Be Prepared to be Attacked from the Worst Possible Angle: Behind
Before we can ever understand the simplicity of a solution, we must first understand the nature of the problem. If sketchy people always approached from the front then our prevention tactics would be on point and there would hardly be a reason to train for the worst. This, however, is simply not reality. You can watch animal planet for 30 minutes and conclude that predators attack at all kinds of angles. After all, it is their desire to ensure the highest route of success for them, not you. The two things an attacker does not want is to get hurt or caught. That is one of the benefits from attacking from behind. Without the use of reflective surfaces, it is difficult to see behind you at all times.
If at all possible you should avoid such places that are dangerous and rely heavily on preventive measures. If you are in a parking garage like this video, or a parking lot, both of which are prime locations for finding people distracted you must keep your eyes up and head on a swivel until you are out of that location. Those are NOT the places to have your face in your phone. Think of these places like a game trail (a route animals travel frequently) and predators wait just off to the side looking for the one they can successfully claim. When traveling on a game trail you need your wits about you.
What To Do When You’re Grabbed from Behind
In this particular kind of assault, the assailant wishes to keep you quiet as they move you to a better location, hence, covering the mouth and the movement itself. The first thing you want to do is be as heavy as possible to be a difficult item to move anywhere. Do this by dropping your center of gravity immediately. Stay on the balls of your feet and do not rock back to your heels. This will make you agiler and able to keep your feet under you despite all the movement. Simultaneously bring your hands to the attacker’s forearm near the wrist and pull down hard with your back muscles (like doing a chin-up). Depending on the size and strength of the opponent you may only move their hand a little. That is okay. You only need enough room to scream or bite.
There are a lot of “suggestions” online as to what you should scream. Some have said that screaming “HELP” or “RAPE” intimidates bystanders and they are likely to call 911 but not come running to help. They suggest yelling “FIRE” instead. I personally have never found any merit to these ideas. My reasoning is this:
- You are trying to survive, so yell whatever you can to get attention, period.
- There is no evidence that suggests the same cowards who will not help if you yell “HELP” would actually do anything useful if there was a fire. The bottom line is yell LOUD.
If you find yourself not in a position to get the attention you need you can bite their hand as hard as possible. Biting is always a great option. Just be aware some people do not want to risk any blood pathogens. I, however, am a “do whatever it takes to survive” kind of thinker. If it comes down to it and there are no other options it’s dinner time!
The next phase will be to turn in towards the assailant under their armpit while holding their forearm tight. You CANNOT dilly-dally through this phase. It needs to be done explosively and fast. Go until you are standing upright. If you do this slowly odds are you will get caught in some sort of side headlock.
As soon as you are upright it is time to do damage via counter attacks. Knees/straight kicks to the groin, and straight punches or palm strikes are fantastic for this. Alternate your counters from low targets to high targets, or high to low. As you saw in the video she had an amazing knee to the groin that created a genuine reaction in her training partner even though he was wearing protection. She did exactly right by utilizing the opening it created to leave instead of staying to continue striking. When you can leave, it is always best to just leave. Always.