As a martial artist, Krav Maga and women’s self defence instructor I am often asked what is the best way for women to defend themselves.

In my opinion teaching women’s self defence is no different to any other self-defence techniques, however women certainly need to be more strategic as an attacker is often physically bigger and stronger.

The best pieces of advice I can give to a woman who is presented with an attacker is:

Strike vulnerable points! Groin, eyes, throat. And you need to do it with all the force you can – because if you are in this situation chances are your life really is depending on it. Striking vulnerable points such as the groin or eyes can slow the attacker and give you time to escape. This is vital in women’s self defence!

Be vocal – scream!!! Aside from drawing attention to yourself for help, screaming will startle an attacker.  A predator wants a weak victim and you need to do everything you can to put them off their game.

Fight back. Statistics show that women who don’t resist are more likely to be assaulted and sustain more serious injuries than women who fight back. And better still – have some specific women’s self defence skills that you have practiced and are confident utilising.

Don’t be pre-occupied when alone. Get off your phone, get your head out of your handbag and pay attention to your surroundings. You are able to better react to your surroundings with instinct when you are present and aware.

Use your “Weapons”.  If a woman does need to defend herself physically, the use of weapons, for example a handbag, keys or a deodorant spray can and aiming for vulnerable points on the attacker’s body is very effective. Weapons must be used with force in women’s self defence. Being forceful, loud and confident can deter people from attacking you.

Have a Plan. Do you know what you would do if you were attacked from behind when walking home? Or if you woke up with a man on top of you trying to rape you? It is important to have a mental plan that you can execute so if you are placed in such a situation you have a plan for escaping. It is even better to be able to practice these scenarios so you are physically prepared.

I believe the best form of women’s self defence is prevention.  I suggest the following common sense precautions to try and avoid getting into these situations particularly at night:

  • Go out in a group or with at least one other person
  • Try and have men around, such as partners / friends / family
  • Plan how you are going to get home prior to going out. Will it be by taxi, public transport or designated driver?
  • Keep an eye on your drink at all times, and be careful when accepting drinks from strangers
  • Limit your alcohol consumption and don’t become too intoxicated
  • Keep your phone with you, and make sure that it is fully charged
  • Ensure someone knows where you are going and how to get in contact with you
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you think you are being followed or feel uncomfortable, cross the road or enter a public place.

Above all I always highly recommend women learn some basic women’s self defence skills and practice implementing them so that they can use them should the need arise.
Krav Maga is a modern day reality-based self defence system. Adam Gulla is the founder of Krav Maga Northern Beaches. We run regular workshops and classes on women’s self defence. For more information, visit

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