Practical Tips for Self Defence

Pooja Bhula

West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra(in descending order), top the list of states in India for crimes against women, as per the National Crime Record Bureau’s latest statistics. We find out how women are equipping themselves and take tips from experts too.

Women and their weapons: on the street

I carry pepper spray; I wish I had a gun! Megha S Dharan (23)

After the Delhi rape case, I keep pepper spray handy while travelling at night. It gives me confidence. I have also memorized punches that my father taught me when I was a kid, and recently used them, when someone tried to act funny with me. The man ran away. With presence of mind, you can defend yourself, but you need willpower to decide, ‘I will try my best’. Women should carry scissors, a knife, anything; I would love to carry a gun if it wasn’t illegal.

Kickboxing makes me feel secure Sagarika Parab(18)

I feel the need to defend myself considering everything happening around us. As a precaution, I don’t travel alone at night. Friends told me that kickboxing will be of no use, because there can be more than one attacker, but learning kickboxing has made me feel secure.

I read the vehicle number aloud Archana Lalwani(24)

I once had a bad experience with a rickshaw-walla. He was drunk and started threatening me when I asked him to stop. Somehow, I managed to get out. But now I always note the vehicle number and message it to a friend. Sometimes, I even dictate it aloud for the driver to hear.

I carry deodorant for defence Dipti Chikhalikar(32)

Many women from my organization asked for self defence classes. They were organized for us. But they are not useful. I just carry a deodorant for defence.

Police plan your precautions - By Shalini Sharma, Police Inspector

Be conscious of time and place

You have to be conscious of your time and place of travel. Late at night and early in the morning, you’ll find fewer people, so it will be difficult to get help. Keep track of whether your destination or the places you’ll cross are in the news for eve-teasing, chain snatching, rape or any such crimes.

Stay alert, act now

If a vehicle suddenly stops near you, think why? If something seems amiss whilst travelling, change your taxi, auto or train bogie. If you’re walking, look who’s around you, change your route if required and contact authorities.

Keep Emergency Numbers Handy

103 - Women’s Emergency Phone Call Centre
1090- For Senior Citizens
100- Police Hotline

Being stalked? Inform the police

If you find eve-teasers near your college, bus stop or routes you take regularly, inform the police, to prevent a mishap. Acid attacks are premeditated. Perpetrators generally know the victims and their routines. Random strangers on the road don’t suddenly fling acid at passersby. It could be a stalker, a rejected lover, or someone you’ve had a fallout with. Don’t hide or neglect such instances, at least inform your friends.

Stay fit

Fitness is very, very important. You have to be agile in times of need.

Learn basic self-defence

We are not living in a jungle, so there’s no need to go deep into martial arts. But, the basics of Judo and Karate are good enough to tackle attackers or buy time to run. These days, the police also teaches self defence in several schools.

Project confidence

You have to make yourself mentally strong, project fitness and confidence to deter attacks.

Carry an extra battery and pepper spray

Communicability is important at all times, especially if you’re travelling in remote areas or at odd hours. Always keep your mobile handy and carry an extra battery. There is no harm in carrying pepper spray too. Note down taxi and auto numbers, when travelling alone at night.


You may have objects to defend yourself and might know everything, but nothing beats presence of mind. If you’re in a situation where you can’t defend yourself, don’t be self-conscious, just SHOUT, so that people can come to
your rescue.

How to think on your toes - By Daniel Isaac, COO Super Fight League

Prohibited in MMA, useful in defence

Rules of mixed martial arts don’t permit hair grabbing, biting, scratching, poking the opponent’s eyes, attacking the spine, throat or groin. But in real life there are no rules, and these work well for self defence.

Element of surprise

Let the attacker think he has overpowered you. Once he’s in a vulnerable position, attack to buy time, and run.

Defence mentality has to be created

Attacking won’t come instinctively, but the mentality has to be created. Women need to think, discuss and learn defence.

It’s not about Judo or Karate

Your coach should put you in real life situations, where the attacker catches your throat or spreads your legs. You have to be taught to fight back in such scenarios.

Keep one arm free to defend yourself, or carry something light enough to swing at an attacker. Graphics- Illustrations by Sudhir Shetty

Walk against the traffic, so you can see and avoid potential molesters on bikes or cars approaching. Graphics- Illustrations by Sudhir Shetty

Shadows can alert you to a stalker`s presence. Graphics- Illustrations by Sudhir Shetty

Pretend to be part of a group. The attacker will think twice before accosting you. Graphics- Illustrations by Sudhir Shetty

Walk along a wall, so you only have to worry about defending one side. But don't go into corners. Graphics- Illustrations by Sudhir Shetty

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