Self-Defense Basics for Women


May 01

Editor’s Note: In any discussion of health and wellness, if we fail to mention injuries and deaths caused by violence of any sort, we are not doing our jobs. A recent Surgeon General, Dr Vivek Murthy took a stand thusly, “What I’ve said before is what I believe now — which is gun violence is a public health issue.”

We cannot solve any problem we don’t first admit to having. Gun violence, and indeed, all violence are public health issues. And like the weather, we can parody the words of Mark Twain by saying “Everybody talks about violence, but nobody does anything about it.”

That is about to stop. As we post this article today, we going to do something about violence, especially against women, though men too can use the advice brought forth here on this page. Some of the things you are about to learn are quite simple. I have taught everything you’ll find below on opening day of classes I’ve taught in self-defense and in seminars. It’s up to you to put them into practice.

Let’s get a few things straight first.

Yes, men can use these techniques, but we all must first admit to two very painful facts.

  • Women are more likely to die by the hands of a man than from any other cause.
  • They are more likely to die by the hands of a man they know.

These techniques are designed to protect yourself from an unknown assailant. However, some of them could be used to fight off a known assailant. They won’t be as effective as they would be against a stranger who doesn’t know what he’s getting into, but you can surprise that date-rapist with a few tricks also.

So let’s get started.

Refuse to be a Victim

Rapists, muggers, thugs, etc, look for victims. A “victim” walks with her shoulders tight to her body, staring straight ahead at the ground.

To not be a victim is to be aware at all times of everything about you.

You’ve all seen that “bow” performed between two martial artists prior to engagement. You all think that this is simply part of a tradition of respect between the two fighters. And you’re all wrong. It has become a tradition, but it did not start that way.

Awareness is the key. When a fighter bows, with his peripheral vision, he can see what’s behind him.


To avoid being perceived as a victim, you will walk with your head high, looking into the faces of passersby. Smile at them. It’s amazing how a smile is contagious. Look around, swing your arms, and be animated and aware.

But what about night time; that time when most attacks occur?

You’ll do the same thing, but you will carry a flashlight.

Just carrying a flashlight reduces your chances of being attacked to just about nil. A mugger would have to be an idiot to attack someone with a flashlight because she’ll be able to see his face and pick him out of a line-up.

Additionally, a flashlight carries with it an air of authority. Cops carry them; bouncers carry them; and the dreaded theater ushers carry them.

If you don’t believe that they carry an air of authority, do what I do when I go to a crowded bar (on New Year’s or St Paddy’s Day).

First, make sure you have one of the new powerful flashlights. Hold it over your head, turn it on, and announce: “Coming through!”

The crowd will part before you like the Red Sea before Moses.

This little trick has never ceased to work.

A flashlight carries an air of authority, shows you’re aware, and proves you’re not a victim.

The flashlights I will show you all have a low mode for walking at night that will extend the battery life. And speaking of batteries, always carry a spare. If you are using rechargeable batteries, make sure you’re using a smart recharger; one that will stop when the battery is full,

Again, I cannot stress enough, always carry spare batteries or a spare flashlight or both. It’s even smarter to always carry a spare flashlight (and as you’ll see further on down this page, one that can be used as an offensive weapon).

Next: Know how to work your flashlight. You have to have it down so that you don’t need to think. Many double click to get into the strobe mode, some just cycle thru to the strobe mode.

An Attack

What do you do if you are attacked? Let’s face it, if they were smart, they wouldn’t be out attacking helpless women. There are some very stupid people out there, so what happens when one ignores your flashlight and preys on you?

If you are alert, you’ll know when you see someone you want to avoid, or you’ll hear someone coming up behind you. Keep your head on a swivel.

When you “think” someone is approaching you who could be dangerous, step into the street and start to cross. I can say this, knowing that there’s no traffic in the street because attacks don’t occur near busy streets.

That is, unless it’s a purse snatcher about to do a snatch & run.

To protect yourself from that kind of attack, always carry your flashlight in your strongest hand, and the bag tucked under your other arm. Carry the flashlight in your fist, or at least practice moving the flashlight into your clenched fist often so that you can do it without thinking.

This is smart for two reasons. The flashlights I’ll show you have the button on the rear, and in your fist, your thumb can easily switch modes. And second, using your fist as a hammer, coming down on the soft part of your hand with one of the flashlights protruding, makes you as powerful as a man. You can’t punch like a man, but with one of these flashlights, you can hammer punch like a man, or even better.

Should someone try to grab your purse, you must realize that he’s just given you a gift: both hands.

He’s given you both hands. That’s a gift. He doesn’t have another hand to guard his head that you are hammering with your flashlight.

Considering the shape of smaller flashlights heads, they do a lot of damage hitting against his skull, and will draw a lot of blood.

One more thing: don’t stop.

Don’t whack him and then see if it worked. Assume it didn’t work and whack him again. Whack him until he stops or runs. When he does stop, you run.

This is always the best thing to do. Don’t stick around to give a police report or talk to the ambulance driver. You hurt him till he stops, and then you run like hell.

Oh, and always wear comfortable shoes. Save the stilettos for your nights out on the town, not for walking to your car.

Someone Suspicious

Ok, so it’s not a snatch & run. Someone has his eyes on you and you’re creeped out.

Hit the street and start to cross. If he starts to cross, you stop and face him. Get ready to turn the flashlight up to bright or strobe.

But first stop, face him, and confront him. “Do I know you?”

If he continues coming toward you, hit him with your brights, right in the eyes. These smaller flashlights can focus the beam. You should know how to do that without thinking. Focus on his eyes.

At this point he’ll have to look away or put a hand over his eyes. If he’s still walking toward you, keep in mind he cannot see you anymore. You’re blinding him. He knows only where the light is.

With the light in his eyes, you make yourself a moving target. It’s always best to stay in the street. People around you, if they are present, will be more aware of you in the street than on a dark sidewalk.

Become a moving target. Go left, right, down the street. Just keep your flashlight in his eyes.

And scream your head off! Get people’s attention.

Additionally, since he cannot see you, you can tell him anything.

“If you come any closer, I’m going to put a bullet between your eyes.”

He doesn’t know you don’t have a gun, but since you’re aware enough to have a bright flashlight, you could be carrying a gun.

Once it looks like he’s crazy enough to continue toward you, the strobe action should be used. For some, a strobe can disorient a person. All these flashlights strobe in their high mode.

Now I’m not so sure about the power of the strobe mode, but it will also attract attention. Personally, blinding him is enough for me because when he’s close enough, he’s going to find out I’ve got another surprise for him.

Keep moving, keep alert, and find an escape route. Because he’s blinded, and if he’s coming for you, he’s coming for the flashlight. 300 lumens will blind him for about 10 seconds or more, and works on a night that isn’t totally dark. Greater than that and they will blind him enough to make it hard for him to see clearly for a minimum of 30 seconds. So, iof ou have a good strong beam, over 500 lumens, and you get a good shot as his eyes, you can turn your light off and run like hell. He’ll only hear you retreating. He will not see you.

Before we go any further, let’s look at some lights.

As always, I’ve purchased these, I’ve used these, and I’ve tested these. I am currently helping Simply the Best become distributors for them.

They are the best. They are the sturdiest, the brightest, the best-made, and guaranteed to work. There are hundreds of clones out there, and I’ve tested some of them too. These are the originals, they cost more than the clones from China and Taiwan, but they work and they work well, and let’s face it, are you really going to skimp on your parachute?

The first I want to show you is the J5 Tactical V1. It’s the smallest flashlight these people make. At their show, they keep one lit at the bottom of a fish bowl to show that they’re water resistant.

I want you to note the attack head design. It can do damage. I never go anywhere without one in my pocket. In fact, at a theater they handed us a list of objects forbidden to take into the theater, and flashlights was one of them. I don’t go anywhere without my flashlight. So when they told us to hold our phones and keys in our hands while they swept us with metal detectors, in the hand with my keys was my flashlight, hidden from the security people.

This has the tail tap switch. When you turn it on it’s in the bright mode. Just tap the tail lightly and it goes into the dim mode, for walking at night (and extending battery life). It takes just one AA battery.

Simply the Best will not carry this one because the 250 lumens just isn’t bright enough, in my opinion. It’s a great little flashlight to have on hand, but it’s just not bright enough for self-defense.

The V1 PRO is the next size up; it is slightly bigger (4 inches long), tests out at 300 Lumens, and runs on AA batteries.

If I was a woman, out alone, I would carry two; one backup, always with a fresh battery.

There are three modes: Bright, dim, strobe. Tapping the the Tail Switch changes from Bright, to Dim, to Strobe.

There are many clones, and I have three in front of me now. I spent $12 for one, and the others were under $10, found on Amazon. None of them work properly now. I called one guy for a refund, and he said that the warranty was just 30 days. The J5 Tactical V1 PRO will be replaced if it goes out within a year.

Next is the J5 Hyper-V, which tests out at 400 Lumens, and is 5 ½ inches long. You won’t be able to sneak this into the theater, but you will be able to put a hole in an attacker’s head that you can drive your minivan through. Oh, and this one runs on 3 AAA batteries.

Note the design of the heads. That ripple design is for smashing through a car window. Imagine what it can do to a skull.

The V2 is next testing out at 750 Lumens. It’s five inches long and uses an 18650 3.7v battery. This will need a recharger. In the low mode, the battery will run for 100,000 hours. This one is not just water resistant; it’s waterproof (resistant to five minutes of heavy splashing).

The V2 is impossible to get right now (December 2016) and the company thinks they will have them in stock sometime in the spring of 2017.

Finally you’ve got the J5 732-1, which tests out at 935 Lumens. It will use one of those rechargeable 18650 batteries mentioned above, or two short squat CR123A batteries. Run time is 450 hours, and just plain waterproof. You can go scuba diving with this one.

It’s six inches long, heavy, with a skid proof bar on it to keep it from slipping in your hand if you’re pounding someone’s skull in. It weighs just over 5 ounces.

Editor’s Note: It was here that my proofreader pointed out to me that I sounded like an infomercial, and warned me that not everyone can afford “the best” flashlight.

I told her that our readers know that if we help Simply the Best sell something, that we are helping our readers get the best products at the best price, and they (you, the readers) also know (or should) that I don’t make a dime off of anything I do for either company or even for our foundation.

I will also admit that as a preventive, any flashlight will do, but if you really need to protect yourself, I doubt people will opt for something cheap. At the end of this article I will show you the clones of these flashlights we’re pointing out and how well they work (or don’t work).

And (back to the infomercial) Simply the Best has a kit for sale consisting of this flashlight, all of its accessories, three rechargeable batteries, and a smart battery charger that will save you $64.92 off the lowest retail prices on the web. I am very serious about getting our readers the best of the best at the best prices. I happen know they’re hardly making a profit off of these life-savers.

Inova T5 Tactical Flashlight

Now here is another flashlight, and were I to do battle, this is the one I’d prefer. I take this along when I know I’ll be in the Cities late.

After I show you this one, we’ll discuss the various flashlights and the techniques for using them, as well as some insider tricks especially when using the smaller ones.

This is the Inova T5 Tactical Flashlight. It’s 9 inches long, rated at 672 lumens, uses three of the type 2-123A lithium batteries, and will run 40 hours at its lowest light level, the one you’ll use just walking at night. It has 3 modes of brightness, 672, 213, and 27 lumens. You change modes from the moment you turn it on. If you click once, to turn it on, it will go into the bright mode. If you click it twice when you turn it on, it will go into the 213 lumen mode; three times and it’s the dim mode. It also has a strobe mode by double clicking the rubber switch at any time. You will have to practice with this one to get it down.

It is 9 inches long. When used as a baton, it can easily cripple or kill an attacker.

And now I shall teach you how to use it.

Using a Baton

I actually do carry in my car a baton in a flashlight that is steel and extends to 20 inches. The only problem with this weapon is it’s a felony to carry it in some states. So, of course, I cannot take it with me on road trips.

It’s ironic that batons and tasers are more regulated than guns in America, but we love our guns and the NRA now works for the manufacturers and sellers.

A steel baton, along with a flashlight, is the just the best combination of a self-defense system I can think of.

Some would say that the gun is better, but not according to statistics. You’re more likely to get killed by your own gun than to protect yourself from an attacker. Additionally, shooting a person can land you in jail, whereas beating him with a baton won’t because he was close enough to be a danger to you. You can shoot someone from ten feet away. Juries tend to look down on women who shoot people who are just asking for directions.

Since I do not live in a Stand Your Ground State, and I have no intention of ever killing a person with a gun just so I can use these laws to avoid prosecution, this is all I’m going to say about Stand Your Ground.

It’s all about circumstances. If you have to use a baton, juries can understand this; and besides, most cases never go to court. Women just do not get prosecuted for beating an attacker with a flashlight.

So, let’s learn how to use this baton-like flashlight, which can do a lot of damage.

Scenario: someone has followed you into the street. You’ve got your favorite J5 Tactical light in one hand, pointing down. You confront him; he moves toward you and you blind him with the light, either in the bright mode or strobe mode, but focused on his eyes. You then reach into your purse, hit the bright button or double click to the strobe mode of your Inova T5. You point it at your attacker with your thumb facing him.

Holding it thus, you slide your hand back (work it back) so that you are holding the back end of the flashlight, still pointing it at him. Now you’ve got a real weapon. Holding it near the rear increases the force with which it will strike. Then lift it up to just about the top of your head. It is still pointing at the attacker; your thumb is pointing at the attacker. In this position, when you swing it around, it will act like a whip when it connects.

At this point you must be very aware of your attacker; aware of his height, the speed at which his is moving toward you, and where his knees are.

Here is a very simple fact. If your attacker thinks you are going to take a swing at him, he’s going to put his hands up to guard his face and head. This is a very natural self-defense movement. Additionally, after your blow glances off his hands, his hands are then ready to grab you.

But here are some things to note. First, he really can’t see you because you’re blinding him. He can’t see that as he’s coming at you, you’re slowly moving (if you are right handed, to your right; to your left if left handed) keeping your J5 in your left hand (I’m assuming you’re right handed), pointing at his face, your arm extended way out to your left (you’re giving him a non-target to attack). Meanwhile the other hand with the baton flashlight (Inova T5) is ready for the strike. In this case, you don’t need to be holding the smaller flashlight in your fist, just pointing at his eyes. It’s your power hand that’s holding the more deadly weapon.

The second thing you need to note is this: you are not going to whack him on his head.

You’re going to bend your legs, and with every ounce of might you can gather, you’re going to take out his knee, hitting it either directly, an inch or so above, or an inch or so below. Then without even thinking you’re going to take out his skull.

You see, once you hit him in the knee, there is a short pain response in which the attacker is aware only of pain. Nothing else is going thru his mind except the pain. That lasts between a second and about a second and a half. This is why you do not hesitate to see if you’ve hurt him. This is a two-step movement, possibly three steps.

You could take out his knee and run, but if you’re in a parking lot, you’re not going to run that far so you might want to consider disabling him entirely as an insurance policy.

You are not going for the knee and then waiting; you are going for his skull first by way of the knee.

If his hands are still up (they are there without his knowing it; he knows only pain) your other hand can perform another movement before taking out his skull, and that is to pull the hands down out of the way.

In martial arts, many strikes are first brought about by knocking the hands out of the way. If they are in the way, move them, and follow through with the kill shot.

Then run like hell.

If he tries to follow (odds aren’t he won’t), you still have your flashlights, you can still blind him, and you can now use him as a practice punching bag. Just remember, swing that sucker as if it’s the last thing you’ll ever do, keeping in mind that it could be. You have to hurt him.

And always know this: If your light is in his face, when he is coming at you he does not see you. If he tries to rush you, you will use his energy against him by stepping out of his way. Then you should know that no man can outrun a swinging arm, so as he passes by, don’t forget to tap him on his skull.

Some Points to Ponder

If you have only the small J5 Tactical flashlight (series), you can still take out an attacker. You can still go low and take out the knee. That head of the flashlight is designed to do some terrible damage. You can step around the attacker (he’s not seeing much since you’ve blinded him with the light) and take out his skull. These little guys will make him bleed. A solid connect to the temple will give him permanent brain damage.

The benefit of a baton type flashlight is distance.

I’m not crazy about heavily advertised TIGERLADY SELF-DEFENSE CLAW because it doesn’t prevent an attack as a flashlight can, and it is designed for close combat. Close combat is something one must study for years to be good at. I teach my beginners to stay as far away as possible. With a baton, you keep a distance between yourself and the attacker. If he can’t grab you, he can’t hurt you. So I teach people to stay as far away as possible.

Knowing this, with the smaller flashlights only, you’re going to be closer to the attacker and so you’re going to have to take out that attacker swiftly and painfully. You will hold your J5 series in your fist and pound like a hammer. If you are aiming for the face, the eyes are a good place to start. Then there’s the temple, and the top of the head, two or three inches to the right or left of center, right about at the hair line.

And yes, the knees.

And here’s something you learn in martial arts classes: Remember moving his hands out of the way? Well, if he’s alert, and you tap his hands to knock them down and out of the way, he’ll quickly raise them up again. And that is when you hammer at his collar bone. The J5 series, pounded like a hammer blow, will break that collar bone. Additionally, there are two “yin” points on the collar bone that are worth aiming for.

1. The high point where the collarbone starts in front, just straight below the molars.

2. Just about an inch and a half from the points on this image outward toward the shoulders.

Hit either of those two spots hard enough and you’ll immobilize him. If you want, reach up and feel them now. You’ll see it doesn’t take too much pressure to bring on a bit of pain. So go ahead and feel those points. Give them a bit of pressure. You’ll see how tender they are.

Ground Fighting

Most people panic if they trip and fall or get knocked down. This is no time to panic. You’ve got your weapon in your hand, and just because you are on the ground, it does not take away your advantage. Just above the ankle bone is a great point to strike a hammer blow with J5 Tactical Flashlight or with the Inova T5. Whack someone there and you’ve got time to get up, brush yourself off, and run like hell. Also, if you get inside his legs, hit above the ankle bone on the inside of his leg and he’ll be stunned for about a minute…unable to move. So, if you should fall, keep your wits because you can still cripple this guy.


So that’s about it for now, but you really should practice. Always practice. Get a nice cheap pillow to punch, some boxes, or a huge cushion.

And always carry at least two weapons, because you never know when the battery will fail (and always have spare batteries).

Be aware and refuse to be a victim.

Anyone with questions can write to me and I’ll try to answer them. [email protected]

Most of all, if you got anything out of this it should be: just carrying a flashlight at night reduces your chances of an attack to practically nil.

It doesn’t have to be one of these flashlights that I’ve mentioned. Just a simple flashlight is all that is needed to make sure you are not a victim. However, if something starts coming down, you’ll wish you had one of these tactical flashlights because they’re hard, sturdy, and designed to take out an attacker.

Bonus — A Little Story

Martial artists have hundreds of stories. Sometimes the best way to get a point across is a parable. Here’s one I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

It was a beginner class in which the sensei (teacher) would introduce the class into the variety of weapons and techniques they’d be learning over the next six months. In one of the early classes, the sensei stood before the with a stick known as eskrima or kali. Before he began, he held it up and told the class, “Best weapon in the world,” and then went to work demonstrating how it was used. He put down the kali stick and stood before his class again with a much longer stick called a bo, held it up and told the class, “Best weapon in the world,” and then demonstrated how the bo is used. During the break, one of the students went over to the sensei and asked, “First you told us that the kali was the best weapon in the world, and then you told us that the bo was the best weapon in the world. I don’t get it. Which is the best weapon?” The sensei, who was drinking a cup of coffee, smiled softly and lifted his coffee cup in front of him and said, “Best weapon in the world.”

The student then realized the answer; the best weapon in the world is the one you’re holding in your hand.

Send in the Clones

This is supposed to have three modes, bright, dim, and a strobe mode. It now has two modes, both bright, and for the strobe mode the light flickers a bit. This one cost me $12.95, free shipping with Amazon Prime

This is another Cree UltraFire that I got from Amazon about a year later. The price had dropped to $5.99 with free shipping, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, otherwise shipping was $4.99. This flashlight today has one mode: Off. As far as warranty goes, here’s what’s posted at Amazon: 45 days Money Back Guarantee.

I bought two of these and one went out within two months. It was supposed to be as bright as the J5-732, but was not. It’s not waterproof either.