From eating a balanced diet to exercising regularly and getting quality rest, part of safeguarding your health is also knowing how to protect, well, yourself. Read on to discover the ABCs of self-defense as taught by Patrick Donahue, owner of the Rochester School of Martial Arts in Michigan.

A: Awareness of Your Surroundings

Examine your routine and evaluate how you can be more aware of what’s going on around you – at all times of the day.

  • Take into account where you are parking.
  • Avoid looking at your phone while walking.
  • Travel in groups of two or more.
  • Carry your car keys in your hand so you’re not searching for them when you arrive at your car.
  • Listen to your gut instinct – if something feels odd or unsafe, do your best to remove yourself from the situation.

B: Break the Script

When met with a perceived threat, break the script of how the aggressor thinks the scenario will go. For example, if you learn there is an intruder in your home, throw something through the window. This action not only allows for your voice to make it past the confines of your home, but it startles the intruder – you’re breaking the script and they don’t expect your action. This also makes the stance that you are going to defend yourself.

C: Confrontation

For self-defense, the goal is to only confront the aggressor until you can safely escape. In the event of an attack, Donahue recommends the following confrontation tactics:

  • Strike the eyes (make a claw-like hand to poke the eyes with the force of all fingers).
  • Strike the nose (open-palm thrust up toward the nose, making contact with the heel of your hand).
  • Strike the throat (fingers flat out together and thumb perpendicular, driving the inside of the triangle toward the throat).
  • Strike the groin (fist or open-hand swing or use your knee to strike).
  • Strike the knees (kick downward from the side toward the outside of the aggressor’s knee).
  • Bite anything you can.
Patrick Donahue, owner of Rochester School of Martial Arts,