How to Protect Yourself on the Ground

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate position of being on the ground with the threat of an attacker still on their feet it’s important not to just curl up in a ball and expect a kicking.  Doing this just makes you an easy target. 

You still have a number of options and, while you are at a disadvantage and should get up as quickly as possible, you aren’t down and out yet! 

If we consider the change in dynamic for a moment, all that has changed is the height at which a conflict can now take place. You still (hopefully) have all your limbs available to protect yourself while the attacker can’t feasibly use their arms without bending down to your level. 

Of course, the attacker’s mobility will now be far greater than yours and they can move with much more ease than you. 

If you land awkwardly, try to roll onto your back as quickly as possible to free up the use of your limbs. 

  • In the very first instance when you find yourself on the ground protect your head. (Remember, this is the light switch for the body!) Put your hands up to either side of your head (Like you are cupping your ears), with elbows pointing forwards covering the sides of your chest.

This step is to minimize any attack that may occur quickly after they see you go down. 

  • Bend the knees. This again protects access to your torso and sensitive organs, creating a barrier with your limbs.
  • Asses your situation. If the threat is to the side try to spin to face them so you can utilize your legs for kicking and see what is happening.

Striking Back 

Make sure you are still seen as a danger to the attacker even while you are on the ground.  Unless they are extremely determined most aggressors are simply opportunist and the moment you become too much hassle they will give up and leave. 

Your ability to strike with your hands will be minimal so your legs become the go-to technique. 

Try to imagine a cornered snake here. This is your approach while grounded

You are lower and perhaps smaller than the threat but you can still lash out with a quick and painful strike if needed, keeping the attacker wary. 

The simplest and most natural strike from this position is a kick.

With the attacker in front of you bring one foot up ready to snap a kick out quickly and aim low – for their shin or knee. (Try not to aim higher; it may throw you off balance).

If they are slightly further away and your upper body is at less risk you can plant both hands on the ground, raise your backside and snap a kick out further. This can often catch them off guard and even if this doesn’t connect it can offer a vital few seconds distraction as they recoil out of the way, giving you a chance to get up. 

Don’t worry too much about the type of kick in this situation, just aim to hit hard with the heel or sole of the foot. The technique is less important than being quick, powerful and creating space for yourself. 

If they try to get on top of you… If an attacker evades your kicks and tries to physically get on top of you, to either inflict more damage through punches, or god forbid attempting some form of sexual assault, it’s time to utilize the stronger muscles in your legs. 

Many Grappling Martial Arts uses a simple concept of a ‘guard’ while on the ground. There are numerous types but the main principle is of controlling an attacker’s body while on the floor. 

In the spirit of simplicity, we want the most natural and effective forms. There is no need for technical names or Martial Arts styles here. 

In the case you notice your opponent is just trying to get on top of you; 

Use your legs! 

With your back to the floor, quickly bring up one or both feet and the soles to face the attacker with your knees bent. If they still close in use the strength of both legs to push them away with your feet and ideally kick to the groin or knees. Remember to keep your hands ready to protect your head and upper body. 

If they are already close, between your legs or leaning over you; 

You can use hand strikes to keep them at some distance but here you need to free up at least one leg to utilize its power. If you find you don’t have much movement with your legs try rocking slightly from side to side. 

Wedge a knee between their arms and chest, creating space and potentially using it as leverage. 

Bring up a foot and plant the sole on their hip bone then push hard and fast. This pivot point should change the balance position. 

If they are close enough to use their hand’s odds are you can use yours too. If possible remember the palm-strikes from earlier. Or go for a simple eye gouge. (There are no rules here!) 

Top Tip. The underside of the nose is also incredibly sensitive. Even a light push here can dissuade someone. 

Remember this isn’t UFC. Get them off you, get up and escape. Don’t try for any complicated locks or submissions. 

Now you’ve managed to get the attacker to back away with a kick or perhaps you’ve spotted a gap, it’s time to get up. The right way… 

How to Get Back Up 

“Duh” – I hear you say. “Just put your feet down and get up!” 

While this approach works for your average toddler taking a tumble, on the street simply planting your hands down and getting to your feet causes a big problem in that it ties up the majority of your limbs in the motion. 

Think about how you would normally get up off the floor. One or both hands push you up and your feet tuck underneath to bring you upright. 

In this scenario you have nothing left to guard yourself should an attacker make a move. 

Instead, we want to allow at least one leg or one arm the freedom to protect our face or important parts as we get up. This is an approach sometimes advocated by styles such as Krav Maga where you may have to fight your way back up from a disadvantaged potion.

Principle before Practice 

I know that by this point you are keen to get to the actual techniques and learn how to start taking out muggers, rapists or anyone that looks at you funny, but wait just a moment. 

I wanted to include a selection of the actual movements and physical defense techniques because I think it’s important to balance the practical and theoretical but I can’t stress enough how important a deep understanding of the principles behind self-defense are BEFORE you ever tackle any physical tactics

Consider these principles your foundation for self-defense. Without a solid base of understanding your physical actions will likely be shaky and unpredictable. Which can make things even worse given that violence is already a pretty shaky and unpredictable experience anyway! 

Ensure you have read and fully understood, on a personal level, the

previous chapters before believing yourself confident to face situations in the real world. It’s one thing to read about adrenaline and stress affecting you but until you truly experience it it’s common to think “oh, that won’t affect me” or “I’ll be ok because I will just do X”. The truth is we won’t just do anything, and it’s likely we will be completely overwhelmed at the time.

I say this not to focus on the doom and gloom of the situation but to stress how important understanding how to use your mind and body is before you put any of it into practice. 

So take a second. Look once more at the topics covered here (and elsewhere), and think about how you would react. 

You’re Self-Defense Goals 

When working out what techniques to use in a situation it is often best to think of what you want to achieve from the scenario before using any movements take place. Trying to do this when the adrenaline is pumping becomes near impossible to take a notepad and think now in advance about the kind of things you want/need to achieve if you were attacked. 

Of course not ending up injured is an obvious goal for most people, but beyond this, you can analyze how things would play out in an ideal situation. For example, self-protection goals can usually be broken down into 3 tiers; Essential, Important and Optional. 

Essential goals are just that; the overall crucial principle behind looking after yourself. There won’t be many of these. 

Important goals are those which should be seen as a priority, fuelling the overall Essential goal, but they can also be overlooked if absolutely necessary. 

Optional goals are “nice to have”. They can help and will make life easier but don’t worry if you can’t achieve them. 



 –       Protect yourself from harm

–       Escape the scene 


–       Avoid any violence initially

–       Keep your hands up to protect your head

–       Block or avoid any attack

–       Stay on your feet 

–       Neutralize or counter-attack the opponent if needed 


–       Find Police and report the incident

–       Keep your limbs free (Not getting tangled up) 

–       Maintain distance

–       Make a lot of noise and remain confident

–       Use keys or coins for distraction

–       Keep palms open 

–       Mix high and low techniques for more effect.

–       Deliver powerful, effective strikes 

Note that these goals are somewhat fluid and may move between categories as priorities shift between individuals. As a simple guideline try to focus on avoidance, escape and evasion rather than thinking of just how badly you wish to beat your opponent. 

You will also see that not all of these are ‘hard’ physical techniques. Some are more ‘soft’ skills aimed at improving your overall response.

Take a notebook and spend a few minutes thinking about which of these are most important to you (and consider others not listed here). If, for example, you place escaping highly (as you probably should) then establishing a basic level of fitness will be very important. If however, you know you are an excellent runner but not very strong you may wish to focus on developing striking power through drills or simple strength building exercises. 

Or perhaps you value the ability to be loud and confident but you are normally quiet and shy. You may need to learn how to switch this on. 

It is beyond the scope of this book to explore every potential facet of our physical and mental ability but most people already know their own abilities and limitations. 

As you work down your list look at each point and compare against your own strengths and weaknesses. This will give you a broad blueprint for developing self-defense skills and a guide to which practical techniques will work best for you. 


How Does the REAL LIFE Self-Defense by Mike Gillette Work?

With this program, you will be given all that you need to have when you want to make sure that you are safe from all attacks that may be directed at you. As you have seen from the review that I have been giving you so far, there is only good to be had from this program.

Now, with this one, you will not only be taking the lessons by reading some instructions but you will have the video that will clearly illustrate that what you need to be doing is this and that. There is something about seeing that is clear, concise and very easy to remember.

With this one, you will get the form and the technique and that is what is important in any self-defense lesson that you can have.


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