NO FEAR

I just got done reading a book I highly recommend titled NO GREATER ALLY by Kenneth Koskodan. This was the untold story of Poland during World War II. Very informative and a travesty that the story has been largely ignored and hidden. The one theme that the book mentioned over and over was how the German’s hated coming up against the Polish troops. The Poles were notorious for ignoring their own safety to kill Germans. They would charge through the teeth of the battle, ignore the machine gun fire and artillery that had other troops turning back to kill their enemy. They volunteered for the dangerous assignments and cheered when they got them. In the air the Germans’ always knew when it was the Poles flying against them because they would do things other airmen wouldn’t. They would fly straight at the German aircraft through withering fire and not fire themselves until they were closer than any other pilots dared be. They wanted to make sure their bullets were effective. When they were outnumbered it didn’t effect them whatsoever, as others fled they fought on.

Why did these men have no fear? The truth is that they probably felt fear as much as any other men. They felt fear but their great rage and hatred for the Nazis overshadowed the fear. They weren’t any braver than other soldiers but they had family in Poland being raped, tortured and slaughtered by the Nazis. The Germans were especially brutal in Poland. Upon advancing in Poland they executed anyone they thought was influential. They killed every military officer, clergyman, teacher, professor, priest, business owner, etc. the minute they found them. They raped and pillaged the land and sent young people to slave labor camps where they would be worked to death. If one German soldier was assassinated by the underground they would round up a hundred men, women and children and execute them in public for payback. The Polish soldiers knew every second they could shorten the war by killing these hated people the more Polish lives they would spare.

This is what we have talked about in the past…going off with “hatred and rage”. SGT Samford Strong’s great book STRONG ON DEFENSE talks about this very idea. He has interviews with many crime victims in this book and states that the one’s who seem to have the greatest odds of avoiding the horrendous crime are the one’s who fight back with hatred and rage. Those who ignored the injury or the threat of injury and got mad were the ones who fought back with such ferocity that they got away. The Scum Bag is looking for a victim, not a fight. When it’s go time we have to go with such rage and anger that there is no room for fear. One story in the SGT’s book is about a woman who woke up in bed with a would be rapist on top of her and a knife against her throat. She ignored his “do what I say or I will kill you”, grabbed the blade of the knife with her hands and fought and kicked and screamed until he eventually fled. As she was being taken to the hospital to get her hands stitched up she was asked if she were afraid. She said that if she was afraid she would have just laid there and been a victim. She says all she felt was anger and rage that someone would do this to her and she became a crazed woman who would have to be killed before she would submit. This is what we are talking about!

I love the martial arts and their Zen way of thinking. The training on techniques and the slow pace of classes has it’s benefits. Self defense just isn’t one of them. We train the way we do for a specific reason. There is a saying “Violence of action trumps technique”. Basically what this means is the concept of asking any law enforcement officer who they would least want to come up against. The coices are a very proficient black belt in a maritial art or an untrained looney who just wants to claw their face off and who won’t quit. Ninety nine percent will tell you they don’t want to face that looney!!. We exhaust people, run stress drills and run testing past most people’s breaking point for a reason. We train them to not look at how big or mean the bad guy is, or how many there are, but to get mean, look at only targets and attack, attack, attack! When they need this mental attitude in the real world they have been there. We have shown them that this attitude is what they need to survive. BE SAFE!

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ISRAEL TRAINING

I just got back from seven days of training in Israel where I was truly at “the source” of Krav Maga. “The source” as far as 1) Israel, the country that Krav Maga was developed in, 2) Netanya, the city where Imi lived, 3) Wingate, the physical education university where Imi developed Krav Maga and 4) Yaron Lichtenstein, Imi’s second ever student and one of only ten that Imi ever personally trained to black belt.

This was certainly an education! Being around Grand Master Lichtenstein was amazing. Hearing stories about Imi (Yaron trained with him nearly daily for over thirty years), about how Krav Maga was developed and about the old school training was so cool. Our training was definitely different. We trained as they did in the old days. We wore gi’s (this felt very odd, reminded me of my tae kwon do days), trained barefoot, had very slow, methodical training and did a heck of a lot of high kicking. Several times I started to say “they’ve turned Krav Maga into a martial art” when I caught myself because this was how Imi developed it, this was what he wanted Krav Maga to be. It is those who followed who turned it into the self defense system that we teach today.

Grand Master Lichtenstein is a character out of a movie! He was 60 but could teach hard all day, every day and kick higher and harder than all of the young bucks! He told jokes, yelled at us if we called him “sir” and was a very humble and approachable person. We even got into a fight with the Israeli Olympic tae kwon do team (long story) and he was in the middle of it choking one of the dudes out!! Priceless! His son, Rotem, was one of the best martial artists that I have ever seen. Excellent technique and smooth as glass!

A great trip and great memories. Our group of 8 from the USKMA were the most respectful, well behaved people at the training in my opinion. We represented ourselves very well and were complimented on how hard we tried and what good people we were. Everyone but our group stayed in the athlete hotel at Wingate while we stayed in Netanya at a hotel because they ran out of rooms. Taxi’s took us back and forth to training every day so we got to experience Israeli traffic every morning! I believe our group also won the eating contest….every dinner was a buffet with at least four kinds of meat!

Keep your eyes on our events page as we will be having the Grandmaster in Ohio in September or October for a weekend seminar. You’ll love him!!

HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD

Some of my blogs are informational…some are just me railing on something. I’m in Israel right now and only have time for one in the “railing” category! My wife hates watching movies with me. I am constantly pointing out the improbabilities, the impossibilities and the down right stupid stuff that movie makers want us to believe. They must think that we are stupid! Most people want to be blissfully ignorant and be entertained I guess but it drives me crazy. The stuff you see in movies that just don’t happen in the real world:
-In the movies guns are magic. Watch how many people in the movies who have a gun pointed at them just freeze. The gunman has the gun pointed at their head from a foot away and is looking somewhere else yet nobody ever thinks to grab the gun and beat the bad guy into the ground. Duh.
-The bad guy can hit a running target from fifty feet away. When someone asks me what my defense is if the gunman is ten or twenty feet away I tell them I’d use the Nike Defense. Friggin run! Even a trained shooter has a very hard time hitting a moving target.
-Ever see someone get shot in a movie and they go flying off their feet? It’s physics. If a projectile has the force to send someone flying it had to send the person who fired the projectile flying as well.
-Those little bitty silencers on handguns? No such thing. The silencers would have to be much larger and the gun use sub sonic rounds…usually a .22 round. There is no such thing as a silencer on a revolver. The gas (and noise) escapes around the cylinder.
-Hollywood must have magic bullets. People seem to drop every time a bullet hits them. In the real world people take full clips to their mid chest and still keep trying to slice or otherwise beat on the person with the handgun. I read of a criminal who took four .357 magnum rounds to the mid chest, another round that went arm pit to arm pit through the dude and several more in the arms and legs and was still fighting the police officers who shot him. If you have ever gone deer hunting you know that shooting that deer with a slug doesn’t drop him right there…and we’re talking about a huge slug! You have to track the darned thing for miles afterwards.
-One last observation on guns. How many movies have you seen where a car blows up because someone was shooting at it? Supposedly they hit the gas tank. This is an impossibility. Even with phosphorous tipped rounds shooting a stand alone gas tank (no other metal to penetrate) it is virtually impossible to blow that tank. Sheesh.
-Kids and small women can whoop on trained fighters. In the real world size and strength matters. A good big guy will beat a good small guy most of the time. I want to puke when a 60 pound kid kicks a 200 pound adult in a movie and the adult goes flying. This ain’t happening. As good as our female Kravists are, they know to hit vulnerable spots and to be looking to escape. All my female instructors would kick the crap out of those female movie starlets yet those starlets somehow can stand toe to toe with a large, trained fighter and kick his butt. Stupid!
-The hero takes knives away from dudes in a fight and never suffers a cut. Even when successful with knife defenses you rarely come away unscathed. This is why we train knife defenses with KY jelly slathered on our arms. A lot of the joint locks and grabs just don’t work when there is a slippery substance involved. Guess what? Blood is pretty friggin slippery!
-The hero takes on 3 and 4 attackers all movie long and wins every time. BS! I don’t care how good you are you cannot see behind yourself. If even two guys get you between them you are in trouble. You can’t block 8 appendages with 4 consistently, especially if you can’t see them because they are coming from behind.
-Those witty one liners and smart aleck comments that the hero makes during and after fighting…wow. In the real world with an adrenaline dump, stress, etc. due to someone trying to kill me I’m going to be lucky if I even remember my name!
-Unbeatable heroes. I wish. No matter how bad you are there is always someone badder. Anything can happen. I was told of a special forces soldier who had seen combat in Afghanistan who was finally home. His first week at home he was in an altercation in a bar. He was punched once by a regular looking guy, fell back, hit his head and died. This was a tough dude, a real fighter and a hero…and he died that quickly.
-The hero takes a bunch of damage and bounces back to win…and in the next scene he doesn’t even have a limp! Bodies are fragile. To be taking a whipping and then catch a second wind isn’t going to happen. Broken bones, punches in the head and kicks in the groin aren’t something that you’ll be recovered from mid-fight. Those long choreographed fight scenes only work if the fighters don’t take damage. Real violence is fast, terrifying and devastating.
-Why doesn’t the bad guy ever kick the good guy in the groin? Watch an MMA fight. Those dudes are tough as nails but they drop in a hurry when they get kicked in the groin. The ref has to stop the fight and let them recover.
OK, I’m done railing. Go enjoy your movie. BE SAFE!

A LITTLE MORE WOMEN’S SELF DEFENSE ADVICE

I have been speaking with a fellow blogger, KravLady, about this past December’s “But he seemed so nice” blog. She has some good questions and I love getting a women’s perspective on this stuff because ladies think of things that I don’t because I can’t relate to their situation. No guy can really relate so ladies, that dad, brother or significant other who teases you about being so cautious and tells you that you are paranoid…love them but ignore them! They would take a bullet for you but they are doing you no favors with that attitude. I have heard a quote in a few different places now that should give us men something to think about…”deep down men are afraid women will laugh at them. Deep down women are afraid men will kill them.”

In Krav we’re all about smacking someone who needs smacked (after we have looked to get away of course). KravLady’s question was when smacking isn’t justified yet, how do we handle a situation? For example, he is being nice but even after you have made it apparent that you don’t want him walking with you he still does. He isn’t being a threat but you feel uncomfortable. She even made the comment that she was maybe being too paranoid.

There is no such thing as being too paranoid. Look at my past blog on “listening to yourself” or even better read Malcolm Gladwell’s book BLINK. Our brains pick things up that we don’t realize. If we are feeling uncomfortable there is a reason. We don’t know why but there is a reason we are feeling that way. By the time we figure it out it may be too late so just listen! When an animal gets even a whiff of something out of place they run. An animal in nature never stands there thinking “I am just being paranoid”. Paranoid saves their lives!

Guys know that they make women feel uncomfortable. A decent guy will back off if they see a female is nervous about him. When we get on an elevator and there is a female already on we will go as far to the opposite side of the elevator as possible. When we approach a lady from behind on a sidewalk because we are walking faster we go as far to the opposite side of the sidewalk as we can. When a guy isn’t doing these things your brain tells you something isn’t right. Don’t think that you are being paranoid.

She talked about a guy who kept walking with her after she made it pretty apparent that she didn’t want him to. She didn’t want to appear rude (she even mentioned that she was raised to be polite) so she didn’t make a scene. Scum Bags are counting on you being polite and not wanting to make a scene. I told her to flat out say “I do not want you walking with me”. If he is a stranger and you appear rude, so what. He is a stranger and will have forgotten about you five minutes later. If he still doesn’t listen get loud and belligerent, tell him to get away from you. Is this rude? Maybe, but if you are right being rude is way better than being a victim.

A lot of Scum Bags are just trying you to see how they can control you. They are master manipulators and have perfected the art. If you are at a party and he asks if you want a drink and you say “no” and he hands you one anyway he could well be testing you. If you’re “no” didn’t really mean “no” and you take the drink you are what he is looking for. In the case where he keeps walking with you after you asked him not to he is showing himself, in my opinion. To ignore you or argue with you about it or to get angry shows that his intentions weren’t good. It’s time to get loud and belligerent and, if that doesn’t work, it’s time to run or go all Krav on the idiot! BE SAFE!