Eyes, nose, throat, groin and knees — the primary target points.



Now we’re really getting into it.  These are some high-intensity physical skills for use in escalated situations.


About five minutes if you just cover primary targets; ten minutes if you also discuss secondary targets.

The primary targets are those that, when struck, create an involuntary physical response beyond just physical pain — no matter how strong or intoxicated someone is.  These are the ones to go for in an extremely escalated situation, where you feel your life may be in danger.

List these for participants, one by one, asking for feedback on why each might be a good target to strike in a serious self defense context.  As you go through them, briefly teach effective strikes (specifics of the strikes and how to teach them are described in detail here).  The primary targets are:


Eyes — Water easily.  Potential temporary or permanent blindness.

Teach one effective strike:  Bird Beaks.  Draw all five fingertips together and peck sharply at the eyes.


Nose — Makes eyes water.  Disorienting at a minimum.

Name one effective strike: Hammer Fist.  (Teach this on its own later on.)


Throat — Even slight pressure can disrupt breathing.

Name one effective strike: Hammer Fist.  (Teach this on its own later on.)


Groin — Many sensitive nerves, regardless of groin style.  Often causes doubling over.

Teach one effective strike: Forearm Shiver.  Like rolling a bowling ball, swing your arm under and up into the groin area, striking with the blade of your forearm.


Knees — They’re designed to only bend one way. It doesn’t take much force to seriously injure a knee, making it difficult for someone to chase you.

Teach one effective strike: Knee Kick.  A slightly higher version of Shin Flick on Strikes page.


And then, the best part:  everyone sings a song about it!  To the tune of the popular children’s song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” first demonstrate with the following lyrics:

“Eyes, nose, throat, knees and groin, knees and groin.

Eyes, nose, throat, knees and groin, knees and groin.

Primary targets cause a lotta, lotta pain.

Eyes, nose, throat, knees and groin, knees and groin.”

Point to each target as you name it.  As you sing “primary targets,” mime bird beak strikes to the eyes, and as you sing “lotta, lotta pain,” mime the forearm shiver strike to the groin (see Strikes) — or create your own choreography.  Then, make everyone sing it with you.  They will never forget their primary targets now!


Secondary targets are basically everything else on the human body.  Have a co-facilitator stand splayed out, and, starting from the top of the head, ask participants to call out every part you could cause pain on, and how you might do it.  From hair-pulling to collarbone-smashing to foot-stomping, take as many suggestions as you have time for.  It’s important to re-emphasize the importance of context here; as in, if your friend was annoying you and not respecting your boundaries, you probably wouldn’t gouge their eyes out; but you might give them tiny pinches on the underside of their arm to help them get the point.