These self-defense tactics are meant to be practiced before they are used and are meant for people who have no other alternative in order to save their life or the life of another. These are techniques I have learned through years of martial arts training.
When an Assailant is Behind You
If an assailant has come up behind you and put a knife or gun to your back, the worst thing you can do is just start running straight ahead. If you have not yet seen your attacker, then you cannot successfully assess your chances of escape.
When an attacker has placed a weapon to your back, it is best to raise your hands in front of you. This shows your compliance to the assailant and prepares your body for defensive tactics. Your top priority at this point is to disarm the attacker. If it is possible to get a look at which hand the attacker is using to hold his, it will make disarming him much easier.
Assuming the attacker is right-handed, you need to spin left, or counter-clockwise, applying the force of your turn into your right arm. You want to hit the inside of the attacker’s right arm between the wrist and the elbow. You should hit the arm with the edge of your arm, hitting with the radius bone. The force of your bone against the attacker’s arm tendons and nerves should cause him to drop the weapon.
At this point, your options depend on your self-defense training. If you are trained in self-defense, you should attempt to restrain your attacker until the authorities can be summoned. If you are not confident in your ability to subdue your attacker, you should use a stalling attack on him. This can be a kick to his shin or a punch to his jaw. Afterwards, run way and seek help.
When an Assailant is In Front of You
This works much the same way as when the attacker is behind you, but the attacker is less likely to be within striking distance if he is standing in front of you. You will be able to better assess your situation, however.
Once again, you should raise your hands, as this is actually a good self-defense posture. I’ll pause for a moment to explain why having your arms raised is actually a desirable posture. Most self-defense styles use a raised arm stance as their default posture. This places the arms near the face to be able to block attacks. It also tenses the arms for striking maneuvers.
Just to clarify, when you raise your arms for an armed attacker, you raise them in a surrendering manner.
Now when the armed attacker is in front of you, your options will depend on the situation. If the attacker has a gun and is standing farther than one large step away from you, you should not attempt to disarm him. Your odds of successfully disarming him before he can shoot you are very slim, and you should not attempt self-defense techniques. You should instead try to outrun your assailant.
If he is close enough to attack in the space of one large stride, it does not matter whether he has a knife or gun. Your tactics for both will be the same. You need to dip down (or duck slightly), step forward, and hit the inside of the attacker’s weapon arm with your arm in the same way as you would if he were standing behind you.
The only difference here is that you will not spin around, since you are already facing him. Also, you will be ducking down slightly to throw off his aim. When you make your step toward the attacker, you need to move toward the side of his body that is not holding the weapon to further throw off his aim.
Your follow up tactics for a disarmed attacker should be the same as those listed above for an attacker behind you.
Once again, these self-defense techniques should not be attempted if there is any other option. They should only be attempted by those who have practiced them repeatedly, preferably with someone who is trained in self-defense- such as a police office or martial artist.