KRAV MAGA & EGOS

“Martial Arts and self defense are tricky, because for most practitioners wether they work or not will never really matter. It will never be tested. They can learn and believe any foolishness they want. Then, occasionaly, it will matter very much to an isolated individual. The stakes are high.” SGT Rory Miller

If you search “Krav Maga” on the internet one of the top (paid for) results that comes through is a system who’s slogan is “Fear No Man.” If there is one point that these blogs has gotten across I hope that it is you had better fear man. This Fear No Man system may be legit and there may be some good things that I could get out of it but I’ll never know. I wouldn’t try it if they paid me! Anyone who teaches others to be safe and makes claims like “you will fear no man,” “how to defeat multi-attackers easily” and “easily win all fights…even if they have a knife or handgun” is, in my humble opinion, BS that will get people hurt. It shows me that the founder has never studied, and is clueless about, real world violence.

I get many surprised responses and unbelieving looks when I write and say the things about Krav Maga that I do. Look back at the past blogs and you will read “Run from a knife, those things are scary,” “Run from multi-attackers, it’s hard enough blocking one person’s punches and I don’t have enough appendages nor am I quick enough to block multi-attackers,” “Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people to do stupid things,” “Any untrained idiot with a blade can kill ya,” “The effects of stress and adrenalin will make you much less effective on the street than you are in the gym,” “You will be hurt and have to fight that way,” “I carry a knife and, when allowed by law, a handgun even though I am an “expert” at Krav Maga,” “We teach crappy answers for handgun defenses. You are in a world of crap and only have crappy answers of which our defense is at the top. The only good answer is don’t be there with a gun pointed at you,” “a slightly trained person with a weapon will beat an unarmed, highly trained expert more often than not” …etc., etc.

There is so much bluster, ego and BS in self defense and martial arts. I guess as I get older (much older) I am turning zen-like in my thoughts on self defense and violence. I realize that it is best to learn self protection over self defense. We truly teach 1) don’t be there in the first place, 2) run, 3) pick up an object to whack an attacker and then as a last resort, 4) krav techniques. That doesn’t sound a lot like anything else being taught, does it? Anyone who is just teaching techniques and hasn’t studied real world violence and who doesn’t put the techniques under stress, exhaustion, the handicap of having only one arm to use, a second attacker always being around, etc. is teaching people to defend in a gym (to prove how great the system is) and not preparing them for real world violent encounters.

The head honchos of most systems, for some reason, have to come off as unbeatable, super bad asses. Some of them are but I think they would be that no matter what system they are touting. They are tough as nails, strong and quick people. The problem is, they may be unbeatable but how does that translate to their five foot nothing, one hundred pound female student? I am the head instructor for the USKMA but I’ve never claimed to be a bad ass. I believe that most of the instructors I have trained, and several of my students, can take me in a fight! This makes me happy because I don’t claim to be a tough guy, I claim to be a very good teacher of a defense system that will make people safer.

If you are teaching self defense read books like STRONG ON DEFENSE by SGT Sanford Strong, MEDITATIONS ON VIOLENCE by SGT Rory Miller and THE GIFT OF FEAR by Gavin DeBecker. They are eye openers. BE SAFE!

BUT HE SEEMED SO NICE

There have been so many women after an attack who have stated “but he seemed so nice.” It is only later, when they have time to analyze, that they realize they had an “uneasy” feeling about the attacker. The “uneasy” feeling is called intuition. We as humans alone justify ignoring intuition. We think things like “I’ll seem rude” or “I can’t live in fear” or “I’m just being silly, he seems nice.” Animals don’t do this. If they have even a remote feeling that something is wrong, they run! Can you imagine how many fewer deer there would be if they sat around thinking “I’ve been eating here everyday for a month, nothing has gone wrong, I’m just being silly with this uneasy feeling.” How many less rabbits if they thought “I can’t live in fear. He seems like a perfectly nice fox. I can’t appear rude.” No animal ever thinks “it’s probably nothing.” We have a lot to learn from creatures that always follow intuition! Listen to yourself every time. The root word of intuition is “tuere” which means “to guard, to protect.” Intuition is knowing without knowing why we know. Our brain is miraculous, it picks up things subconsciously that we don’t think we notice. It picks up facial signals that last a fraction of a fraction of a second…picks up words that are said that we didn’t really listen to. Always remember that intuition is 1) always a response to something and 2) always looking out for your safety.

The scumbag seems so nice because nice works. Nice has been perfected. He knows nice will get him what he wants. Gavin DeBecker in his must read book THE GIFT OF FEAR states “Remember, the nicest guy, the guy with no self-serving agenda whatsoever, the one who wants nothing from you, WON’T APPROACH YOU AT ALL. You are not comparing the man who approaches you to all men, the vast majority of whom have no sinister intent. Instead, you are comparing him to other men who make unsolicited approaches to women alone, or to other men who don’t listen when you say no.”

The scumbags have a plan. They are good at the plan. The plan has worked for them many times. If you know the plan you can see it when it is being used on you. The nice guy things he does all have a reason. The following things are what to look for and to recognize.
–He makes it sound like you are part of a team with him. He uses “we” a lot. “We seem to be abandoned by our friends,” “We are in the same predicament,” “Now we’ve done it,” etc. He knows that this is hard to rebuff without you feeling like you’re being rude. Notice when this happens and realize that it is always done for self serving reasons and that it is always inappropriate for a stranger to talk this way to a woman who is alone.
-He is going out of his way to be charming and nice. A smile is the most used way to mask emotions in the world! Nice does not equal good, ever. Nice is a strategy, not a trait we’re born with. Charm is the same in that it is a strategy. When someone is using charm don’t think “He is really charming” but think “he is trying to charm me, why?”
-He will give you too much info. Instead of saying something like “I’m just waiting on a friend” he may say “I’m just waiting on a friend. The guy is always running late. Shoot, just last week….” When you or I are telling the truth we don’t feel like we have to use extra info to back up what we are saying. When someone is lying it may sound credible to us but it doesn’t sound that way to them, so they keep talking. Always remember that whoever this yappy, charming person is they approached a strange woman who is alone!
-He will put you on the defensive so that you have to prove yourself. He may say “oh, I guess you’re a rich snob who doesn’t talk to us commoners” so that you will prove to him that you are a good person by talking. Again, think about why a stranger would say such a thing to a woman who is alone.
-He’ll do something for you. Buy a drink, pick up something for you, help you with a heavy load, anything so that you may subconsciously think you owe him. Always be thinking “he approached me” and “I didn’t ask for any help.” Nice is an act!
-Not listening to the word NO. This is a biggie that is common sense, and we ignore it. If he asks if he can grab that package you dropped and you say “no” and he picks it up anyhow and says something like “well, I can’t leave a lady in such a predicament, etc.” we may think that he’s just being nice. We ignore the fact that we said “no” and he didn’t listen. The problem is we’ll say “no” several times, and it gets a little weaker ever time. We might as well just say “I’m a victim and you can control me” when we do this!
-He will say “I promise.” “I’ll just carry this to your car and leave, I promise.” Why do we fall for this? Do you go around saying “I promise” all the time? Promises are used to convince us of intention. Think “why does he need to convince me of intention?” when you hear this word.

A stranger who approaches a woman while she is alone may be a good person, but probably not. A good person doesn’t approach a woman when she is alone, we know it scares her. Always, always keep in mind that anyone who does approach you is a major danger and that charm, niceness, etc. are the weapons he is using to harm you. BE SAFE!

KRAV MAGA VS. KNIFE

”after initial contact all plans go to hell” G. Patton
“No matter how enmeshed a commander becomes in his plans, it is occasionally necessary to consider the enemy” W. Churchill
“Everybody’s got a plan until they get smacked in the face” M. Tyson

There are some really pretty knife defenses out there. Pretty enough to get you hurt! In Krav Maga we only have one guaranteed to keep you safe, never fail, best defense for a knife and that is to RUN. I don’t care if our local newspaper has me on the front page with headlines blaring “Self Defense Expert Runs From Attacker”. I would be a living self defense expert running from danger! Knives are scarey. I would much rather have someone with a handgun on me than a knife.
The dangers of knives include 1) They are very concealable. The majority of victims who are slashed or cut thought they were being punched and never saw the knife. 2) Small angle changes on attack need large angle changes with our defense. 3) Everyone has one! It is estimated that 70% of the males in this country carry. The next time you are in a large group look around at all the pocket clips. 4) Any idiot can kill you with one. It takes no skill to use one. 5) The mind set of the attacker. A gun is used at a distance. An attacker with a knife wants to get close, to slash, to see you bleed. I would rather face a technical fighter than a crazy with no skill who wants to kill. So really, RUN. There are exceptions…you can’t run if you have your children with you or didn’t see it until it was too late.

How to train/what to train: All martial arts have knife defenses. Unfortunately most are geared for an attack that they see coming from 10 feet away with an attacker doing a big swing single stab and then freezing (Youtube Jim Carry’s Karate instructor…funny). We must prepare for and have answers for the “shank” attack. If you’ve seen prison videos an attacker who wants to kill someone doesn’t announce it. They get close without showing a weapon and then start a “sewing machine needle” attack (the blade being pumped in and out). In classes we’ve had people see how many times they can stab with this pumping action in ten seconds. I think the record is 79. We have to have a defense for when we’ve already been stabbed 4 or 5 times and just then realize that we are being attacked. Those pretty joint manipulations just aren’t the answer in that scenario. The other realistic attack scenario to work on is when someone gets close and grabs your wrist on one side and then “hockey punches” you with stabs. This is when the attack isn’t in one spot but goes from torso to neck and back, over and under the arm they are clinging to. This is real and this is scarey!

When you train:
-Start out by running. Really. After that have the “attacker” hold a focus mitt. Have the student stand close, facing the attacker. When the attacker bends his elbow and goes to his pocket have the student punch the mitt as hard as they can and run. These are the best two defenses. They aren’t self defense, they are self protection. You are being proactive.

-Get rid of joint locks and restraints. Only law enforcement, bouncers and school teachers should ever be thinking restrain. If you end up on the ground trying these you are in trouble. A blade on the ground is never good. Restraints also are assuming you only have one attacker. When his buddy shows up you have to let go and then you are fighting two….or more. Look to inflict damage and escape. The biggest problem with joint lock/restraint type defenses is that they work well in a dry gym. If there is a knife involved there is blood. Blood is one slippery substance!

-When practicing the hockey punch and the shank (which, again, are how people get attacked in the real world) the first thing you have to worry about is blocking. Keep getting your arm our and meeting the attackers arm at a 90 degree angle. Attack his arm. Block, block, block! As you are blocking you are looking to attack. When you can get a punch in, a knee to the groin, a stomp on his foot you need to go for it. Hurt the Scumbag!! When you can you grab the arm/wrist that has the knife and beat the attacker until unconscious or until you can get away. Don’t think about a takeaway, think about escape and think about destroying the attacker.

-Put knife attacks into realistic scenarios. Don’t have the attacker always starting from a distance and lunging in. Yes, practice shank and last second defenses but also; -In the middle of sparring have one of the sparring opponents bring out a knife, or a third attacker jump in with a knife. –In the middle of choke defenses, etc. have the attacker access a knife. –While practicing bjj introduce a knife to the match. –Practice your defenses with a third person who is to act as your “loving but slightly clueless” significant other. Now you have to do a knife defense but also direct them to safety.

As an aside, when teaching law enforcement handgun defenses (or ccw permit holders) don’t let them put the attackers weapon in their arm pit or throw it down and draw their own. This will have them put both hands on their weapon as they’ve trained a thousand times. If the attacker then draws a knife the law enforcement officer will empty his weapon but take several stabs because that muscle memory won’t let him let go of his weapon with one hand to block. Keep the attacker’s handgun in your off hand and fire your weapon with one hand. You will be much more apt to block the knife this way. As a further aside the Tueller drill shows that the distance a knife attacker can cover before you get your handgun out and fire once is 21 to 30 feet. Again, a knife against a gun sounds easy to defeat but too often you don’t win if you haven’t trained that scenario, you tie. We don’t like ties!

Train hard, train smart, train real. BE SAFE!