HOW DOES IT TRANSLATE?

I am sent videos of other defense systems quite often by friends across the nation. They always want to know what I think of the system and of the system’s head honcho. More often than not the video is awesome. It shows an expert smashing people, flipping and throwing big guys around and whooping three knife wielding attackers at the same time as he is disarming another attacker of an M-16 or the like. Sometimes I get the feeling that the person who sent me the video is trying to tell me how much cooler they think that system is than Krav Maga. Cool ain’t all there is to it!

I’m nearly always blown away by the talented instructor. The problem is that the talented instructor is usually a physical marvel. He is six foot two, weighs a chiseled two twenty-five and is super athletic. Yes, his system looks awesome when he does it but…how does that translate to the five foot, one hundred pound female in his class? Too often the techniques I see being used are based on size and strength. The throwing, putting people down with one blow, beating up three dudes at once, etc. work for him because he’s a physical marvel. To expect the 99 pound weakling in class to do the same is expecting a miracle.

In Krav Maga any technique we teach has to pass the litmus test of being able to be done effectively by the smallest, weakest and most uncoordinated person in our gym. How can I teach a group of women techniques that work only if the attacker is smaller than them? That would be setting them up for failure and failure in self defense means they get hurt. In our classes we have people of all ages, sizes and both sexes. To teach techniques that only half of the class could defend themselves with is stroking the instructor’s ego and not keeping people safe.

As a matter of fact, if you know the history or Krav Maga you know that it was developed for the Israeli Defense Forces way back in the late 40’s and 50’s (although it wasn’t named “Krav Maga” until Imi Lichtenfeld named it that in 1971). At that time everyone in the country had to spend time in the IDF. Everyone ages 18-55, both sexes, couch potatoes as well as athletes. Techniques to save lives couldn’t be anything that relied on strength, size or athletic ability, because the majority of people they were teaching had none!!

Below is one of my favorite techniques for a smaller, weaker person to defend themselves with. Watch the small female knock the bouncer out…and it ain’t nothing fancy!

When people come to your gym to learn self defense they are literally putting their lives in your hands. To teach something flashy that you look awesome doing but won’t keep them safe is unforgiveable. BE SAFE.

TUELLER DRILL REVISITED

We do this very drill with law enforcement officers in our LE training. We have one officer with a training knife five feet away draw that knife and sprint towards the other officer to see if he can get his handgun out of the holster and trained on the attacker before being stabbed. We then repeat at ten feet, then fifteen. When we finally move the attacker back far enough that the officer can get his sidearm out and trained on the attacker we remind them that one shot isn’t going to knock the attacker off his feet. We have videos we show where an attacker takes ten or more shots mid chest and keeps stabbing and slashing. Most officers know that they need to be twenty-one feet away to draw and fire on an attacker with a knife before that attacker can get to them. This number has actually been moved to thirty feet, twenty-one feet was where the officer was winning half the time. They finally realized they needed a number where the officer was winning most of the time!

Now the problem is, if this is shown to officers (or anyone else) we must make sure that the right lessons are being taught. The knife guys usually smile and say “See, knives are where it’s at”. Well, the lesson is that the guy with the knife can stab you if they are within thirty feet before you can put them down. The lesson isn’t that the knife guy wins. If you stab someone but still take several shots mid chest, that is not a win. At best it’s a tie. Was your goal to have “I got him too” on your tombstone?

For the officer the lesson isn’t “I will shoot him but if he’s within thirty feet I’ll get stabbed”. Unfortunately I’ve seen this taught and that was pretty much what the officer was left with. What exactly are they supposed to learn from that? The lesson I would want to get into the officer’s head is that “yes, if a guy with a knife is within thirty feet and he charges at you and you do nothing but stand still and put both hands on your handgun to fire, you will get stabbed…so don’t do that!”

How about some tactics! Learn that when you draw on a person that has a knife to start moving, circling, creating distance, etc.! The time to practice this isn’t when It happens but in training. To always fire on a line at a target and never move isn’t training for what you will see in the real world, it is training to shoot a target that doesn’t move. The other horrible training flaw I see is that officers (and civilians) practice putting thousands of rounds down range with their good two hand grip. Under the stress of an attack the officer will do what he/she trained and fire with that two hand grip. Under extreme stress we all go to “mid-brain” and can’t think, we just react. We react with the training, good or bad, that we’ve had. I have seen videos where an officer keeps firing away at an attacker that has a knife as he takes stab after stab. If that officer would have just let go of the weapon with his off hand and blocked that knife as he fired, the outcome would have been much better. Again, we need to train firing one handed while blocking a knife, stick or punch with the other. Train for what we’ll see, not to hit bullseyes on paper more often than anyone else. This is why when we teach gun disarms that we have the person defending keep the handgun they took from the attacker in their off hand rather than put it under their arm pit or throw it down as they draw their own. If they keep the attacker’s gun in their off hand they won’t go to their two hand grip and are much more likely to block with that off hand if the attacker then pulls a knife.

As I’ve said many times, if someone is within three feet of me I’d rather them have a handgun than a knife. However, I’d still rather have a handgun than a knife for myself no matter what the distance! Don’t show cool videos and do cool training drills without figuring out answers. A drill to teach “wow, this is scary” won’t do us any good when it gets scary! There are no unwinnable scenarios when it comes to training to save you and your families lives! If you are in a fair fight your tactics suck! BE SAFE!

BJJ STILL AIN’T ENOUGH…

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

Of all of the blogs that I have ever written the one that has gotten the most comments is definitely BJJ AIN’T ENOUGH FOR THE STREETS. I am still getting comments a year after I ran that blog. If you haven’t read it here is the link;
https://unitedstateskravmaga.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/bjj-aint-enough-for-the-street/

I will start this blog off by reiterating that I have the utmost respect for those in BJJ. I have studied it off and on for years, have friends who are black belts in B JJ and know what it takes to get such a high rank. BJJ athletes are some of the most in shape guys I know. The art is amazing, it takes brains and athletic ability. It is like chess on the mat. My young son is about ready to start taking lessons in an art and I am pushing him towards BJJ. It’s great for what it is…but it’s not all that great for self defense.

Here is the latest comment I got on the blog;
“ As someone who is new to BJJ, almost a year and a half into training (4 strip white belt) twice a week I will say that you make some very good points, particularly in regards to the nut grabs, eye gouges or biting that might occur in a real life and death style fight. I do however have one problem with Krav Maga and that’s that most of the type of training involves non-fully resisting opponents. BJJ is one of the few martial arts (other than judo, wrestling, and sambo) where you can practice it without pads against a fully resisting opponent. That alone is HUGE when practicing anything. We may drill all day long until we’re 100% confident that we can perform a maneuver only to realize after the first try against a fully resisting opponent that we don’t really know how to use it without panicking at the first sign of resistance. Then comes more training until it’s just instinct. But that only comes with fully resisting opponents day in and day out. Most of Krav Maga’s specialized techniques that I’ve seen can’t be practiced safely without seriously injuring someone, nor do we really know exactly how our opponent may use his said weapon or what and how his buddy might want to attack us. In short I think you’re giving yourself a false sense of confidence that really could get you killed in a situation that talking and swallowing a little pride might get you out of. I say practice KM all you want and maybe just maybe it will save your life but if you’re relying on that knife or gun disarm to work, you may find out the hard way (when you’re dead) that you didn’t really know what to expect because you we’re able to practice it against numerous opponents and experience all the different types of resistance. BJJ may have it’s limitations but at least after rolling over and over again, you know what you are and aren’t capable of 99% of the time. Regardless, you do make good points and I’m not trying to completely disregard KM. I’d just much rather be very good at one limited aspect of fighting than falsely confident that I could handle all of the others.”

First off, I love getting comments on my blogs, even when I don’t agree with them. I like that people have taken the time to think about why they believe what they do. I like having to think about, and verbalize, why I believe what I do.
The above comment is fairly typical of what I get from the BJJ crowd. The first thing that sticks out to me is that we are usually talking apples and oranges. They want to talk about competitions, the UFC, school yard brawls and bar fights where it’s just them and another guy duking it out, not really wanting to hurt each other. For those situations I would agree that BJJ is the way to go. In Krav Maga we are mainly worried about what the scumbags are doing as far as violent street crime is concerned. We study mob violence, home invasions, rapes, etc. and gear our training to these horrifying scenarios. I know that BJJ has very few answers for multiple attackers, a blade slicing at you or a handgun in your face. I’ve had some of these guys make fun that we are training for such scenarios. I tell them to read the news, this crap happens daily.

Now on to BJJ is best because they are going full out on a fully resisting opponent, and I got plenty to say about that!
Again, we are comparing apples and oranges. You are training against someone fully resisting a grappling match, not fully trying to kill you with a knife, kick to your head while you’re down, shooting you, etc. Yes, fully resistant attackers are a good training model but only if you are training for what you will find in a real life violent situation. If you are going full out on an opponent who is fully resisting and you both walk away unharmed what good could what you are doing possibly do you on the street when you need to put someone down, go through more than one and get the heck out of there? Self defense is going forward with rage and aggression, doing maximum damage in minimum time and getting to safety.

I’ve got news for you, unless you are breaking limbs and tearing ligaments you are not going 100% all out and being realistic with a fully resisting (fully fighting back) opponent. You stop before you injure for safety reasons. I can certainly kick a shield full out and then, when kicking my partner to the groin, pull it at the end so as to not do damage. If we are going full out in training we would run out of training partners in a hurry. All training has limitations, there is nobody who trains purposely hurting people. If we carry this commenter’s thoughts to the next step they are saying that nobody training a knife art can really be getting good training unless they are actually slicing and stabbing their training partners, that the best way to really learn to shoot a handgun is to shoot at people who are shooting back at you. Do the special forces in our military go to boot camp to actually shoot at each other, throw grenades at each other, knock each other unconscious in hand to hand training, etc.? Of course not, yet these guys are the best of the best and are trained very well. A good couple of reads on how the military (and anyone else) can train effectively without going 100% with their techniques causing damage is Sharpening The Warrior’s Edge by Bruce Siddle and Training at the Speed of Life by Kenneth Murray .

More importantly for surviving real world violence than a fully resisting opponent would be to mimic what you will be going through if you find yourself in that situation. To train with surprise, stress, exhaustion, the adrenalin dump, etc. would be much more important than a partner who is going hard. For the comment “if you’re relying on that knife or gun disarm to work, you may find out the hard way (when you’re dead) that you didn’t really know what to expect because you we’re able to practice it against numerous opponents and experience all the different types of resistance” I would have to argue that just practicing a technique with numerous opponents with different experience levels won’t help at all when the real event will put us into a mid brain state, produce paralyzing fear, give us a major adrenaline dump and totally stress us past anything else we’ve ever been through. This commenter seem to have made some assumptions about how we train that are incorrect. We train for this reaction and mimic all of this chaos as best we can in drills and tests…and, oh, we do train with High Gear suits so that we can go full force against a fully resisting opponent as well…assumptions, assumptions.

Be proud of your art and train hard but don’t tell a Kraver that “patiently controlling someone until they can be submitted” is a better philosophy for self defense. BE SAFE!!

5 POPULAR SELF DEFENSE THOUGHTS…

FIVE POPULAR SELF DEFENSE THOUGHTS…AND WHY THEY ARE WRONG!!

5) TAKE IT TO THE GROUND.
Brazillian Ju Jitsu is an amazing art. If my son were to learn one system I would want it to be BJJ. It’s chess-like strategies are amazing. The perfect art for one on one school yard type fights. HOWEVER…

How do you know that you are in a school yard type fight? If a second attacker shows up the ground isn’t where you want to be. If the attacker suddenly produces a blade, tied up with him on the ground isn’t where you want to be. I heard of a guy who went to a “BJJ for the streets” type of gym. He got into a bar fight and took it to the ground like he was trained to do. He ended up nearly being killed with seven stab wounds.

4) PUT YOUR KEYS BETWEEN YOUR FINGERS/KUBATAN KEY CHAIN
I got news for you that may be shocking. If you can’t punch effectively with your knuckles, you can’t punch effectively with something between your knuckles! A pointy metal object in your hands is still innefective at stopping an attacker unless you hit hard and accurately. Think about it, the six foot three, 250 pound attacker isn’t going to be incompacitated because you poke him in the chest with a pointy object. He’s actually going to be infuriated and smack you that much harder! Of course you are probably taught to poke the attacker’s eye. When something comes towards my eye I turn my head and tightly close my eye lids. God kinda put this natural reaction is us so that we don’t get our eyes poked. Scumbags have the same reaction!

3) ANY KNIFE DEFENSE TECHNIQUE
Google Knife Defenses. There are a bunch of them that look way cool. They seem like good ideas and fairly effective…in a gym with a friend holding a rubber knife. I’ve been told that the top ten Filipino knife masters of all time all died the same way…form knife wounds. If these guys who spent their lives mastering the knife could be killed by a blade what makes us think we can become good enough with knife defenses to save our butts?

When I teach knife defenses we go through an entire day of training to find out we basically have two effective “knife defenses”. Number one is outrun the knife wielder and number two is to punch the dude with the blade as hard as we can…and then outrun the knife wielder. The next thing on the list when those two things aren’t possible is to grab something with length and impact such as a ball bat. I’ll take a ball bat over any unarmed knife defense ever made!!

You wanna make your buddies cool knife defenses totally unusable? Slather KY jelly all over your arms and hands. Guess what…in any knife attack I’ve ever seen there is blood spilled. Blood is an extremely slippery substance. To always practice with dry arms when that isn’t what you will find in the actual attack isn’t very smart.

2) DROP AND KICK
There is a popular women’s self defense system that teaches the ladies to drop onto their backs and use their legs to kick the attacker off. I have two problems with this advice.

Number one is that a woman isn’t generally going to be able to beat the crap out of a much larger, stronger man. She should be fighting to escape, not to win the fight. Getting on the ground makes it harder to flee.

Number two is that she is betting her life on the fact that there is only one attacker. If a second attacker shows up the two scumbags merely get on two sides of her and she is done. If you are sure that there is only one attacker you are evidently clairvoyant and should have seen the attack coming and not been there!

1) USE YOUR WORDS… and other goofy things
I have heard women’s self defense teachers tell ladies to simply tell the attacker that they have aids, that they have std’s, to wear multiple pairs of underwear, to carry a whistle, to yell “fire”, etc., etc. I have always been amazed that females would be told to do things for safety that men would never be told to do. The best bet for a man is to escape and, when that isn’t possible, to knock the scumbag the f$#@ out! This is what the fairer sex should be taught as well.
The drug induced scumbag is a scumbag and probably won’t care about, nor hear, anything you have to say. Also, this popular advice about what to say is popular enough for…the scumbag to have heard it! Might these words and tactics work? Yep, but do you want to base your safety on “might work”? Neither do I!! BE SAFE!

INTIMIDATION!

“Humans usually don’t want to hurt another human. It’s inefficient and dangerous. Whether the human seeks respect or fear or status or money, it is much easier and safer to scare someone into submission than to beat them into submission.” SGT RORY MILLER in Facing Violence.

“Give me a ball bat and an attitude over a black belt in any system!” Mark Slane

If we ever lose a fight it is because we gave up out of fear. Fear of more damage, fear of death, etc. Unless we have had our brainstem shut down or have had every long bone in our body broken we can still continue to fight. This is the same with a war. Unless every able bodied person in a country has been killed they could have continued to fight. People and nations are almost never beaten…they give up.

Now those who have read my blogs know that I am not recommending that you fight. If we can we run. Next option is to de-escalate. After this we find a weapon to use from the environment that we are in. If we have to fight, we go all out. We will have an attitude. We will not lose if in a fight for our life!

The scumbags use this tactic all the time. When they puff up, get loud, threaten us, etc. they are trying to win the fight without fighting. If they can scare us into submission there is no risk for them. They may have lost a fight with us, may have won but taken damage, may not have gotten what they were after. It is just natural when a large, belligerent and angry man demands something from us that we do it to out of fear. We believe that if we don’t give in we will take a beating. Once you know the strategy that the idiot is using it is much easier to not be intimidated. Realize that they are acting so tough, giving that hard look and acting like they can do major harm not necessarily because they are or can but because they are a coward who doesn’t really want to fight us. Keep in mind that we are not fighting bodies but minds. Losers of a fight rarely had their body’s capability to fight taken away, they had the will to fight taken away.

This is why bodyguards and bouncers are usually huge muscle heads. They may have no skill (and the one’s I have trained can’t fight for more than 45 seconds because they have no cardio stamina) but they look like they can do major harm. This is all they need to portray. If people think the huge guy can beat the snot out of them they won’t ever try to see if they really can!

A great example of the tactic of winning by intimidating from SGT Miller’s book is Napoleon’s army. They used what was called the “Napoleonic column” when in battle. This was an inefficient way to use musket men. The math doesn’t work as there is a relatively small front line and an enemy putting a line of muskets across the column had a definite numeric advantage. These columns worked very well for a long time because they looked very intimidating. Superior forces with better tactics would run away.

Another example SGT Miller uses is the fact that until the mid 1800’s the bow would have actually been a much better weapon to use than the muzzleloader. The bow was much more accurate and could be fired up to 4 times per minute faster. But the bow didn’t make a loud boom, blow smoke…didn’t intimidate men and scare horses!

From the U. S. Marine’s manual “Warfighting”…We see that the aim in maneuver warfare is to render the enemy incapable of resisting by shattering his moral and physical cohesion…rather than to destroy him physically.”

Keep in mind that the winner of any conflict isn’t the person who is bigger, stronger, more athletic or meaner. The winner of any fight is the last one to quit! Think about any sport fight you have seen, whether boxing or mixed martial arts. I can point to many instances where the guy who took the worst beating, the guy who was the most bloodied, the guy who was on the ground constantly still won. He did this because something inside of him wouldn’t let him quit. The winner may have ended up in the hospital after the fight while the loser of the fight was fine and went out partying but the winner was the winner because he made the other guy quit. He was just more stubborn. He wasn’t going to lose even if the other guy beat the crap out of him. It was all about his attitude. He got the surprise knock out or forced the other guy to tap out even after taking a beating.

Another great but tragic example of this is the Vietnam war. The U.S. troops in Vietnam were definitely stronger, better equipped and had much more devastating weaponry. The U.S. tragically lost over 60,000 brave men. Vietnamese losses, however, have been reported as up to THREE MILLION! By those calculations it certainly looks like the U.S. won that war. As we all know, the U.S. didn’t because the winner was the last one to quit!!

When it is go time it is go time. Don’t look at how big he is, how mean, how good of a fighter he seems to be and certainly don’t listen to a thing that’s coming out of his mouth. Look at targets…see only targets. BE SAFE!!