What To Do If You Get Hurt In Self Defence


Have you ever been hit hard?

Not many people have and it for that reason 99% of the stuff you see on social media around the subject of self-defence is all wrong, it is based on one-way traffic.

What happens when you see a technique, a drill or even sparring on video is the same story told.

Man or woman attacks, you defend, and you are victorious.

This is the narrative that most self-defence systems are based around because it sells.

Who wants to go to a self-defence class with the idea that you could lose?

In this article, we are going to address that subject in detail. We are going to look at what you need to do if you get hurt in a fight!


Going Beyond Awareness

The common theme among self-defence experts is that if your levels of awareness are high, no one will be able to get the jump on you.

In reality that is not right, it depends on how skilled and devious the attacker is!

Criminals and nasty people have over time developed a range of tactics and techniques to catch you off guard, and there is no way you can know them all.

Also, we are, human beings, and as such we enjoy life. Having a glass of wine or two when out will cause you ‘awareness’ levels to drop and this is natural.

Life is to be enjoyed.

Of course, some attackers are just going to be better at fighting than you. They might have a faster punch and can land a telling shot first.

So please let us start on the right foot, you can be hurt!

Ok, now we have got that out of the way let us address what happens.


What  It Feels Like To Get Hurt

In a boxing match or BJJ contest if you get hurt the referee steps in. It creates a safe environment, but that does not exist in the street.

Here is what happens in the street.

First, you take a shot and see a bright flash of light for a split second; then it feels as if you are underwater.

Sound becomes muffled, and it feels as if you have drunk about 10 pints of beer.

Then you start to realise the damage that has been done.

It might be as simple as the sensation of a tooth that was once firmly placed in your gums is now rolling around on your tongue.

Or perhaps your hand reaches up and you feel that your nose is definitely not facing straight ahead.

And in the split seconds that this has all taken place, it suddenly occurs to you.

You might be going to lose this fight; you might get seriously hurt.

Unless you have been there, you will not know how sobering a thought this is which is why I hate to hear cocky self-defence instructors ‘wanting to fight’. This shows me that they have not actually faced situations where they could lose.

Until you have that ‘oh no’ moment, you have not seen down ‘the rabbit hole’, and the thought you could lose has rarely even been considered by you.


What To Do If You Get Hurt

So you just got hit hard, and you have spat out the broken tooth that was rolling on your tongue.

What now?

Ok, this is the where you need recovery time, and you need to do everything you can to avoid another heavy shot.

Tactically you might now realise that he hits hard, maybe even harder than you!

You need to trap his arms, get to his back, cover up or do anything which puts you out of harm’s way (all covered in the  Defence Lab Online University).

The attacker or group are the sharks, and you want to take your legs out of the water before they can take a bite.

Get your head out of the way or at the very least protected. You want them to pay for the next shot, and if they smash their knuckles on your elbows then great.

At this time not only are you feeling all the normal effects of adrenaline in your body you are also dealing with the damage done by the punch.

So your legs might not be working as they should, and this causes you an issue.

‘Jelly Legs’ is a common issue when being hit hard and it will reduce your ability to move. For this reason trapping them at the arm might be a good idea while you collect yourself.

In a few seconds, you will feel the strength return to your legs. They will feel solid, and you are back in business. Now is the time to do ‘your thing’.

If you are a Judo person you might throw them to the floor or if a Thai boxer you might start with the elbow and knee strikes.

Now is your moment, but as we said in another blog do not play their game!

You already know they hit hard and you do not want to taste that again.

But what if they hit you hard again?

You need to rinse and repeat! Plain and simple.



If you ever have to defend yourself, you need to realise that you are highly likely to be hurt. It is how you react in those key and critical seconds that will dictate if the fight will go your way.

If you get hit hard and leave yourself open to another attack, you will get seriously hurt. This mental shift in training is essential and is all about ego!

Ego dictates how you train and if you train as if someone could hurt you, this will fire the intensity inside you week after week.

It is this intensity that will bring you back to training every week.

Thanks for reading