January 6, 2024, Israel

There are certain techniques that are taught in nearly all basic self-defense courses and are considered as "we hold these truths to be self-evident". They are the "givens" of self-defense courses, and none question them. And yet no techniques should be taken on faith, everything should be question. I question these techniques. I will address three targets that are taken as self-evident truths: the eyes, the throat and the groin.

First, why were they chosen? Why are they the "darlings" of all basic 5-hour self-defense courses? They are chosen because they are seen as soft vulnerable targets. A poke in the eye, an eye gouge will cause serious damage even to a muscular individual. A shot to the groin will certainly cause great pain to a man, a punch to the throat will interrupt the breathing and allow time for escape or follow up techniques. As such, yes, they present good targets. But that is not the whole story.

These areas are naturally protected, and we naturally protect them. 

Lets' start from the top, the eyes - The eyes are surrounded by strong bones. If anything comes near our eyes, we instinctively close them. It is our natural protection device. In addition, the eyes are a small target, and it is difficult to hit them exactly. People will often miss and jam their fingers into the hard bones surrounding the eyes. Another factor is that most people are squeamish about putting their fingers into someone's eyes. Most people will hesitate and not be able to pull it off. Bottom line: It is not so easy, certainly not a given, that one can hit the eyes. 

Throat - Again there is natural protection here. Try tickling a child and they will naturally bring their chin down to protect their sensitive throat. In addition it is a difficult angle to reach, certainly with a punch. The only really good chance to reach it is with the open hand strike. But a throat punch, while many men and women tell tall tales about "I hit with a throat punch when he looked at me", is mostly fantasy. 

The groin - Again, when anyone goes near that area, both men and women naturally close their legs and protect the groin area. In addition this too is a difficult angle to hit. Certainly not as easy as most think and take for granted. 

We advocate other targets which are easier to reach, the side of the neck, the back of the neck, the face, the jaw, the side of the legs, the shin and the toes. 

Stay safe. 


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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