7 Self-Defense “Techniques” That Will Get You Hurt

7 Self-Defense

Anyone studying martial arts or hand-to-hand combat waits for perfect opportunities to present themselves in a fight. When fighting an experienced fighter, he won’t likely expose his neck, head, or extremities to easy access for your strikes, grabs, and holds. As such, here are seven mistakes that fighters sometimes make which can end up becoming “perfect opportunities.”


Telegraphing is the process where you broadcast what you’re about to do before actually doing it. I think the reason it’s so common is that people watch too many Hollywood movies. Every Hollywood movie includes a lot of telegraphing because that’s part of the dramatic effect. The stunt coordinators, martial artists, and actors performing in those bits all know what they’re doing is for theatrical entertainment. Unfortunately, people in the real world have a bad tendency to haul back their fist to hit someone. That’s a good way of getting hit yourself.

Over-extending On Strikes

Reach is essential in a fight. Hitting your opponent before he can hit you gives you the opportunity to inflict damage and degrade his defenses first. On the receiving end, sometimes the only thing you have to work with is using your opponent’s added reach against him. An extended arm left out there too long is an invitation to get it grabbed. Arms and legs are vulnerable when they’re overextended from your guard.

One defensive posture works all the time

If you’re fighting only one opponent, your focus is on him. If you are fighting multiple opponents, your attention needs to be able to shift and prioritize. A defensive posture, or a guarded stance, is a defensive posture that allows you to move with your attacker. It’s best to study more than one, though, as different circumstances may require it.

Focusing on only one spot on your opponent

In soccer, watching a player’s hips is a good strategy to see how the opposing player is going to move. However, in a fight, it’s a mistake to only focus on just that. Situational awareness is critical in a fight.

Brute force attack

For larger, stronger guys, they tend to try to overwhelm an opponent and beat or tackle him into submission. They have the advantage of weight. However, brute force attacks where a guy goes out swinging can leave him exposed and, if unsuccessful, leave him tired and unable to press an attack.

Only going after the head

It’s true: if your opponent’s head isn’t working, the body is sure to follow. While striking the head can end a fight quickly, it’s also the first place people naturally guard. In a fight where your opponent is guarding his head against you, there’s an opportunity to wear him down by hitting whatever is exposed – even if it’s only his shoulder or arms.

Overextending legs and feet

A proper fighting stance can be improvised from standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and bending slightly at the knees. When you overextend a leg outside of your ability to block or guard an attack, you make it a prime target. If your kneecap gets dislocated, you’re going to have a lot harder time putting weight on it.