William A. Gralnick

We spoke about running during an active shooter situation. “He who runs away…” Always good advance. Grab what and who is dear and head for the exits. Run out with your hands up and wait for police directions. If the police aren’t there, put your hands down and keep running. But what if you can’t?

Then you hide. We discussed that also. What we haven’t discussed is one on one personal safety. Now we will. You don’t have to be an MMA fighter or have a belt in the martial arts to protect yourself. To begin this, it is well to remember that the martial arts were devised to disable, not necessarily to kill. They are designed again for, “He who runs away…” Starting from the top (the head), here are a number of tips to remember, the first of which is don’t be squeamish. This is life and death we’re talking about—yours.

Long nails or short, a sure stopped is to jab a finger into your assailant’s eyes—hard. Some suggest using your second and third fingers at the bridge of the nose, hitting both eyes at once. Others say four fingers spread wide so you pretty much can’t miss. As soon as the bad guy’s hands go to his eyes you begin to move your feet like Fred Flintstone all the while screaming like a banshee.


Leverage plays a big part. If your arm is free swing the heel of your hand up under the nose. This will hurt like blazes and given enough force will break the nose resulting in torrents of blood. Take off, scream.


Then we have the throat. Spreading your thumb and forefinger apart, jam your hand into the Adam’s Apple. This will cause a muscular reaction that almost stops breathing. Same coda—getta outa dodge, and not quietly.

Dropping further down, to the chest, we want the solar plexus. It is that space in the chest where the rib cage comes together. Envision the wishbone on a chicken. Punch there. It will cause all the air to exit the lungs and the person will double over. Repeat after me…off you go.

You’ve all heard what happens to a man when he is hit in his privates. Well, it’s true. Use your knee, hard as you can. If you are on your knees, use your fist coming up between the legs. Your only problem will be to keep him from collapsing on top of you. Whether or not he will ever have sex or children again is not your problem.


The knee is a great target. Kick it hard as you can. Unless your assailant is on horseback, he’s not going to chase you after that. While we are in that area, if you are wearing dress shoes, there are two tips. One is to kick the shin and then slide the side of your shoe down the shin bone. The other is to jam your heel, block, or spike, into the arch. Both of these will also cause a release of the grip.

If you are grabbed from behind, again go for the eyes, pull off a hat or whatever might be there and grab a fistful of hair and don’t let go. Pull until it comes out. This will bring great pain and an involuntary, copious release of tears. You can kick up between the legs to the crotch or drive the elbow into the solar plexus. Scratch until blood is drawn (yes pain and DNA evidence).


I know, this is easier said than done. It requires being aware of your circumstances and keeping control of yourself. It calls for common sense. Always walk on the lighted side of the street. If you are being followed, cross the street. If the person does that and there is an open door to a store, use it. You should have in your pocketbook mace or bear spray, a small, high-power LED flashlight and a police whistle. Finally, many non-profits give self-defense courses. If you have the time and money, take one. If not, go on line. You’ll find many tutorials on self-defense. Finally, forget about being wrong. Embarrassment is better than robbery or rape. (S)he who runs away…

Bill’s word for the world? Grim! But he’s put it off long enough. Next week, posts will go back to plying the anguished waters that bespeak the conditions that surround us. Stay healthy, wear masks in crowded areas, and don’t hug any monkeys!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s