THIS WEEK, ONE OF MY STUDENTS…

One of my students (and instructor at our gym) had a “scary as hell” moment this week. It seems that he was driving in a not so great part of town when a little girl darted in front of his truck and he hit her. Thankfully she was only bruised and scraped but he did what we all would do, got out of his truck to help her. What he said happened next was like one of our Krav class training drills come to life. He looked up to see eight or so guys running from neighborhood porches but not to help the girl…they were running at him. To make a long story short they surrounded him and started to throw punches, etc. He backed up to a wall as he fought them off and then ran when the opportunity presented itself. Two followed him (the rest took out their vengeance on his truck) and when he was about caught up to he turned and threw on the closest guy. As he clinched the guy and kneed him he kept him moving so that he could keep an eye on the second guy who eventually just left. A woman in the neighborhood came out and bawled out the thugs then offered her home to my friend until the police arrived.

This could have been bad but he fell back on his training. He knew that if he hit the ground he would be stomped and if they got behind him he would eventually do just that…hit the ground. He kept them from getting behind him and then did the smartest thing he could do (and something we preach to do)…he ran. There is no way he could whip eight dudes. We aren’t Superman and this isn’t Hollywood and he knew this. When the opportunity presented itself he ran. When he had to reengage he did so with good tactics, tied up the one who was closest to him and kept his eyes on the second guy. I couldn’t be prouder of him.

When he asked me to critique I told him “It’s obvious that you didn’t do anything too bad because you weren’t seriously hurt and the fact that you were relatively unscathed tells me you did things right”. My only advice to him was what I mentioned just a few weeks ago in my “Flash Mob Attacks” blog. Carry a handgun where legal and a knife always. I thank God he was unharmed. Things like this make me proud to teach what we do…no BS self defense. BE SAFE!

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BE SAFE! SELF DEFENSE FOR WOMEN IN THE REAL WORLD!

This week’s blog is an exert from my new book, BE SAFE, SELF DEFENSE FOR WOMEN IN THE REAL WORLD. This is basically a shameless plug for the book now available on Amazon, hope ya don’t mind!!

http://www.amazon.com/Be-Safe-Defense-Women-World/dp/1463692315/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1311096289&sr=1-1

There is so much crap out there passing for women’s self defense!! First and foremost, why do most systems insist on teaching women different techniques than men? We believe that if it isn’t something that we would teach men it isn’t worth knowing. The “wet your pants to be too gross” or the “walk with your keys between your fingers” or the ever popular “say you have AIDS” and the “carry a whistle” isn’t ever told to men…..it should be ignored by women!! “But women are weaker and smaller than men” is the usual comeback. My thought is that a female grizzly, tiger or shark may indeed be weaker and smaller than the male but I don’t want to mess with any of them….especially if there are cubs involved!! Here is one place where size truly doesn’t matter…..attitude and fearing the crime more than you fear injury is what matters. A cat weighs 6 or 7 pounds but I’ve seen muscle heads let go of one in a hurry when it gets terrified and starts clawing! In Krav Maga we teach the same techniques, the same combatives, the same philosophy and the same tactics to women and men. Can a 100 pound woman punch as hard as a 200 pound man? She can if he is punching with only his arm and she is turning her whole 100 pounds into the punch. If they both have the technique down and punch with all their weight using proper leverage the man will hit harder of course but the woman is still hitting hard enough to do damage!

Martial arts for women’s self defense? Choose wisely. Most martial arts are a piece of the puzzle. They were developed by their originators to overcome specific problems. There is a martial art that was developed for warriors on a battlefield who find themselves without a weapon, there is one that was developed for unarmed peasants to be able to use farm implements against mounted and armored soldiers, etc. True story: I was a fourth degree black belt in Taekwondo. During my martial arts career I spent hundreds of hours practicing techniques in a horse stance (a mild squat). When I found out that the history of taekwondo’s horse stance was so that peasants who couldn’t afford horses could still pretend that they were on a horse and practice the techniques in hope of joining the military someday…..i was torqued at all that wasted time!! There are few martial arts that were designed for a woman to fight off an assault as their main emphasis. Furthermore, the most common way for a rapist to move a female from public to a secondary crime scene is to show a weapon and demand she obey. Would one of the militaristic martial arts which demand “yes, sir” and obedience every time the “Master” gives a command be good training for women in the real world?
There are so many “experts” in the field of self defense for women that it is easy to be confused. Do not ever go against your own common sense or experience on the word of an “expert” or with the majority’s opinion. Back in the 60’s an “expert” was telling women to carry around large hat pins to defend themselves. One poor old lady had her purse snatched and as the criminal was turning to run with the purse she remembered that expert advice and took out her pin and stabbed him with it. He promptly turned around and punched her in the face, breaking her jaw. Some advice!!

Whatever system or techniques are learned it all comes down to attitude. SGT Sanford Strong in his book Strong on Defense (a must read for women’s self defense) flatly states “Surviving violence is all about mental toughness.” He goes on to talk about mind setting and accepting that you will be injured (past blog topics) “Break fear and fight back by 1) decide what you fear most, injury or being controlled by the criminal. Accept injury as the price you pay to escape. 2) mind set and visualize ahead of time. Focus on escape, not on what he is saying or doing.”
Why Krav? Krav Maga doesn’t blow smoke about it’s practitioners not being hurt or having “never fail” techniques. We mind set in our class drills preparing for violence. We make you exhausted and mentally tired during our drills. We teach techniques that will give you a fighting chance but mainly we teach attitude!! Swing for the fences, the bad guy is going down, I don’t stop til you’re unconscious ATTITUDE!!

BJJ AIN’T ENOUGH FOR THE STREET!

OK, let me start out by saying that I absolutely respect BJJ. BJJ is like chess on the mat, the practitioners have to be very smart and in awesome shape. Most of the instructors at our Krav gym do BJJ with my blessing. We have to be well rounded and know what the heck we are doing on the ground. If my son is going to do only one martial art I would want it to be bjj. There is nothing better for a school yard, one on one fight.

What slays me are the people advertising BJJ as the ultimate in self defense. I just ran across a web site for a bjj gym that said “Krav Maga will get you killed”. They actually said that statistically most fights are one on one bar room type fights with no weapon ivolved so it is a waste of time to train for anything but this type of one on one fighting. This was probably a true statistical statement but just because 55% of fights are bar room type fights that don’t involve weapons does that means we shouldn’t worry about training for weapons…or for multi attackers? Run a daily google search for knife attacks or shootings across the country. Your in box will be full! Because 50,000 of 80,000 daily attacks in the U.S. don’t involve a weapon or multi attackers that’s good enough reason not to train for weapons and multi attackers? What kind of logic is that…oh yeah, it’s the “I make money off of what I teach” kind of logic.

BJJ is an awesome sport but to use it for self defense absolutely ignores real world violence. It is absolutely betting the practioners life on the fact that there will only be one attacker and there won’t be a blade involved. BJJ’s philosophy is to patiently control an opponent until they can be submitted. In the real world every scumbag has a scumbag friend near by. We should always be looking to end things as quickly as possible and to get the heck out of there. I have a friend who told me about a buddy of his that went to a “BJJ for the street” gym. He got into an altercation in a bar and pulled guard on his attacker like he was taught. The guy drew a knife and stabbed him seven times. Another friend told me of a BJJ black belt who wrapped a guy up in a bar in just a few seconds, looked awesome doing it…right up until the guy’s buddy kicked the black belt in the face, broke his jaw and knocked him out. If you are on the ground tied up with someone you are absolutely making the assumption that he doesn’t have a knife and doesn’t have a buddy. These are not assumptions that will keep you safe.

From a thread on our site by my buddy Aaron Jannetti; “If you understand the nature of violence, and how easy it is to harm someone, you will quickly understand that two places you don’t want to be are on the ground or wrapped up with someone.

There are some very impressive techniques which would absolutely get you f’d up with a violent individual in an icy parking lot.

Don’t believe me, fine. Here is the experiment. Find someone who you think can kick your ass with their grappling. Tell them to grab you up. Your only job is to see how many times you can stick your fingers on their eye brow ridge or grab the inside of their leg next to their testicles. Every time you can touch their eye brow is a time you could have gotten a finger in to their orbital socket. Every time you touch their leg is a ripped sack or torn off junk. You will quickly find the limitations of someone trying to hold you down on the floor.

Second experiment, grappler vs edged weapon. Take a magic marker, put it in your pocket. Have your ass whupping grappler put the ju-ju on you. Your only task is to get to the marker, and touch them with it. Their job is to shut you down. Much learning will take place.”

Have you ever tried bjj on concrete or blacktop? AJ has and he informs me that there is no good position. Being on the bottom gets you ground into hamburger. Knees and elbows get torn to shreds when in side control. The mount sounds good until the opponent starts bucking and your knees slam over and over into the pavement.

That magic mount is such a strong position in the ring. In the real world the dude on the bottom puts you in a big bear hug until his buddy can get over to ya and kick your head off.

Again, I am not bad mouthing BJJ at all. I have made it a goal this year to get into a BJJ gym and finally get decent on the ground. I am bad mouthing those who are telling students that BJJ is all the self defense they need for real world violence. BE SAFE!

EXPERIENCE AND COMMON SENSE…YOUR OWN

Over the year that I have been writing this weekly blog I have gotten a lot of nice comments. People seem to like Krav Maga’s philosophy about what real world violence is and what real self defense is. We tell it like it is, have no egos and no agenda. We want to spread Krav Maga throughout the U.S. and let people know what is real and would work in real world violent situations and what is BS. In the USKMA I truly have a world class staff of what I would consider the best self defense “experts” anywhere. However…

Never, ever let your own common sense and experience be overridden by the words of an expert, especially me. We study real world violence and have what we believe are the best answers to violent attacks and the easiest to learn and remember as well as most effective techniques. Nobody, however, is 100% right all the time. If something doesn’t make sense to you or if your experience has proven something doesn’t work for you…don’t use it. This sounds logical, to not let your own common sense and experience be trumped by an expert’s opinion, but it is rare for someone to do this. Experts can sound all knowing, can make you think that they have all the answers and must be right. In the 1960’s there was a self defense expert telling women to carry a hat pin to defend themselves. This doesn’t make sense to me but he was an expert and had a huge following. One poor older lady had her purse taken by a snatcher. He was turning to run away with her purse when she remembered the expert’s advice and took out her hat pin and stabbed him. He turned around and punched her in the face, breaking her jaw. Some advice.

Think about other areas where we blindly follow advice. The medical field is a big one. Haven’t most of the things medical experts were touting fifty years ago now been proven wrong? Think of all the drugs that were released only to be recalled later because they were killing people! For example, I have heard medical professionals say many times that you can get as bad a sun burn on a cloudy day as on a sunny one. I grew up believing this. My own experience shows me that this isn’t true. I go out on cloudy days without cover or sunscreen all the time and never burn but would burn like crazy if the sun was blaring. BTW, the U.S. has more cases of skin cancer than any country in the World but also uses the most sunscreen of any country in the World. Think the experts might be missing something?

Another big one is that you lose more heat from your head than any other part of your body. I have heard this since I was a child. I just recently read a scientific study that says this is true only if your head is uncovered and the rest of your body is covered, that all body surfaces lose the same amount of heat.

Did you realize that after the jets hit the twin towers that there were people sitting in the buildings below the fire floors for a long time, some even still there when they collapsed? Why would they do this? Because some “expert” security guards and building managers who were in charge told them to stay at their desks, that it would be ok. These people let an expert’s advice override their own common sense…the building was on fire for crying out loud!

One last self defense example. There is a very popular self defense for women course that teaches women to drop to the ground and kick at the attacker with both legs. There is a bit of merit to this but, in my opinion, it makes one fatal assumption and overrides one major tactic that should always be followed. The assumption is that she will only ever be attacked by one person. A second attacker, while she is on the ground, spells doom. The overridden tactic that we preach to women is that we are fighting TO ESCAPE. Everything we do while fighting off an attack is done with escape in mind. Lying on the ground makes this much harder.

So please, think for yourself. “There is nothing as uncommon as common sense”. Don’t let the words of an expert (or the opinion of the majority) override your own experience and commons sense. Good words to live by! BE SAFE!

FLASH MOB ATTACKS

In the past few weeks there have been many self defense blogs talking about flash mob attacks as well as a thread on our web site. A flash mob attack is a group of thugs who decide to decend on a victim or victims and beat them. It may be robbery, rape or just for fun. Here are a few examples from around the country courtesy of Gabe Suerez’ WarriorTalkNews.com blog:
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – All eight suspects are in custody after a brutal attack in Five Points early Monday morning which left the teenage victim in critical condition, according to Columbia police.
CHICAGO, IL (WLS) — The recent series of mob-style attacks on Chicago’s Near North Side mark the first major hurdles facing Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago’s new police superintendent Garry McCarthy. The latest attack happened Tuesday night. A witness tells WGN 15-20 teens beat and robbed two people at Chicago and Wabash
AKRON, OH — Out of nowhere, the six were attacked by dozens of teenage boys, who shouted ”This is our world” and ”This is a black world” as they confronted Marshall and his family.
NO. VIRGINIA — Three people were beaten by mobs in Northern Virginia in two separate incidents that occurred within five minutes of each other on Saturday night, authorities said

Here is our Krav Maga take on flash mobs. Actually, after writing this it really is a blend of sevaral of my past blogs. The concepts of run away, you can’t win when outnumbered, carry a weapon and when it’s go time it’s time to get mean and nasty all come to play now.

First, of course, is don’t be there. The quote my friend John Burton uses all the time is “Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people to do stupid things”. You know where the bad parts of town are, don’t ever go there. Keep your head on a swivel because the bad parts of town may come to find you when you are someplace not so bad. We are all decent people, we pride ourselves on not being prejudice, being color blind (cue the music to “I’d like to teach the world to sing”) believing that we are all created equally, etc. but guess what, the scum bag thugs are some of the most prejudice people on the planet. This is why they are scum. If you notice that you are suddenly in the minority where you are at, keep your eyes peeled.

Don’t be like most of America and bury your head in your phone to answer that oh so important text. Keep your eyes open and observe everywhere you go. Always be vigilant watching for groups forming. Watch for people talking while their eyes dart to you. Watch for pointing or anything that just doesn’t look right. Don’t ask yourself what doesn’t look right and try to figure it out, leave. As soon as you feel the least bit uncomfortable, leave.

When they start to approach you it’s go time. We don’t wait to see what they intend to do. As soon as even a few start towards you put your plan into action. Your first plan is to run. Run now and run fast. If others are with you, they should know the plan ahead of time. If you are cut off or have family with you it’s time for part two of the plan. You escape by going through. You get vicious and mean and do the most damage to anyone close that you can. You clear a path and get out of there. There is no talking your way out, no reasoning. These are scum bags who don’t look at you as human, they look at you as entertainment. John showed a video of some news footage at our USKMA Spring Camp of a family that was attacked by a mob. As they beat the husband the wife was pleading with one of the attackers to stop. He turned around and punched her in the face. We are dealing with animals and we must become an animal.

In this vein, nobody can fight twenty people and win. This ain’t Hollywood. Cops can’t be everywhere. Cops are only minutes away when seconds count. If you are going to survive this it is up to you. Do what I do…carry a handgun where it’s legal and a knife all the time. I’m not talking about a small apple cutting knife, I’m talking about a pig sticker. We’ve already decided it’s go time. The only way out of this mess is to be more violent, nastier and dirtier than the scumbags. This isn’t the time to think about not hurting anyone, what the police will think, etc. You will eventually be let out of prison, you’re in a casket for good. Here’s my plan. If it’s the knife I attack. I don’t waive it and try to intimidate a path open. The scumbags all have knives I’d bet…and handguns. Go for whoever is closest and stab them in the face. Go right down the line stabbing any face you see as you clear a path. If they are not running away they are a threat to your life. They may eventually take me down but I guarantee I won’t be the only one bleeding at the end. If it’s the handgun with me that day…same plan. I shoot the closest person in the face and I get out alive.

Brutal is what Krav does best. You will go home that day no matter what. BE SAFE!