5 Self-Defense Moves All Women Should Know

self-defense-585If you’ve been here for more than, say, 10 seconds, you’ve probably noticed that we really love strong, inspiring women who kick some ass and aren’t afraid to be who they are.

And that means something different for every single person. For some, strength is about finding self-confidence and inner beauty and being more zen in the face of chaos. For others, it means pushing their physical limits and signing up for events that challenge them to work harder every day.

For still others, like Avital Zeisler, it means finding the right balance between their bad-ass Krav Maga skills and her softer side. Zeisler went from being a professional ballerina to a world-renowned hand-to-hand combat expert, and is now a women’s empowerment coach and the creator of The Soteria Method, a fitness practice that combines fitness, self-defense and self-discovery.

Plus? Zeisler has trained Keri Russell for her fight scenes in The Americans, which, sidebar: Are you guys watching that? The show is just incredible and I always find myself wanting to pick my kick boxing hobby back up after watching Keri Russell fight off, like, four dudes who are each twice her size on the show, making it look totally legit the entire time.

So, obviously I wanted to hear more about Zeisler’s philosophy and self-defense tips. Here’s what she had to say!

FBG: How did your previous career as a professional ballerina combined with your study of Krav Maga help you create The Soteria Method?

Avital Zeisler: My dream was to become a ballerina, and it was the one aspiration that gave me drive and determination to live my best life. I had re-created that drive after experiencing a sexual assault. My years of experience as a trained ballerina served as a great reference and benchmark for what I could achieve with my body, and I saw how I could enhance my passion and femininity through athletics.

However, when I became a Krav Maga Instructor in an attempt to overcome the trauma associated with the sexual assault, I noticed that I was absorbing all of the negatives of self-defense. I was compromising my femininity. I became extremely aggressive and paranoid, and was not able to break the negativity. So I began to modify both the survival tactics I learned and my own personal conditioning routine to enhance my femininity both physically and emotionally.

It wasn’t until I experienced my lowest moment in life that I finally realized that, although I had all of this survival training, I had nothing in my life worth protecting. That realization led me to redefine self-defense as having the ability to Create, Live and Protect a life that I love. I saw that possibility through pulling [together the] positives of hand-to-hand combat tactics and creating [a] real-life application to create [a] positive mindset that would override my negative reaction to life.

My personal journey of healing and creating authentic happiness drove me to find a way to share both my physical and emotional discoveries with other women, which led me to share The Soteria Method with other women.

What are 5 self-defense moves every woman can do?

  1. Defensive Push Kick (Primary Long Range Lower Body Combative)

    • Soteria Method 3 Factor Combative Theory

      1. Target: Groin
      2. Surface Area: Push Kick
      3. Range of Motion: Hip Thrust
    • How to do it: Drive the ball of your foot into your attacker’s groin.

  2. Defensive Knee (Primary Close Range Lower Body Combative)

    • Soteria Method 3 Factor Combative Theory

      1. Target: Groin
      2. Surface Area: Kneecap
      3. Range of Motion: Hip Thrust
    • How to do it: When you are in a close range or achieve a temporary control hold, drive your knee into your attacker’s groin.

  3. Palm Strike (Primary Medium Range Upper Body Combative)

    • Soteria Method 3 Factor Combative Theory

      1. Target: Chin/Nose
      2. Surface Area: Heel of Palm
      3. Range of Motion: Combative Twist
    • How to do it: Drive the heel of your palm through the attacker’s chin or nose.

  4. Hammer Fists

    • Soteria Method 3-Factor Combative Theory

      1. Target: Face/Back of head/Groin (depending on angle)
      2. Surface Area: Side of Fist
      3. Range of Motion: Combative Twist
    • How to do it: Begin with a basic Downward Hammer Fist to drive the side of your fist down on your attacker’s face (if they’re upright) or on the back of their neck (if they’re pummeled over from a groin strike).

  5. Bracing

    How to do it: The brace is a ground survival position that will prevent an attacker from gaining access in between your legs. It requires you to bend both legs at the knee joint and transition to one side/hip so that the shin of the higher leg goes across the attacker’s hips. This is a very powerful and also empowering move/position to obtain as the legs can push the attacker’s body back without high levels of strength.

Anybody else feeling empowered? —Kristen

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  1. Can you create some video of these moves? Or find sources to link to them? It would be great to see each in action.