TRADITION CAN GET YOU HURT

I certainly don’t intend for this blog to become me railing against martial arts. Putting down others is a sure sign that you have issues, I’ve always thought. I do feel that the subject of tradition is worth looking at for our own safety. Please keep in mind that I was a 4th degree black belt in a very traditional system. Notice that I say was…I still have the certificate but it’s my opinion that if you haven’t kept up on something or practiced it in years you no longer can claim the rank!

You have heard us say that Krav Maga is an open system. We don’t have a Grand Poobah to bow to, don’t have a tradition to keep up to further our cause. Israel was only worried about staying a country and knew that they had to stay cutting edge and never waste any training on tradition or fluff. It’s still this way today in the United States Krav Maga Association because we have citizens to keep safe, and they are who we answer to…not to tradition, a system or a “master”.

The following is from Bruce Siddle’s Sharpening the Warrior’s Edge which is an exhaustive study on training methods for military and law enforcement applications;

Instructors who teach survival skills (i.e. defensive tactics, close-quarter combat, tactical firearms, or survival strategies) are still faced with teaching students a physical skill. The author proposes the level of student proficiency is directly proportionate to the instructor’s training psychology and system design. Subsequently, instructors have a moral and legal obligation to constantly research methods to enhance training and, ultimately, to assure the survival of their students.

Unlike other motor skill training, survival skills will be performed in the stress of combat. As such, motor skill training inherits a fair degree of learning and performance limitations. Although the learning roadblocks are multiple, there are three constant variables which directly affect survival and combat training. First, is the development of a system of skills which are appropriate for the arena of performance. For example, skills need to be designed to control specific threat stimuli. Second, the instructional delivery system must ensure that the students can learn and develop confidence in the skill quickly. The final variable recognizes that the influence of motivational principles has a direct effect on the student’s training intensity and subsequent skill development.

After reading this, why would you teach something that hasn’t changed in hundreds of years? The thugs have changed their tactics in that time! If you are teaching people stress relief, exercise, coordination, etc. feel guilt free to teach what you want. However, if someone is coming to you to learn self defense they are literally putting their lives in your hands. Do you understand the seriousness of this? They are relying on you to teach them to stay alive during the worst moments of their entire lives. Knowing this;
-how can you teach a kick to the knife as a knife defense?
-how can you teach a forward roll into the person with a handgun who wants to kill you?
-how can you teach small women techniques that obviously only work for bigger, stronger students?
-how can you teach ground for self defense but never mention or train for a second attacker or a blade?
-how can you teach self defense to women by telling them that you will show them how to beat up the attacker and win the fight, to stay there and keep hitting the bad guy? They need to always be fighting to escape.
-how can you teach techniques that take hundreds of disciplined hours to perfect to the point they would actually work? I have heard many martial arts masters tell their students that it takes 1,000 reps to become proficient at a technique. This is ok if they are learning an art. If it is self defense training this is ridiculous! If it’s complicated, it’s not self defense!
-For self defense, how can you teach any kind of sparring that has rules, only certain places you can target, or stoppages when a point is scored? How can you not start all sparring sessions with telling the student to run or pick something up to hit the opponent with?
-Why would you teach anything in a horse stance? Unless, of course, you are teaching them to defend themselves for when they are on a horse.
-how can you teach katas for self defense? I have been told that this is practicing fighting off multi attackers. Why keep turning your back on the last person that you whacked (as most kata’s I’ve seen are in an x pattern)? Do you know how we practice fighting off multi attackers? We pad up and have multi attackers come at us…and we fight them off.
-how can you never put students under stress or talk about the effects of stress, the adrenaline dump or the fact that they will be fighting injured?
-how can you not include cardio training in your students lessons knowing that if they are ever in a self defense situation that goes past 30 seconds their techniques will severely degrade with exhaustion?
-how can you teach 65 pound kids that they can devastate an adult with a punch or kick when they obviously don’t have the strength or power?

I am not railing on martial arts at all. I just feel very passionate about pointing out the flaws in any training that claims to be “the ultimate in self defense”, that claims to make it’s practitioners safe against real world violence. It infuriates me to see instructors make these claims when it’s all about their ego or making money…not caring that they will get people hurt. Again, your students are putting their safety, their families safety and their very lives in your hands. I say to heck with tradition!! BE SAFE!

FULL OF OURSELVES

I just spent some time on the internet looking at the popular self defense “experts” that are out there. Wow, we in this field are really full of ourselves! The one thing that they all have in common is that anything that they are teaching is the best & the only way to do it and if you are doing anything else you are an idiot. They all fail my first test when looking for someone to learn anything from. I will not listen to anyone who thinks they are THE authority and right about everything. I believe we in the USKMA have the most up to date, battle tested and best self defense system anywhere, however, we look at what others are doing, attend seminars and are always looking to learn. We will tweak a technique or even change it altogether if we find something that works better. We are looking to keep people safe, not looking to build a cult of personality. So, here’s what’s out there:

-There’s the “expert” who evidently has tens of thousands of dollars to put into advertising. Anytime I do a search for Krav Maga his ad pops up in the sidebar telling me that if I learn his system I will “fear no man” and can “easily defeat three knife wielding thugs”. Wow, what an idiot. First off, we had better be fearing man. There are some beasts out there who will slaughter your whole family and then laugh about it. “Easily” defeat three dudes with knives? I’ve got only two techniques that will keep me from being killed in that scenario. The first involves sprinting faster than the three, the second involves a bit of distance and a twelve gauge.

-There’s the famous “expert” who has made millions of dollars in the industry with a new way of doing things every couple of years. Ten years ago he was putting down Krav Maga and teaching a pressure point system because “you don’t wanna get sued, you have to use non lethal techniques”. Now his program is “brutal, there are times that you are in a fight for your life and anything goes.” I saw a bit of one of his seminars recently and his main technique was to palm the bad guy in the forehead to “disrupt his brain” and knock him unconscious. He proceeded to knock his big, muscular assistant out about ten times in a row. The poor guy is probably brain damaged now from being concussed like that. Anyhow, nobody else at the seminar must have done it right because nobody else hit the ground.

-The most popular guy out there right now teaches quickening reaction times and one main technique to defeat most anything. His thoughts on seeing things earlier and reacting quicker makes a lot of sense. If only he wasn’t telling me that he invented the whole idea when I can read books on the subject from decades ago. His “awesome” one main technique that he invented has been around for awhile as well. My biggest problem is that he is the worst at the “I am teaching the only thing worth knowing, everyone else is stupid” train of thought.

-Then there’s the expert who six years ago was running judo dojos but now has his own system that is the best and only thing worth doing. He has one technique for any attack and has blogged on why Krav Maga is so terrible because it has numerous “complicated” techniques. This was news to me. His one technique that is used for everything is on a video where it is being used against a knife and then a handgun. How he thinks a technique that isn’t controlling the weapon (it was flopping all over the place) is a good technique is beyond me.

-I came across a video by another “expert” who has a secret, revolutionary way of kicking. It was the exact stomp kick that we teach in our beginner level one class. Well, we teach it with hands up so we don’t get punched and his hands were down around his belly button, so it wasn’t the exact same.

-Lastly there is the Krav Maga expert who claims to be Imi’s heir. He has changed a lot of techniques lately to show that he is “cutting edge” and the one in charge of Krav Maga’s evolution. If you do a technique the way he taught it for fifteen years instead of the way he has done it for the last two months you are absolutely, totally wrong, an idiot and completely out of the loop. This same guy claims that if you attend a Krav Maga gym that has any kind of cardio classes that you aren’t learning real Krav Maga. Most of his seminars are taught in basketball gyms but it doesn’t apply to him, if you are learning Krav Maga in a building that also has basketball you can’t be learning real Krav Maga would seem to be the same thought. Sigh….

The point to all of this is to think for yourself. Don’t ever let the word of an expert overrule your own common sense or experience. BE SAFE!

MUSCLE HEADS

Are muscle heads (power lifters & body builders) scary? Are they the last people in the World you’d want to have to defend yourselves against? Well, what can they do with all that muscle? I’m not putting those guys down, heck, as ‘Mater from Disney’s CARS said “I’d give my two left lug nuts to look like that”…..but here are some things to think about!

At our gyms we have trained several competitive body builders, power lifters and even an NFL lineman, several weighing 300 pounds or more. As a group, when they started with us, as far as self defense went, they were terrible! They had strength but not a one of them could get through a class. They couldn’t go hard for more than 30 seconds at a time. To a man their cardio was horrible. We had a whole group of body guards quit after a couple of weeks because they looked impressive standing but couldn’t take the work in a basic level 1 class!

The other thing we noticed is that none of these guys could turn their hips to save their lives and their punching was with arms only. Now, their arm only punches were mighty hard but it always impressed them when my long time students who weighed 150 pounds less could punch harder! I would tell them that they can punch hard now but when they learn to turn their hips and use their bodies they will knock people’s heads clean off.

We have had three of these big ol muscle heads stay with us and become long time students. They are very good at Krav now but all three have lost a lot of weight…one of them has lost over 80 pounds. It’s funny that the general public thinks that the bigger and more muscle a man has makes him tougher when all three of these guys discovered that they are better fighters and better at self defense when they lost some of that muscle. When I see muscle heads strutting around I want to ask them “what do you do if a gun is put in your face?” All the muscle in the world won’t save them but I have 95 pound female students who would take that gun from the Scum Bag and beat his butt with it!! I actually had a class that I was showing handgun defenses to just a few months ago that hammered home this point. We were using an airsoft gun and firing plastic pellets. I had seven or eight students (mostly skinny teens) do the technique and not get hit. The one big dude, a sculpted 6′ 2″ and 240 pounds, was the only one who got hit…twice. His reaction time was a bit slower and that muscular width worked against him.

Take Mariusz Pudzianowski, the World’s strongest man. He started training to be an MMA fighter and lost his first two fights. His opponents knew that if they could avoid a big shot that his cardio would be gone by the second round and that’s exactly how they beat him. He got tired and they got him! If he wants to continue in MMA he needs to lose a lot of that muscle!

If I am ever attacked by someone who has a lot of muscle (and I can’t run) I plan on doing the same. I won’t fight his fight, dance and drag it out. He’ll be huffing and puffing soon enough and then it’s my time. If you do find yourself in this situation remember not to look at how big or scary your attacker is, look at targets. All you should see are knees, throat, zyphoids and groin! No matter how big he is he can’t build up those places! BE SAFE!

MY FAVORITE SELF DEFENSE QUOTES

Here are my all time fave self defense quotes;

“Self defense is recovery from stupidity or bad luck.” SGT Miller

“Self defense is a short list of techniques that may get you out alive when you’re already screwed” SGT Miller

“When self defense becomes complicated, it is no longer self defense.” R. Hoover

“No intelligent man has ever lost a fight to someone who said ‘I’m gonna kick your ass’.” SGT Rory Miller

“When any person, idea, technique, school, piece of gear, team or tactic is put on a pedestal, we risk stopping progress.” Rob Pincus

“It is much easier and safer to scare someone into submission than to beat them into submission.” SGT RORY MILLER in Facing Violence.

“Danger, if met head on, can be nearly halved” W. Churchill

“If I learn 1,000 techniques with my luck I’ll go out on the street and be attacked by number 1,001.” J. Whitman

“Every asshole has an asshole buddy nearby.” M. Slane

“Have you read my biography? ‘Cuz I don’t have one. You don’t know me. I could be full of crap, think for yourself and question these techniques.” A. Jannetti

”after initial contact all plans go to hell” Patton

“The wicked flee when no man pursues but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

“No matter how enmeshed a commander becomes in his plans, it is occasionally necessary to consider the enemy” Churchill

“We don’t call it knife defenses, we call it Knife survival.” SGT MJR Nir Maman

“Everybody’s got a plan until they get smacked in the face” M. Tyson

“Home intruders are terrorists without a political agenda.” SGT Sanford Strong

“Listening to the average martial artists talk about real world violence is like listening to ten year olds talk about sex.” SGT. Miller