In Martial Arts, training consists of learning techniques or movements and repeating these movements over and over. We perform many basic movements thousands of times to perfect them. There are several reasons for this. For example; practicing a movement strengthens and conditions the body and mind and helps to build your ‘muscle memory’. In Karate class we talk about building muscle memory quite a bit. Repetition is a great tool for this.

When it comes to self-defence, you need to be able to rely upon your training to help you. You need to quickly recall information, process it and perform in a matter of seconds. Here is where your muscle memory becomes invaluable! Basic movements that you have practiced countless times become instinctive and automatic.

In times of stress, it becomes difficult for the body to perform fine motor movements. We need to rely upon gross motor function. This is especially true for self-defence when every second counts! This is why you need to keep it simple. Basic, gross motor movements will serve you best in a self-defence situation.

Skilled Martial Artists will have a better chance of performing techniques under pressure that require some fine motor skill. They would have practiced their techniques hundreds or even thousands of times with a variety of partners. The techniques that may seem complicated will be come second nature to them.

So how can an average woman with little or no training protect herself in a high stress situation? I can’t stress enough that some training is better than no training! Please ladies, if you can not enroll in a regular Karate program or other Martial Arts school, please take a self-defence course.

So now great! You have successfully completed a self-defence course. You have a few techniques in your arsenal. You have gained some awareness. You have gained confidence. Now what? PRACTICE!

Get together once in a while with that friend who took the course with you. Practice at home with a family member or friend. Maybe write down some information to help commit it to memory. Did you take some pictures at the course? Scroll through them to help you recall what you learned. Did the instructor hand our any literature? Review it once in a while to keep the information in your mind.

Think of your Women’s Self-Defence Course like First Aid and CPR courses. It is recommended you take First Aid & CPR on a regular basis to keep your skills current. The same is true for Women’s Self-Defence. Doing 1 course once in your life is not nearly enough. Make it part of your life skill set. You can’t put a price on your own personal protection.

Today the technique I am demonstrating is against a choke from the front. This technique uses GROSS MOTOR SKILLS. I find this technique easy to recall and perform effectively for someone with little or no Martial Arts training.

Renshi Laura Sywyk Grab


• The attacker grabs you by the throat from the front with two hands
• Don’t panic!
• Tense your neck and drop your chin to expand your neck and keep some breath
• Think about trapping the attacker’s hands with your chin

Renshi Laura Sywyk Step Back

Step Back

• Step back with one leg to gain some stability
• I am using my left leg in the picture
• Keep your chin down and neck tensed
• Bring both hands up and tightly grab the attackers arms near the shoulders

Renshi Laura Sywyk Knee Kick

Knee Kick

• Drive your knee into the attacker’s groin
• Use the same leg that you stepped back with (my left)
• If necessary you can kick them more than once
• The attacker will still be squeezing your neck, so keep it tensed and chin down on their hands

Renshi Laura Sywyk Turn And Arm Up

Turn & Arm Up

• Step back again using the same leg, but this time turn your body sideways away from the attacker (my left)
• Keeping one hand in contact with the arm of the attacker, raise the other arm up high. As high as you can (my right)
• Do these movements together

Renshi Laura Sywyk Drop Your Arm

Drop Your Arm

• Drop the raised arm down on your attackers hands to release them from your neck (my right)
• You want your elbow to be close to your body
• Think about you are now trapping the attackers arm between your body and your elbow
• I am still turning my body away as I perform this movement
• Don’t let go with your other hand

Renshi Laura Sywyk Elbow


• As soon as the attacker’s hands are off your neck, follow up with an elbow to the head. (my right)
• For the most power and control, keep your other hand gripping the attacker’s arm while you strike
• Repeat the elbow strike if necessary

Renshi Laura Sywyk Step Away

Step Away

• Let go of the attacker
• Step away from the attacker to create some distance and plant your feet firmly
• Use the same leg as before that did all the movements (my left)

Renshi Laura Sywyk Finish


• Finish with a good strong side kick to finish off your attacker (right leg)
• In the picture I an demonstrating a side kick to the solar plexus, however a side kick to the knee is also very effective
• RUN!!!! You have successfully escaped being choked. Now run away as swiftly as you can to safety
Everything in this technique must be done with maximum force and maximum speed to be successful. This is no time to be shy! Yell for help as soon as you have your breath.

Don’t Be A Victim.   Be Confident.   Be Prepared!