I think I’ve blogged a dozen times in the past asking self defense instructors to take what they do seriously. Getting people trained for real world violence is something I take great pride in with Krav Maga…and something I greatly despise when I see others teaching BS from a system simply because it is their system that they are making money off of. One thing I tell my affiliates and instructors over and over again is that “when someone comes to you to learn self defense that person is literally putting their lives in your hands and you had better be teaching the most up to date, real world battle tested and proven stuff you possibly can”.

I have such a passion for this that it has taken over my mind… and I think that I have some insight into why. This story happened almost twenty years ago and I don’t think I have ever told it to anyone or even thought about it until recently. I ran a taekwondo school for several years. I was a fourth degree black belt in taekwondo and a national sparring champion in the executive senior age group. Taekwondo was what I knew, what I taught and what I called “self defense training”. One evening one of my students who was, I believe, a brown belt and about 16 years old drove into a gas station lot. He actually pulled up just as a teenaged assailant shot and killed the gas station attendant in a robbery. He quickly drove off and a mile or so down the road stopped at a McDonalds to call the police (this was before cell phones). As he was waiting for the police to arrive low and behold the kid who murdered the attendant came into the same McDonalds. As luck would have it the lady behind the counter asked my student “did the police say how long until they will be here? That is so scary that you saw a guy get shot”! The murderer heard this and then walked right up to my student and said to him “so, you saw me, huh?” They stood there nose to nose talking for a few minutes. My student knew the kid had a gun and really thought he was about to die. The kid just talked and even seemed bewildered and sorry for what he had done and eventually the police showed up and arrested the kid without incidence. This shook up my student for quite some time.

My student had come to my school to learn to protect himself. I taught him kata’s, some kicks, how to punch from a horse stance, Olympic type sparring, etc. I believed that I was teaching him great self defense because this is what I was told when I learned it. This is all I knew, I didn’t look at anything else. I was told our system had all the answers. I believed what I was told instead of thinking for myself. I almost got somebody killed. He had no answers for someone standing in front of him with a gun, had never trained for real violence, had never been told that in the real world stress will make you freeze, had never been told about mindsetting, had never trained to exhaustion or learned how to handle the adrenalin dump. He had never been told that to strike first isn’t cheating but smart. He had learned techniques but not a philosophy of go off and go hard. He had never trained his flinch reaction to be go forward and destroy. As far as self defense goes he had learned bullshit from someone who thought they knew what violence was but had never studied it because he thought his system was the ultimate.

One of my favorite quotes is from Rory Miller’s MEDITATIONS ON VIOLENCE. He says “listening to the average martial artist talk about real violence is like listening to ten year olds talk about sex.” Hey instructors, let’s forget the egos, the money and the “my system is better than your system” and actually do all that we possibly can to make people safe. Now there’s a novel idea. BE SAFE!


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