Self Defence

When you practice self defence, you have to face the fact that your opponent will always be bigger and stronger than yourself, and he is really determined to do you harm. If he also is brandishing any form of blunt or sharp object, you have no choice but to take him very seriously.

Always be aware that

  • A street fight is determined in seconds (fights don’t last long in real life!).
  • There might be hidden weapons around.
  • Your opponent may have his friends close by.
  • There are eyes everywhere that can see you.

You can not only practise self defence, you have to think self defence!

You have to be on guard and decide what to do before you end up in a hazardous situation.

We are practising self defence here. In other words, we gain what the opponent misses!

The basic rule is: Anyone can hit someone. The trick is to avoid being hit!

Because when the opponent misses, then we go to work. Every time he strikes there will be an opening and that is the moment when we can determine the outcome of the fight.

That is why you have to think self defence, as I mentioned before. What will happen if he sends a straight punch towards me, or if he grabs me, or kicks at me? What body parts will he expose, and how can I reach them?

Sometimes in a real fight you might have to resort to the more nasty techniques. We may have to strike at “soft spots”, and be a little devious.

Instead of ducking for a hook we might power-block it, or strike hard on his biceps.

I recommend beginning your counter-offence with a feint. After that, one heavy blow from you might finish the fight.

Always assume that the first technique that you apply won’t work, so there should always be an alternative ready to use.

In short, stay flexible!

Also, avoid figuring out your move by letting your eyes “track” the pattern of your strike etc. Your eyes may “telegraph” your intent to your opponent.


Make the most of your peripheral (side-) vision. The human eye can focus on a total of 1-2 percent of it’s field of vision. That’s our centre vision. The rest (peripheral vision) varies in degree of focus.

That is why you should put your centre vision towards your opponent’s upper part, i.e. neck and shoulders area, which shows how he is going to move.

Do not look him in the eye! Eyes can deceive, with or without intent.

If you focus on the throat, you should still have a good full-body view of your opponent.


Watch his shoulders move, how the body follows and where his head is.

The feet also gives away intent, but should definitely be watched by peripheral vision.

Good practise for learning “how to read” your opponent is the warm-up drill “Can’t touch me!” described in the beginning of the book.

Remember that you have a field of vision covering an arc of 180 degrees or more. You don’t have to turn around to see if there is an opponent behind you.

Tests show that a 30-degree turn left or right of the head is enough to see what is behind you.

There is an excellent drill for improving the peripheral vision.

It is practiced in pairs, with both persons standing in front of each other, in fighting stance, up on their toes so they can move swiftly. One practitioner performs let’s say a kick to the other one’s shin which means that he has moved his leg backwards to avoid the kick. He has to maintain control and balance, and as swiftly as possible move the leg forward again, back into the stance. The eyes shall never be directed towards the opponent’s feet; this will slow your reaction if the opponent strikes with an arm instead.

Do not let your guard down during the drill, and keep your eye-focus on the opponent’s upper body as mentioned before.

Soon you will learn to recognize his “telegraphing moves”, which will give you warning in advance of his intents.

Notice: Field of vision, coordination, and reflexes will quickly be impaired even with small amounts of alcohol in the blood!

No fight can ever be predicted beforehand!