Top Ten Worst Self Defense Advice – The Self Defense Company

Top Ten Worst Self Defense Advice

Top Ten Worst Self Defense Advice

Top 10: The Worst Self Defense Advice 

A not-so-wise man once said, “Any self defense advice is good advice.” While the intent is well-meaning, nothing could be farther from the truth. Bad self defense advice is like bad medical advice, at best it will get you sick and at worst…it will get you killed.

We asked you what’s the WORST Self Defense you ever received and your top 10 answers are below… 

10. Just Walk Away
Taking the “high road” is something to which we should all aspire, but what if walking away isn’t an option? There are many situations where you have no choice but to stand your ground and the rabid dog in front of you isn’t a reasonable person.

They’re damaged, you’re cornered and there’s only one choice but to take a stand.

9. Buy a Rape Whistle
Ah yes the “Rape Whistle”, you blow it and help comes running. Unfortunately when you blow it your attacker’s instinct is to stop the noise as fast as possible and that noise is located IN YOUR FACE.

Look, if a rape whistle will deter him, yelling at him will as well.

…and the notion of blowing the whistle while you’re being raped is insane.

8. 99% of all fights go to the ground
Some fights go to the ground, but the statement that most fights go to the ground is unsubstantiated and was made up by people who specialize in GROUND FIGHTING.

There is no study that supports this statement. Use of force and crime reports by police include motive and intent they don’t include “technique and style”. You can see a great guideline for use of force reports HERE.

INEVER choose the ground and if you get on the ground – get up as fast as possible. The more body contact you have with your attacker the more power, strength, size and skill come into play.

Add to that the real chance of your attacker having a weapon, multiple attackers and lying on a hard surface filled with debris, like glass and rock, the ground is not a place you want to go.

7. Let him throw the first punch
What “worked” in a schoolyard doesn’t work in the street. Action is faster than reaction –  In the street, by the time you identify the strike and tell your arm to move you’re probably going to get hit. But the first punch isn’t your biggest problem…it’s the second, third and fourth punches, those tend to do the real damage.

In combat sport you’re expecting the punch. You can gauge your distance and you know he’s going to attack you. He’s also going to attack you with a limited number of techniques based on the rules of the contest. In the real world, you’re not sure if he’s even going to attack you.

Legally there’s NOTHING that requires you to wait for him to throw the first punch. If you FEEL you’re in danger and he is capable of harming you, YOU CAN USE REASONABLE FORCE to defend yourself.

6. Crap your pants
The advice to “urinate, defecate or vomit” on yourself during a rape is a popular thing told to women.There is NO evidence that supports this statement.

Truth be told, you might crap yourself anyway during the attack but it does not guarantee it will discourage your attacker. Your energy is better spent on something more productive than trying to make yourself pee, like fighting back and escaping. 

5. Always call the Police
“Dial 9-1-1 and let the professionals handle it” is a popular statement made by the talking heads on TV.

Look, cops can’t be everywhere and they’re not your personal bodyguard. Response times average around 5 -12 minutes nationally and when you’re being attacked that’s like 5 – 12 minutes underwater.

 Call if you can, but you’re still going to have a 5 minute fight…and that’s a LONG TIME.

4. Always Remain Calm
Remaining calm and reasonable is something that you can do in the dojo – but something happens when you’re in REAL fight or flight stress and you have ZERO control over it.

When you truly believe your life is in danger, your Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) kicks in and evolution takes over.

Not only will you lose control of your fine (small) motor skills, but your deductive reasoning and even your ability to speak are turned off.

Now you can control your breathing somewhat, we call it “combat breathing” but that’s just to stop you from passing out – it’s not meditation.

In reality you need to channel that adrenaline rush into large, motor movements and that will turn it into power. 

3. Control the Weapon
This is the idea that you MUST control the weapon first because if you lose control of it, your attacker will use it or one of his friends will pick it up.

This seems like a good idea but in reality it doesn’t work. Because while you’re trying to wrestle over the weapon, you still need to deal with your attacker and his friends.

While you chase the weapon you’ll be vulnerable to other attacks.
Grappling with the knife hand can temporarily stop the initial assault, but the attack is just beginning.

You have done little to slow him down. He can still punch you in the head or an accomplice can bash your skull in with a rock.

A weapon is as only as dangerous as the person holding it. The fastest way to stop a weapon attack is to stop the man holding the weapon.


As for his buddies? You can only handle what’s right in front of you. Keep fighting and moving forward. 

2. Just ‘Hit ’em in the nuts!’
There is NO DOUBT that blasting a man in his twig and berries hurts. But depending on ONE MOVE to work flawlessly (especially without practice) is ignorant. In the real world…you miss and most people don’t even know how to attack this area correctly.

You need to either SMASH them from underneath or SQUEEZE THEM.

In order to hit the testicles and cause the target to go into shock you need to come from directly underneath and smash the testicles against the pelvis. In order for that to happen you will need his legs to be apart so your foot, shin or hand will hit it’s mark.

Keep in mind the genitals are fairly important to the survival of our species, so they’re placed in a location that can be defended easily.

Every man on the planet has lighting fast reactions when you go to this area.

Having your life depend on ONE single technique to ONE specific target area isn’t much of a plan…its a wish.

1. Don’t Fight Back
The idea that fighting back only makes it opposite of what’s actually true.

The problem is people think of self defense in terms of a competitive fight – you fight back hard, they fight back harder. Don’t think of self defense as a competition, think of this as PREDATOR and PREY.

Take a shark attack for example. People have successfully defended themselves against an attack by punching and kicking the shark. In reality if that shark really wanted to kill them it could, no problem. But because they fight back they’re not acting like a seal. Therefore the shark leaves because the target isn’t acting as it should.  

Criminals and deviants THINK THE EXACT SAME WAY. They plan on your crumbling and submitting. This is an expected behavior. When you behave in the opposite way, it short circuits their process and they tend to break off at that point.

According to the Center for Disease Control (I quote this stat in my sleep) 87% of women who resist either verbally or physically are successful in stopping the attack, opposed to 100% of women that don’t resist who are tragically raped and killed.

Fight back, even if you don’t know how…the odds are incredibly in your favor. 


That’s it for the top ten, however here are two that didn’t make the list:


Don’t use a weapon, he will take it away and use it against you
Only if you threaten with the weapon and demonstrate a reluctance to use it.

However, when properly used with INTENT, weapons will multiply your force and effectiveness…that’s why they were invented.

In short, if you’re thinking about it…DO IT and DO IT HARD!

And you don’t have to be an “expert” either. A minimal mount of the right training goes a long way. 

You need several years of training to be able to defend yourself
This is the mantra of my fellow martial artists who have dedicated years to training. It’s not a coincidence that these are the same people who’s livelihood depends are you training LONGER and MORE OFTEN…

If years of training were needed, how do you explain that people without any training defending themselves against street hardened criminals? (See number 1 on the list).

Martial arts are a great endeavor and there’s no doubt you can use them to protect yourself but in truth, you don’t need to do martial arts, all you need is the will and a little skill to survive.

I would like to thank everyone for participating in creating this list, it was fun putting it together.

Until next time…

Train Honestly,


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Published by Damian (Instructor)

Founder, The Self Defense Company

Join the Conversation


  1. umm, SOMETIMES walking away is the best thing to do. 
    Sometimes it is the only legal thing to do. 
    Sometimes it is the only moral thing to do. 

    But because sometimes walking away isn’t the correct response you classify it as among “worst self defense advice”?

    And re. 7, I don’t think there is an jurisdiction where you can claim self defense by saying you “felt” you were in danger. You have have a reasonable, objective, articulated basis for claiming that you used force in self defense. If you know of any jurisdictions that have self defense laws that say otherwise, I’d be interested to see that.

  2. DamianRoss skinnybuddha1973
    If you are going to give people advice on these life and death issues, you need to be very clear about what you are saying. Your prior post says:

    If someone looks like they are capable, have means and have demonstrated an intent to do you bodily harm, you can defend your self, others and your property. They don;t have to say “I’m going to kill you!!” Any act of aggression can justify your use of force. 

    The critical factor is that they have DEMONSTRATED AN INTENT TO DO HARM.

    Your “FEELING” is not what gives you a right to use force. 

    It is the demonstrated, objective actions of the person you use force against that is the critical factor. 

    You go to a judge and say “no, I can’t point to anything objective to justify my use of force, but I had a FEELING you know”, you are looking at jail time. 

    This is very, very important.

  3. skinnybuddha1973 DamianRoss Feeling is the of the verb to feel. The word was first used in the to describe the physical sensation of through either experience or perception. 

    That’s semantics and I used that word correctly according to its definition.

  4. DamianRoss
    I’m not trying to pick a fight but I strenuously disagree that this is a non-issue. This is a critical, critical factor. If you are going to instruct people to  in means of killing and hurting people you need to 100% clear in explaining the legal ramifications of doing so. 
    And this definition of “feel” as synonymous with “touch” (as opposed using the term to mean a subjective impression) doesn’t add clarity. That would suggest you must be “touched” before you can defend yourself or another with force. That is not accurate, as you correctly point out elsewhere.
    To justify any level of force, deadly or otherwise, you must provide objective evidence of an intent to do seriously bodily harm, means to do so, opportunity to do so, and that a lesser alternative was not reasonably available to you, frequently referred to by the acronym IMOP. (That’s a general statement of the law there may be some variation in different jurisdictions or situations.) 
    It is absolutely true you don’t have to wait to be punched. But you need to be precise in saying when  you can kill or harms someone under the law. And saying if you “feel” threatened is not precise. 
    I’m sure you won’t deny this is very, very serious stuff, and agree with the need for precision and clarity.

  5. skinnybuddha1973 DamianRoss Insert FEELING, FELT, THOUGHT…all pretty much the same meaning. Again, you’re focusing on a non-issue. 
    “through either experience or perception.”

  6. In a real world situation when you or your family or friends are going to be attacked, you must have bad intention when it comes to defending yourself. You see so many experts teaching control techniques, I would like to add maybe you should learn a few non controlled techniques, if you want to survive, you may just have to be a little ruthless and go berserk. You should have a background on how to strike to be effective, but going after eyes, ears nose, throat, privates and biting should be considered. Whatever it takes, including improvised weapons, which is almost anything you can put in your hands to equalize the situation. In fact over the years when I was younger I had hundreds of street fights and going to the ground is a last resort and the attackers choice, not yours. So work to avoid being taken down. Remember there are NO RULES!.

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