Distraction before or during a self-defense encounter is of the utmost importance when faced with a serious personal attack. The mind-set of an attacker is solely possessed with only one thought, and that is inflicting upon you, great bodily injury. Through the proper use of distraction techniques, which can be either verbal or actual physical responses, the “victim” increases his/her survival chances.

How then, can a student of self-defense, learn distraction techniques that are suitable to engage in before or during an actual assault? Let us now explore an example of utilizing a “verbal” distraction first. When confronted with an irate and hostile individual, who has been making overt gestures with his hands and body, and talking trash to you, has confirmed in your mind that an attack is imminent, a loud shout (kiai) in the martial arts, can for an instant create confusion, and distracts him for a few moments from his hostile intentions of hitting you.. These precious seconds can then allow you to “strike the first blow”. One does not have to wait for the other person to initiate an attack if you have been threatened, it is justified to attack the attacker, and thus nullify the attack on you.

Sometimes, just a look away from the “attacker” is enough to cause him/her to also look away, which again gives you the advantage of dealing the first strike. Another scenario is when the individual has already begun to either grab or push you, or has actually started punching and /or kicking at you. How would distraction techniques come into play? For example: if your shirt has been severely grabbed, here are a few distraction options to employ: grab the lower lip and twist, press upwards under the nose, an eye poke, a hair pull, kick to the shins, grab the ear and twist. From here, you can now enter into more devastating applications such as, strikes to pressure points, joint locking, throws/takedowns, chokes etc. The distractions have momentarily stopped the attackers plan of hurting you, and they have set-up your array of attacks to disable him and safely escape the situation.

Successful self-defense encompasses a wide variety of the correct use of principles and concepts, and applying mental and physical techniques to overcome violent aggression in today’s unpredictable society. Study with a competent instructor to learn all the aspects of self-defense, and attain the self-confidence that goes with it.

Thanks for your time,
Tom B.
Self-defense coach