Last week we ran the rules of MMA and told you that we basically want to break them all if we are attacked on the street. Every now and then I get comments about how fighting dirty isn’t right. These comments always remind me about a group of martial artists that I overheard at a conference a few years ago. One of them told the others that Krav was just a system of cheap shots, that it had no honor and was basically cheating. This made me laugh out loud as I basically agreed with what they said but thought it was a good thing. One of my favorite all time qoutes on the subject comes from SGT Rory Miller’s great book MEDITATIONS OF VIOLENCE. “Listening to the average martial artist talk about real world violence is like listening to ten year olds talk about sex.”

When I teach new instructors I have a lecture I give about real world violence. One of the things that I talk about is that we aren’t trying to instill a code of ethics, chivalry, honor or rules. If we have “honorable” rules like “never strike first”, “never inflict more harm than needed”, “always fight with honor”, etc. we are putting our practitioners behind the eight ball. If the scum bags don’t have rules we are hampering ourselves if we do. If the bad guys are going to use violence as a weapon we need to perfect violence and be more ruthless than the scum bags. If we are in a fair fight our tactics suck!

When I hear talk about fighting right, with honor, etc. I know that whoever is saying it has no concept of real world violence and the kinds of human garbage that is out there preying on society. Here is a quote from a prison guard that I came across
“Having these criminals on the streets should make you scared, very scared. If we don’t have a means to defend ourselves from criminals, we are prey. I am not joking by any stretch by telling you these criminals are animals. There are still those bleeding hearts who believe in the integrity of man and the desire to do the right thing when presented with a choice. I have now seen firsthand that there are people who are bad, and they are unfixable. They will take the low road every time, they will lie, steal, rape, murder and feel wholeheartedly that they are entitled to do whatever they please without respect to anyone else.”

Yes, there are bad people out there who the world would be better off without. Read about the human pieces of crap that perpetrate home invasions. They are recividists (hardened criminals who have been in prison for violent crimes and then let back out) who don’t look at you and your family as humans but as entertainment. They will rape, torture and slaughter your family and then go have a hamburger. What honor and rules should you use if faced with these people? I read of a human piece of garbage that sliced open a baby with a piece of tin and raped the wound. Just how much honor should we show him?

Cheating, cheap shots and not fighting fair is the only way to survive a violent attack, especially when outnumbered or outgunned. One great example of this in history is The Battle of Stirling Bridge of the First War of Scottish Independence on 11 September 1297. William Wallace was vastly out numbered and the enemy had much superior armor and weaponry. How did his force win? They cheated and faught dirty! At the time fighting honorably and fair meant that armies would allow each other to set up before battle. They would wait as the other army crossed a bridge, etc. and got totally ready before the battle would begin. William Wallace’s army attacked the English while they were crossing a long and narrow bridge and wiped them out. There was no honor in this. It was cheating and fighting dirty. They lived while the enemy died.

The only way to face ruthless, violent people and come away alive is to be more ruthless and more violent. This is why we do what we do in Krav Maga. Our classes, drills, testing, etc. is designed to get people past their breaking point and to make them ruthless, never say die, hard fighting, never quitting maniacs if they are ever in a bad situation. BE SAFE!


One of the Krav Maga Instructors at our gym carries around a list of UFC fight rules in his gym bag and whenever someone asks him exactly what is it we do in Krav Maga he pulls the list out and says “whatever is illegal to do in the ring!”
I was recently asked about the rules in MMA so here they are….

Should a fighter fail to follow these rules they will be deducted a point or be disqualified from the match.
Theses rules and faults include:
-Butting with the head.
-Eye gouging of any kind.
-Hair pulling.
-Fish hooking.
-Groin attacks of any kind.
-Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent. (see Gouging)
-Striking to the spine or the back of the head. (see Rabbit punch)
-Striking downward using the point of the elbow. (see Elbow (strike))
-Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea.
-Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh.
-Grabbing the clavicle.
-Kicking the head of a grounded opponent.
-Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent.
-Stomping a grounded opponent.
-Kicking to the kidney with the heel.
-Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck. (see piledriver)
-Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area.
-Engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent.
-Attacking an opponent on or during the break.
-Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee.
-Attacking an opponent after the bell (horn) has sounded the end of a round.
-Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee.

There are rules in the ring to outlaw certain things that could cause injury and end fights quickly. On the street this is exactly what we want to do…cause injury and end fights quickly! So, I guess Krav Maga’s rules would be to head butt, eye gouge, bite, pull hair, attack the groin, put a finger in a laceration and yank (how cool is that?), strike the spine and back of head, strike downward with the elbow, strike the throat, claw, pinch and twist flesh, grab the clavicle, knee, kick and stomp a downed opponent, kick a kidney, spike and throw the attacker, be unsportsmanlike, attack and attack some more and flagrantly disregard the ref…if this is what it takes to survive and BE SAFE!!


Whenever I am asked what is THE main thing that we teach in Krav Maga I say “how to flip the switch”. This always gets me perplexed looks. What I mean by “the switch” is that it doesn’t matter what you know, what techniques you are good at or how awesome stuff works in the gym if you “freeze” when real world violence finds you. We need to develop the ability to flip the switch so that we can go from overwhelmed, terrified and confused to going forward and doing great amounts of damage. This is not natural. When something horrible happens to us it is human nature to freeze. We are trying to figure out why it is happening, our brain is scanning to see if we have a plan for the scenario and we just can’t believe that it is happening in the first place. See my past blogs on the adrenaline dump and the freeze at

In Krav Maga everything we do is to get people’s “flinch reaction” to be to go forward and go hard. Trying to figure out why someone is doing something to us is a waste of time…and time is of the utmost importance. All the drills we do, the way we train, the way we test, etc. are so that the end result will be that when in doubt our members will go forward, go off and go hard.

We develop this by NOT working techniques alone. Just working on a technique and then moving on to the next thing on the lesson plan is teaching self defense techniques, not self defense. As I have said many times, there is a big difference. When we show straight punches, for example, we don’t just stand and throw a few punches to a mitt, work technique and then move on. When we punch it will be with movement and reaction, punching in combinations. We won’t just throw single punches but two at a time. We rapidly move this to four punches, then six punches, then six punches with an elbow, then six punches an elbow and then clinch and knee the mitt holder into oblivion. When we add on to these combinations there is no pause, we expect members in our gym to just do it! This builds a philosophy of throwing punches, elbows and knees until the danger is gone as well as going off without hesitation. If we only ever threw single punches in training this is what would come out of us under stress…single punches. We train to go until the danger is gone.

In our drills we put what we learn under stress and exhaustion. Learning a handgun defense, for example, in a gym against a partner who is standing static like a statue is training a technique. Training a philosophy is having both of us put sparring gear on, running sprints and hitting a heavy bag for two minutes then having the “bad guy” punch, kick and slap us while he never holds the handgun in one place and then seeing how the disarm technique works. In our drills we also love to use multi attackers. As we are fighting one attacker a second one appears. We are training, when struck by the second attacker, not to think about why it is happening but to automatically attack the second attacker. No thought as to why these two guys are trying to hurt us…go take care of it!!

Whatever you are learning for self defense has to be working on “flipping the switch”. If it isn’t…you are training to look cool in a gym environment and not for a real world violent encounter. BE SAFE


On our trip to Israel we trained with Grand Master Lichtenstein of the Bukan school of Krav Maga. We had to train in gi’s and everyone who attended from outside of the U.S. were part of that organization so they wore their yellow, green, orange, etc. belts. We from the U.S. had to wear white belts, even though in other organizations most of us were black belts. Being a white belt again was enlightening. A lot of the techniques that we trained were new to us so we felt like white belts. It was cool to be a beginner again and have to humble ourselves and not be “the man” in the gym as we suddenly weren’t the head instructors but beginners.

Some of the Americans had a hard time being at the bottom of the food chain in class and instead of learning the techniques the way they were being taught they wanted to argue (sometimes very disrespectfully) with the grand master about why the way they did things was better. Our group just kept our mouths shut and tried to do the techniques as they were taught. I didn’t agree with a lot of what we were doing but I was the student and Grand Master Lichtenstein was the instructor so I did it the way it was being taught. Because of this attitude our group got a lot of special training, insights and “behind the scenes” info on Krav Maga. Humbling ourselves made us good students.

We even kept quiet when the other yellow and orange belts (in Krav Maga for less than a year) corrected us and elbowed us to move down in line because they were supposed to line up ahead of us. This all just made me smile as I have been in Krav Maga for twelve years now and head an entire organization. The point is, to learn you have to want to learn. You have to humble yourself and have no ego. I am going to start lessons in something that I know nothing about now. I really believe this will make me a better instructor in krav Maga.

The one comment I get from people who attend our gym who have been to other Krav Maga gyms is that we are so friendly and have no egos. I don’t understand the gyms where the instructors walk around like they are better than everyone else, have attitudes and think they have arrived. I think we stay humble because we know there is more to learn, we have a white belt view on what we do. We scour the internet, attend seminars everywhere and do things like this Israel trip…to learn. A quote that I live by “Nothing I say today will teach me anything. To learn I must listen”. If you want to learn get that White Belt attitude! BE SAFE!