January is self-defense awareness month

Self-defense expert shows how everyday items can be used as weapons

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - We report these kind of stories everyday, people becoming victims of crimes. But would you know what to do if you were attacked?

January is self-defense awareness month. The Cleveland Academy of Self Defense says knowing how to defend yourself to escape an attacker is key to survival.

It's also important to always be aware of your surroundings and not being on your phone or texting. Research shows attackers look for someone not paying attention.

Here are a few simple techniques to help you get free if someone grabs you by the wrist or neck:
"They're going to be grabbing you, pulling you somewhere, whether it's an alley or somewhere out of sight," says Kristina Michelle of the Cleveland Academy of Self Defense.

If the attacker grabs you with one hand by the wrist, here's the breakdown of what to do: first, spot the weakness.

"There's four fingers under and the thumb on top. The weakness is going to be his thumb," says Michelle. "No one can strengthen their thumbs, the grip will release.  he can't lock into it."

Now if he gets more forceful pulling you with both hands:

"Make a fist, reach in with your other hand and grab the fist, then swing to the opposite ear and snap the hand up. You're going against two thumbs on top, your arm is stronger than two thumbs."

It's like swinging a bat and you're also giving yourself a natural turn to flee.

"Always your first concern is to escape and get free," says Michelle.
In the case of a choke hold, or someone grabbing you by the neck, breaking free is as simple as raising your arm. Again, it's about targeting the weakness..

"Lift the one (the arm) that's on the outside of the 4 fingers, straight up, all the way against your head. Turn your shoulder into the four fingers and keep turning. You release the thumb and release the grip and you're free," explains Michelle while demonstrating.

Even if the perpetrator grabs you with two hands and a tighter grip, do the same thing.

"Pick a side and make sure you're turning the right way and go. It also works from behind, so if you're walking and not paying attention."
When it comes to defending yourself, punching for example. A simple technique change helps you pack the most in that punch.

"The natural reach, straight out, you're going to hit with the wrong knuckles, you can break your wrist, you're going to do more harm to yourself, especially a child or woman against a grown man."

Instead, the Cleveland Academy of Self Defense says, think about a punch like you're pounding on a door.

"the hammer fist, shaped like a punch, but hitting with the outside of your hand. You can hit hard. You can hit a large man and do some damage without hurting yourself." 

Michelle adds, "with an attacker, you're not just hitting to touch, you're going through it, you're doing damage to escape a situation and survive another day."

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