Handguns are such a hot button topic in America as politics mar any logical discussion.  On one extreme you have the group who believe that handguns are responsible for all the evil in the world and on the other end you have those who think all men, women and children should be carrying one, no matter how much common sense that person may lack.  In the USKMA to be able to test for black belt a student must have passed the NRA gun safety class required for concealed carry in Ohio.  This surprises some people but our thought is that if we are learning handgun disarms and training for the possibility of facing a handgun we better know as much about them as possible.

A handgun can definitely make you safer but it can just as easily put you and your family at risk.  The average handgun owner who bought a handgun for home protection has shot only 30 rounds from the box of 50 that came with the gun the day they got it and haven’t touched it since.  If we are to have a handgun in the home for protection we have a major, major responsibility.  Anyone who owns one needs to be an expert with it.  They need to have gone through safety classes, put hundreds (if not thousands) of rounds through it and know the gun inside and out.  It needs to be stored where a child cannot get to it.  Not hidden, stored.  A child can find anything hidden and they will go through your bedroom sooner or later out of curiosity (a shock to some parents).  Most safes and lock boxes will keep children from the handgun but, unfortunately, make it difficult for you to get to if needed for protection.  Anything with a combination or key will be very hard to access when you have experienced the adrenalin “dump” because fine motor skills go to pot (See our past blog on the dump).  What I recommend is a safe made by Gun Vault.  It has a cut out for your fingers where you just press the buttons that you have pre-set.  Press the buttons to access several times a day to get muscle memory for when you really need access.

Many handguns have been used against their owner by the bad guy.  If you have a handgun you must absolutely mind set what you will do in any situation (see our past mind setting blog).  You must set in your head when and under what circumstances you will fire the handgun.  If you cannot pull the trigger and shoot another human, don’t have a handgun.  When the scumbag figures out that you can’t shoot him he will then take the gun from you and a very bad situation will get worse!  Again, mind setting and planning is of paramount importance.

Handgun ownership is an individual’s decision.  Nobody can decide for you.  If you do decide to own one be smart about it.  Become an expert on the handgun that you purchase and know exactly how, and under what circumstances, you will use it.  Take the time for mind setting and pre planning or the very thing that you bought to be safer will make you much less safe and can even lead to tragedy.


Reading List

Hi all, I’m in Tucson running some training this week so the blog is going to be pretty short & simple.  Here is my official reading list for the summer for those interested in self defense & self protection;
Strong on Defense by SGT Sanford Strong.  This book is mandatory reading for our instructors!
Meditations on Violence by SGT Rory Miller.  Also mandatory reading for our instructors.
Teaching our kids to kill by Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Deep Survival by Gonzales
Inside the Criminal Mind by Slanton Samenow
Beggars and thieves by Fleisher
Games Criminals Play by Bud Allen
Sharpening the Warriors Edge by Siddle
The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker, Matt Kissel says it’s a must read!
On Killing by Col. David Grossman
On Combat by Col. David Grossman
One Shot, One Kill by Hathcock
-Anything by JJ Bittenbinder
-The Bible.  Some cool self defense stories like the guy who killed a giant with a sling shot, etc!!


I am all about helping others….it just needs to be done smart.  SGT Strong in his book Strong on Defense talks about the many times in his career he pulled up on a man dying in his wife’s arms after playing the hero, and how heartbreaking that was.  First and foremost unless you are a cop or firefighter never take any risk for material things, even your own.  In my real world violence lecture I talk about how much smarter women are then men.  If a woman is in a house and hears someone messing with her car or other property she will stay behind locked doors and call the police.  If a guy is in the same situation he will rush out to confront the thief.  How can we possibly know what we are walking into?  It could well be three or four of them with weapons who just don’t give a crap about life and have killed before…for less.  Property isn’t worth being the hero over!!

There are things worth risking life and limb for.  It seems that most of America doesn’t want to risk anything for anyone.  In SGT Strong’s book he talks about a woman who was abducted and tortured for weeks.  She escaped once from the scumbag’s car on a highway as she was being moved.  She ran down the highway and he chased her, grabbed her by the hair and pulled her back to the car.  Not only did nobody stop to help, nobody even called the police!  There are times to intervene…but it is dangerous to do so.  I’m not talking about standing up for a lady’s honor in a bar because some biker slapped her on the rear.  You aren’t the protector of the world.  However, if someone is being seriously injured, even if a stranger, it is probably time to jump in.

When you do have to intervene, there are things to keep in mind.

1)      Just like with self protection when it is go time you go with all you have.  You go extreme and you go ballistic.  If you think that your response may be too extreme you shouldn’t be intervening.  Keep the pressure on and go until you and whoever you are helping are safe.  This is usually when the scumbag is knocked unconscious!  We aren’t looking to restrain or put in a “come along” type of joint lock.  If that is all that needs done nobody was in very much danger.  What are you going to do after you have them in a joint lock….walk them to the courthouse?  What do you do when his buddy shows up, let go and have two to worry about?  Unless you are law enforcement, a bouncer or a school teacher don’t “control” with a joint lock!  Do major damage with the goal being get the heck out of there.

2)      Keep the attacker in sight but don’t have tunnel vision.  It makes sense not to take your eyes off of the threat.  Watch his hands, are they going to his pocket for a weapon (keep in mind that every scumbag carries at least a blade)?  Is he heading for the pool cues?  Does he appear to know how to fight?  Although you have to watch him you can’t have tunnel vision and see only him.  Everyone, even scumbags, have buddies.  When you jump in they will jump you.  Again, go hard with the goal being to get yourself and the victim out of there.

3)      Be safe.  Anything goes.  If you are in a fight to save a life (and it’s yours that you are trying to save as well when you insert yourself into the problem) anything goes.  If the situation calls for it hit them with the car you are driving.  Pick up a brick.  Use whatever you can get your hands on.  Again, if you think what you are doing may be too extreme, the situation wasn’t bad enough to put yourself into.

When you have no choice but to put yourself into a bad situation to save another; be smart about it.  Look at the threat as targets.  If you look only at targets it doesn’t matter how big they are, how mean they look or even what they are doing to you.  You see targets that need hit…and hit them as hard as you can.  Remember to constantly be looking to disengage and get yourself and the person you are helping to safety.  BE SAFE!

Krav Maga’s Philosophy

“Self defense is recovery from stupidity or bad luck.”

“Self defense is a short list of techniques that may get you out alive when you’re already screwed”

“If it’s complicated it’s not self defense”

Krav Maga is simple.  Simple to learn, simple to remember, simple techniques….so the philosophy is pretty simple to grasp!  When it comes to self defense there are just a few things to keep in mind.  1) If somebody needs hit they need hit as hard as you possibly can!  Teddy Roosevelt said something to the effect that “it is a sin to hit softly.  Don’t hit at all if possible but if you must hit, hit with all your might”.  We agree.  We spend a lot of time in class working on striking.  We want everyone, no matter their size, to have knockout power.  We train for knockout power but we don’t take it for granted so….2) if someone needs hit once, they need hit many, many times.  The thought here is if someone needed hit they were a threat to us.  One strike may not have neutralized the threat.  The threat needs pounded until it is no longer a threat.  3) Don’t stop hitting until you are safe.  We are safe when they are unconscious.  We can never pause to see if we’re being effective.  Pausing is a break and recovery time for the bad guy.

The philosophy of our Krav Maga techniques (choke defenses, headlock defense, etc) are pretty simple as well.  1) Get rid of the danger.  If a choke is on we have very little time before it will damage our trachea.  A learned motion is always slower than a natural motion, this is why Krav Maga uses natural body motions.  In the case of a choke there is pain on our throat so our hands are moving to the pain automatically.  This is why we use the “pluck” technique.  Our hands are doing the defense before we even know someone is there.  2) Always use a simultaneous counter attack.  In that choke defense scenario we may pluck the attacker’s hands off but then what?  He puts them back on us, hits us or draws a knife.  This is why as we are plucking the choke we are sending a front kick at the same time.  An attacker doesn’t choke with his legs crossed, he is asking for this groin kick!  3) Go off like a bomb!  Maybe the groin kick devastated the attacker, maybe not.  We aren’t going to wait to see.  After the groin kick we send an elbow as we land forward then we grab hold and knee and front kick the bad guy into oblivion.

Really the philosophy of Krav Maga can be summed up in two words.  BE SAFE.  When people hear that I teach Krav Maga they say “oh, that brutal stuff”.  I always say “not brutal, effective”.   I don’t see it as brutal.  I didn’t start the attack.  When someone wants to hurt you or your family what is “brutal”?  Everything goes and anything less won’t keep you safe.  So….BE SAFE!