I have a stack of books in my closet that I read when I can. Every now and then I get to one that I wish I would have read a couple of years ago (when I actually bought it). ON COMBAT by LT COL Dave Grossman is one of them. This is a great book on how our bodies work during extremem fear and stress, and why they do the things they do. In his book there is a whole chapter on how in the real world when a person is terrified they urinate and defecate themselves. Veterans from WW II were polled on if, in combat, they ever urinated or defecated themselves and fifty percent said yes…and they also said the other fifty percent were liars! One war vet said “I’ll start watching war movies when they start showing soldiers shitting themselves, cuz that’s how it was.”

LT COL Grossman says that our body does this when the fight or flight mechanism kicks in to “get rid of ballast” so that we can move even faster. Our body doesn’t need the digestive, etc. function when we are fighting for our lives. This is also why our mouths get dry during the fight or flight. Our body doesn’t need the saliva glands to be working at that second, it needs to survive. Our body shuts down (or gets rid of) anything it doesn’t need for the task at hand.

Another story from the book is from ground zero on 9/11. A whole team of law enforcement officers were close to the first tower to fall and they all had to sprint to safety through the thick dust. When they got to safety every single guy except one had crapped his pants. The one who didn’t wondered why he hadn’t until he remembered that just a few minutes before the tower was hit he had taken a “power crap” and, therefore, didn’t have anything to get rid of.

I’ve written before about how full of crap (hehe) that Hollywood is. IF they were going to make a realistic movie they’d have the hero changing his drawers after every one of those life or death scenes. Hollywood is fantasy. Violence isn’t cool or pretty in the real world. In the real world after a fight for our lives we wouldn’t be standing in front of the news camera smiling and articulating what happened. We’d be shaking with pee and crap in our pants!

BTW, I believe in realistic training but my students can rest assured, we will not be practicing combatives with piss and crap in our pants. BE SAFE!



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!


I am sent videos of other defense systems quite often by friends across the nation. They always want to know what I think of the system and of the system’s head honcho. More often than not the video is awesome. It shows an expert smashing people, flipping and throwing big guys around and whooping three knife wielding attackers at the same time as he is disarming another attacker of an M-16 or the like. Sometimes I get the feeling that the person who sent me the video is trying to tell me how much cooler they think that system is than Krav Maga. Cool ain’t all there is to it!

I’m nearly always blown away by the talented instructor. The problem is that the talented instructor is usually a physical marvel. He is six foot two, weighs a chiseled two twenty-five and is super athletic. Yes, his system looks awesome when he does it but…how does that translate to the five foot, one hundred pound female in his class? Too often the techniques I see being used are based on size and strength. The throwing, putting people down with one blow, beating up three dudes at once, etc. work for him because he’s a physical marvel. To expect the 99 pound weakling in class to do the same is expecting a miracle.

In Krav Maga any technique we teach has to pass the litmus test of being able to be done effectively by the smallest, weakest and most uncoordinated person in our gym. How can I teach a group of women techniques that work only if the attacker is smaller than them? That would be setting them up for failure and failure in self defense means they get hurt. In our classes we have people of all ages, sizes and both sexes. To teach techniques that only half of the class could defend themselves with is stroking the instructor’s ego and not keeping people safe.

Below is one of my favorite techniques for a smaller, weaker person to defend themselves with. Watch the small female knock the bouncer out…and it ain’t nothing fancy!

When people come to your gym to learn self defense they are literally putting their lives in your hands. To teach something flashy that you look awesome doing but won’t keep them safe is unforgiveable. BE SAFE.

2 ON 1

I have just finished an awesome week at the Ultima in Tucson, AZ teaching a level 1 and a level 3 instructor training. The last thing we did for the level 3 training was have the group gear up and spar. At the end of that we had each of them fight two or three attackers at the same time. This is always an eye opener.
No matter how good we are two or more on one is a bad situation. The first thing I do is yell “go” and then immediately yell “stop”. I bawl the fighter out and tell them that I didn’t give them any rules. The first thing they should have done was ran for an exit or ran to a weapon. There are things lying around anywhere you are that you can use. I told one of them that I would have smacked someone with the laptop that was in the corner. Thinks escape first, get a weapon second. I’ve done martial arts and Krav Maga all my life and am fairly good but I can’t see on both sides of my body, can’t block four fists with two arms. Fighting isn’t smart at all, fighting when outnumbered is just stupid.
When it can’t be helped and you have no other choice but to fight there are a few tactics to live by. At the training the ones who did the best kept moving, didn’t let anyone get where they couldn’t be seen and attacked when they could. Thoughts with these tactics are 1) for sure keep moving. The scumbags know that they need to split you, for one of them to get behind you. When someone is behind us we are finished. We cannot block or dodge what we cannot see. A punch on the back of the head is all it takes to be done. Keep your back to walls, etc as you circle…and you are circling to find an escape route. 2) Attack. You can’t just circle and be defensive. Eventually they will hit you hard. Whenever one is out in front and closer to you than the rest hit hard and fast. Fight as dirty as you can, do as much real damage as you can. Stomp a knee, punch in the throat, kick in the groin or anything else you can do to put them down. When this happens we have made the odds a little more even. Stacking is always a good way to have one closer to you than the other. Move so that one has to go through the other to hit you. Use the closest attacker as a shield. I have even seen grabbing hold of the closest with a choke, etc. and punching over them to hit the second attacker. Shove the one you have grabbed at the other, giving you space and maybe even knocking them over.
In summary look to escape, find a weapon, keep moving so they don’t split you and take the closest one out. BE SAFE!