The ABCs of Self-Defense

Self-defense is not about fighting. It’s about surviving. That’s why we call ourselves survivors.

Even so, one must still prepare for battle. Self-defense is 90% caution and 10% confrontation. As Mr. Miyagi says (and we’re paraphrasing here), we train to fight so that we don’t have to.

To help you learn how to defend yourself like a true Tough Cookie, here are our top TC-tested moves, which we affectionately call the ABCs of Self-Defense.

These are the basic steps to follow every time you go anywhere or encounter anything that could potentially put your life in danger. This is your step-by-step guide to navigate any such situation. A veritable alphabet soup of wisdom to live by.

So digest these ABCs one at a time, in this order. The order is important. Because again, the best protection is prevention. So you’re gonna want to stay in step A if you can. But if you can’t, only then move on to step B and try that option. If that doesn’t work, only then move on to C, and so on.

Got it? Good. Then grab a spoon and let’s dish it out!

AVOID-Cheryl Archer.jpg

A is for Avoid


There is no surer means of protection than prevention, including in self-defense. Learn to be aware of any potentially dangerous or suspicious situations around you, and try to avoid them.


Monty Python run away2

B is for Backtrack


If you do find yourself in danger, find an exit route and get out of there as quickly (and safely) as you can. Remember ETGS: Escape To Gain Safety. This is your ONLY goal in self-defense.



C is for Control


If you absolutely cannot escape, only then do you prepare to fight. Take control of yourself and the situation. Get into a ready stance armed with your physical, mental, moral, and legal boundaries.


DEFEND-Jasmine Jafar.jpg

D is for Defend


If you MUST fight, then fight back only as much as is necessary to escape to safety. You can use ETGS again for where to strike your attacker: Eyes, Throat, Groin, Shin/Stomach.


EVINCE-Leela Futurama2.png

E is for Evaluate & Evince


As soon as you get to safety, find an authority figure to report what happened. Don’t let them get away with it. And remember, you are strong. You are a survivor. And you are not alone.


Familiarize Mulan training.gif

F is for Familiarize


Practice, practice, practice. You only have a split second to react in a real attack, so self-defense needs to be instinct. Engrain these ABCs firmly in your mind and muscle memory.