns and buy Taser guns online or through a print catalog.

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