Under: Self-defense
15 Jul 2008


Are you a woman that has noticed how much stronger men are than you? Do you have the mind set that anything a man can do, I (the woman) can do better! Well then, I commend your spirit! The first part of part of doing is believing… let me say that again… The first part of doing IS BELIEVING!!!


I am not one of those men that believe I can take any woman in a fight. Huh… many of my male friends are thinking??? Yes… I think women are quite capable of defending their honor if ever put to the test but a woman has to believe she is capable of such a thing. This post will focus on helping woman believe they are powerful in self-defense situations. I will talk about fighting muscle with one’s wit and not fighting the man’s fight. I’ll have each woman reading this post echoing that old Helen Reddy song, “… I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar…”!!! I will also show some common eye, ear, throat, nose and chin strikes. Here is a quick video of one type of eye strike that would devastate a man in an altercation.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/qpUCg8gOiuI" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


First off does muscle and weight matter in a fight? The short answer is yes but both advantages can be mitigated with reason (don’t count on this), surprise, self-defense techniques, and your wit. I will not focus on avoiding confrontations and safety tips but be aware, it is far easier to avoid a problem than fighting your way out.


Would you arm wrestle a man? Why not? Let me guess… you know most men would beat most women in an arm wrestling match. So why would you (a woman) try to out box a man fighting by traditional rules? What rules are there in a fight – really? Do you get my drift? You (the woman) do not have to fight fair. Anyone that is attacked, man, woman or child, does not have to fight fair. So lets throw away this notion of fighting fair and focus on self-defense.


A simple definition of self-defense is doing anything to defend yourself. As the title of this post alluded to, some of the best strikes a woman can use on a man are to the eyes, ears, throat, and even palms to the chin and nose (if the chin and nose is open).


It is very important that a girl or woman be in a non-threatening defensive position like holding up her arms. A man might think he has won the intimidation battle of wills and be clueless to what is about to happen. Here is how to hold you hands (sorry but I was the model for these photos – try to imagine thinner, hairless arms).


Defensive position


From this position you are not particularly threatening to a man but you are ready to take advantage of this foolhardy notion by striking with a four-finger eye-shot with either hand. The four-finger eye shot should be thrown relaxed and flicking your hand forward with bent fingers. You keep a slight bend in the fingers so you do not break your fingers if you accidentally hit a hard forehead or such. I am not one of these purists that think everyone ought to be toughening up your fingers for possible eye shots. That is a lot of work and not really needed to be effective. Here are four of photos of me doing two and four finger eye shots from a couple of angles (forgive the slight blur in the straight on shot).


4 finger eye strike


4 finger eye strike straight on


2 finger eye strike from side


2 finger eye strike straight on


Did you notice there is a little bend in the fingers at the moment of impact? Unlike many instructors, I think one ought to be twisting the wrist down at the moment of impact that also has the affect of pushing the bent fingers forward. Here is a video of some more eye strikes.


 [kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/Un02gOnWqYs" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


Did you notice the thumb gouge? One cool thing about thumb gouges is it's easy to find the eyes if you hands are already on the sides of an attackers face! I like to add a dimension to the thumb eye-gouge by clapping the attacker's ears first. Have you ever went water skiing? Well then you are probably familiar with the ear drum injuries possible by landing sideways on the water with your ear. The same principal applies here... clap the ears hard and follow up with eye-gouges! Here are some photo's of me clapping the (invisible man's) ears and gouging the eyes with my thumbs.


 Ear clap


Ear clap with thumb eye gouge


Another good strike is the mantis strike! You will have a hard time hurting your fingers in this position as each finger is supporting every other finger as the mantis strike hammers down on the eyes! Here is what that looks like.


Mantis strike starting down


Front view of the mantis strike


So there you have it… four ways to strike the eyes from a seemingly defensive position. Which one would I use? I would use the one the attacker was open for. I mean that if the guy was grabbing my shirt from the front, I could clap his ears from the side and eye gouge easily. If my hands were high and he was grabbing my waist, I might use the mantis strike down to the eyes hard or clap the ears and eye gouge (or just the eye gouge). If the attacker was grabbing my shoulders I could do either of the straight eye shots (two or four fingers). If the guy grabbed my arms, I could kick the nuts, or knees and stomp the foot or knee the groin (as I have covered in previous posts)! 


Now for one of my favorite strikes that is the great equalizer… the half-fist! I got in a fight in the 8th grade and was throwing defensive half-fists to my opponent’s face! I have the reach on the other guy attacking me as my second knuckle gives me an extra two inches. I about broke the guys nose (I think the throat is a better target for the half-fist) with my half-fists without hurting my knuckles! While a fist can hit harder – the throat is an easier target to hit with a half-fist. I’ve reviewed some videos of throat strikes and noted many varying opinions on what is the best strike. I think whatever you can hit the throat with is the best strike. You can use a chop, a ridge hand (kind of a strike with the other side of the hand) but a half-fist is straight and can fit easily into the pocket between the chin and the chest. Here are some pictures of my striking (my invisible man) with a side and front half-fist. Note the slight bend in my knuckles so I don’t break them (in the event I hit something hard).


Half-fist, side view


Half-fist, front view


I will now show you a high and low palm strike. The wonderful thing about a palm strike is you can throw it as hard as you want without injury! I once watched this 90 pound basket ball player get into a slap fight with a 200 + pound football player. The skinny guy kept backing up and was taking a pounding but after a couple of minutes of timing the giant… the skinny guy shot a straight palm up into the giants chin! The giant fell back to the pavement – hitting hard. If nothing else works and the attackers chin or nose is there… you can hit with your palms. Understand that I think the eyes, ears, and throat are the best targets for head strikes. Here are some palm strikes.


Palm low - ready to strike


Palm striking up to the chin!


Palm high - ready to strike nose


Plam striking down at nose - you can add clawing the eyes!


I would like to show a great video from Dr. Ruthless (TM) showing some tactics and integration of palm strikes for women. I thought I had added her link a while back but on checking, it was not there – it is now. Please take the time to view the whole video as it is very empowering to women.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://youtube.com/v/lV2_JikdLJk" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]


One thing to really note about this video was when Dr. Ruthless was talking about exploding. She was playing to the guy’s ego, letting him think he might have his way and when he opened himself up enough – She exploded on him! That is what I was speaking about when I mentioned using your wits. Don’t give up your best defense – Surprise! Surprise is worth more than muscle. You can win your fight mentally before you ever start by letting the attacker think he has won.


When you start fighting back (at the best opportune moment), you will have matched wits with your opponent and figured out a winning move! Any woman can beat any man if they play their cards correctly. You can do it… that is the first step – believing… after you believe, you can practice some self-defense moves and think about how you can surprise your attacker and WIN!



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5 Responses to “How a Woman Can Beat a Man! Eyes, Ears, and Throat Strikes!”

  1. Pat Morton Says:

    Martial arts trainging is great. I believe everyone should get some self defense training. The problem is that you have to make contact with someone trying to do you harm. I believe everyone should arm themself with some type of non-lethal weapon such as, a Taser, Pepper Spray, or Stun Gun. The Taser is of course the best choice but it is a little expensive. Pepper Spray gel by Mace, is a excellent choice, it shoots 18′ and sticks like glue. The last choice is a stun gun. The reason I say the Stun Gun is the last choice is because you again have to make contact.

  2. Matt Klein Says:

    The problem with weapons of all types Pat is that they’re not always with us. You cannot take them everywhere. A set of keys, a pen or pencil, a handful of dirt, a rolled up newspaper, there are weapons all around us. The key is having the willingness to use them. Making contact is not such a bad thing if it means you can escape. I have read so many stories of attempted abductions that were unsuccessful due to a swift kick in the jewels, or poke in the eye. Martial arts training develops the confidence and assertiveness to attack if necessary.

  3. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Pat and Matt – I agree. Both approaches can work at the right time and place. As a self-defense site – I try to evaluate the pros and cons of many approaches to self-defense.
    I personally like most approaches to self-defense including, martial arts, non-lethal weapons, lethal weapons, dogs, alarms, body-guards, avoidance, and awareness! I could make a case for many approaches in many situations.
    I understand that non-lethal weapons are ideal for people that have little fighting experience but one should not bet the farm on that approach (meaning what you do if the mace misses and the attacker gets it away from you?). Alternatively why not carry a key-chain pepper spray on the ready when a lady is walking to her car late at night? As you can see even if the lady is an expert black-belt, one more tool in her arsenal would not hurt.
    I believe that a layered approach (much like the security on your computer) is wise. In my home I have large dogs, baseball bats, pepper spray, a security screen on the front door and me! A burglar might get by one of the defenses but it he wakes me up – he better be loaded for bear! :)
    Great points and plenty of food for thought Pat and Matt

  4. McBain Says:

    Eyes strikes are lethal force and shouldn’t be used unless the the threat level warrants lethal force. The justification for eye/ear strikes for a woman is a given but not for a man. I am a large capable man would refrain from using eye strikes even in my justified self defense as it would still be seen as cowardly, malicious and an unnecessary brutality, and it may well be. Training for the nose strike is just as effective as the eye strike but without the legal and ethical problems a man may encounter.

  5. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi McBain,
    Agreed that eye shots should not be lightly used. This post was directed at women’s self-defense.
    Many states including California have laws governing the use of force, for instance here there is a reasonable man standard. If a reasonable man would have done the same thing – a jury would acquit.
    There are also specific laws against mayhem.
    Now I agree with your statement about eye strikes being unwarranted in a mutual combat situation or in a situation where there were easier ways to defend one’s life.
    I am a peaceful man and would only fight to protect my life or someone else’s life for the most part so if someone attacked me after I tried to avoid the confrontation (if I had time) – I would have to assume they were trying to kill me.
    Now some people think fighting is a game like it is in high-school… you know meeting after school in a vacant lot and duking it out in front of the student body. That goes away after people grow up for the most part. The way most people end up in a fight other than mutual agreed combat in a drunken state at bars (what I am not talking about), is robbery, muggings, rapes, and meaningless street crimes (many with guns). This is what I consider to be a self-defense situation – where you are fighting for your survival.
    So if you find yourself in a fight for your life – there are few rules (mostly laws and ethics). If you are able to best the attacker with little force – that is great! But if there are weapons, more than one attacker or a big guy that you cannot take a chance with your life – all strikes are open.
    There is no shame in defending your own life – no matter what you have to do. In this day and age you will be judged by your actions so you cannot take this responsibility lightly (lest you become a criminal yourself).
    Having said all of this – I would gouge the eyes as a last resort – I would be far more likely to break some knees (side kick) for smash a cheek bone with my punch or elbow.
    As far as planning alternate strikes – I hit whatever the attacker is open for assuming I am fighting for my life.
    So I think we are in agreement that lethal force should not be used unless the situation warrants it – I just wanted to define a couple of scenarios that I would use all weapons at my disposal and so long as I stopped when the attacker was no longer a threat – I should not have too many legal problems.