Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Twelve Tips: When You Can't See Your Attacker

By: Melissa McAvoy

I turn on the TV every morning when I am getting ready for work. Usually I watch the Weather Channel (lame, I know) to see what to wear for the day, but recently I've been watching the Today show on NBC. Most of their spots, I have to admit are targeted toward money or relationship issues, but periodically they have some really cool interviews.

Yesterday, they featured a blind gentleman who defended himself against an intruder using wrestling moves he had learned nearly 30 years before. It made me really think "what do you do when you can't see your attacker coming." I've taken a self-defense course and they often cover how to handle attacks from the rear, so you're good there. But what about when the attacker comes from the front? What if you are blind or visually impaired and weren't ever a championship wrestler?

Burglar loses fight with blind homeowner

Below is a list of tips from various sources as well as from some of what my father taught me about Ninjitsu many years ago. These tips are useful for anyone, regardless of whether or not you are visually impaired.

12 Tips for Self-Defense

  1. Stay alert.
    Do not assume that because you are using a cane or guide dog that you are safe. Some criminals target individuals with disabilities because they perceive them as easy targets.
  2. Consider carrying a personal alarm.
    Personal alarms make loud noises that draw attention to situations. They are often used by joggers.
  3. Inform someone about where you are going and when you are expected to return.
    That way, someone can notify the police if you do not arrive at your destination and they can tell the police exactly where you were supposed to be.
  4. If you are leaving somewhere after dark, consider asking a security person for an escort.
    Make sure that you know the security person or that you locate them at a security desk.
  5. Avoid short cuts through less traveled areas.
    There is always more safety in numbers than alone on a street.
  6. Try to identify the age, gender, number and location of the people around you.
    This will minimize the surprise if someone chooses to attack you.
  7. Carry a cellphone with emergency 911.
    Even if you can't afford a cellphone, all phones are required to be able to dial 911, so get one!
  8. Get comfortable using the objects around you as weapons.
    A cane can be a useful weapon in a fight although different techniques are used for solid canes and collapsible canes. This is where learning a martial art like Ninjitsu comes into play. My father trained under Bud Malstrom at the Atlanta Bujinkan Dojo.
  9. If someone grabs you by the wrist, break their grip by pulling away toward the thumb.
    The thumb is the weakest part of the hand and therefore the easiest part of the grip to break. The same can be done if they grab both hands.
  10. If you are grabbed from behind and your hands are pinned, use your heel to attack their knees and feet.
    The knee is a very unstable joint and the bones in the feet are very vulnerable to breaking so these are good locations to attack. Make sure that you strike as hard as you can with the heel of your foot and not the ball or instep. Note: The groin is also a good location to strike on a man, although, obviously, not as effective for women.

  11. Buy a book on self-defense.
    Safe Without Sight (SELF) - National Braille Press, $14.00.

  12. Enroll in a specialized self-defense course
    I hesitate to give too many more self-defense techniques because its always best to learn from a qualified instructor who can show you how to perform the techniques correctly.

Article Source: AbilityEdge

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.