You never know when someone might decide that you’re a target. Although you can’t control what other people choose, it is within your power to learn how to defend yourself.

Some essential self-defense tools include pepper sprays, stun guns, and tasers. Your body also provides options that allow you to stay safe in uncertain times.

Everyone should know a few techniques to ensure they can protect themselves.

1. Straight Punch

A straight punch’s basic movement can have a painful impact on almost any part of the body. You want to push from the legs, rotate the hips and shoulders, and explosively extend your arm toward the target.

Soft areas are better to hit than bony spots. Try to make contact with your leading knuckles to the nose or mouth for efficient results. Keep the fist clenched, use about 60% of your strength, and then follow up the first punch with a second from the opposite hand.

2. Front Kick

When a front kick travels up the vertical plane of an attacker, its impact can cause explosive pain. Many people crumble because the discomfort is debilitating.

Deliver the kick by pulling your hips forward with the knee bent and keeping the heel back. Allow the knee to extend, keeping the foot flat with laces facing upward and toes forward to create the largest striking surface possible.

Don’t try just to kick the spot because that action limits your impact. Allow your foot to travel up and through to use your leg’s momentum in your favor.

3. Knee Strike

Attackers must come close to do damage if they don’t have a weapon. That gives you an advantage if you’re prepared for that situation.

Knee strikes create massive damage at close range. If an attacker comes close enough to grab you, grab them instead to start defending yourself.

Grab whatever is available at the shoulder and neck, drive their head downward, and lift your knee with as much momentum as possible to press the knee into their nose. Use your hips to maximize the force you can deliver.

4. Grab Defense

If an attacker grabs you from the front or behind, the goal should be to get out quickly to begin defending yourself. Without space or a base, it’s challenging to produce self-defense results.

Start by lowering your center of gravity. Widen your feet and bend your legs to make it harder for you to be lifted from the ground. Once you achieve this result, start striking at any vulnerable areas until the attacker releases.

5. Choke Defense

Just because someone grabs your throat doesn’t mean your options are gone. Instead of trying to pull the attacker’s hands away, use your hand like a hook to target the thumb. A choke cannot be maintained without it being on your neck. Once you achieve that result, strike at the person’s vulnerable spots.

Self-defense starts with a mindset. When you have a plan to initiate if someone comes at you, it’ll be easier to get away safely.