Just as every man needs to know how to fight, every man needs to know how to fight as if his life depended on it, for one day, it just might. Indeed, for while every man should know the basics of “bar-room brawling”, much more importantly, every man should also know the basics of ‘my-bloodly-life-is-on-the-line-and-I-will-win-no-matter-what-the-cost’ combat as well. And when it comes to life-or-death combat, a critical aspect of such a struggle is not only knowing which targets to aim for on a human body, and it is not only about knowing which targets to aim for first, but it is also about knowing which targets are literally indefensible no matter who your opponent is. And it is precisely these latter types of targets which this article will address.

Now, in providing you with this information, the onus is obviously on you to know how local self-defense laws apply to your situation. So, let’s be clear: I am just providing you with some knowledge, but you are responsible for how you use it. At the same time, I want it to be understood that these tactics should never be used except when you are under threat of death or serious bodily harm.

So, having said the above, let us now address the three indefensible targets that every man should know about. And in saying that these bodily targets are indefensible, what is meant is not that an opponent cannot actively protect these areas, but rather that no matter what a person’s bodily composition is—fat, skinny, muscular, etc.—there is almost nothing that a person can do to passively defend these areas. Whereas, for example, throwing a rib shot at an obese man or a trained Muay Thai fighter would be largely ineffective due to the passive armor that these two individuals possess—layers of fat in the former case and hardened ribs in the latter case—with the three targets under discussion, no such passive protection is possible. So what then are these targets? Well, they can be remembered with the acronym ‘ETC’, which stands for ‘Eyes, Throat, and Crotch’. Now, let’s look at each of these in order.

E is for Eyes

Just search ‘eye-gouging’ to see what really happens when you do this move.

In most life-or-death conflicts that a civilian might find himself in, the ultimate goal is to survive and escape. Indeed, the goal is to break contact with the attacker and get away as quickly as possible. And with this point in mind, it is key to remember that any attacker who cannot see you, cannot chase you. Not only this, but in nearly all cases, any attacker who cannot see you, cannot coherently attack you either. And to add to all this, an attacker’s eyes are also one of the areas that he cannot passively defend no matter what he does and no matter how muscled or fat he is.

As such, an attacker’s eyes are a prime target for attack in a life-or-death situation. Now when I imply that you should attack an opponent’s eyes, I am not talking about some minor eye fleck or eye scratch—although such moves have a place in less dire circumstances—but rather, in the life-or-death struggle, I am talking about driving your thumbs into an opponent’s eye sockets and literally ripping his eyeballs out. This is brutal, I know. But in a serious struggle, when it is your life or his, it must be your life, and so you must do whatever is necessary to survive, even if that means putting your fingers so far into a man’s skull that you start tickling his grey matter!

T is for Throat

Two for the price of one!

If a man’s eyes are the first body part to aim for given that this target is easy to get to, and does not do fatal damage, and also allows you a chance to escape, then this second target is no less important, for this target can be used when gouging the eyes is no longer an option and escape has been taken off the table. Indeed, when that happens, target the throat.

Now notice that I did not say the neck, for the neck, though an excellent target, is nevertheless one which can still be reinforced and strengthened, thereby making it difficult to attack in some people. Thus the throat is the target, and it is the target in two ways.

First, target the fleshy part under the Adam’s Apple where the trachea lies underneath the skin. Grab the neck like a vice grip, then drive the thumbs inwards until they are literally touching the attacker’s spine; with the trachea between your thumbs and the spine, bad things happen to your attacker! And the second way to attack this target is to grab the Adam’s Apple in a compact vice grip—just the Adam’s Apple, not the whole neck—and then squeeze until your hand forms back into a fist, thereby crushing the throat. Again, this is only to be used in a life-or-death self-defense struggle, but if you are in such a struggle, there are few moves more effective than this one.

C is for Crotch

Now crush, twist, and tear!

Although targeting the crotch is applicable to both males and females, for obvious reasons, it is used mainly in the case of males. But since a male will most likely be your opponent in a life-threatening encounter, then this limitation does not pose too much of a problem. Now, although the groin is not a fatal target, if attacked properly, it is a horrendously painful one, and one which will stop a person in their tracks. But again, I am not talking about some “snap-kick” to the crotch or a groin “strike”; rather, I am talking about grabbing the opponent’s junk, twisting it, then crushing it, and then pulling it off. Either that, or stomping and/or kneeing it into oblivion. That is what I mean.

Bonus E is for Ears

Not a good day!

Finally, as a bonus, I would also invite you to consider the ears. They are a non-lethal target but, like the three targets above, they are also a target which cannot be passively strengthened or protected. At the same time, a good number of individuals wear earrings, which make grabbing the ear and tearing it that much easier (or at least tearing out the earring itself). And so the ears present another target which can be readily grasped in a firm crawl-like fist, and then, with adrenaline flowing, pulled and ripped off.

And so, the long and short of it is this: real blood combat is an ugly business, and one which you want to avoid at all costs. But if violence is pushed onto you, the only answer is to respond with the aggression of a tiger and the brutality of a sociopath. Show no mercy until the threat is gone. And so, know the areas to target first—the eyes, the throat, the crotch, and sometimes the ears—and target them ferociously. Remembering this might very well mean the difference between life and death if you ever find yourself faced with that choice.

Read More: 4 Effective Fighting Techniques That Every Man Should Know