The theme of my last few blogs have been that techniques don’t save anyone…fighting with hatred and rage does. Fighting like an animal does. Krav Maga won’t save you. Krav Maga with rage and going first, going hard & going forward will.

Freddie Roach Jr. tells the story of being attacked by three guys at once in his younger days. He dropped the first guy with a punch. The next two had him on the ground and were on top of him before he could react. He went “animal” and actually bit one of the guys eye lids off. He says that he had eyelashes and skin in his mouth, actually thinks he bit the guys eye ball. It was over. The dude screamed and rolled off, his partner fled as well. The boxing technique saved him from the first guy, fighting like an animal saved his life.

From SGT Samford Strong’s great book STRONG ON DEFENSE he talks about a horrible situation that was gotten out of by going “animal”. He talks of a family camping in Mexico. Some local scum woke them up at night, got them all on their knees and had knives to all their throats. One of the scumbags made it apparent that he was planning on raping the nine year old daughter. Well, the mom went “animal”. She grabbed the blade of the knife with both hands (surgery later) and went so ballistic that she actually got loose and in the confusion her husband also got loose. He went for his weapon he had in the tent and the whole family was saved. Mama didn’t save them with any cool martial art or Krav techniques. She saved them by being an animal and being willing to fight to the death for her girl.

IN the same book he talks about a woman who was awoken in bed by a man over her with a knife. She decided right then that she would rather die and that she would fight. Fight she did. She grabbed the blade of the knife (again, surgery later) and fought…not with any technique or training but like a cornered animal. She ended up doing some pretty major damage to the scum bag.

There is a beautiful illustration of this in Chuck Holton’s book BULLET PROOF. The following is a couple of paragraphs from the book; “Capt. Brian Chontosh, found himself leading a patrol through the small town of Ad Diwaniyah, south of Baghdad. In what seemed like a single heartbeat, his unit was hit with a coordinated attack of mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and machine-gun fire. Chontosh knew immediately that it was a near ambush…and that he and his men were in the kill zone. Retreat was not an option. Dying was.

But Captain Chontosh wasn’t about to let that happen to his Marines. The love he felt for each of them instantly transformed into rage at those who would try to kill his men. He ordered the driver of his Humvee to plow directly into the enemy trench, and with a violence of action he leaped from the vehicle and attacked the attackers until his rifle ran out of ammo. He then pulled out his pistol and continued killing the enemy until that, too, ran dry. He picked up an enemy weapon and continued fighting. Then another. Then another. When it was over, more than twenty enemy fighters were out of commission and his men were saved.” Capt. Chontosh didn’t do what was expected. He didn’t look for cover or run. He went “animal” and charged. That is what saved him.

I hope that we are learning that surviving real world violence isn’t done by learning any marital art, self defense system, etc. if we are only learning techniques. We survive with heart. We go forward, go hard, go off and win no matter what. The scum bags use violence as a tool, we need to perfect violence and wield it better than they do. Be an animal to survive against animals. BE SAFE!



“the problem with most martial arts is that they take a logical and cerebral approach to a chaotic and visceral situation ” SGT Rory Miller in MEDITATIONS ON VIOLENCE

“When things are at their darkest and it seems like there’s no hope of surviving, well, that’s when you gotta get mad dog mean” The Outlaw Josey Wales

Different “arts” and systems seem to take different approaches on how they view emotion. In sports fighting we are told that you can’t fight mad, that you must be under control. Most martial arts preach Zen-like attitudes and to be calm under pressure. We root for the martial arts hero in the movies who seem calm and at peace as they whup butt.
These things just don’t transfer to the real world. Fighting mad in sports makes you go hard and wear out…and you have several rounds to get through. The not fighting mad makes sense in that arena. The magical martial arts and their Samurai code are cool to study, great for self-discipline, fairly good exercise….and are fairly worthless when it comes to real violence.

When attacked on the street by a couple of scum bags who want to do you and your family harm going off with all the rage and hatred you can muster and fighting like an animal is the best chance you have of surviving. In SGT Samford Strong’s must read book STRONG ON DEFENSE he interviews dozens of people who have made it through horrible, unimaginable crimes. His main points that come through again and again are that the people who survived these horrible attacks had two things in common. 1) they worried more about the crime being done to them than they worried about injury. They accepted injury and pain and decided to pay it back to the attacker ten-fold. 2) the ones who consistently fought back and won were those who went off with anger, hatred and rage.

The thought “how dare you think you are going to harm me, I will tear you apart” and then attacking like a wild animal has a much greater impact on survival than any techniques, system or art. We cannot worry about staying fresh for a prolonged fight as we want to destroy the attacker as quick as we can and get out of there. We certainly can’t live by a “never strike first” or chivalrous code because the attacker’s don’t.

I tell student’s all the time that Krav Maga will not save you, it is not magic. Mixing our techniques (which are easy to learn & remember, use gross, whole body motions and are designed to do as much damage as possible) with going off like a bomb brining out all the anger and rage you can muster is the best chance you have of surviving violence. Ask any law enforcement officer whom they would rather face; 1) a very proficient and talented martial artist or 2) some crazy who wants to claw off their face and chew on their eyes. They would much rather face the martial artist. If we can be both the crazy person and be proficient with our techniques we will be a scary opponent indeed.

We bring this out in our classes by not just learning techniques but by putting what we learn under stress and exhaustion. We run drills in our class that wear people out and make them want to quit. At that point it is all heart that gets them through it and heart on the street is worth more than any technique or system. We encourage people to yell and cuss during these drills. Not the “hiiiiii yaaaa” of those oh so controlled martial arts but we call the attacker a “son of a bitch”, etc., etc. This may sound over the top but if we can see the scum bag in training, yell at him and hate him we are much, much safer on the street when it’s for real and we have that “been there, done that” feeling.

The scum bags use violence as a tool, we must perfect that tool and wield it better than they do. If your butt is ever on the line get mad, get mean and fight with rage and hatred. It’s the best chance you have. 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. 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


Did you ever get an uneasy feeling about someone after just a glimpse of them? There is a reason that this happens. Don’t ignore your brain, it’s pretty smart! In Malcolm Gladwells’ book Blink he talks about this very phenomenon. Our brain is like a super computer, it picks up on things that we don’t consciously see or realize. We often get bad feelings and don’t know why so we ignore them, sometimes to our peril. He talks about an example of a statue that was supposedly thousands of years old and worth millions of dollars. The tests all showed that it was really that old, was from the area of the world that was claimed, etc. Three different experts took one glimpse at it and said that it was a fake. When asked why they thought thia they said that they didn’t know, they just had a gut feeling. These experts were ignored because the “scientific” research said that it was real and a museum bought it for millions. It ended up being fake. The expert’s brain knew something that they didn’t even know that they knew!

Another thought that Gladwell talks about in his book is that of our brain seeing “thin slices”. He believes that things that can actually happen so quickly that they can’t be picked up by our conscious can still be seen by our brain. An example that he uses is a video of a married couple talking about their relationship. It sounds like they are very positive and have a good relationship when the video is only listened to. When it is watched he and others who were studying with him had a feeling that the couple was in trouble. They ended up divorcing shortly afterwards. When Gladwell played the video in slow motion and looked at it frame by frame he saw negative body language….rolling eyes here, looks of disdain there. He was fascinated that these things that happened too fast to notice were actually picked up on by the brain.

One of my own students had a great but horrifying illustration of this happen to him. As he was opening up his shop he saw two guys pass by the window. He thought “if I had to describe those two to the police, what would I say”? He didn’t have any idea why he would have thought such a thing. Sure enough, a few minutes later they were in his shop and had a gun to his head.

Ladies, this is exactly what “women’s intuition” is. Listen to it every time. For example, a guy gets on an elevator with us when we are alone. Something doesn’t feel right but we know that if we get off before the door closes he’ll be offended. Who cares? He is a stranger who, even if he is offended, will have forgotten about it five minutes later. If we stay on and were right we will regret it for much longer than five minutes. Men know they make women uncomfortable. If a guy gets on an elevator and there is a woman there by herself he will automatically go as far to the opposite side of the elevator as possible. We may never have consciously thought about this but this is why if he gets closer the “women’s intuition” kicks in. The same thing is true with walking down a street. If a man is approaching a woman from behind (because he is walking faster) he will automatically go as far over to the curb as he can if she is on the inside, or he will go to the inside if she is by the curb. He will do this at a great distance away and not wait until he is up on her. If the bad guy doesn’t do this, the old intuition may try to tell us that something isn’t right. We must listen to our brain!!

There are reasons for uneasy feelings, for bad feelings about someone or for being “creeped out” by someone. Our brains are noticing everything and computing the data for us in split seconds. Listen to these gut feelings and stay out of trouble. BE SAFE!


It always amazes me how “military hand to hand combat techniques” have such an aura about them. I get people all the time asking if I teach the “military krav maga”. People somehow assume that military techniques must be the most lethal and therefore the best to learn. The military hand to hand combat training is great…if you are in the military.

Military hand to hand combat is for the battlefield. Their goals are totally different than a citizen who is trying to survive violence on the street. In the military they train with a lot of gear on. All that gear they carry makes a lot of Krav Maga’s techniques useless. They train generally assuming they have buddies around to help. They train to use their knives, long guns, etc. as adjuncts to the techniques. In other words, not a lot of empty hand but always grabbing a shovel, butt stroking with their long gun and using some improvised weapon they are carrying. They train to kill and keep moving towards their objective. They don’t look to flee or worry about being sued or arrested for too much force. They are learning to attack offensively, preferably taking out people who never knew they were there.

Civilian Krav Maga is about learning to stay safe when suddenly attacked by one or more scum bags. Our main goal is to go off like a crazy person doing as much damage as possible BUT always looking to escape. Stay safe no matter what and then get the heck out of there before his buddies show up…with knives. We teach (in this order) to stay away from bad places, run away, de-escalate and, lastly, to fight only when there is no other choice. This is about as opposite of what the military teach as possible!

So when I am asked “do you teach the military krav maga” I always ask “why, are you in the military?”. Why learn something that is designed for the dangers that military personnel face on a battlefield when we should be learning defenses designed for the dangers that us regular folk will face on the street? It’s beyond me. I see those who do actually teach “military hand to hand techniques” teaching class in bdu’s with all those pockets down the leg. Makes them look more military I suppose. If I had all those pockets on my pants I’d sure as heck be carrying weapons in them! BE SAFE!