If you Google "top self-defense moves" you get a list that looks something like this:
Palm heel strike
Escape from a bear hug
Escape from wrist grab
I'm calling bullshit.
After all, do you want to go hands-on with this guy?
I sure don't. So when he targeted me and charged at me a few months ago I sure as hell didn't wait for him to get close enough to employ a groin kick. Instead it was a Street Dodge that saved my bacon.
Mainstream self-defense wants you to solve a problem on an attacker's terms. A threat selects their target because they feel like they can either physically or psychologically overpower them. They want the least amount of risk to themselves as they calculate a potential target's size, age, gender, body language - and look for their opportunity to strike.
While there are risk factors about oneself that one can change (and physical training can absolutely have a positive impact here) if you are small, or elderly or have physical limitations, you really can't change those realities very much.
But that doesn't mean you cannot protect yourself!
While I love physical training and have trained for over thirty years - from boxing, karate, krav maga to judo - the truth is, anyone who has encountered a real life physical threat will tell you, getting into a physical altercation with someone looking to harm you is both terrifying and dangerous.
The street ain't a Hollywood movie and there are real risks involved once you go hands on. I've survived physical attacks myself, but living with the emotional aftermath was the worst part of it for me. And that's something that seems to be missed in all those hot-shot knee-to-the-groin how to videos.
So while I strongly support physical training, if you navigate any dense, public spaces, knowing and practicing Street Dodges are critical skills so you can avoid going hands-on.
The videos* here are compilation of my most-used Street Dodges for avoiding trouble on the streets of L.A. I've refined these Dodges by navigating some pretty dangerous places.
More than techniques however, they are ways of being - a state of embodiment that allows you to navigate your environment with more boldness, freedom and joy. So no matter where you live these are powerful tools to help you claim your space.
The Crack Alley Car Entry
The Magic Elbow (I get more feedback about this move than any other!)
Own that Corner
Take His Back
Navigating Dense Crowds
Exploiting Your Environment
* These videos were all shot prior to the Covid pandemic. Be sure to wear a mask now when navigating public spaces!