Trial Lessons

Self-Defense Mindset: Don’t fight the attack, Fight the attacker’s objective

Wed May
by Ronin Athletics Team

Jiu-jitsu has an extremely long track record of helping smaller and less physically strong people in a fight. From its inception, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has been conceptualized as a complete martial arts system based on technique rather than raw strength or speed. While jiu-jitsu has evolved as a martial art in its 100-year history and become far more popular in mixed martial arts tournaments, it continues to be a highly effective and universal method for self-defense. For this reason, the Gracie family has worked to take elements of jiu-jitsu and combine them with more conventional tactics from public safety programs to create a self-defense curriculum specifically designed for women: Women Empowered.

Don’t fight the attack, Fight the attacker’s objective

Recently, Rener Gracie and his wife Eve described some of the tactics that they teach their students to avoid becoming the victim of an assault. The core principle that Rener stresses it that you should not focus on fighting the attack. Instead, you should fight the attacker’s objectives. Keep this in mind as we go through the lessons in the video.

Stay on the Street

In the case of a sexual assault, the number one goal of an attacker is isolation. If they can get you away from others as quickly and as quietly as possible, there is a lower probability that someone will intervene and stop what is happening. Rather than fighting the attacker, you should fight this objective.

For example, if the person attempts to grab you by the wrist while you are walking down the street and starts to pull you into an alley or a secluded space, your first move should not be to attempt to punch the assailant because it is going to throw you off balance. Instead, your first response should be to lean in the opposite direction and scream out for help. This delays any attempt at abduction and gives others more opportunity to come to your aid.

Students of the Women Empowered program also learn different methods of forcing a wrist release that rely on leverage rather than brute strength. Students who learn these techniques can quickly break away from the assailant and flee to safety.

Another technique to avoid being isolated is to drop to the ground. While this may seem counterintuitive, being on your back means you can now use your legs to manage distance between yourself and the assailant and you can easily strike with your legs. It also makes you more difficult to move and keeps them from achieving their objective.

As your primary goal is to fight their objective, you should do everything in your power to prevent, frustrate, or delay.

Stay Out of the Car

If someone tries to pick you up from behind and quickly get you into a car, do everything in your power to stay out. Once again, you want to fight their objective and to never allow your assailant the opportunity to get you into a secluded place. More importantly, you never want to be taken away from where contact was made because there is a lower possibility that someone you know will come to your aid.

Similar to the above section, you should be as loud and difficult as humanly possible. This means using your legs to push off the car, scratching, biting, and screaming. It doesn’t matter.

If you do not have the opportunity to escape and end up in the car, make your exit as quickly as possible, even if the car is moving at slow speeds if the door on the other side is open.

Stop the Driver

If you are in the back seat, and the assailant is driving, you do not want them to get to wherever they plan on going. Again, you want to fight against the objective. In this scenario, the easiest way to do so is to incapacitate the driver with vascular neck restraint. To do this move, take one arm and place it over the neck, lock the underside of the elbow into place against the assailant’s windpipe, and grab your wrist with the other hand. Once you are locked in place, pull back and use the headrest as leverage. If done correctly, the assailant will be rendered unconscious in six to ten seconds.

If you are in the passenger seat and this move is not possible, you may be forced to cause an accident. On the one hand, this will likely stun the driver. On the other, it will hopefully wreck the car to the point that they can no longer use it. In this scenario, you just grab the wheel and yank it toward you while trying to mindful of what you may smash into.

Though some of these tactics may seem extreme, nothing should be off limits if an attacker threatens you. As Rener says, “Everything is on the table when it comes to saving your life.”



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