“And so as you hear these words telling you now of my state.
I tell you to enjoy life. I wish I could but it’s too late.” -Ozzy in “Paranoid”

“It is not paranoid to think that there are people out there who may try to kill you if there are indeed people out there who may try to kill you.” SGT Samford Strong

I am told quite often by friends and family that I am paranoid. I don’t argue much because I am! For many years I was a paramedic/firefighter and saw the results of accidents and violent crimes first hand. When I started teaching Krav Maga I decided that if I was going to help people become safe I needed to study exactly what I was making them safe from. I studied real world violence, criminals, horrific crimes, home invasions, psychology, etc. to the point that…I am pretty friggin paranoid!

There are sociopaths out there who don’t look at you as human, they look at you as entertainment. There are scumbags out there who can torture and slaughter your whole family and then go laugh about it. As Stanton Samenow says in his book Inside the Criminal Mind “No matter how a sociopath was made, once made there is no rehabilitation.”

From a blog I wrote a couple of years ago about criminals: “Scumbags are good at what they do. Most have a system down that they follow time and time again, because it works for them. If you are attacked there is an 80% chance that it will be by a recidivist. A recidivist is someone who has been in prison for a violent crime in the past that has been let out (hooray for our awesome judicial system). He has a long list of victims. He will not change for you. You are not human to him. You are a resource. He sees you as the means to an end….you are money, the car, the rape, etc. Begging, pleading, trying to reason, etc. will not work because, again, you aren’t human you are just next. The recidivist considers themselves more important than their victim and their wants more important than following societies rules.

The recidivists do not look at consequences. Jail doesn’t scare them. They live for today because they really don’t expect to live a very long life. Prison is a stop to get medical care, food and shelter. They will continue their victimizing in jail, it’s just a change of scenery to them with a new victim pool. This criminal’s sense of right and wrong is grossly distorted. There is no remorse, no regret and no hesitation to use violence as an end to a means.

Predators are patient to get what they want. They will wait and attack from the greatest advantage they can find. They weren’t loved or nurtured, were abused, had a rough life. This makes the bleeding hearts want to “educate and rehabilitate them”. These people can’t be helped and don’t want help. They hate life and hate you. “

I’m the type who craves knowledge. I refuse to believe things just because that’s what I was told to believe or because it’s easier to believe. I’d rather be paranoid than have my head in the sand! Most victims of horrible, violent crime never thought that it would happen to them. My wife, back in our dating days, had a job that had her working odd hours and took her to many different cities. One night on the phone (around midnight) she told me that she was going jogging. I assumed she meant on the treadmill at the hotel. The next day I asked her how her jog went. She told me that she ran by a seedy looking bar that didn’t look safe so she turned back. My jaw hit the floor…and I griped at her a good bit! She is a 4.0 college graduate and pretty darned smart. To do something like that was stupid. She was the type that just thought bad things happened to other people. Now that she has a kid and has lived with me for several years she is a bit more “paranoid”!

Paranoid keeps me looking around. Paranoid keeps bad habits from forming. Paranoid keeps me vigilant. Paranoid is a good thing! BE SAFE!



This blog from a year or so ago gets more searches and reads than any other past blog. Here are my all time fave self defense quotes (with a few new ones added);

“Voilence of motion trumps technique” Unknown

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill

“If you want to control variables, hit first. If you don’t or aren’t able to hit first, you better know how to fight”
R. Hoover

“Krav Maga is self defense for dummies and lazy people. Lucky for us that’s 99% of America!” M. Slane

“surviving violent encounters is a matter of mastering fundamentals, being meaner than a junkyard dog and getting lucky.” SGT Brannon Hicks!!

“Krav Maga is my support system for when my sucker punch didn’t work.” R. Hoover

“Self defense is recovery from stupidity or bad luck.” SGT Miller

“Self defense is a short list of techniques that may get you out alive when you’re already screwed” SGT Miller

“Instructors, when someone is coming to you to learn self defense they are literally putting thier lives in your hands!” M. Slane

“When self defense becomes complicated, it is no longer self defense.” R. Hoover

“No intelligent man has ever lost a fight to someone who said ‘I’m gonna kick your ass’.” SGT Rory Miller

“Your instructor, system, art and cool techniques won’t save you. Going forward, going hard, going now and going off with all the hatred and rage you can muster will.” M. Slane

“When any person, idea, technique, school, piece of gear, team or tactic is put on a pedestal, we risk stopping progress.” Rob Pincus

“Don’t hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft.” Teddy Roosevelt

“It is much easier and safer to scare someone into submission than to beat them into submission.” SGT RORY MILLER in Facing Violence.

“Danger, if met head on, can be nearly halved” W. Churchill

“If I learn 1,000 techniques with my luck I’ll go out on the street and be attacked by number 1,001.” J. Whitman

“Every asshole has an asshole buddy nearby.” M. Slane

“They’ll eventually let ya out of prison, you’re in the casket for good.” M. Slane

”after initial contact all plans go to hell” Patton

“The wicked flee when no man pursues but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1

“No matter how enmeshed a commander becomes in his plans, it is occasionally necessary to consider the enemy” Churchill

“We don’t call it knife defenses, we call it Knife survival.” SGT MJR Nir Maman

“Everybody’s got a plan until they get smacked in the face” M. Tyson

“If ya ain’t cheating, ya ain’t trying” Various sources

“Home intruders are terrorists without a political agenda.” SGT Sanford Strong

“Listening to the average martial artists talk about real world violence is like listening to ten year olds talk about sex.” SGT. Rory Miller

“If you’re in a fair fight your tactics suck!” Various

“Krav Maga, so that one may walk in peace.” Imi Lichtenfeld

“Self defense is flipping a switch to go from overwhelmed, terrified and uncomprehending to going forward with rage and hatred to do the maximum amount of damage in the minimum amount of time and getting the heck out of there.” M. Slane

“Ask any police officer whom they would rather face…1) a very proficient martial artist or 2) a crazy who wants to claw their face and chew on their eyes. They take the martial artist every time”. SGT Miller

“If the scumbags are going to use violence as a weapon we must perfect violence and weald it better than they do”. M. Slane

“Nobody on their death beds have ever said ‘I wish I would have watched more TV’.” M. Slane

“I don’t have takedown defense? My fist is my takedown D!” S. Slane



I laughed hard when I overheard one of my students telling a friend who had asked what Krav Maga is “Well, basically we kick people in the jimmies”! If I had one sentence to describe Krav Maga I would probably say “it’s an Israeli self defense system designed for real world violence that is easy to learn, easy to remember and effective.” If I got a blank look after this “We kick people in the jimmies” would probably be my next sentence! In Krav Maga we do target the groin often. I can’t think of many arts or defense systems that have as many techniques that target the groin as Krav Maga. Most arts are sport based and groin kicks are absolutely against the rules. Take Muay Thai for example. Groin kicks are forbidden in Muay Thai. They take such a wide stance in Muay Thai fighting because it enables the fighters to swing their shins out to block round house kicks. That wide stance would get them kicked in the groin if such kicks were legal.

All sports make groin kicks illegal and it is apparent why. Have you ever seen an MMA match where someone takes a groin shot? The fighter usually drops right to the ground and they have to stop the fight! During the replay the whole audience groans! They give the fighter who was kicked five minutes for the pain to wear off before they restart the fight. This sounds like a great target in a self defense situation to me!

Groin kicks are an awesome target in self defense situations! No matter how big the muscle head is he can’t build up his groin. This is just a fact of life! I get asked a lot if groin kicks are just as effective if the attacker is female. This question only comes from males as females know what getting smacked in the pubic bone can do. There can be some major soft tissue damage but the main damage to a female with a groin kick is the pubic bone, which is actually cartilage. The pelvic bones actually meet in a joint, attached by this cartilage. A solid groin kick can damage or even separate that joint, making walking extremely painful, if not impossible.

I was once told by a high school kid that if he kicked to the groin in a fight at school he would be branded a dirty fighter. I was taken aback. I told him that Krav Maga wasn’t invented for school yard fights but for the Israeli defense forces to save lives in real world violent attacks. If my safety is on the line I’ll be as dirty as I can possibly be…I’m punting! Be safe.


If it’s complicated… ain’t self defense. Real violence is more sudden, more terrifying, closer and faster than any of us can train for. If whatever you do to fight back isn’t instinctual, if it isn’t something that comes right out of you, it will not keep you safe.

If it teaches you to fear no man & to charge into a knife, stick or other weapon……it ain’t self defense. Any good self defense system will tell you to RUN! We aren’t injury proof and we’d rather not have to defend ourselves. We’d rather not be there, run, talk our way out, pick up an object to whack the scumbag with and, only as a last resort, use actual self defense techniques. Self protection is using awareness and avoiding. Self defense means you weren’t paying attention and are already in a bad situation that you now have to fight your way out of.

If it involves fine motor skills….it ain’t self defense. With stress and the adrenaline dump blood pools to our core. This makes our limbs weak, heavy and numb. There is no way we are doing finger manipulations in the face of real violence.

If it is regimented… ain’t self defense. There are arts where a choke defense, for example, has steps A through F that are followed and practiced every time. When, in the real world, the attacker doesn’t do what we expect and the technique derails at step C we will be lost.

If it is totally ground based….it ain’t self defense. Being on the ground takes two things for granted. That there isn’t a weapon involved and that there is only one attacker. Theses are two things that we should never be thinking won’t happen.

If it is practiced with space….it ain’t self defense. All knife defenses, for example, work when the attacker announces himself from six feet away. Whatever you are learning has to work late, after you’ve been surprised and have already taken damage. Another angle on this is if I am taking big circular steps in my technique, stepping several feet to perform a throw, etc. I am taking for granted that I will never be attacked in a crowded area, never in an aisle of a bus, etc.

If it isn’t a workout, isn’t developing cardio…it ain’t self defense. We have black belts in other arts come to our gym quite often. They almost never can make it through a class and almost never come back. How can you teach people to be safe who can’t fight hard for more than a few seconds? We’d love our fights to be over in a few seconds but we can’t take that for granted. If the fight does drag out fatigue will get us hurt. We must be able to keep going until the danger is over.

If it relies on katas to develop skills for fighting off multi attackers…it ain’t self defense. We learn to fight multi attackers in Krav by having multi attackers pad up and smack us around! Sounds logical to us!

If it takes years to become proficient… ain’t self defense. If you knew that you would be attacked five years from now it wouldn’t matter what you studied. You’d be pretty good by then. Do you know when you’ll be attacked? It could a month from now, couldn’t it?

If it is sparring….in ain’t self defense. Despite what Hollywood leads us to believe real world violence is never like sparring. Sparring has rules, flow, set ups. Violence is a knife slashing at you non stop, three people standing over you stomping your head into the curb, someone grabbing you by the hair and throwing haymakers at your face. It is not feinting, changing levels, going in, backing out and throwing combinations. Sparring teaches some good skills, it just can’t be relied on to get us ready for real violence.

If you are studying something strictly for self defense make sure that it was developed strictly for self defense! BE SAFE!


For only the second time in nearly three years of blogging i am using a guest blogger. Here is a blog by one of my best friends in the world, Krav gym owner, law enforcement defensive tactics trainer and all around great cop, SGT Brannon Hicks;

As I walked out of the 24 hour Walmart and into the dark parking lot, I saw a large man (I’ll call him Jon) walking hastily and looking about nervously. The only other person I saw was a smallish woman (I’ll call her Sally) in her mid 40′s looking at her cellphone and presumably texting as she walked toward the store; oblivious to her surroundings. I turned my attention back to Jon, as his apparent nervousness kicked in the instincts I had developed over the years in Police work. He approached Sally and asked if she had the time. I noted that he was wearing a watch. She stopped, startled, and looked up. I started toward them and called out, “It’s about 2:30 buddy,” as I looked Jon in the eye and stopped walking. He looked back at me for a moment, then back at Sally before walking off without saying another word. Now, was he going to rob, rape or abduct her? I can’t say for sure, but my experience has taught me that strangers who nervously approach others in dark parking lots don’t always have good intentions. Sally had likely never been attacked in a dark parking lot; otherwise I’d wager she would have been much more attentive to her surroundings.

I teach a course entitled “The Tactical Crystal Ball” to law enforcement, and a similar course entitled “Misfortune Telling” for civilians. The overall course focuses on the processes that humans go through in detecting threats and the actions we can take to evade or deter the threats. In that course, I try (hopefully I succeed) in illustrating the point that we rarely rise to our best; rather we fall to our most effective training. Not our highest level but our most effective.

The human mind, under stress, will generally rely upon our primary or most recent training or experience during stressful events. In other words, we search our memory banks for the primary response (what we usually do), or we react as we did with our most recent response. Now if Sally had been attacked by Jon in that parking lot, which would she have gone to; primary or recent response? Herein lies the problem. The freeze reaction is often a result of never having experienced such an encounter before (no recent response) and/or never trained for such a response (no ingrained or primary response). Many people have described the phenomenon of their lives “flashing before their eyes.” Sgt. Rory Miller writes at length about this phenomenon in his book “Meditations on Violence.”

Miller believes that the phenomenon is literally the mind searching through its vast data bank of experiences for the most appropriate response to the situation. This my friends, is the real benefit of effective training. Effective training allows us to access the skills we develop almost instantaneously. Hicks’ law of stress management states that the more choices we have to make under stress, the longer we will take to make them. In Krav Maga, we follow the KISS rule. Keep It Simple Stupid. All of our reactions should be trained from a position of disadvantage and most importantly; under stress and exhaustion. Our concepts are simple and direct, because complexity often breeds confusion, and therefore inaction under stress.

In the Law Enforcement community, we often review videos of officers engaging in deadly force encounters for training purposes. Far from “armchair quarterbacking,” we are relying upon the experience of others to build up our own responses; to sharpen the sword so to speak. Just as often, we see Police Officers killed or severely injured when a good tactical response is delayed by the fact that the officers had never encountered such violence before or been effectively trained to respond to it. As individuals, no one is more responsible for our safety than we are. In my estimation, Sally had never prepared herself for a violent encounter. I wager no one had ever attacked her beforehand. If Jon had wanted to victimize her, it likely wouldn’t have been difficult for him, precisely because Sally’s experience thus far in life left her in a position of disadvantage. Don’t leave yourself in the same position.