Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Tips for Defending Yourself in Small Spaces


Our previous blog outlined the general reasons some attackers prefer small spaces such as elevators, bathrooms, etc...

Besides understanding assailant tactics, we now have to address the question: "What can do we do to avoid/survive assault in a small spaces?

Here are 5 tips.

1. Trust your instincts/logic.  If you feel that entering/remaining in a small space is potentially dangerous then respect this.  If, for example, you are about to enter an elevator with one or more people you perceive as dangerous then don't get in.

2. Awareness. Small spaces don't allow for much reaction time. Be aware of who else is sharing the space and what they are doing. Please look up from your screen/phone.

3. Minimize burdens. Numerous shopping bags, backpacks, etc... hinder your ability to defend and escape.

4. Use Close Range Tools:  Elbows, knees, hooks, uppercuts, headbutts, biting…  Small spaces and leaping spinning back kicks do not mix well. 

5. Use Your Surroundings: In small spaces there is an increased danger of your head or another vulnerable body part being hit against something like a wall.  Better his head bouncing off a wall than yours. 

6. Aggression: Unfortunately, if you are attacked you are going to have to be very aggressive!  Any pretensions of civility go out the window when your survival is at stake.  

We advocate avoidance as the best self defense but assailants can be cunning and we are not always alert.  If you are training in a self defense school ask your instructor to devote class time to defending in small spaces.

Stay Safe,

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor, International Krav Maga FederationToronto

Image courtesy of maya picture at

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