Friday, October 12, 2012

SELF-DEFENSE: Lee Aldridge - Rear Bear Hug Escape

Rear Bear Hug Escape
By Lee Aldridge


One of the most frightening attacks for women to imagine is being grabbed from behind. Unable to see your attacker and unable to reach out toward him, being "controlled" with your arms pinned has caused many women to panic.

The goal of the attacker is usually to drag or carry you away. We will first demonstrate the basic options available to you to strike him as he holds you. These options will be pictured without the motion of the drag/carry. Then, we will deal with the problem of being moved against your will, and how to stop the attacker from moving you effectively. Once the attacker has had to pause his movement, you may then use the initial strikes shown. ;-)

To set the stage, Roger grabs Lauren from behind. The size difference is not hard to notice! HOWEVER, NOTICE THAT IN ORDER TO GRAB HER SECURELY, ROGER MUST LOWER HIMSELF SO THAT HIS HEAD AND SHOULDERS ARE EVEN WITH LAUREN'S! Knowing this will serve you greatly!

Rearward Head Butt

Lauren's first option to strike the attacker is by smashing backward with her head into his nose (great target!) or the orbit of his eye. Any parent who has held the baby and caught the unexpected head butt knows how effective this can be, especially since you're really trying to cause damage!

Even in the dark, you can get a "sense" of where the attacker's head is. He may even make it easy for you by trying to "whisper in your ear", etc. Use any hint you get, or try to get a quick look, to make the head butt land solidly!  ;-)


Groin Hammerfist Smash

Even though the attacker is far stronger than you, he cannot control the movement of your hips. Your arms may be tightly pinned, but you can "sidestep" enough to create a clear alley for a rearward hammerfist strike to his groin. If he doesn't let you go, you just keep hitting! :idea To try to stop this strike, he'll have to "adjust" his grasp on you, giving you a better chance to escape right then.

See how Lauren has cleared the way for her strike by stepping outward with her foot and slightly shifting her hips out of the way:

Backward Knee Destruction

Lauren also has the option of delivering a kick to Roger's knee, driving down and back to hopefully hyperextend the joint. Attacking the opponent's legs can be very effective in preventing him from moving you around! ;-)

Notice how Lauren uses the outside edge of her foot to strike his leg. This method gives you a much greater chance of landing the kick solidly, rather than having your foot vertical. 

Shin Kick

If you're wearing those super-tight jeans that make your butt look great, you might not be able to bring your leg up high enough to perform the knee kick shown earlier. :-D

You can kick directly backward into his shin and enjoy a good effect anyway! Swing your leg backward like a huge pendulum and generate as much force as you can, crashing into his shin with the edge of your foot. Depending on the type of shoes you're wearing, this can be extremely painful! :-o

The key to any of these strikes is: DON'T GIVE UP!

As long as the attacker holds you in this manner, just keep hitting him.

Here's the shin kick:

The Carry-Away

Of course, it's rare for a thug to come up in the Wal-Mart parking lot and just give you a big hug!  @@

His goal will be to take you along with him.

Let's look at the prospect of being picked up from the rear bear hug:

As he lifts you, he'll have to be concerned with his balance and how to hold onto you while you "struggle". He might be prepared for you to flail about like a fish in the boat, but he won't be able to handle what you can easily dish out once you know how!

To make it miserable for him to carry you, you forcefully wiggle your shoulders in a "figure eight" pattern, both up & down AND front-to-back. Picture yourself swimming the backstroke while in his grasp. This motion will occupy him as he is forced to constantly secure his grip on you. (Have you ever held a small pet that didn't want to be held? All the COMMITTED squirming makes it extremely difficult to control even an animal that weighs a small % of what you do. Imagine how hard it can be to control someone who weighs 1/2 of your weight!)

As you wiggle your upper body as described, you will also "bicycle kick" with your legs. You'll try to kick him in the knees, shins, and groin. The movement of your upper body actually serves to "wind you up" for more powerful strikes! You only need to try this for a minute with a foolish training partner for you to figure out exactly how this feels to do! He'll figure out exactly how it feels, too! ROTF

Here's the pick-up, and the beginning of the squirming/kicking:  

Landing the Knee Kick

Here's how you'll land the knee kick backward into him, still squirming your shoulders!

He won't be able to carry you with this going on! Once again, you only need try this with a uh.. "training partner".. to understand how much this screws up his plans.

He'll have to set you down and try to get a better grip on you.


Drag Away

Being dragged away, not carried, poses a different problem. You cannot really use any kicks, since you're most likely "back-peddling" to remain standing as he pulls you. It's also hard to use the groin strikes, since there's just too much motion involved to get a good target.

We've found that suddenly jumping up, arching your back, and attempting to head butt the guy is the most effective means to stop the dragging movement. The sudden change in resistance from you momentarily causes the attacker to pause, and try to gather his momentum. If you're lucky, you might actually hit his face and really get something good going immediately!

Here's the drag away, and you can see how tough it would be to try to kick or hit his groin:

Back Arching Head Butt

Here's the use of the back-arching head butt. This will throw him off for a moment, and allow you to start hitting him with the strikes shown earlier.

Remember, as long as he holds you in the bear hug, his own weapons/blockers are already in use! You can keep trying things, and unless he lets go of you and attempts to hit you back, you can continue with what we've shown here.

The back-arching head butt: 

The Front Bear Hug

The question always comes up.... "Is there any other way he could pick me up?"

Here's one quick take on that:

He could pick you up from in front, and still have your arms pinned. You're probably too close to use much in the way of strikes with either your arms or legs.

However, you've got all those teeth, and this would be a great time to use them. He'll probably set you down!  ;-)


The basic idea here is to keep hitting the target areas with mean-intentioned strikes, rather than pointless "flailing around" that will exhaust you very quickly. We've shown you a few options for how to hit him and where to hit him. This way, no matter how he grasps you, you will be able to find something pretty good to go for.

I purposely did not introduce the subject of using a weapon to defend yourself for two reasons:

1. If you are suddenly grabbed in this manner, you will probably not be able to immediately get your weapon into play. You'll have to deal with him on a hand-to-hand level first.

2. I feel that it's important to understand the mechanics of the "basic escapes" well enough so that you CAN deal with him without a weapon if necessary.

Naturally, use of weapons in all the demonstrated escapes can certainly improve your odds greatly! As you practice these techniques, consider how you would use your knife, your firearm, your cell phone, etc. AND how you would get it into play under the constraints of the grasps. ;-)

Thanks and good luck,


You can contact Lee Aldridge care of his site:



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