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There's no mistaking that the world is a dangerous place. And it's important that you know how to defend yourself, whether you are male or female, big or small, old or young.

In a perfect world we would never have to worry, but in reality, you need to be prepared. Because sometimes that can of pepper spray just isn't enough. Or you can't get to your firearm in time. We don't go around decked out in our survival gear all day. That's when knowing these surprisingly simple defense moves comes in handy. Today we're going to teach you how to escape a few common holds, and where to strike to cause massive damage to your opponent.

Escape a wrist hold

If an attacker has hold of your wrist, you need to break free. Start by rotating your wrist so the thinnest part is lined up where your attackers thumb and fingers touch. This is the weak point in his grip. Lock your hands together and pull towards yourself as hard as you can. You may need to use your foot to "kick off" from your attacker and give yourself enough leverage, but you'll get free.

Escape a hair grab

In a fight your hair can be a target. If a larger opponent grabs it they can control your movements, so reach up behind and also grip your hair in the same spot. This will give you a little control back, so set your feet and even if they're stronger than you, try to regain control. Now bring your other hand up and find their pinkie. Grab it with your full fist and bend it backwards as hard as you can. You want it to be fast and sudden, as the shock will cause then to break their grip. Fair warning, you may need to break it to get them to let go.

Escape when you're hugged

This is one of the simplest, yet unwelcome grabs, and it can be difficult to escape from if your attacker is larger and stronger than you. Try to relax and lower your center of gravity. You want to become like a sack of potatoes, sliding down as you push your attackers elbows up. If you do it fast enough, you can spread your legs a little and roll them over your shoulders so they slam on the floor. Or if not, at least get them unstable enough that they let you go and you can duck out and escape.

Escape when you're pinned

If a heavy attacker has you pinned, you've still got a few ways to fight back. In addition to biting and head-butting, try bringing one of your legs in so the heel almost touches your butt. Do the biggest hip thrust you can manage, pushing up from the bent leg, as you kick up with the other as hard as you can. This will throw your opponent off of you, so you can either escape, or get a little free to start fighting back with everything you've got.

Attack with your knees

Once you've planted your feet, using your knees to attack your opponents groin is a surprisingly effective move. Use your hands to steady yourself against your attacker and drive your knee up as hard and fast as you can. It's a strike that's also effective into your attacker's head or their stomach, but you need to do it fast. With a little practice you'll improve quickly, and if you can also pull your opponent down into your knee strike it'll be that much more devastating.

Attack with your palm

A palm-heel strike is one of the most effective attacks if you've not trained before, as it puts you at little risk of braking your knuckles when striking your opponents head. What you're aiming to achieve here is a push upwards, hard and fast, targeting either the chin or the nose of your opponent. Snap their head back fast enough and you'll generate a knock out, and a hard strike to the nose will set their eyes watering so you can escape.

Attack with your foot

Depending on the fight, your feet are a great way to attack back, especially if your opponent has hold of your arms. You can use your heel to stomp down on the top of their foot, or better yet, try to kick their knee. If you hit it hard enough from the side (not straight on) you can do a world of damage that will give you the upper hand in the fight, as your opponent will no longer be able to stand. Kicking the groin also works. Remember, anything goes in a street fight.

Attack with your elbow

Finally, I have to say an elbow attack is one of the most brutal. It's one of the hardest striking points in your body, and almost all martial arts disallow it (and for good reason). Swing it like you're throwing a punch, but with your fist balled up and tucked into your chest. You'll get the best results aiming for their head, which will almost always result in a cut, or a knock out if you manage to hit your opponent's temple. It's a devastating strike.

There's far too many people who never take a class in self-defense because they believe they need to take years to master it. But the reality is, we all could use a little training, even just a handful of classes, to learn these surprisingly simple self-defense moves, just in case. You never know when you may need them to save your life.

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