People work out to be slim, sexy, healthy and built, but what about working out to survive? I always tell personal training clients and group fitness class participants that we do push-ups so that we have the strength to push someone or something off of us in case of danger; that we run and perform cardio intervals so we can sprint away from any situation.
This week I had the chance to see fitness strength combine with self defense techniques when former WWE Diva Champ turned self defense expert, Eve Torres, visited a gym in New York. I had taken other self defense classes in the past, and they involved a lot of eyeball, adam’s apple and groin strikes. This class was different.
Eve is one of the stars of Investigation Discovery’s new show Surviving Evil debuting Wednesday, August 28th, 10/9c. In anticipation of showing the world how ordinary people survived extraordinarily evil situations, Torres taught several free survival classes at New York Sports Club (NYSC).
“75% of assaults are by people we somehow know,” Torres warned. “You need to learn to set boundaries, and you have the right to defend yourself. If you are trapped, it can become a kill-or-be-killed situation, but there are tools that can greatly increase your chances of escaping.
Besides physical fitness and strength, she says awareness is key. “Knowing your surroundings and paying attention if someone is lurking or following you – so don’t get too involved in that magazine or iphone,” Torrres continued.
She then provided dangerous scenarios and moves to escape.
Move 1 – Establish a Base, Avoid the Ground
If you are sitting cross-legged on the ground in the park, for example, and someone approaches you in a threatening manner, the first thing you want to do is get to your feet in a way that puts them on guard, keeps your balance if they try to push you, and gives you a way to either run or defend. Bend the left knee and place the foot on the floor, quickly placing your right hand on the ground to lift your hips up and swing your right leg wide and outside of the hand (think of a football game at the line of scrimmage). Stand with your knees bent and your feet in this wide base position. “I never get up from a sitting position now without doing it this way, and you should stand up this way for the rest of your life” Torres said. “Once you practice and make it second nature, your body will respond naturally when the stakes are high. Avoid the ground at all costs.”
Move 2 — Pull or Push in Base
If your attacker tries to pull you toward him or a car, house, or alley, you can resist from the base move by shifting your weight on the leg that is farthest from them, and straightening your closer leg. This looks similar to warrior II. “It seems counter-intuitive, but you may need to put your closer leg even closer to them so your base stays wide and you don’t fall into the attacker.
Get out of it: If he is pulling your arm with one hand, you locate the opening in his hand (when thumb meets fingertips in grip), bend your elbow and move it towards the attacker so your fist moves towards you and pops out of the grip.
If he is holding your arm with two hands, grab your fist with your other hand and perform the same pop-out while in pull-base stance. “These aren’t power moves, they are leverage moves,” Torres differentiated.
If the assailant is pushing you, you bend your knee closest to them and lean into them, straightening your opposite leg for resistance. Bend the elbow of the arm that is closest to them, lifting your arm near their neck and grabbing your fist with your other hand. Then you push your arm hard into their neck to create a frame and space between you. Push your hips back away from the person to get away.
Move 3 – Choke Hold
What if the attacker puts his hands around your neck? Torres suggests tightening your throat, dropping your chin, and stepping your strongest side foot back into base. Then quickly duck between his arms and out to the side of the foot you stepped back. (Think quick duck and swoop, “like a Beyonce hair whip”.)
Move 4 – Strike
The best way to strike the attacker without them seeing you “wind up” is the “Super Slap,” to get the element of surprise. From base position, use your strongest side arm and keep it loose, like a limp noodle. Whip your body from base stance to lunge stance starting with your legs for power and turning through your hips and shoulder. The arm will follow, and aim it with an open palm to slap the assailant’s ear. This will affect his eardrum and equilibrium and provide an opportunity to run away.
Move 5– Ground Attack
If your opponent does get you on the ground, and is on top of you with you face-up, lets say choking you, Torres says the best thing to do is not to try to punch and reach his face, because it will exhaust you if you can’t reach and if they are stronger, and hitting you. She recommends grabbing his arm that’s choking you on your left side, with your right hand and anchor it down toward your collarbone and chest while squeezing his right triceps (your left) with your left hand. Bend both knees and hook your left foot inside his foot. Left your hips and roll to your left. His leg and arm will be temporarily trapped by your arms and let, and he will roll over with you, allowing you to get on top, free and run.
Want to try these out in person and see more of Torres’ 15 moves?
She tours the country teaching these moves, and provides discounts and free programs to locations like Military bases. To take her classes, or become certified to teach others how to survive, visit www.GracieUniversity.com
Investigation Discovery, NYSC and Eve Torres want you avoid being an easy victim. These moves and seminars prepare you to ID the danger, show that you were the wrong target, and use your fitness strength and training to subdue and run away from evil.