Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Hair Grab Defense

I can't get the attacker and defender to stop smiling!

ve been told by people who’ve worked with sex offenders that men who attack women prefer their victims to have long hair.

It seems that a woman with long hair provides an attacker with something to hold onto and therefore some painful measure of control.  Perhaps shoulder length hair or a ponytail represents too much freedom to them, too much spirit. And of course, that can’t be allowed.

Their motivation is not my concern. I couldn’t care less about their fantasies or the reasons why they get up in the morning.  I’m interested in the victims of their attacks – and their survival.

Take a guess about what I think of statements like “Cover your hair, you don’t want to bring undue attention on yourself” or, better yet,  “If you dress like a slut then you’re partly to blame”.

I tell my girl students to wear their hair down to the ground if they want to, swing it around, let the sun and the wind get at it…and if a man, any man, comes for their hair, dislocate his kneecap. The greater part of the world is a fearful place for women, steeped in a tradition of gender hatred. My female students aren’t going to be on the receiving end of that type of monstrosity!

So today I’d like to discuss the first on a series about hair grab defenses. I’m going to start with a frontal attack and explain some of the basic countermeasures that can be used.

Attack the eyes with the other hand

1. The first item of business against any hair grab is to press down –hard – on top of the attacker’s hand, either with one hand or with both hands. This helps ease the sudden pain and shock, and helps restore some control.

2. Attack his eyes with your fingers or claw hand; strike up under his nose with the base of your palm; slap hard against his ears;  kick his groin; kick his knees…do all of these repeatedly. Do what you can to escape.


Attack the hollow of the throat

3. Drive your index and middle fingers combined into the hollow of his throat; grasp his Adam’s apple with a claw hand and twist it from side to side…while you kick his knees and his groin. Do not give up!

The start of a wrist throw

4. A more sophisticated technique is to perform the wrist throw on him. (I discussed the wrist throw a few posts ago). In brief, place your thumbs on the back of his hand once you’ve pulled it off your hair. Wrap your fingers around the inside of his hands and wrist. Snap your thumbs forward and pull your fingers in, pushing him down to your abdomen. Now twist his wrist down and out to the side, using the force of your entire body.

Bend forward and down prior to a kick

5. If you want to forgo hand strikes in favour of simply kicking, press down on his hand with both of your hands while leaning forward. Doing this takes some of the pressure off your scalp. It also forces him to bend slightly forward. Continue to press down on his hand while you begin a barrage of kicks aimed at his groin and knees. Do not relent until you can escape!

Kick repeatedly until he lets go

Of course all these techniques are fairly basic. Those of you in the martial arts might suggest an osoto gari or a roundhouse kick to the nerve packet on the upper thigh.

I’m sure you can tell from last week’s introduction to the wrist throw that I’m slowly moving into that direction. You know the martial arts…there are a thousand techniques for every situation. But first we have to arm our readers with the most simple, direct and easily adaptable methods.

Please watch for my future post on defenses against a hair grab from the rear. 



  1. Great pixs Sensei! We look like ying and yang; old and young. Thanks for posting. Seeing the pixs and reading about defences is a great review.

  2. Hi Jane,

    No...not old and young. You both look great and the light you both bring into the photos is amazing. My reaction is: "Who opened the window to let the fresh air in?"


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