When you're in a dangerous situation, like being approached by an attacker or coming face-to-face with a mountain lion, your instincts take over. In most cases, your gut will tell you what to do to protect yourself, but being armed with a few basic self-defence techniques can certainly increase your chances of getting away safely.
Luckily, you don't have to join a fight club if you want to learn how to throw a punch, because there are some more accessible forms of fighting, like Krav Maga, which means "contact combat" in Hebrew. Krav Maga was originally developed in the 1940's as a way to teach everyday Israeli people how to fight, says Ross Cascio, an expert-level self-defence and fitness instructor at Krav Maga Worldwide. So, even if you aren't coordinated or have never even punched a bag, you can totally learn the techniques.
The difference between Krav Maga and other martial arts, such as karate or jiu jitsu, is that Krav Maga is known for using "dirty fighting tactics that would be illegal in a sport fight," Cascio says. For example, you're allowed to hit someone in the groin or poke them in the eyes. "We kind of have a reputation for being a no-holds-barred martial art, which is probably why we've become sort of trendy," he says. Also, some people practise Krav Maga simply because it's a good workout.
If you're curious about this fighting technique, here are the basic self-defence moves that everyone should know, according to Cascio. Of course, in an ideal world, people wouldn't need to know how to defend themselves (and by the same token, if someone is assaulted and they can't defend themselves, it's not their fault). But unfortunately, knowing a few self-defence moves can be useful in the world we live in.