Instructors, I have blogged on this topic before but…..when people come to your facility for self defense they are literally putting their lives in your hands! In the past few months I have had a member show me his bullet hole scars, had a member tell me about having his store robbed and being forced onto his knees with a gun pressed up against his forehead just waiting to die and had a member recently get mugged at gunpoint. The first two happened before they joined the gym. The last one the member said he was calm and had a plan. He didn’t act because there was two of them but if it became “go time” he knew exactly what he was going to do. No fear, stayed calm and thankfully the scum bags just took his wallet and ran. The last Law Enforcement class I taught when we were showing the technique for an officer on his back, bad guy mounted with a handgun pointed at the face one of the officers said “that brings back memories, I was there, knocked the gun offline just as he fired.”

Instructors….please, please, please, don’t teach crap from a system just because it’s your system. I see a lot of crap being taught and it upsets me greatly. Most of the time whatever you are teaching will never be put to the test so it doesn’t matter what you are showing but for that every once in awhile when the shit hits the fan I don’t know how you can possibly live with yourself if you didn’t teach that person the most up to date, battle tested and scientific tactics and techniques possible. I respect the dedication and practice it takes to be an expert at one of the Asian martial arts. I was a fourth degree black belt in a very traditional martial art. If you are teaching for the sake of having people learn an ancient art, for exercise, to make them better people or for concentration and focus I applaud you. If you are telling people that your art that hasn’t been changed in hundreds of years it the ultimate in self defense for today’s society I am repulsed. You are putting money and/or your pride in front of people’s safety.

Don’t get stuck in a system and close yourself off. As far as I am concerned we at the United States Krav Maga Association teach the most battle tested, up to date techniques and tactics that there are. Guess what, we are still scouring the internet and looking at what everyone else is doing. We read everything we can get our hands on about real world violence. We attend seminars for other arts and even other Krav seminars (and that’s saying a lot with the politics in Krav)! We talk to law enforcement and ask them what they are seeing, what is working for them, etc. An example of this is how we recently changed the way we teach handgun defenses. We generally taught with the handgun pointed at mid body and then for a few reps at the end had the gun point at the head. I talked to a couple of law enforcement officers who both told me that any video they have seen of a gun being pointed at someone and, more importantly, anytime they have pulled up on the scene with one person pointing at another the gun is always, 100% of the time, pointed at the head. Well it was epiphany time. If it’s always pointed at the head we better spend 99% of our handgun disarm training with the friggin thing pointed at our heads!!

When you are teaching techniques you must put them under stress & exhaustion and put as much realism into the training as you can. Just doing handgun disarms back and forth isn’t learning self defense….it is learning self defense techniques and there is a big difference. When we do handgun disarm training we start with the technique until we have it down. After this we run exhaustion drills. An example is having the student punching focus mitts, sprinting to the other end of the gym and throwing knees, sprinting back to punches and at any time a handgun is put on them and they must do the disarm and then go back to the drill. Run this for two minutes at a time and see what it does to the defense. Lastly, we put realism into the training. A gunman isn’t always going to walk up, stand still and point an unwavering handgun at you. We have the student put on sparring gear. The gunman than hits, kicks, pushes and slaps the student. The student is told at any time the handgun is presented to do the defense. Now when this happens in real life the student doesn’t freeze because the only way they had done defenses is standing still in one place with a statue as an attacker. As a recent real life example of how this will shed light on what you are teaching we had someone tell us their handgun defense was to stick their finger through the trigger guard behind the trigger…..really! Yes, this does make it impossible for the bad guy to pull the trigger but for crying out loud, a little common sense please!! Do this after the drills and with the gunman smacking you and not standing frozen…..you know, like it will be in real life. Sheesh!

Really, your students are putting their lives in your hands. You are looked at as an expert…be an expert! BE SAFE!


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