Know this: You will kick some ass and get some ass kicked, but this will hopefully avoid the full extent of your ass from being subjected to said kicking. There is no such thing as a clear winner, unless you're fighting your little brother or wrestling with a friend. But that isn't what we are talking about. Let us presume someone has insulted you or someone dear to you, and the only way left out is a tiff. It is critical that you realize this: You will get hit. You will get hurt. Chances are, though, that the adrenaline won't let you even feel it until afterwards. Your goal is to end the fight as quick as possible without looking like a sissy. The ole kick in the balls is out of the question, unless we're talking about a life and death situation.

Your Stance
You will want to have your weight evenly distributed between your left and right leg, with your passive side facing your opponent. If you are right handed, the left is the passive side. Your opponent will most likely do the same; if you see him leaning forward, you can take your chances and swipe kick the leg nearest you, throwing him to the ground. Stability is 90% of staying up.

A kick to the chest is sure to take nearly anyone down. But if you aren't fast, your opponent can grab your leg and pull it, throwing you to the ground. A kick to the shin is much easier, especially when your opponent has his eyes on your upper body. When he lowers himself after the shin kick, uppercut him.

Most basic rule of punches: keep your thumb outside your fist, lest you wish to break it. If you're hitting something hard, do a flat fist (fingers and back of hand at ninety degrees;) if your target is soft, angle your fingers at fourty-five degrees, striking with your knuckles. Always go for the money shot. Right in the face, preferrably on the nose. If you can get to the side of his face, a good strong hit has the power to dislodge his jaw or even break it. Always punch with your whole body - since your passive side is facing your opponent, by swinging around you can put an extra 1xx pounds into the hit.

Pressure points
With a bit of practice, you can end any fight in five seconds flat. There are tons of these, the most practical are between the jaw and ear, on either side of the neck, aside the shin... You can pick up a book on them or just poke yourself =) - They can save your ass if you're in any sort of lock and can liberate a hand.

We will assume that during the course of this, your opponent will try to distribute some bodily harm in return. It is amost useless to block kicks (unless you're a friggin' monster, and then why would you be reading this,) instead, try to move out of their way. If a straight-on punch is approaching you, use the outside of your arm to "smack" it out of your way, preferrably striking with the other one. Any sliding hit (coming from the side) should be blocked on the inside of your opponents arm with the downside of your hand.

ALWAYS try talking it out first, 'cause regardless of how good you are at this, you never know what might happen...

We almost have ourselves a little brawl going, don't we? =)

When I created my original writeup, I was describing a fight that would not lead to the death - merely the consummation of a heated argument; the kind of thing that gets stopped by both parties' friends before it gets too serious. Of course one should avoid fights when possible, I used to think otherwise until my jaw was broken with someone's first punch - but, we're young, we're men and in the quest for knowledge and nubile young women things tend to get out of hand, a good fight can be cathartic at times.

Quick tips as an addendum:

  • A kick to the genitals is always a good first move. REMEMBER: You should be fighting to save your life, not to look cool.

  • If your opponent has good facial and lower-body coverage, try hitting the throat or the back of the neck. The former could leave your opponent incapacitated, while the latter hurts a WHOLE LOT.

  • Consider taking a self defnse class. Ju-jitzu, karate, and judo are good Eastern-fighting style options for self-defense.

  • When in like the wind!

  • One thing often overlooked is your attitude. You may remain calm and collected during the 'talking a way out of it' phase, but you must recognise the moment when the shit hits the fan, and change your attitude accordingly. Clausewitz had it right with 'ultimate war' - there is nothing to be gained from holding back. Lose your humanity, devote yourself completely to maiming or incapacitating your opponent. Do not stop until the work is done. Always assume your opponent has had the same idea.

    Virtually anything can be used as a weapon, including things found in one's environment. Always be aware of your surroundings, keeping alert for any items that can be used to your (or your opponent's) advantage. Make sure to have a few simple things readily at hand such as keys (grasp the chain or ring in your palm with the keys extended between the fingers of your fist), a sturdy comb (great for jabbing and gouging sensitive exposed areas like the face and neck), most beverages (if not damaging, can at least create a momentary diversion), a belt (swung like a whip, the buckle can shred), etc. Useful things in the fight area may include rocks, bricks, boards, tree limbs, trash cans, glass bottles, or other items.

    If someone bear hugs you to minimize the damage that they do to you, you should respond by boxing their ears, headbutting them, preferably in one of their temples if you've got a long flexible neck, or virtually anything that will force them to realize that they're not minimizing damage. Grab anything you can and attempt to pull it apart, jab your fingers into soft spots, be relentless. A winner is you!

    I got in a fight two days ago, and while the guy who had me pinned to the ground 'won,' when we were there, my rabid method of swinging my arm from the ground to nail him in the small of the back repeatedly left him more sore than I the next day.

    Basically, pressure points are good, things that people aren't looking for you to hit, their ears, their eyes, their wind-pipe, their sternum especially. People think, 'aww, he's just punching at my rock hard stomach,' and then that little bone breaks off at the tip and it's off to the emergency room with 'em.

    My last piece of advice, also a lesson learned from last night, is to wear contacts if you can. I had glasses, so to avoid damage to them, I threw them off to the side before we got rough. I've got amazingly bad eyesight, and I blame my getting caught by him on the fact that his arms were just blurry grey things to me.

    I might be criticized for adhering to some sort of fair fighting system which obviously isn't much in favor here, but I must completely disagree. I reject this "Anarchist's Cookbook" notion that "It's either you or him, so you better damn well fight for your life." In most fights, the simple fact is that it's not a matter of life or death. There will be bystanders, or some measure of goodness in your opponent, and frankly, there will be no need for killing, or even crippling your opponent. There are many ways to disable someone without causing any permanent physical harm.

    I cringe somewhat when I hear people speak casually and technically about which bones to break, and how to best maim another person. I do not wish to draw conclusions, but I can only assume that, judging from society as a whole, most of the people who espouse these techniques have never been forced to employ them. I do not wish to give off the impression that I am some pacifist wimp who believes that all violence is inexcusable and would gladly turn the other cheek... In fact, I myself have been practicing martial arts for three years. But the fact is that if presented with a dangerous situation, my first intention would be to end the fight as quickly as possible with a minimum of permanent physical damage.

    It's not even a matter of fair fighting, whatever that means (in taekwondo, my sparring opponents often yell at me for blocking with my knee... it's painful to them, but effective and not against the rules). It's merely a matter of pragmatism. Do you really want to kill someone? Murder is a big thing, legally, emotionally, and otherwise.

    That is not to say that there will not be certain situations in which one's own life will be at stake; this is undoubtedly true. However, to approach every physical encounter in one's life in this manner is both vain and can only do more harm than good.

    AN ADDENDUM: Tips for Women

    My dad's a blackbelt, and when he taught me to fight at a young age, he offered these useful tips. Keep in mind these largely assume that you're female, or that for some other reason you'll never be fighting for show like guys tend to do--these rules don't apply to male bonding brawls.

    1. Don't fight unless you're raving mad. Fighting when you're only a bit pissed or showing off will guarantee that you won't move as fast as you need to, and that the blows you take will hurt more, because blind rage is what provides enough adrenaline to ignore most pain. Guys usually don't have as much trouble summoning that rage; for a woman, it takes a lot to get that pissed.

    2. Don't talk once the fight has become a fight. No, once the fight is a fight (for me, when somebody puts their hands on me), all talking is off. Clench your teeth, so that you both remember to be quiet and also lessen the risk of having your teeth or jaw broken. Clenching your teeth also prevents you from biting your tongue off if you're hit in the mouth.

    3. Take the first shot and make it good. If you're female, you have a built-in reason to believe that your opponent may be stronger than you or more experienced in scrapping. So as soon as you know you're fighting, take the nastiest shot open to you and take it full-force. The genitals are popular for girls fighting guys (and I've made that work as a first move). Other good ones are the eyes, the throat (especially with a punch or chop), the temple (especially with a bat), and the shins.

    4. Don't stop till it's over. Never make the mistake of getting your opponent down and letting them back up. Once you stun them, keep beating the hell out of them until they stop moving or are so fucked up that you're positive they won't be fighting you anymore. Your opponent begging you to stop is NOT good enough--if they wanted you to stop before they got really hurt, they shouldn't have fucked with you in the first place. Beat 'em till they stop moving.

    5. Carry a knife. This is my own advice to women, especially in situations where hostility is a possibility; my dad, however, agrees with it. A knife is a powerful advantage in a fight, especially if your opponent is unaware of it. And with a knife, unlike a gun, there isn't much danger of accidentally hurting someone you didn't intend to--and a knife also makes an invaluable purse-tool, too. Never, however, "hold" anybody at knifepoint unless you're sure of your ability to detain them--it's pretty easy to knock a knife away. I apply my knife to the other rules: I normally won't fight unless I'm mad enough to use the knife; I use it to get in devastating first shots, and it's a great way to incapacitate someone who's down or make sure that they guy who's "unconscious" really IS.

    Yes, I know I sound vicious; and I do firmly believe that if you have the ability, you should avoid hurting people as much as you can. But that's a lot easier when you're a 200-lb guy swinging a six-inch meaty fist than when you're a hundred-pound white girl in Detroit. The first and foremost use of fighting is self-defense; while I understand that others might have different motives and situations that they fight for, I believe that the most important initial information to have about scrapping is how to incapacitate someone who's trying to hurt you.

    I couldn't help adding my thoughts on ass kicking...

    Fighting is not necessarily a good thing but sometimes it happens. What you really should remember about fighting is: If you think you are going to get into a fight, hit first and very hard. A good straight punch to the face, don't swing your arm like a roundhouse punch or something like that, they'll see it coming. Aim three or four inches behind their face when hitting them. Go hit for the nose or jaw or eyes, you want them to be in a lot of pain. Hopefully, you'll immediately floor them and it will be over with that first punch. If they don't crumple and fall to the floor within a split second, hit them again and again until the fall down.

    That is your pretty basic, no-nonsense method of fighting. I'll move onto a few other techniques that are a little more destructive.

    1.) Compounding. Compounding a strike is very simple. What you want to accomplish is stopping the sway of your opponent's body when you hit it. This can be done firstly by backing someone into a wall and hitting them or grabbing the back of their head in one hand and elbowing them in the face with your other arm. I recommend the first method for people who don't really fight often, as there is a lot of risk in grappling with you opponent.

    2.) Blocking and Trapping. If you can't floor your new friend with one or two hits you're going to want to know how to block. Hopefully, the person you are fighting will throw roundhouse punch or take a big swing at you. Step in closer to them and hit their punching arm with your forearm and hit it hard. It'll hurt you a bit, but it will hurt them a lot more and probably knock them of balance. Punch them in the face. From here you have two options, either punch them again, or, if they leave their arm hanging in the air, hyperextend it and hit them in the elbow. You'll break it, it only takes seven pounds of pressure to break locked elbow. The second option is essentially trapping their limb.

    3.) Kicking. Never, ever kick above the mid-thigh. Kicking any higher puts you at high risk. The last thing you want is to be thrown to the ground. You can kick to the groin. A hard kick mid-thigh causes little long term damage and lots of short term pain. This is a good thing. A well placed kick will discourage anyone from continuing. Go for the sides of the knees if in doubt.

    4.) Dancing fighters and how to move. Some people move around a lot when they are fighting. You can use this to you advantage, but always remember, they are moving around to "fake you out." Don't look at their face. Look directly at their chest if you are fighting a guy and around the belly button if you are fighting a woman. They won't be able to fake you out. You also could try dancing around, though you should stop immediately if they start watching your center of gravity. They know just as much about fighting as you do so you should end the fight as soon as possible. I generally do not approve of dancing about; it really wastes a ton of energy you could be breaking your friend's face with. Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly bent, one foot six or so inches in front of the other. If you have to move shuffle, don't pick your feet up off the ground; take your weight off it and slide forward.

    5.) Being particularly nasty. Here are a few evil tips. Slap someone in the side of the neck. Your neck has %400 more nerves and sensors than any place else on your body, besides your naughty bits. Put you knee into your opponent's leg halfway between their knee and hip on the outside of the leg. You'll hit a nerve. Poke them in the eyes. Grab their throat between your thumb and index finger. Whether they live or die when you have their throat is up to you. If you squeeze too hard, you'll most likely break their windpipe. They'll die, that's bad.

    Going psycho. Don't. If you are really pissed off and aren't thinking you are going to get hurt. Bad. Don't talk trash either. Keep your mouth closed and you jaw clenched. It'll save you chipped and broken teeth and maybe even biting off your tongue.

    There's your basic guide to fighting. Let me recount a few essentials. Hit hard and don't hold anything back. Don't kick above the thigh. Don't mince about like a fairy.

    Disclaimer. I've studied a good amount of martial arts for a good amount of time. Karate, American Kenpo, Jiu-Jitsu, animal kung fu, and Pak Mei with a little Muay Thai for good measure. I never learned any martial art for the sole purpose of kicking ass and don't think anyone should fight using any of the above techniques unless their life is threatened. Hurting people is bad.

    This writeup is geared towards self-defensive fighting. If you attack someone simply because they're smaller than you, you don't like them, or think it will make you look cool, you are an idiot. I trained long and hard to learn these things exactly because of people like that, and the fact that I WAS training was enough to keep them away. If you use these tips for the wrong reasons, I sincerely hope that your entire life is a giant failure. Chances are it already is.

    Ground Fighting

    A lot of fights, especially when the combatants end up grappling, end up on the ground. Whoever is on top has an amazing advantage, so it had better be you.

    If you begin to grapple during a fight, your main objective should be to put your opponent on the ground as quickly as possible. There are a couple of good ways to accomplish this, and the usage depends on your positioning relative to the opponent.

    • Outside-Inside Sweep
      If the opponent has a good fighting stance, i.e. one foot forward, one foot back, you can send them tumbling with a quick sweep to their front foot, accompanied by a shove towards that foot. The idea is to kick their front foot out from under them, and then push them towards the side that isn't supported.
    • Outer-Leg Trip
      This is one of the best ways to take someone down. Place your foot behind your opponent in a long, solid stance, and push them backwards so that they trip over your leg. If you follow them down, you're in a perfect position to pin them by landing your knee on their groin, abdomen, or sternum. Or, if you're really awesome, you can land your knee right on their solar plexus, right below their sternum, and knock the wind out of them by making their diaphram spasm. This will essentially end the fight.
    • Between-the-legs Trip
      This works well if the opponent is, for some reason, using a bad stance, i.e. feet relatively close together. Place your front leg between their legs, behind the opponent's foot. Now, run forward while shoving them at the shoulders. You should be able to force them back over your leg, and then you can go down with them and pin them.

    On the Top
    You're at a great advantage if you're on top of your opponent, unless you are significantly lighter than they are. Even then, you can very easily limit their movements so that they can't defend themselves and you can end the fight quickly. A few tips:

    • Land with your knee
      Dropping on your opponent with your knee can cause serious damage. Do the math in your spare time: almost your entire weight, dropped about three feet, landing on an area the size of your knee, can hurt your opponent really, really badly, and will probably end the fight.
    • Turn them over
      If you can get ahold of their arm on the way down, then you can use it to roll your opponent over on their stomach. I wouldn't recommend control holds like this for people who haven't been formally trained, but it is possible for you to hang on to your opponent's arm and, as they hit, push them over and twist their arm towards the inside of their body. At that point you can sit on top of them and do whatever you please, because they can't even see you.
    • Get Away
      The best part about being on top is that you can get away, whenever you want. Land a few mean blows, and by that point your opponent should be stunned enough that you can get up and away before they can even think about counter-attacking. As mentioned earlier, though, if you're at all worried about them continuing their attack, keep capitalizing on your position. That is, beat them till they don't move.
    On the Bottom
    Once someone is on top of you, your options are very limited. At this point, you have only two objectives: 1) preventing as much damage as possible and 2) getting the hell up.
    • Preventing Damage
      Chances are good that at this point you're going to get hurt. Here are some things you can do about it:
      • Dont let them pin your arms
        If your opponent has a hold on you, as soon as you hit the ground pull your arms in to protect your face. Sooner or later your opponent is going to get around to hitting it. The main objective is to keep your arms from being pinned between you and your opponent.
      • Move as much as you can
        If you can wriggle around, bobbing your head and such, you can make your opponent miss what they're trying to hit. A glancing blow to your cheek is much better than a piledriver to your nose.
      • Cushion your head
        A favorite move of an opponent if you're on your stomach is to pull your head back by the hair and smash it into the ground. To prevent any significant damage from this, place your arm undernead your forhead, so that your head hits flesh instead of pavement.
    • Getting Up
      Getting up is hard to do when someone is sitting on top of you. Your only real hope is to overpower them. If you're not bigger than them, you have to do something to divert their attention to their own discomfort.
    • Pressure Points
      There are some very good places that, when put under pressure, can be very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, when you're being sat upon, not many of them will be accessible. But, luckily, my favorite pressure point of them all still is. It's the inner thigh, right up near the crotch. Grab this area with your thumb and forefinger, while protecting yourself with the other hand, and twisting and wrenching your body to get away. Try it on yourself: just a light pinch hurts quite a bit. A heavy, fighting-for-your-life pinch is near incapacitating. In this context, this technique can even be more effective than hitting the groin.
    • Biting and Scratching
      If your arms are free, go for their eyes. Few attackers are willing to fight any more if you damage their eyes. On the same note, any control you exert over a person's face puts them at a disadvantage, so keep your hands in their face at all times. Pinch, hit, poke, scratch, anything you can do to make them think about protecting their face rather than beating yours. This just might give you a chance to push them off of you or wrestle you're way out from under them.
    • Admitting Defeat
      If you're pinned, can't move, and can't protect yourself, you've lost the fight. If you think your attacker is going to kill and/or rape you, don't stop screaming. Let everyone within a half mile radius know that somebody's about to kill and/or rape you. If the fight is somewhat less serious, convince them that you're not going to fight anymore. The time to give up is for you to decide, but remember that doing ineffectual things to your opponent will only make them hurt you more.
    A Grain of Salt
    I studied the martial arts for many years, and it is precisely because of that that I have never been in a fight. Anyone who might've been inclined to beat my scrawny ass up already knew that I was studying karate and had to come to terms with that fact before facing me. Also, I learned to be confident in my own abilities against schoolyard antagonists. These two things, more than anything else, were my best defense, and the only things I've ever needed so far. However, I have never been in a real fight, and as was mentioned before, a lot of this stuff will only cross your mind after the fight unless you've had enough training that it happens automatically. Just keep your head and be confident during a fight, and you should be okay.

    Please note: I do not take the idea of physical violence lightly; I see it only as a means of stopping those who would do physical violence against me or those I love. Can't we all just get along? Love thy neighbour. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. And all that good stuff. I write this node to dispel the myths propogated by the unknowledgeable and the unexperienced.

    Your dad may be a black belt in any school of training or not, and you may have been taking self defense classes for three years or not, but the cold, hard truth of the matter is this: you're not ready for your first "real" fight. I've been studying tae kwon do for 10+ years and am a third degree black belt. I say this not to impress you or to impose my methodology on you, but rather to get you thinking: I've been in more fights than many, many people, and I don't win 'em all. I say to you: generally, reading a node like this will help you not one bit during a fight, unless you happen to have an extremely analytic mind/memory and a gross attention to detail. The only sure way to not get your ass kicked is to have a bit of experience — sorry, nerds, but this is true.

    Even though I have relatively advanced knowledge of the martial arts, I always have a weapon on my person at all times. For over two years now I have had a large knife by my side at nearly all my waking hours, just in case — you never know when what you'd never expect is going to happen, so I try to be ready (also, a big fuck-off shiny knife can be helpful in other situations, like cutting boxes and whatnot). You may opt to do so yourself, but you should always be educated and prepared to use your weapon should the need arise. Don't think any weapon is easy to pick up and know how to use effectively.

    Despite the fact that usually, in a fight, your brain turns off and forgets everything it has ever read (which means this entire node is pointless) and instead lets the body fend for itself with the synapses it has been programmed to execute when things go awry, I will offer some tips in the hope of sparing injuries to the citizens of E2.

    Note that, generally, the fight you are or are about to be in is not a fight to the death. Whatever reason your attacker has for attacking you is, usually, not important enough to add a homicide charge on top of it. If your attacker is intending to kill you (which you unfortunately have a very small probabilily of knowing beforehand), you're in more trouble than you can handle — run to the nearest police station and don't stop until you've got some immobile force or officer of the law between you and your attacker. If you anticipate being in such a situation without a method of escape, you may want to look like for a node like How to stop someone from killing you or something.

    Assuming you're not in mortal danger, your main priority is to escape without causing any damage to your attacker and without sustaining any damage to yourself, not to look cool to the three hot chicks who may or may not be watching from the opposite side of the street. Your best bet is to remove your body from the area quickly and without repercussions.

    Now, if none of this works and it actually does get down to fisticuffs, you're going to want to do your damnedest to dodge every strike thrown at you. This is not easy, and is damn near impossible the first couple times. Now, if you're in a situation where you're going to get hit (i.e.: you're not anticipating having any luck dodging punches), keep the attacks and attacker away from the vulnerable parts of your body: namely, the entire face and ear area, the entire throat and neck, the chest and solar plexxus, the stomach and sides (where most people are ticklish), the entire length of the inner arms to the wrists, the groin and the inner thighs. These happen to be the parts of your body with many nerves and essential blood vessels, so getting hit there could result in your losing the fight and being subjected a serious ass-whooping.

    Do not attack first. This is a sure-fire way to piss off your attacker more, and escalate the intensity of ass-whooping in for which you already are. If you cannot escape the situation, do your best to dodge every attack thrown at you by moving out of the range of your opponent (move to the side opposite what you think your attacker's strong hand is if you can; move away from your attacker if you don't have room to move sideways). If you cannot dodge in time or don't see the attacks coming, do your best to absorb the attacks with the non-vulnerable parts of your body, like your outer arms. The first step is to stand facing your opponent diagonally, somewhere between 45° and 90° away from your attacker, with your non-dominant side forward. Keep your front arm bent with your fist near (but not in front of) your face and your elbow down but not touching your side. Your rear arm should be in a similar position, with your fist in front of your chest area. Absorbing a punch in the non-dominant upper arm is much better and less painful than "absorbing" it in the lower jaw or solar plexxus. You can reduce the force of impact by moving with the punch (only slightly, not so much as to throw you off-balance) and by keeping your arm muscles relaxed until just before impact. Breathe out slightly and quickly as you tense your arm, too; among other things, this'll make sure you keep breathing. Do not try to block any punches with your forearm, as this can be quite painful when you don't know what you're doing, and can sometimes break the arm of those with weak bones. Just don't do it.

    If this method is working for you (and if you're doing it right, which won't happen your first time, it should), continue with it and your attempts to leave the premises until your attacker realizes that attacking you is a waste of time and moves on. Your attacker may also get the notion thot you're a more experienced fighter than zie is, and leave you alone for the rest of your life. This will happen in a surprisingly large number of situations, as generally those who would be attackers are not looking for a challenging fight but rather an easy way to make a few bucks or somesuch. If this method isn't not working for you, it may be time to start trying to incapacitate your attacker.

    The best way to incapacitate any attacker, unless your attacker is Inspector Gadget or has a gun, is to get zer on the ground. One normally effective way to do this is to kick the attacker as hard as you can in the back of the knee closest to you (assuming your attacker is standing sideways and not squarely facing you). If this does not quickly put your attacker on the ground, give zer another strong kick squarely to the nearest part of the torso to you, which should throw zer off-balance enough to put zer on the ground and/or give you time enough to remove yourself from the area. If you're too close to get a powerful pushing kick in, or are not confident in your accuracy (kicking your attacker's arm will not do a damn thing), a firm shove to one or both shoulders or the chest area will probably work too, but this opens your vulnerable areas to the attacker and doesn't leave you with a hand to block/absorb strikes. Remember, the real point is not to kick your attacker's ass, but to get you out of a situation in which you would definitely get your ass kicked.

    Getting into a grappling contest with your attacker is a bad situation to be in. In grappling, the larger, stronger person with more knowledige of holds and the body's pressure points nearly always wins, and chances are that's not gonna be you. Therefore, your first bit of advice is to not get in a grappling situation by staying out of your attacker's reach. If you're smaller than your attacker, you may also be quicker than your attacker which is a big plus. If you're bigger than your attacker, you have a longer reach and have a better chance of keeping zer away from your body.

    If you do end up grappling, your main priority is to stop grappling and not get injured beforehand or while doing so. This is where knowledge of the body's pressure points comes in: if you find a good one and keep pushing on it, there's a good chance your attacker will let you go or release a hold enough for you to wriggle free. Pressure points hurt.

    Good pressure points for grappling:

    The inside of the elbow, bicep-side — extend your left arm, slightly bent, in front of you and tense up all the muscles in it. Put that elbow on your right palm and wrap your thumb around your arm, into the inside of the elbow. You will feel a taut band of ligaments (they feel like cords or cables and help hold your arm together); put the tip of the thumb on the side of these ligaments away from your body and push down firmly. There is a good pressure point deep in here and if you wiggle your thumb around a bit you will find a place where pushing on it makes your arm feel kinda achy and sore. That's it.

    The neck is full of pressure points: stick your thumb in any area on the front of the throat (except for directly on zer windpipe, which is the big thick tube in the very front) and push hard. Pushing on your attacker's windpipe is indeed effective, but is often too effective: it's quite easy to crush someone's windpipe and possibly kill them with only a little too much pressure. A good place to start is where the throat meets the jaw; this can be extremely painful for some time but will not do any permanent damage. The bottom of the thraot, above where it meets the collarbones, is good if you have strong fingers.

    The areas around the collarbones are also sensitive. Applying pressure in the space between the two, in the center of your body, can be quite painful. The soft indentation between the middle of a shoulder and the collarbone in front of it is also good; this is what a lot of parents use to subdue their lovable little monsters (well, my parents did...).

    Bending joints in ways they're not meant to go can also be effective, but I will not attempt to teach anyone anything about this in writing because misunderstood knowledge, even in the right hands, can be dangerous. If you're really in a pinch during grappling and are pretty sure your arm is about to be broken by the figure four hold your attacker has put on you, you may consider twisting zer nearest appendage (finger, wrist, elbow) in a direction it was never designed to go. Only do this if you have an excellent sense of your strength, and be careful when doing it, as it can be easy to break a wrist beyond easy repair without too much actual force. Don't say I didn't warn you, and if you can help it, don't try doing it.

    Of course, the best way to not get your ass kicked is to not fight, but I think that might be under How to not fight and not get your ass kicked. If you seem to get into fights very often, learning some self defense is a very good idea — my favorites are aikido and tae kwon do, blended together in my own special way (somewhat like hap ki do), but YMMV. If you're interested, do a bit of research with the Internet or a phone book (don't just look under "karate," though) or even some friends.

    And do not use this information to harm others unprovoked, or at all if you can help it. If you do, I'll find out where you live and hand out some pain with my bad breath, colorful language, and feather duster.

    Practical defense against weapons

    First off, I do not advocate trying to defend yourself against a gun or knife at the drop of a hat. If someone brandishing a weapon at you advises you to relinquish your money, do so. If they want your keys, even better. Report the car stolen later. It is not worth your life.

    If you are in a situation where you know for sure you are going to be raped/killed, by all means try to defend yourself. However, there are ways to go about it that are wiser than others.

    If faced with a knife, the defender must first come to the full on realization that you will be injured. Coming off scott free is for movies. If you expect it, you will not panic when it happens.

    The main idea of knife defense is to keep the knife as far away from you as possible. When blocking and moving into a grab for a possible takedown, keep your arms at full length, if possible. Always complete a block before any kind of grab is attempted. Trying to catch a knife has a despairingly low chance of succeeding. Blocking the arm swinging the knife is more likely to come off successfully. The second priority is to get away. Run. If this is not an option, move onto disarming your opponent. If you succeed in removing the knife from the attacker's grasp, do not turn it back on him. The situation has gone far enough and the excuse of self-defense will not cover you past the point of initial danger. If there are multiple attackers with intent to kill, this is another story. Use a debilitating but non-lethal technique like cutting the Achilles' tendon or slicing the thigh.

    A gun defense is a whole new ball game. The idea behind a gun defense (besides being very inadvisable) is to keep it as close as possible. The closer your body is to the gun, most likely a pistol, the easier it will be to avoid its discharge. The main purpose of a gun is a distance weapon, therefore the opponent will want you as far as possible to have a chance to aim and fire. If the element of surprise is achieved, one can remove the gun from the attacker through means of a well placed strike or kick to the gun hand. A punch or palm heel to the back of the hand or wrist numbs the hand temporarily, enough to force the attacker to drop the gun.

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