Self-Defence and how to restrain an attacker

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People ask me all the time about how to restrain people. Restraints are popular amongst security and police personnel. The reason is because restraints are thought to be more humane then beating an attacker to a pulp! Restraints are holds and locks that are supposed to be able to stop an attacker from causing harm to you.

Restraints include: Wrist & Finger locks (watch any Steven Seagal movie!) Arm locks Head locks Bear Hugs Full Nelsons Ankle locks and Knee bars Etc. Etc. The reality of restraints is that they are extremely hard to use during a vicious attack. Especially, if they are not accompanied by strikes. If an attacker is high, drunk or just has a massive load of adrenalin then restraints may not be effective. I understand that this is blasphemy because some Martial Arts styles are totally based on restraining and not striking an opponent. You will probably have to use strikes in conjunction with restraints. There is nothing worse then trying to restrain an opponent and they resist, turning the situation into a sloppy wrestling match you better hope that you are stronger then your opponent if this happens.

Restraints may not always be the best thing to use in a multiple attack situation either. There is no point holding one attacker down, only to be getting kicked and punched by his/her buddies! You are better off hitting and running, getting away from the situation. Restraining an opponent may delay your exit. Okay then, when are restraints useful? If you can't run or escape then restraints can be handy. If you are enclosed in a small space when you are attacked. If an attacker is armed and you manage to grab the weapon holding arm.

What's the best way to restrain someone? As stated early, you are better of striking in conjunction to restraining so that your opponent is less likely to resist. Then, you need to make sure that when you restrain someone, the hold or lock is painful to your attacker. Don't ever rely on your strength alone. Pain is a great motivator to take the fight away from an opponent. The best way to make sure that the restraint is painful is to make sure that the hold or lock you are using could break the bone/limb captured. This way, if your opponent feels no pain and is still putting up a hard fight, you can up a gear and break a bone.

Despite the way it looks on television and in the movies, restraints and holds are hard to use in a street situation. They do have their place but more so to the person who can dedicate enough time to become proficient at them. If you are looking for the quick fix' then strikes may be more useful to you.

By Robert Devane


Martial Arts INC teaches kickboxing, self defence and MMA in Dublin City. We have both private and group classes available 7 days a week. Beginners always welcome

Street : Unit 5 Brunswick Court, North Brunswick Street

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Phone : 01 6776592