Main Body

Human kicking in airPeople more often than not have a fear of falling, and they do not know how to appropriately maneuver during a fall. When someone trips, if they are unprepared, they will tense up and try to catch themselves forcefully with arms extended – potentially injuring themselves. By contrast, those unafraid of falling may be able to simply regain their footing before hitting the ground. Falls are unavoidable in martial arts, as such, and for many more reasons that would be too long to discuss here.
Nonetheless, learning to fall is fundamental to many if not all martial arts.

Learning to fall and roll out of falls is always the first thing taught to new students. Further, in some schools of thought, it is a key component for improving quality of life as well, since it helps one to become more aware of his or her body in space and movement around the vertical.
Learning to fall can be tricky to teach someone. One of the most important aspects is learning how to relax your body, which may take a considerable amount of time.

Watch a valuable demonstration by Donovan Waite, who is considered one of the best in the world in Aikido. In the video, note how both the attacker (Uke) and defender (Nage) do not fight each other forcefully, but flow with their partner’s own movement. To a novice, it looks as though the attacker is just letting themselves be thrown around. These are drills meant to learn about the interpersonal connection between Uke and Nage and to improve spatial awareness, all while teaching fundamental defense techniques.

If you would like further resources, these are two highly recommended texts:
>Higher Judo by Mose Feldenkrai (Founder of the Feldenkrais Method)
>Learning Capoeira Lessons in Cunning from an Afro-Brazillian Art by Greg Downey

Additional Instructional Videos

The videos below provide additional instructions on self defense moves that might be addressed throughout the semester.

Punches/Hand Strikes:

– Straight punch and palm strike presented by Steve Jimenez

– Face and neck punch presented by Carlos Jimenez

Groin Attacks:

– Knee strike presented by Modern Combat and Survival

* In the video above, Modern Combat and Survival points out that trying to kick the groin from far away might not be the best idea, since it gives the other person more time to detect and deflect your move (and you might get inadvertently head-butted in the process). Instead, use the groin attack as your follow-up or secondary attack, and use your knee instead of a kick for more force.

– Kick presented by Jarrett Arthur

– Hand strike, knee strike, kick presented by Carlos Jimenez


– Blocking punch presented by Carlos Jimenez

– Blocking punch/face strike presented by Krav Maga Defense

– Defending against a groin kick presented by Krav Maga Global

– Defending against a groin kick presented by Krav Maga Global

– Additional Block: “Sucker Punch” Block: Duck under the punch and step behind the attacker then push the attacker from behind in the direction in which they are punching and flee the scene.


– Punch block, face strikes and knee strike presented by SOURCExRxE

– Deflect groin kick, palm strike, punches presented by Krav Maga Global

– Deflect groin kick, palm strike, punches, kick presented by Krav Maga Global

Grabs/Grip Releases:

– Wrist grab releases presented by Core JKD

– Wrist grap releases presented by

– Article on wrist grab releases presented by Christopher Caile

– Additional Information on Wrist Grab Releases: If an attacker is grabbing the right wrist with the right hand (or vise versa) while facing the defender, the defender can rotate his/her wrist towards the outside of the attacker’s arm, grab the attackers forearm, and continue the twisting motion with the entire body, pulling the captured forearm behind the attacker’s back in a “chicken wing” position and potentially pushing on and breaking the shoulder of the captured arm.

– Defending against hair grab from behind presented by Sensei Denny Strecker

– Defending against hair grab from behind presented by Fred Mastison

– Defending against hair grab from in front/behind presented by

– Defending against hair grab from in front/on side presented by Carlos Jimenez


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Ch.1 - Self-Defense Copyright © by UGA PEDB Program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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