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The Outfoxxed Program is based on educating and motivating women to not only take a personal interest in their own protection but in empowering them through courses designed at developing a heightened awareness, a better understanding of situational problem-solving, and training the proper, efficient, and effective self-defense

The Praying Mantis - Take Control



The Praying Mantis - Take Control

Michael Joyce

One important characteristic that brought me into the field of teaching self-defense to women (and not focused on teaching males in particular) is that literally all of them feel (or at least at one point felt) that men have a superiority of strength.  The fact is that strength can also be a pitfall.  Sometimes the motivations or objectives of the attacker can be detrimental to his success.  Taking control and learning how to manage this control with movement will greatly improve your ability to escape, survive or even overcome an attacker.

After briefly stopping your attacker's momentum, you have several options: escape, controlling, and/or producing injury on your attacker.  The most reliable control from the Valkrie is the Praying Mantis.  It is reliable for several reasons, but the main one being this - there is a minimal amount of movement needed to keep your attacker under control. 


Remember, violence is extremely scary and there is no fail-proof technique.  Therefore, understanding the principles of effective movement is very important.  Women who typically do not partake in contact sports (ie. wrestling, football, martial arts), lack this familiarity in feeling the dynamics of pushing, pulling, and having to regain balance. However, these core principles can easily be understood and mastered through proper partner training.*  Jenny and I will continue to demonstrate helpful movement and exercise patterns to reinforce retention, correct posture and force direction.  The continued practice will tremendously boost confidence and effectiveness in life-threatening situations.

*Take special note at the various examples, variations and emphasis placed through our videos; namely, The Valkyrie and The Praying Mantis. 


Before we start attacking and/or escaping, the praying mantis allows you to work off the standard bridge to gain momentary control. After we bridge from the Valkrie, we then use our foxy paws to hook the attacker's neck with the 'sword' hand and then his tricep with the 'shield' hand. From there, we sink with our body weight to then either push the attacker away with our forearms or hammer fist the back of his head.

Here are three tips to remember when performing the Praying Mantis...

Slice the neck with the ulnar edge

The blade of the forearm (ulnar edge) should slice upwards to the side of the neck.  Do not allow your elbow to slide higher than the attacker's collarbone because is can easily slide off or be pushed off.  

Adhere your shield arm

Allow your hands to curl around your attacker's neck and drop your elbow and body weight simultaneously. The "shield arm" should adhere to your attacker's arm by hooking his elbow or tricep.  Keep your elbow low to avoid him slipping under your arm and gaining contact on your body.  Body contact can more easily affect your balance and your ability to manage distance.

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Take a quarter step

Taking a quarter step to the side is an important component to the Praying Mantis movement as it will place your attacker at a disadvantaged and tip-able position. Once you hook the neck with your spear arm, take a quarter step to the left to change your direction to 15-45 degrees.  Because this movement will displace your attacker, he is likely not attacking at this point; only surviving." Additionally, if the attacker tries to grab your leg when on the ground, take another step to the side while keeping your forearm strong at his neck!

Those are our three tips to perfecting your praying mantis!

Remember to train slowly with your partner so you can ingrain the technique better. Doing these movements fast will increase likelihood for 1.) injury, 2.) sloppy technique and 3.) frustration!

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