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  • Writer's pictureThe M Word Consulting


No matter if the attacker is small or large, a proper hammer fist strike can be extremely effective in self defence. It will will usually leave an attacker unable to continue the attack and provide an opportunity for you to escape, so it is one of the most important physical techniques we teach at COBRA.


It is instinctive to curl your hand into a fist when under threat. In a hammer fist strike, the bottom of a fist is used to strike a blow similar to how a hammer would hit a nail. It is a great strike to use in self defence because you can generate a lot of power without damaging your hand.

The key with this strike is to hit with the soft part of your fist which is cushioned. This area of your hand is naturally padded (versus knuckles) and, unlike a regular punch, there is less chance of damage to the hand of the striker, making it more practical for self defence.

Do not telegraph your move by swinging back. Just curl your hands into a vertical hammer fist, step in, drop your weight, and hit the guy hard in the face. This isn’t necessarily about winning a fight, it’s about doing enough to get away from the attacker.


Due to biomechanics, a hammer fist can be applied on multiple planes of motion without losing much power when compared to traditional punches. This means you can really whack hard and very effectively in a relatively safe fashion. You can hit hard and sensitive areas, like right on the bridge of the nose, and your hand is going to be fine.

The other thing we really like about a hammer fist strike is the fact you can use it from a neutral position. Say you are trying to avoid a fight. A guy is getting in your face. You're backing off. You're telling them, “leave me alone, leave me alone”. Your hands are raised up in front of your face in a surrendering position. Right from here if you decide you have to get into a fight, you are in a perfect position to strike.

Here are some of the other reasons a hammer fist is one of the most effective weapons to use against an attacker:

Simple: the hammer fist is simple and a more natural strike to use effectively against an attacker.

Easy to remember: because of its simplicity, the hammer fist is also easier to remember in the heat of an attack. sometimes fear overcomes a potential victim. when fear grips, what comes to mind the easiest is what will be more effective.

Effective: the hammer fist requires less strength to cause serious damage. it is also normally used to target vulnerable areas of the attacker’s body (listed below). a strike to one of those areas is usually enough to disable or distract the attacker long enough to escape. a hammer strike to the eyes or neck, for example, will be a good defence for anyone. it will leave the attacker disabled, allowing the person enough time to get in the car, lock the door, and drive away.

Versatile: the hammer fist can be used in a variety of situations. whether being held from behind in a choke hold, around the waist, or “hugged” from the front. it is multi-directional, meaning that it can be used on any plane or in any direction. this adds to its versatility and usability in any self defence situation.

Adaptable: although the hammer fist is effective alone, it can be part of a combination of techniques. for instance, if held from behind, a stomp to the attackers instep, followed by a hammer fist to the groin, can disable the attacker, giving the person time to get away safely. a car key held in the fist can add another dimension the hammer fist. even a pen held in the hammer fist will have the same effect as a car key.


The hammer fist is most effective when used against the soft, vulnerable areas of the target’s body. These areas include the following:

Nose: A hammer fist to the nose will very likely end a fight or confrontation. Not only is being hit in the nose painful, but it causes the eyes to tear up making it hard to see.

Eyes: A hammer fist to the eye can leave the opponent temporarily (or even permanently) blinded, leaving the striker enough time to get away.

Groin: A blow to the groin is so painful it’s normally crippling to a man for several minutes. After a good kick in the junk or hit in the junk any male attacker will definitely be “discouraged”.

Side of the neck: A lot of nerves, and a serious artery, runs up the neck. A well placed Hammer fist will leave the offender in a lot of pain or even knock them out.

Temple: The temple is an area on your head just behind the eyes. The skull is thinnest at this point. A Hammer fist strike to that area can knockout an opponent.

Jaw: The jaw is another area vulnerable to strikes. The position of the jaw leaves it exposed to strikes, and a Hammer fist there can leave the opponent unconscious.

Throat: A hammer fist strike to the throat can disable or even kill an opponent if targeted to the windpipe or trachea. It may not be the first choice of a target since it’s harder to hit than other areas such as the groin or the eyes.

Ears: A hammer fist to the ear, or both ears can leave the aggressor in pain. It may even cause the eardrum to rupture. A double hammer fist can even do twice the damage as it can be executed to both ears. This will add to the confusion of the attacker that its inflicted on.

Collarbone: A hammer fist to the collar bone can be very painful for the opponent. He may also find it difficult to move his arm if the collarbone is broken from the strike.


The Hammer fist can be extremely effective in self defence and is one of the main physical techniques we teach at COBRA.

It’s a basic strike that is easy to use, yet it can save your life. If you’re ever attacked or in a situation you don’t want to be in, a hammer fist might be able to get you away. That’s always the aim and the best way to get home safely to the people you love. Because that’s where you belong.

For more tips, advice and techniques, be sure to follow COBRA Sunshine Coast and share this post to help spread the word. After all, one person is too many and it always will be.

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