Though many individuals do not have martial arts training, some dire circumstances can force anyone to defend themselves in a life-or-death situation. Everyone should have some knowledge of self-defense tactics, and pressure points are some of the most effective you can have in your toolkit.


Remember that all of these pressure points can cause both immense pain and lasting damage to an unwary attacker. They are also only effective if you are able to properly execute your blows; attacking pressure points should be a method of securing escape, not an attempt to incapacitate an opponent. Only use them if it’s absolutely necessary.



This is the simplest vulnerability on the human body, and by applying pressure with your fingertips or palms, you can cause temporary or permanent blindness. Even if you just blind them temporarily, their disorientation can give you valuable time to escape.



This is a target that few consider, but it can be valuable if you’re grabbed or you’re fighting with an armed assailant. A sharp blow to the bicep can cause paralysis of the muscles and immense pain, sometimes even leading to a sudden release of whatever the attacker is holding.



An effective self-defense move is a sweeping motion with the palm of the hand, striking the jaw so that the head twists sideways. This type of blow can cause disorientation and even brain damage as the brain jolts inside the skull. If you are trying to escape a dangerous situation and have access to your attacker’s jaw, this is a smart move to employ.


Brachial Plexus

This spot is located just above the armpit and actually targets the underlying bone structures. A chopping blow from the edge of your hand can actually shatter an attacker’s clavicle, rupturing the nerves of the brachial plexus and causing paralysis of the hand on that side of the body as well as immense pain.



When someone is grabbed, they often feel the urge to try and pry off their attacker’s fingers. It’s actually more effective to apply pressure to the web of skin between the thumb and forefinger, as well as the joints between the fingers. This can cause sharp spikes of pain that force an opponent to let go. If you are able to anticipate being grabbed, you can also attempt to intercept the grab and seize the attacker’s fingers. Forcing them backwards can cause enough pain to distract them as you make your escape attempt.


No matter which pressure points you’re using, remember that they should only be used for self-defense and as a last resort. Still, everyone should know at least a little about how to defend themselves.


Javill Byron is an accomplished martial artist, entrepreneur, businessman, and philanthropist based in Miami. As the owner of Top Shot Miami and WMB Martial Arts, Javill strives to serve as a valuable resource for individuals who want to improve their physical abilities and learn to protect themselves. Javill is especially passionate about helping children with disabilities and children who are bullied.

As a philanthropy-minded person, Javill Byron devotes much of his time to his nonprofit, WMB Foundation, Inc., which provides services to families and children diagnosed with ADHD, ADD, or Autism and aims to promote academic success and generally enrich their lives.