Thursday, October 11, 2012

SELF-DEFENSE: Lee Aldridge - Escape from the Rape Position

Escape from the Rape Position
By Lee Aldridge


In this series, we will look at the tactics and techniques involved in escaping from beneath an attacker who is between your legs, with you on your back. This is one of the "goal" positions of a rapist, and you should be familiar with the dynamics of being held beneath a larger person. Having your legs "free" on the outside provides you more mobility than you would first assume.

We should assume that the attacker is much larger and stronger than you. This method involves using the strength in your legs, hips, and lower back to generate effective leverage that will allow you to create enough space between you and the attacker so that you may strike him. You will be able to free your hands (if he is restraining them) and you'll be able to kick him as well. Ultimately, you will have enough space to escape.

For purposes of clarity, the photos will not show any use of the defender's hands so that the mechanics of the escape and the creation of leverage can be clearly seen. Obviously, using such strikes/gouges as the eye attacks (shown in the Eye Gouging 101 thread) will greatly enhance the overall success of this method. Keep in mind, as you study the photos, that you will have opportunities to employ strikes/gouges with your hands!  ;-)

To demonstrate a worst-case scenario, here are RBFC Assistant Instructor Roger and RBFC Apprentice Instructor Lauren to show how even a large size difference can be overcome.

Notice the size differential: Roger 6'5" 240# and Lauren 5'5" (less than half Roger's weight)

The positional goal for escape

The following picture details the desired position that you will attempt to achieve to execute the escape.

Your feet/legs will be formed into a "froggy" stance, with your feet forming a "V" and pressing into the attacker's inguinal folds. In layman's terms, this means that your feet will lie in the groove formed where his legs meet his torso.

Here is the desired position:  
Detailed views of foot/leg position
As we proceed, remember that Roger is leaning back a bit so that the positions can be shown with clarity.

Here's a bird's-eye view of how the feet are placed for maximal efficiency in this escape: (starting by placing one foot in place) 

Placing the second foot

Because there will be quite a bit of "struggle" going on, it is almost always a good idea to place one foot at a time. Attempting to place both feet simultaneously will allow the attacker more freedom of movement while both your feet are off him. Having one foot on him will allow you to push a bit, making placement of the second foot easier.

Also remember that you will be able to "squirm" around somewhat, which will help you to place your feet. You should try to practice this method with a partner who will start out very gently and gradually increase the resistance he offers, so that you are able to progress toward full-force use of this method.

The placement of the second foot prepares you to push away from the attacker. The area where your feet sit is quite sensitive, and you will cause significant discomfort to your attacker as you push. Some types of shoes can really cause excruciating pain!

Now, both feet are in place:
Pushing away and attacking
Once you have begun to push away from your attacker, you will go just far enough so that you'll be at a good range to begin kicking him. You'll draw your knees up tight against your chest, and begin to use a "bicycling" motion to your kicks. Try to land the kicks with your heels! Targets are the chest and face of the attacker.

SHOVING AWAY: As you push away from the attacker, you should attempt to "walk" on your shoulders by rolling slightly from side to side as you push. This "trick" will prevent your hair from becoming caught underneath you (trapping you) and also prevent you from choking yourself with your collar! You should practice this motion until you understand how to walk your shoulders. As an additional benefit, you will also suffer far less abrasion than if you merely slide yourself along a parking lot!

Here's a picture of the desired distance, and the beginning of the kicks:  
Creating space to begin
Of course, if the attacker is lying down on top of you, you will not be able to simply place your feet on his hips and push away. You'll have to create the necessary space to get your feet into position.

Since very few women are strong enough to quickly "bench-press" a large attacker off of them, you will have to use the power of your hips and legs to generate enough force to move the attacker. The goal is to create enough space between your bodies so that you can place your feet in the desired "froggy" position.

By wrapping your legs around the attacker's waist and crossing your ankles, you will obtain a strong grip on his body. You will then forcefully arch your back and straighten your legs (keeping your ankles crossed). This will move almost anybody so that you can place your feet.

In the first photo, notice how Roger throws in a choke and uses his bodyweight to apply greater pressure. Lauren does not have the space to get her feet in at this time, so she must move Roger slightly away.

Here's the beginning of the act of creating space:   
Achieving the locked-legs grip on the attacker's waist
Here, Lauren obtains the leg-lock position which will give her the ability to use the leverage of her hips and legs to move Roger. It is unlikely that she could lift him off her far enough to relieve the pressure of the choke. Also, remember that she could be employing the eye attacks, etc. which we discussed earlier, but we have omitted those so that you may see the mechanics of the escape. 

Arching the back to create space

Now that Lauren has locked her ankles, she can arch her back forcefully in order to create the needed space.

If your legs are too short, or if the attacker is too large around the waist, you can squeeze with your thighs/knees and perform the same back arch. It's not quite as powerful, but it's still your best bet.

Once again, you really need to try this with a live partner to get the feel of how this goes!

The back arch to create space:

Placing the feet and pushing away

As Lauren places her feet and begins to push Roger away, you'll notice that he is no longer able to apply as much pressure to the choke.

Here's the placing of the feet and the beginning of the push-away:

Completing the push-away

As Roger is pushed further away, the pressure of the choke diminishes.

His balance also suffers, and you may be able to topple an unwary attacker at this point. 


Push-away 2

Here, the attacker's balance really begins to suffer, and the choke holds almost no pressure anymore.

Push-away 3

At this point, Lauren has broken the choke, since her legs are longer and stronger than Roger's arms. She is also ready to draw her knees up and begin the bicycle-kicking we showed earlier.  

Use of hand attacks during escape

Now that we have demonstrated the physical mechanics of the escape, let's show how you may use eye attacks to enhance the effectiveness of the escape.

Here is the "bowling-ball" eye gouge used to help create the space you need to escape:

Clawing/Raking attacks during escape

If you cannot reach the attacker's head to obtain a grasp, you may still attack his eyes by raking and clawing at his eyes. This will certainly cause the attacker's attention to be diverted a bit, as well as cause him to move backward a bit. You can then take advantage of the increased space to perform the escape.

Here's the eye raking attack:


Being taken to the ground is obviously not optimal. Really, we must look at this situation as being the result of a break-down of our awareness/recognition skills earlier in the confrontation. Regardless, once we're held down on the ground, we have gravity and the opponent's weight to overcome. Our mobility is strictly limited, and quick escape is desirable before the attacker decides to begin throwing multiple blows of his own.

I have also omitted the use of weapons in this scenario, only so the basic mechanics of the escape may be clearly seen. Ultimately, we will add in the presentation and use of weapons in this type of situation.

Until then, I urge you to try this out with a partner.

Please address any questions regarding this escape sequence to me!



You can contact Lee Aldridge care of his site:



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