GOT A PLAN?

“On October 16, 1991, 35-year-old George “Jo Jo” Pierre Hennard, an unemployed merchant seaman who was described by others as angry and withdrawn, with a dislike of women, drove his blue 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby’s cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen. Yelling “This is what Bell County did to me!”, Hennard then opened fire on its patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and, later, a Ruger P89. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people while wounding another 20 before committing suicide.” Wikipidia

It was reported that the majority of people shot and killed were sitting at their tables. Very few rushed the gunman or did anything to secure their safety. I would think he would have killed less than twenty-three if everyone would have started winging dishes at him and dog piled on him.

The reason people do this “freezing” under stress is that they aren’t thinking, their brains are stuck in “mid brain”. Under stress our brains will scan our entire lives to see if we had ever been in the situation before and, if so, how we got out of it. Our brain will scan to see if we have a plan for the situation. If our brain finds none it will simply keep scanning, and we will keep sitting there like a statue. We aren’t going to come up with a plan at that time.

I have written blogs on minds setting in the past. Homicides have risen sharply since the mid seventies in the general population but have actually decreased with law enforcement personnel. In the mid seventies law enforcement agencies started preaching mind setting. As the officers were patrolling throughout their day they were taught to ask themselves or talk with their partners about the “what ifs”. “What if we stop at this light and a gunman approaches from your side…from my side…from behind”. “What if we walk into this business and a guy attacks you with a knife…attacks me…is attacking someone else”, etc., etc. Lives were saved because they constantly thought about plans.

In Krav Maga classes our drills are getting people ready for violence. We are physically working on plans for someone trying to hurt us, for multiple attackers, for someone trying to cut us, hit us with a stick, shoot us, etc., etc. We also want our practitioners to think. We tell them when they read about a violent attack or see one on the news to not just think “poor person” but to think “what would I do if in that situation”. So, ask yourself:
-What would I do if I were watching TV in my house and someone kicked in the front door?
-What would I do if I woke up in my bed and someone was standing over me?
-What would I do if driving and someone was standing in the road trying to get me to stop…or blocking the road with a car…or trying to run me off the road with a car?
-What would I do if I saw three guys trying to surround me in the mall parking lot?
-What would I do if someone forced their way into my car?

You can think of many, many others. Please do. If you think about a situation you are much more likely to have that plan surface if the situation happens to you. There is a lot more to being safe than learning some techniques.

One more thing to think about…your planning does your family no good if it isn’t shared with them. Have plans and talk about them with your spouse and kids. Practice “home invader” drills. Have a plan if at a mall and a gunfight starts. Have a plan for when you are in the car. Plan, plan, plan!! BE SAFE!

JUST DO IT!

“Violence of action trumps technique.” SGT Rory Miller

I have blogged several times on the fact that techniques won’t save any of us when attacked but an aggressive, “animal” mindset will. This reminds me of something I’ve seen a few times when training others in Krav. A year and a half or so ago I went to a gym in another state to teach the staff Krav Maga. The owner was athletic enough and a former power lifter but his punching form was really bad. His hands were way too low, he didn’t turn his hips at all, his combinations were choppy and not smooth at all and…he had been in and won more fist fights in any one month stretch while in his twenties than you or I will in our entire lives!

I have a friend who owns Krav Maga gyms in another state who told me something similar. He was talking about an acquaintance of his who he is hanging around with, questioning and studying. He says this guy gets into a fist fight a week, always wins and usually knocks the other guy out. The guy has had no training in anything…ever.

The thing they have in common is that they fight at the drop of a hat, go forward and go hard. They swing to win and don’t stand there thinking about what they should do. They are aggressive and realize that they are going to get hit…and don’t care. What makes these guys scary to face isn’t any training or technique but their mindset.

These are the things we teach in every Krav Maga class we offer. The techniques for the day vary but the aggressive, go in, go hard, go now and go until the threat is over mindset is hammered into our members every class. Now, when we can do the techniques proficiently AND have this attitude we are a hard target indeed.

If you are training techniques in any system but aren’t putting them under exhaustion and stress, aren’t always going past that technique until the attacker has been finished and aren’t putting more emphasis on the philosophy and goal of destroying the attacker and getting out of there than you are on learning techniques you are training self defense techniques only, not self defense. There is a big difference! BE SAFE!

Below is one of my favorite videos. Violence of action does indeed trump technique!!

THE OLYMPICS; TAEKWONDO, JUDO & SELF DEFENSE

There are a couple of martial arts in the Olympics that I am asked about often, Taekwondo and Judo. I feel that I am pretty well versed to write on the subject. For years Olympic style Taekwondo was my life. I was a fourth degree black belt in Taekwondo. I was a sparring national champion (lt. wt. 33 – 40 age bracket). I coached several Jr. and Sr. national champions, many Jr. and Sr. national medalists, a Collegiate national team member, a U.S. national team member and even a World medalist. Like I said, for years the sport was my life.

Are Taekwondo and Judo self defense? My answer is “No, kinda and used to be”. Both of these disciplines are sports. Sports have rules, timed rounds, fight one person at a time, no weapons allowed in the ring, etc, etc. so the training isn’t really getting it’s practitioners ready for real world violence. BUT, they are good at what they do, hit very hard and (more importantly) are used to getting hit. Any Olympic level Taekwondo player can whip most people’s butts and would fair very well in a bar room type fight. In a one on one “fair” fight people who have trained in these sports would absolutely out perform any untrained idiot who is just throwing haymakers.

As far as the “used to be”…there was a time when these disciplines were the cutting edge of fighting. Judo was designed for the battlefield where everyone was wearing a hundred pounds of armor. You didn’t want to hit the ground so throwing someone to the ground while remaining upright was very good strategy. IF the warrior who hit the ground wasn’t destroyed outright he was killed while struggling to get back up. As far as Taekwondo goes centuries ago the best and the brightest were trained like knights to be the protectors of the kingdom. They were educated and taught art, poetry, etc but were also taught the best fighting techniques that existed at the time. Those high flying kicks were used to knock attackers off of a horse. The horse stances were practice for fighting while on horseback. The big front stances were for fighting on a ship. They were very well rounded warriors.

Some of the problems with these martial arts as self defense is that nobody ever taught them how to fight dirty! They have rules they adhere by, are taught to be fair, honest, etc. As we say in Krav Maga “if you are in a fair fight your tactics suck”! Because these athletes are getting ready for competition their sport is about all they practice. The Taekwondo athlete is in trouble if taken to the ground and the judo player is in trouble in a stand up fight. Neither have good answers for a knife, handgun or stick. They also need some aggression training…to realize that violence of motion trumps technique!

This sport training can be a great segway to Krav, however. I was speaking with Arlene Limas (1988 Olympic Gold Medalist in Taekwondo and USKMA affiliate) about her students when I was training them in Krav Maga. I had told her how good they were and how fast they were learning and she made the statement that her team (Olympic style taekwondo athletes she trains) really takes to the aggression of Krav Maga. They are used to moving, hitting hard and being hit as well. They were athletic and used to learning new techniques quickly. I had never made the connection before but they were prime students for Krav Maga because of all of that. Show them how to be aggressive and end things as well as the techniques of Krav Maga and they were first rate.

Judo and Taekwondo are cool sports. Those at the higher levels are World class athletes. They are participating in a sport and most of the one’s I have met realize this. Now, for real world violence, weapon disarms, multi attackers, etc give them some Krav Maga and they’ll be one tough foe! BE SAFE!

YOU’RE BLOWING IT!!

Instructors, when someone comes to you for self defense they are literally putting their lives in your hands. If violence ever finds them I don’t know how you could live with yourself if you didn’t teach them the most battle tested, scientific and best techniques and tactics that you could find.

If you think that your system is the best out there and has all the answers and you don’t look at anything else…you’re blowing it. We at the USKMA go to many different seminars and trainings throughout the year. We are constantly on youtube, buying videos and buying books seeing what others are teaching. We have an awesome system but we are still looking to learn.

If you have made zero changes to your curriculum in the past six months…you’re blowing it. There is always better out there and we’ll change in a heartbeat when we find it. We have recently seen a long gun defense that we are working with. We have a great defense that we teach but if this one ends up being easier and more effective we’ll go to it.

If what you are teaching relies on strength, athletic ability or size…you’re blowing it. I see a lot of systems that look great when the two hundred pound, six foot two head honcho is performing but how does what he is doing translate to the small female in his class? If it can’t be used effectively by the smallest, weakest person in your class why teach it?

If the classes that you are teaching are slow paced, technical and not a workout…you’re blowing it. Our classes in Krav Maga are a big time workout. If you are in cardio shape you can fight harder longer. There is no arguing this.

If you are not running people into the ground in class, not making them uncomfortable and not having partners attack hard and realistically…you’re blowing it. I hate seeing handgun defenses, for example, practiced only with the partner standing there like a statue pointing a gun at the student. On the street the scum bags will be hitting us, kicking us, cussing us and waving the gun around. We had better be practicing it like we’ll see it.

If your system is technique based…you’re blowing it. Techniques won’t save your butt. A training philosophy of go forward, go hard and go “animal” is our only hope when real world violence finds us. Our classes are very fast paced, we go to the finish with every technique we practice and we make people “fighters”. We push people to exhaustion in our classes and tests. They will thank us if they are ever in a situation where they need it!

If your weapon disarms are technical and don’t include a strike…you’re blowing it. Under the stress of “I’m about to die” the only thing our students need to remember is block the thing (or redirect it if it’s a firearm) and beat on the idiot who is trying to hurt them.

If you don’t have cops and soldiers who are about to be deployed attending your classes…you’re blowing it. There is a reason we have literally dozens of law enforcement personnel and soldiers attending our gyms in Ohio. There is also a reason why years ago when i taught a traditional martial art I had none.

If you haven’t studied stress, the adrenaline dump, the freeze and what these things do to your body…you’re blowing it. These are game changers.

If you haven’t read ON COMBAT by Lt. Col. Grossman, STRONG ON DEFENSE by Samford Strong or FACING VIOLENCE and MEDITATIONS ON VIOLENCE by SGT Rory Miller…you’re blowing it. You are teaching people how to stay alive, don’t ya think you should study the subject? Not reading up on violence and survival is like teaching history without ever having read a history book.
BE SAFE!