Cold Weather Self Defense Training and Tactics

Cold Weather Self Defense

Cold Weather Self Defense

“How do you best defend yourself in Winter gear? Are strikes less effective wearing gloves and a big heavy coat? Any special considerations/recommendations?” – Eric

I love this question because it brings up one of the THREE major factors everyone always over looks in self defense training…THE ENVIRONMENT.


And that includes where you’re standing, what’s around you and of course what you’re wearing or carrying.

And one thing’s for certain…you will defend yourself where you live, work and play.

This is why you need to take into account as many environments as possible and if done correctly you can prepare for any given surface while only using ONE type of training method.

My goal is to ONLY TRAIN ONCE. If it works on a bigger stronger person, it will work on a smaller weaker person and if it works in the cold weather, it will work in the warm weather (see where I’m going here?).

Fighting in the cold presents some issues that can be the most challenging. It’s slippery making the ground is unstable. Your target will be covered in layers or protection making him difficult to effect and you will be stiff and immobile as well.

There are three major factors when fighting in cold environments. 

Unstable footing will not only cause you to slip and fall, but it will not allow you to put POWER into your technique. That’s why it’s important to FIRMLY PLANT YOUR FEET and STEP when training.

Avoid sliding or shuffling. PICK YOUR FEET UP. This will enable you to keep your balance and drive into your attack.

You should also know that this works on rocks, garbage, oil, sand, changes of elevation, like curbs and even stairs and of course – a nice flat clean surface.

Pick your feet up and DRIVE. It will take care of most everything you’re going to encounter…unless you go off a cliff and then…well defending yourself is the least of your problems.

2. Don’t go to the body.
Anything from the neck up and the knees down. Other than that,  attacks inside will become muted on the layers of clothing. Even a knife will have problems penetrating a winter coat.

Even in the best condition, attacking the body requires a lot more power to cause damage than a blow to the head or neck. Add to that your attacker being larger and stronger,  it’s ALWAYS best to focus your attention to above the head and below the knee. If you’re not knocking him silly, you’re disrupting his balance. 

3. Train in the COLD!
When it’s cold, the blood flows from your extremities to your larger muscles and organs. The result is your hands hurt more and you can grip less in the cold – so you better prepare for it.

First, HIT SOMETHING IN THE COLD! Don’t wait until you’re in a fight outside to know what it feels like – go do it now.

Second, if it hurts too much, get yourself some sap gloves (SDTS Module 11) or carry something that won’t cause pain when you use it. There are a variety of solutions in SDTS Module 11.

Below is a brief video I put together on cold weather self defense…


Until next time…

Train Honestly,




PS. Have a question? Email it to 2-3 sentences and we’ll see if we can answer you.

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Published by Damian (Instructor)

Founder, The Self Defense Company

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