Martial arts training has proven to be useful against a shark attack as Mariko Haugen used punches to the sensitive nose of the shark.
When going swimming and diving in the ocean, one has to understand the many potential dangers involved. One such danger is a possible shark attack which is widely covered in the media. The recent incident involving Mariko Haugen is by no means an exception. However, Haugen's story brings undivided attention as she fought off the shark with some punches.
In the case of Haugen, her training in the Korean style of Tae Kwon Do (TKD) proved to be useful when fighting against a shark that was the height of 12 feet. To defend against the shark, Haugen threw punches and hit it in the nose. Upon taking a blow to the nose, the shark retreated. While Haugen survived the encounter, she did not leave unscathed.
When she was punching, Haugen's right hand slipped and made its way into the shark's jaw. Haugen had to receive over fifty stitches to her right hand. This is an story that should give inspiration to many martial artists let alone TKD practitioners across the world.
This is not the first instance in which a potential victim fought off an animal attack with a strike to the nose. In 2010, an AOL News article reported on 67-year old man who encountered a polar bear. The man recalled useful knowledge he learned: polar bears have sensitive noses; it also notes that many other animals such as sharks also have sensitive noses. Acting on the knowledge bestowed to him, the man punched the bear in the nose. The bear retreated. There were neither no grave injuries nor fatalities. In short, nobody had to get killed over the encounter.
This is similar to Haugen's story in striking the sensitive nose of such animals in case of a pre-emptive attack. While an animal such as a shark or a bear can be intimidating to the point of a near-death experience, they do have sensitive areas that can be struck. Haugen is one of those people that proved that point.
In the recent case of surfer Scott Stevens, who also got attacked by a shark, this knowledge could have benefited him as well. Part of Stevens' surf board is missing due to the shark taking a bite out of it. Also, Stevens did suffer injuries from the attack. The article was originally posted on October 31, 2011. The article does add that marine life activists explain that humans are a bigger threat to sharks than sharks are a threat to humans.