Badass In Heels – Nerve Strikes

As a crime writer I often write my main character into and out of deadly traps. How I do that is to make her powerful. Incidentally, these techniques can be used for everyday women like you and me, too, should we find ourselves in a dangerous situation.

This post is geared toward the more petite woman, because often times they feel like they can’t defend themselves due to their size. Not true. For instance, I only stand five foot two, on a good day. A pipsqueak, as my husband would say. However, he also knows I could kill him 50 different ways. Don’t know what I mean? See my post and grab your free copy of 50 Ways to Murder Your Fictional Characters.

Let’s get started.

Your character’s elbows, knees and head are the bony parts of her body and, therefore, built-in weapons. Regardless of size, have her leverage her weight. It’s this principle that forms the foundation of martial arts like jujitsu and other self-defense programs where a smaller person is able to defeat a larger one.

Most women cannot go head-to-head with a man by throwing punches. Especially when there’s a huge size difference. That being said, your character wants to injure her attacker as soon as possible so she can either flee or end him with a weapon, depending on what kind of scene you’re writing.

Dark Alley Move

Let’s say Greg has murder on his mind and confronts Lacey as she’s walking through a dark alley — a shortcut home from a party. As Greg approached from the front he grabs Lacey’s left shoulder, the shoulder closest to him if Lacey’s on his right. Thinking quickly — because you, as her writer, have prepared her — Lacey sets her hand over his and grabs his thumb, shifts her weight, and bends Greg’s wrist back into his body. Which will cause Greg to bend forward at the waist. Now Lacey has the advantage. She’s still standing. Once Greg’s face is below Lacey’s hip she knees him in the face — hard — shattering his nose.

Impressive, right? This move would work perfectly fine in a novel and in life. But what if we want to make our character a total badass in heels?

I’m talking about…

Nerve Strikes

A sudden strike to the auxiliary nerve — the nerve that connects the deltoid muscle (top of shoulder) — causes a topic discharge, the uncontrolled firing of electric signals. Receptors in the brain overload, which signals pain. As the circuit overloads disruptive signals race to the limbs. Calcium and potassium flood the body. In a thunderous storm of zapping charges the entire system shuts down. Hence, the term “shooting pain”. Certain points on the body create the greatest density of nerve endings, like bundles of exposed wires, called clusters.

Now that we know what they are, how do we use them?

Ulnar Nerve Strike

ulnar nerve

The ulnar nerve is the bottom yellow one in this picture.

If you look at the underside of the upper arm the ulnar nerve runs down the middle, directly under the bicep muscle.

How does your protagonist use this to her advantage?

As the attacker reaches for her, she grabs his hand with one hand and, with the other, using the last two knuckles of a closed fist — top ring and pinkie knuckle — jabs an upper cut to that nerve. She wants to punch in and up, catching the nerve with those little knuckles. In turn, this sends shooting pains up/down her attacker’s arm giving her time to flee or grab a proper weapon.

Lung-6 Nerve Of The Arm Strike

radial nerve

It’s about dead center, in red.

Located on the radial nerve. Moving from the elbow to the wrist it’s about halfway down the inside forearm. If anyone has ever hit this nerve by accident you’ll know exactly where it is, because shooting pain runs down the arm into the hand. Ouch!

If the attacker had a knife, say, in his hand this move could save your main character’s life. As the attacker moves in with the knife your protagonist — using the bone of her forearm — strikes down on that nerve. Instantly, the weapon falls and shooting pains stun the assailant.

The Mental Nerve Strike

mental nerve

To see the mental nerve look at the chin.

Facing the opponent draw a line straight down from the corner of the mouth to the chin. Bingo — you’ve just found the Mental Nerve.

Let’s say your protagonist is laying in bed and wakes to find a masked man intent on raping her. The most effective way to use this nerve to her advantage is to dig the middle knuckle of her index finger into the nerve while holding the back of his head.

But suppose he’s moving around and not allowing her to dig her knuckle into the top of his chin. Her only alternative is to utilize vibration. How? Again she grabs the back of his head with one hand and, with the heel of her other hand, throws quick, firm, smooth jabs to that nerve. Which, at the very least, causes extreme dizziness in the assailant.

Listen, this is not the time to fight fair. Keep jabbing and jabbing until she disorientates her attacker enough to flee, or grab the gun off her nightstand. By continuously striking that nerve she’ll release the spinal cord in his neck, making her look like a total badass, and saving her life in the process.

Note: She must have one hand on the back of her assailant’s head with both moves. To utilize this nerve properly it needs double contact.

WARNING: I’m all for practicing real-life techniques to get the feel, smell, touch correct to make my scenes more believable. But, I must caution you, dealing with nerve strikes is extremely painful for the opponent. So don’t practice on your loved one, dog, best friend… anyone. If you must experience this in order to write about it only practice with a professional trained in this sort of combat.

Most of all, have fun. Nothing’s more sexy than a badass in heels.

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25 Comments

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  3. Wow. I think I’ll stick to cozies. My characters are way to whimpy for this. hehehe

    Anna from Elements of Writing

  4. That’s a great post. You clearly have done your research to have identified these great strategies of self defense. I am however left wondering what mental practise one needs to do to instinctively execute these in that moment of aggression rather that fall prey to the usual reactive options of hitting back which would not work with larger and more powerful opponents?

    Shakti

  5. Golden stuff! I don’t get the mental nerve, though. From the diagram it looks like it’s located deep inside the tissue, well behind the chin. How exactly do you reach it?

    • It is, sort of. Which is why when holding the back of the head you really need to dig your knuckle into that spot (line down from corner of mouth to chin). But, since you can affect this nerve with vibrations you don’t necessarily have to hit it dead on, either. Hence, the strike. As long as you have double contact (back of head while striking) you’ll affect that nerve.

  6. This is such a useful post, Sue! So very often, female characters (not just protagonists) are portrayed as either weak and overly vulnerable or ‘superheros’ who can do things that aren’t at all realistic. I think it’s incredibly helpful to have information like this to create a female character who can hold her own, but also take into account the realities of physical build. Oh, and being of quite short stature myself, I can understand exactly what you mean about that.

  7. Another great article Sue. Thanks for sharing this useful information. 🙂

  8. Nice, in a badass kind of way.

  9. Good stuff, Sue. I have never heard of the mental nerve before – learn something every day! In police training were were taught the ‘carotid control’ which is applying pressure to the carotid artery located on the right side of the neck, cutting off the blood supply to the brain and quickly knocking the guy out. I don’t recommend practising that on your husband 🙂

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