The last thing we do at the end of a level 3 test is to have the group gear up and spar…one student vs. 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 very bad situation. The first thing I do is yell “go” and then immediately yell “stop”. I bawl the student out and tell them that I didn’t give them any rules. The first thing they should have done was ran for an exit. The second choice, if there is no exit, is to run for a weapon. This isn’t hero time, we aren’t in a Hollywood movie, it is time to run for our lives! As far as a weapon goes there are things lying around everywhere that we can use. I tell them that I would rather smack someone with my laptop that’s usually near me before I would go at them empty handed. Again, think 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 ever very smart, 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. Stomp a knee, punch the throat, kick 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.

If weapons are involved you had better think of running first. Get out of there as the odds don’t get stacked up against you too much more than this. If there is no escape we want to attack, not wait. They are converging on you where you are and expect you to stay there or back up. Do what they don’t expect, go berserk and go after them. Go hard at the closest and attempt to take him out and take his/her weapon to use against the other. If one has a stick type weapon and the other a blade and are at equal distance, go for the stick. Reach and impact against that blade is a good thing. As you are taking the weapon from the first you must spin that attacker in between you and the other. Be vicious, like a cornered animal! As you are attacking always be looking at escaping. Do damage and get out of there.

In summary look to escape, find a weapon, keep moving so they don’t split you and take the closest one out. The odds are still very much against us in this situation but these are the best answers we have. BE SAFE!


When I was a kid if you knew Karate everyone was afraid of you. If you were a black belt (and there were very few around) you were a total bad ass! The martial arts were for adult males who had made themselves into weapons. The rumor was that they had to “register their hands with the FBI”! Then, came the Karate Kid, the Ninja Turtles, the Power Rangers, etc. Entrepreneurial martial arts school owners found out how to make big bucks off of the kids market. In so doing they totally ruined martial arts! There’s a school on every corner of most cities and each has dozens of 6 to 9 year old black belts. Martial arts went from being about kicking ass to manners, being courteous, doing your homework and listening to mom and dad. Now, these are great things to teach kids but not what the martial arts used to be about. As a teenager I wanted to do martial arts. I would have given anything to have been able to afford (and find) a gym close to where I lived. Now, teenagers tell me that they would be looked at as nerds if they were in “Karate”. How did this happen?! Well, if I have anything to do with it this won’t happen to Krav Maga!

A straight Krav program would be a hard sell for most parents, especially the moms. The Israelis aren’t worried about manners or clean bedrooms but about staying alive. When I first attended a Krav Maga gym for training there were a few kids around. I remember hearing my Israeli instructor tell a kid “Hey, I heard you were in a fight at school”. Being from a martial arts background I assumed the kid was about to hear that they better not have started it, how to handle the situation without violence, etc. Nope, the instructor asked him “Did you kick his ass?” We are teaching things a young child needn’t see or hear until they get older.

My main concern is we don’t BS people in Krav and tell them techniques will keep them safe if they won’t. Kids just don’t have the size or strength for most combatives, plucks, etc. to be effective. Think about it, have you ever seen a 9 year old who’s punch or round house kick to the body would hurt you enough for you to let go? To show them choke defense, headlock defense, carotid choke defense, buck and roll, etc. when they weigh 50 pounds and tell them that it would work would be blowing smoke up their you know whats! That’s something we won’t do!! The same would go for most of our knife, stick and handgun defenses. A four footer that weighs 70 pounds couldn’t use these defenses effectively. A lot of systems would have kids practice these and tell them that they would work. I don’t know how they could live with themselves when one of those kids get hurt in real life. We pride ourselves in the fact that Krav Maga is one system that tells it like it is. As you’ve heard me say in the past always put common sense and self experience before the majority opinion or a self appointed expert when it comes to your personal safety….or that of your kids.

For kids the stranger danger courses are great. In my martial arts days I had parents get upset with me when I taught their kids that there are bad people out there who may try to harm them. What are they doing in the martial arts if not to learn some self defense? Ignoring things won’t make them go away. If one of my students would have ever had someone attempt to abduct them I would think the parents would had been mighty glad that we practiced for just that scenario. Teach kids to not put themselves in a bad situation of course, but teach them that bad things can still happen. Head butts to the soft part of the attacker’s face, kicks to the groin and punches to the groin would be effective in having the bad guy’s grip release for at least an instance, even at their size. These must be taught as a way of escaping, not having them believe that these strikes would devastate the bad guy. I teach my son to just flail and be a hard target, kicking and punching to the groin, head butting the face, biting, scratching, screaming, etc. until the bad guy’s grip lets loose….then run like crazy! The movies where the little karate kids are beating up adults and knocking them over with kicks make me wanna puke!! Use common sense, think for yourself and BE SAFE!


As I mentioned in a blog a month or so ago the first time my wife saw me run a Krav Maga test she was furious at me. She told me that I was an ass, a jerk, mean and didn’t care about people. I had to explain to her that I wasn’t trying to get people to the next belt, wasn’t trying to make people feel good about their accomplishments. My job is to make people tough. Tough enough to survive what, if ever attacked, would be the worst few minutes of their lives. An attack that, if they lost, could find their families dead. She understands now that my only job is to make people safe by giving them a warriors attitude!

The special forces in the military have a saying. “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.” After a student has gotten through one of our tests we honestly believe that they will “go forward, go now and go hard” if ever attacked. They have proven to themselves that they are tough, that they can keep going and that they will not quit!

My very first level 1 test in Krav Maga was an eye opener. I had taken many, many belt tests in martial arts as I was a 4th degree black belt in taekwondo. I can tell you that the basic level 1 krav test was the hardest test I had ever seen! Krav takes testing serious!! In Krav Maga the testing is very intense for good reason. We go all out in the testing and expect maximum effort. Most students who test will say that it was one of the hardest things that they have ever done as well as one of the great accomplishments of their lives. Our feeling is that if self defense doesn’t work when we are at our worst and worn out, it isn’t worth knowing. We also truly believe that after someone has pushed themselves beyond what they thought that they could in a test a real life self defense situation will be much easier with a “been there, done that” feeling.

In level 1 we put the students through an hour and a half workshop, then an hour and a half test. We use the workshop to 1) show exactly how we want techniques done in the test, 2) wear out those who are going to test a bit and 3) to make sure those who wish to test are ready. If someone is getting tired in the workshop or doesn’t have techniques down this is where we tell them not to test. We let them know this is nothing they want to do over and that they will fail today so they should wait for the next. Right after the workshop we start the test. The test is like an hour and a half non stop exhaustion drill. We go down the list of all level 1 techniques, one after the other. Shadow fighting is first and we have them do this for a long, long time. It’s kinda the first clue that they are in for hell! We have them do burpees when they aren’t going hard enough, are too slow handing pads over or getting pads, etc. After two or three of these burpee stoppages they are truly exhausted….and the test isn’t even half over.

When the test is finally over we tell them that the level 1 test they just finished was the easiest test they will ever take….level 2 is 2 hours workshop and 2 ½ hours of testing right up to our 6 hour level 5 test!! Scoring is totally based on if it would really have kept that student safe. No flash, no BS, no feeling sorry for a hard worker so pass them for effort.

I honestly believe if whatever you are studying doesn’t put it’s techniques under this kind of stress and exhaustion it isn’t self defense. In a real world attack you will be faced with mega stress, exhaustion and adrenaline. If your aren’t training for that, the techniques don’t matter. BE SAFE!!


“Danger, if met head on and without hesitation, can be nearly halved.” W. Churchill

I have blogged on mind setting several times. Having a plan for any situation will get us moving. Under stress our head goes to “mid brain” and we won’t be able to come up with a plan. If we planned ahead of time the plan will surface and we will act. Having “go buttons” is a form of mind setting.

Go buttons are thinking beforehand about what you will not tolerate. If, for example, I see a woman being slapped by a man out in public and never thought about what I would do in that situation I will hesitate, go off half-heartedly or even put myself in unnecessary danger. If I had thought about it before hand I will act with the plan that is already in my head.

Go buttons aren’t a “Samurai Code” of ethics or a “Hero Philosophy”. They are just things that you have stated to yourself that you will not let happen in your presence. This hero stuff or “Savior of the World” code is something we leave for the martial arts, we don’t teach these things. The scum bags don’t have codes or “Never strike first” philosophies so to teach these to our students automatically puts them behind the eight ball. If the scum bags are going to use violence as a weapon we must perfect violence and wield it better than they do.

It’s a good idea to write down your “go buttons”. To think about them and to have a plan. Here are some of mine;

-I will not allow a woman to be hit in my presence. Yes, I understand the dynamics of spousal abuse. I may get jumped by him and her both but this is something I will not walk by and ignore.

-I will not allow a child to be hit in my presence. I believe in a good spanking when deserved but I will intervene if an adult is slapping down a child or otherwise hitting a child inappropriately.

-If a child says that someone grabbing them is not their parent I will intervene. Most of us would I would hope.

-If two dudes are squaring off and fighting…oh well, have fun. If one is unconscious and the other is still beating them I will intervene up to a point. IF they are both gang bangers and the rest of the group is standing around this would be suicide. I think of these things in advance however.

-If a store, bank, business is being robbed…oh well, they are insured. I am not the savior of the universe!

-IF someone threatens my friends or family I will come out swinging. There will be no words or puffing up…there will be fists.

-If someone keeps approaching me and I have told them to stop I will hit them when they are close enough. They have ignored warnings and I will not wait to see if they really mean business.

-If I see a police officer in a fight and he/she isn’t obviously winning I will jump in and help him or her.

-If any stranger is in my house there will be no questions, there will be great bodily harm.

-I will never be bound. I will fight three dudes with guns now even with those very thin odds than be at their mercy later.

-I will never be moved to another spot or allow anyone else to be moved. The secondary crime scene is where the scum bag has solitude and time.

-I will not stop my car because someone is blocking it with another vehicle or even their body. I am in a 3,400 pound weapon and I will use it.

So what are your go buttons? Think about them before hand and have a plan. BE SAFE!!