I preach constantly that Krav Maga’s techniques are not magic and will not save anyone. The philosophy of go fist, go crazy, go hard and go mean is what will save us if real violence ever finds us. As I have asked several times in these blogs; Who do you think a cop would rather face on the street, 1) a very proficient martial artist or 2) a crazy who won’t quit and wants to claw their face off and see them bleed? Nearly one hundred percent will you they’d rather face the martial artist with the great techniques. Now, if we can train people to be awesome with Krav’s techniques AND be a crazy we have developed safe people!

I do not understand those who teach martial arts and self defense systems who concentrate on the techniques as if they are the end all. To not run classes where everything taught is put under stress and exhaustion, to not run drills that confuse and surprise and to not make students “uncomfortable” is teaching self defense techniques, not self defense. There is a big difference!

This was reiterated to me once again in the Krav Maga black belt training courses that I am teaching. I had ten level five students who have been training Krav Maga for years, who have been teaching Krav Maga for years and who know the techniques like the back of their hand. At the end of training some handgun techniques we ran what we call the “jostle drill”. One student is “it”, one has a handgun & a knife and the other eight take kick shields and push, whack and bump the student who is “it”. When the student with the handgun yells “gun” those with the kick shields get out of the way. The person with the handgun either sticks a handgun in the “it” person’s face or attempts to stab them with a knife. Each person has five tries being “it” and then the next person takes their turn. This really isn’t much exhaustion or stress. The person who is “it” knows to perform one of two techniques. They will either do the cupping technique for a handgun takeaway or do the overhead knife defense. Again, these are people who teach these techniques and are very, very proficient with them. Well, with just this little bit of confusion and stress the techniques go to heck! Out of the fifty reps (ten people doing five reps a piece) I saw three really good defenses and another twelve that were the technique done kinda like they were supposed to be done. That means that thirty five weren’t the technique at all. With just that little bit of stress and confusion the techniques degraded a bunch.

Now, the good news is that nobody did anything “wrong”. The handguns were taken offline and the attacker beaten (even if not with the exact right technique) and the knife attacks were blocked and the attacker was beaten (again, looked nothing like what we teach). This is why we teach the philosophy over the technique! They all stayed safe getting the weapon offline or blocked and then going forward, going hard and beating the crap out of the attacker. This was Krav Maga!

If those who teach techniques as the end all would apply drills like the one above I believe that they would have an epiphany. If techniques degrade in a drill where the student knew one of two attacks were coming, that they are in no real danger and that the weapons weren’t real how much more will the techniques degrade in a real attack when they didn’t know it was coming at all, didn’t know what attack or weapon would be used and realize that they are about to die? The technique will not be there. If, however, we trained to make our “flinch” reaction “go forward, go hard, go crazy and fight with rage” that will be there. The philosophy will survive when the techniques degrade. BE SAFE!



In my travels I often get to look in on various classes that are being taught across the nation. What I see in some martial art and even self defense classes leaves me shaking my head in disbelief. I’ll see brand new students practicing samuri sword defenses, three on one weapon attacks, knife on knife, jump spin kicks, etc Most of those newbies I see practicing such things in class can’t even punch correctly, move or block a punch. Why in the world the instructor wants to take up practice time on these things instead of what the students are most likely to need for real world violence is just baffling. I would think that if you had a report of all of the attacks thrown at someone in the past few weeks a punch to the head would out number a samuri sword attack by about a million to one!

When high ranks in other systems and arts come to our gym and take level one classes they are amazed at how basic the techniques are. They see very easy techniques that they have known for years but they still can’t get through a class at first. Easy basics mixed with aggression, stress and exhaustion is what our level 1 and 2 classes are all about.

In the USKMA we use what we call the “Target Principle” when it comes to teaching self defense. Think of a target. The bullseye represents the most common attacks, the basics that need mastered for those common attacks, movement, targeting and getting body weight into combatives. This is where we should spend most of our training time as this is what will be needed to survive in ninety nine percent of real world attacks.

After these are mastered we can start moving out to different rings on the target. In level three we hit knife, stick and handgun defenses. These are needed but they are not the “bullseye” techniques of punching, movement and body weight transfer. The less common an attack is the further out on the target it should be (the less important they are to practice).

The attakcs and defenses on the last ring of the target are the Hollywood Ninja BS defenses for attacks that we’ll never see. When we get to level 5 and Black Belt we do some really cool things. We do multi person, multi weapon attacks, high jump spin kicks, machine gun defenses, etc. Fun stuff to learn but not worth spending a ton of practice time on and absolutely only done when the basics are mastered.

If you are teaching (or a student for that matter) think about the target principle. Put most of your time in the bullseye, not the outer ring. The bullseye’s easy stuff will save your butt, the outer ring crap will get you hurt. BE SAFE!


Our new book, KRAV MAGA FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT (Co written by SGT Brannon Hicks and Mark Slane), is now available on Amazon. Below is the description followed by an exert. BE SAFE!

Learn the defensive tactics system developed for and by the Israeli Defense Forces as taught by the United States Krav Maga Association’s lead instructor and third degree Krav Maga black belt Mark Slane and SWAT team trainer and LE defensive tactics instructor, SGT Brannon Hicks. Everything for law enforcement officers is covered from basic search and cuffing to deadly weapon defenses. Krav Maga is easy to learn, easy to remember, and above all, effective.

“The main thing to remember as instructors is that to teach only techniques is a SIN! To save a life (your own or someone else’s) the technique is maybe 40% of what the officer needs. How many dash cam videos have you seen where the officer in the fight is doing anything that even remotely resembles his/her training? I would guess not very often. It is almost as if we survive in spite of our training, not because of it. Much more important than the techniques that are taught is the attitude and philosophy that is being taught. The attitude must be “I am going home today no matter what.” We must teach aggression, a fighting “never say die” spirit and we must put all training into realistic scenarios. The drills in this book must be done to get proper training. We cannot just teach techniques as an end all but must practice the techniques under stress, while exhausted and under realistic circumstances. If we train a handgun disarm, for example, always with the partner standing like a statue with the handgun pointed at us it is an entirely different feeling on the street when the attacker is punching us with the gun, slapping us, cussing and screaming. If we had never had an attacker come at us like this we haven’t trained for it, we won’t have a plan and it will not come out of us. If we train properly we will have the “been there, done that” feeling that we need to stay safe. Another example is with our knife defenses. If we’ve only practiced these static in a gym it will be a completely different feeling when the attacker is slashing and moving and when there is blood involved. If there is a knife involved there will be blood spilled…and blood is one slippery substance. Have most of us ever trained for this? Train knife defenses with KY jelly slathered all over your arms. Now when there is blood in the real world you are ready for it….things work differently when we attempt our defenses on slippery appendages.

We in Krav Maga are constantly watching dash cam and surveillance videos as we want to see what real attacks look like so that we can mimic them in training. We absolutely want to be training for what we will actually face on the streets instead of training techniques in a gym that look cool. We recently had a prison guard tell us that extracting a prisoner from a cell is always an adventure. The prisoner is usually naked, soaped up and tries to be as hard to grab and hold on to as possible. We asked him how they trained extractions and he told us they train with the guy playing the prisoner in a red man suit which…was easy to grab hold of. It was an epiphany for him when I said “Spray cooking spray or something slippery on that damned suit!” Nobody had ever thought to make the training like the real thing before that.

Finally, when you train your officers, don’t let them assume that the only time that they will be attacked is when they are on duty. Training that always relies on the officer going to their belt for their weapon, Mace, Taser, etc. will get them hurt if they happen to be attacked on an off day when they are at the grocery store with their family. Train smart, train often, train hard and be safe!”


The one thing that really good and effective self defense training, aerial combat training, SWAT training, infantry training, etc. has in common is that it teaches the student to fly through OODA while keeping the enemy in the OODA loop. So, what is OODA? OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. When we do anything this process is what our brain must go through. We observe that something is happening, orient towards it (figure out what it is), make a decision as to what we need to do and then act.

The “OODA Loop” principle was developed by Lt. Col. John Boyd for aerial combat in the Korean and Viet Nam war era. John R. Boyd figured this science out as a young U.S. Air Force fighter pilot. John was cocky even by fighter-pilot standards…he issued a standing challenge to anyone who dared to try to defeat him in mock aerial combat. To make it even more of a challenge for him once in the air he would start from a position of disadvantage. He bet that he’d have his jet on the challengers tail within 40 seconds, or he’d pay them $40. Legend has it that he never lost. His amazing ability to win any dogfight in 40 seconds or less earned him his nickname “40 Second” Boyd.

What Lt. Col. Boyd discovered was that if he could keep the opponent in the loop, and he got through OODA, that he had a great advantage. For example, if the enemy was observing Boyd roll right, was orienting to this move but before he could decide or act Body rolled left it made that enemy have to start the OODA loop all over again.

As Boyd taught the principal and taught airmen to get through the loop (and keep others in it) he discovered that after five go rounds at actual air combat that pilot became virtually unbeatable. After five they would not get caught in the loop but would rapidly get through it and act first. He put science behind what pilots had somehow knew in WWI and WWII as they called a pilot who shot down five enemies an Ace.

My good friend (and good cop) Brannon Hicks, while reading the FBI’s LEOKA report (Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted), discovered a bone chilling fact for Law Enforcement Officers. This report is based on interviews with all those who have been arrested for assaulting police officers. Remember how the pilots were virtually unbeatable after five times facing combat? According to this report the average person who attacks a law enforcement officer in a deadly force engagement has had an average of five uses of deadly force in their past.

In self defense we want to get through the loop and keep the attacker in the loop. This is why, for example, in Krav Maga our weapon disarms always have a punch, knee or kick in them. If we just use leverage and attempt to take away the weapon the attacker can observe, orient, decide and act to pull the weapon back, to fight for it, etc. If, while the attacker is observing and orienting to our defense we kick them in the groin their brain will automatically go back to observing and orienting. When they get to the orienting about the kick we then elbow thier throat and start the loop all over again for them. Keeping the attacker in the loop while we know what we are doing is a big step towards winning the battle. BE SAFE!