The effectiveness of applying muscle and/or nerve cavity grabbing applications in a street self-defense scenario is often overlooked. Being preoccupied with the immediate responses of striking the attacker, many vital targets of the opponent are dismissed, and many valuable opportunities to inflict pain are denied. We have all heard the maxim that “fights usually end up on the ground”. This is basically true, so why not avail yourself to render some severe pain to your assailant while on the ground.

As it is difficult to utilize power strikes on the ground, grabbing and or squeezing certain muscles, or cavity nerve centers can “set up” other more devastating techniques, (strikes, joint locks, etc.) and at the same time cause varying degrees of pain and distraction. Let’s explore some of these advantageous techniques to various situations one may encounter in a street altercation.

If you and your attacker are “wrestling” on the ground to gain a superior position, the armpits are usually exposed to some degree. Grabbing onto the muscles at the front part of the armpit and squeezing tightly will induce pain, and could cause the attacker to lose his breath for an instant, allowing you to follow up with other more punishing techniques. This application also is beneficial when grabbing the rear of the armpit, and could have the same results of pain and lost breath. Other great muscle grabbing areas are the trapeziums muscle, and the sternocleidomastoid muscle on the side of the neck.

When standing, an efficient escape from a front bear hug with the arms pinned is to grab and squeeze both sides of the lower waist area, just above the hip bone, and push down strongly. Now, you’re able to free yourself and apply more drastic applications if you wish. Try this technique and feel the intense pain it causes. More serious applications of grabbing and squeezing can be directed to nerve cavities (the carotid artery, jugular vein area), and the larynx (adams apple) with devastating effects on the attacker. These techniques will give you separation, and allow you to engage in follow up techniques.

Other prominent attacks to nerve cavity targets can be utilized by the extended middle knuckle of the fist. Many excellent releases can be executed to cause a separation between you and your attacker. For example, pressing the middle knuckle into the ribs (liver 14) or the floating ribs (liver 13) with a twisting motion will cause intense pain. Consider attacking the solar plexus, or the sternum, with the extended knuckle to cause intense pain and give you “distance” to escalate your attack if you desire. The inner thigh area just above the knee (liver 9) is an excellent way to open the attacker’s legs by pressing down with the tip of your elbow. Even grabbing and twisting the ears and hair offers escapes that are many times neglected in combat.

To take advantage of utilizing the many opportunities of attacking the muscle structure and nerve cavity areas of the body, one should train the fingers and hands in order to apply the most damaging effects. Finger tip pushups, squeezing a tennis ball or hand exerciser, carrying heavy weight lifting plates all can help to improve one’s grip and strength. Positive results will only follow with diligent practice.