There’s been a lot of conversation about whether or not it’s acceptable to punch a Nazi. That, dear reader, is a matter for your conscience. However, if you find yourself about to punch a Very Bad Person, it might be a good idea to know how.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to teach women how. So here are half a dozen pointers:

  • Don’t hit bone on bone. If you absolutely must, make sure you use your strong bone (your elbow) on their weak bone (their nose) rather than, say, a fist to the point of the jaw. But it’s even better to use bone against soft tissue. An elbow to the neck, a fist to the kidney, a sword finger to the solar plexus, a forearm between the legs, a heel to the side of the knee. It’s good to go for something disabling so they can’t chase you afterwards. Knees and throats are very useful for this: if they can’t breathe they can’t run; they can’t run if their patella’s gone, either (unless they have a wheelchair handy—and perhaps I’ve just lived a sheltered life but outside a Stephen King story I’ve never met a Nazi in a wheelchair).
  • Get close. You have to be a lot closer than you think. If you’re hitting someone you have to be right inside their space. Maybe even touching if they’re tall and you’re not. Try it with a cushion; if you’re not used to hitting things you’ll be surprised.
  • Hit on the out-breath. Preferably with a shout. Sound will make you feel better and them feel worse.
  • Hit fast. Power comes from speed and mass. So you could wrap your fingers around a roll of quarters, or you could hit faster. In a perfect world, you’d do both: whip that fist/elbow/knife-hand through space. (It’s very satisfying.)
  • Hit through the target. Imagine you’re swinging a baseball bat—right through the ball. If you’re going for that full-arm swing from below, imagine your target wearing their balls for earrings…
  • Hit more than once. One blow is rarely enough. I’d say three minimum, depending on the damage you want to inflict and how fast you want to get out of there. But my favourite strike is a one-two combo, so mileage varies.

There are all kinds of other things to remember—put your thumb on the outside of your closed first; if you use a weapon make sure it’s an ordinary object (a comb, a book, a key); and always have an escape route—but those six are enough to get you started.