The ABCs of Self-Defense

Self-defense is not about fighting. It’s about surviving. That’s why we call ourselves survivors, not fighters. Or victims.

Even so, one must still prepare for battle. Self-defense is 90% caution and 10% confrontation. As Mr. Miyagi says, we learn to fight so that we don’t have to. The more prepared we are, the less likely it is that it will come to that. Better to be safe than sorry.

So let’s develop the skills and smarts we need to effectively fight back like the strong women we are, armed with more than just our anger and righteous indignation. Much better to harness our innate powers of perseverance, awareness, intuition, communication, and camaraderie.

Now this is no after school special. I’m not gonna get all June Cleaver on ya. I’m gonna get real. Coz this shit is real. And real dangerous. So it’s important that you feel prepared, empowered, and encouraged. That means building each other up, not cutting each other down.

Survival is a collaboration, not a competition. As Tough Cookie Says, a rising tide lifts all vaginas. Solidarity, sister! Ya ya!

So wanna learn how to defend yourself like a true Tough Cookie? I’ve summarized my top TC-tested tactics for you below, which I like to call the ABCs of Self-Defense.

These are the basic steps to follow every time you go anywhere or encounter anything that could potentially put your life in danger. It’s your step-by-step guide to navigate any such situation. A veritable alphabet soup of wisdom to live by.

So digest these ABCs one at a time, in this order. The order is crucial. Because the best protection is prevention. So you’re gonna want to stay in step A if you can. If you can’t, only then do you move on to step B and try that approach. If that doesn’t work, only then move on to C. And so on and so forth.

Ready? Good. Then grab a spoon and let’s dish it out!

A is for Avoid

There is no surer means of protection than prevention, including in self-defense. Learn to be aware of any potentially dangerous or suspicious situations around you, and try to avoid them.

B is for Backtrack

If you do find yourself in danger, find an exit route and get out of there as quickly (and safely) as you can.

Remember ETGS: Escape To Gain Safety. This is your ONLY goal in self-defense.

C is for Control

If you absolutely cannot escape, only then do you prepare to fight. Get into a ready stance and know your own moral boundaries, as well as the potential legal ramifications.

D is for Defend

Fight back only as much as is necessary to escape safely. You can use ETGS again for where to strike your attacker: Eyes, Throat, Groin, Shin/Stomach.

E is for Evaluate & Evince

As soon as you can, get to safety and find an authority figure to report what happened. Don’t let them get away with it. Remember, you are strong. You are a survivor. And you are not alone.

F is for Familiarize

Practice, practice, practice. You only have a split second to react in a real attack, so self-defense needs to be instinct. Engrain these ABCs firmly in your mind and muscle memory.

To Be Continued…

Did you enjoy this little nougat of wisdom? Want more? Visit our website to learn the ways of Tough Cookie and subscribe for a free copy of our cheat sheet PDF “The Six Senses Of Survival.”

Or come follow along the rest of Rebecca’s written journey at

Writer. Editor. Wanderer. Warrior.

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