WHAT THE UFC TAUGHT ME ABOUT SELF DEFENSE

Those who know me know that I am a big UFC fan. There was a time I wouldn’t miss a fight (until they started putting them on every two weeks) and i still never miss an episode of the Ultimate Fighter. I was teaching Krav Maga long before I got into watching the UFC. What I have noticed over the years of watching fights confirm some things I knew…and surprised me with what I didn’t.

-Knockouts! We train to knock people out. If I am attempting a handgun defense, for example, and I can knock the idiot out…the defense is done! Watching the UFC has allowed me to see how friggin hard knocking someone out can be. There are a few guys with one punch knockout power, but they are rare. The best bet for a knockout is to stun the dude and then hit him over and over again until he goes down. Don’t hesitate or let him recover. We teach this!! Go forward with rage and hatred and hit the scumbag over and over until you are safe!

-Knees. We train to clinch and knee a lot in Krav Maga. A knee to the head is a pretty significant strike. I was surprised to see so many dudes taking these to the noggin and keep fighting. This isn’t the for sure knockout that I always assumed it was.

-Ground. Those that are good at ground are sweet to watch. The thing that I notice mainly is how long it takes to submit. On the street if we factor in the guy’s buddies running up to help we wouldn’t have the time to submit. I still don’t want to be on the ground…ever!

-Cardio. Exhaustion makes cowards of us all. The muscle heads usually lose! There are guys who look unbeatable in the first round that slow down later in the fight and get whooped. I have heard Israeli instructors state that if your Krav Maga gym has cardio classes it isn’t a real Krav Maga gym. This is a stupid statement! If you can fight hard for a longer period of time you are safer. I do not see how this can be argued!

-Fear. You can see it in some of the fighters. They usually talk big and say things like “He’ll have to kill me before I stop”, etc., etc, blah, blah. They then get in the ring and freeze before purposely giving up their back so they can tap. I tell my students to think only of going forward with rage and swing for the fences. Don’t look at how mean or big the dude is, just look at targets.

-You have to be well rounded. It took the UFC for fighters to realize this. The first events were one style against another. When the Gracie’s won they all decided they had better learn ground. Imi was preaching this in the 40’s and 50’s. A man ahead of his time.

-Everyone can be whooped. After the baddest man on the planet, the unbeatable Brock Lesner lost twice in a row he retired. Anyone can be beat. Very few fighters in the UFC are undefeated. Again, if attacked by a big, mean looking dude don’t see the dude, see only targets.

-Cheat! No matter how big and strong the fighter is he flops on the ground like he’s dying if he gets kicked in the groin or has an eye poked. There is a system being taught that says to never kick to the groin, it is a wasted strike. Say what? All I have to do is watch a fight…those groin shots look pretty effective. The things that are against the rules in MMA fighting are exactly what we want to do on the street. They are against the rules because they do damage and end fights too quickly. Doing damage and ending fights quickly is what we’re all about!! If you are in a fair fight your tactics suck!

Watching sport fights and teaching self defense…I have a good life. BE SAFE in the new year!!

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF…

As a Krav Maga instructor I get asked quite often by students, family, general public, etc. “What would you do if…(jumped by ninjas, met multiple attackers with chain saws, were squared off with a UFC fighter, etc., etc., fill in the blank)?” My answer is almost always “I’d take out my big knife and slice them”. After a weird look the person asking usually says “I don’t carry a knife”. This is where they get my smart aleck “You asked what I would do…not what you should do.”

The person asking is usually looking for a specific technique to use against that chain saw, machete or bazooka. This is where I get to explain to them that we don’t really teach techniques, we teach a self defense philosophy. That philosophy is to go now, go hard, go forward and swing for the fences. Techniques won’t save your ass in a violent attack. Going forward with hatred and rage to destroy whatever is in front of you is what will save you. I’ve blogged many times that if you ask a cop who they would rather face; A) a very proficient martial artist or B) a crazy who wants to claw their face off and chew on their eyeballs I guarantee you that the cop will choose A every time.

So when asked what I would do if some crazy attack ever finds me the answers are easy.

-Why am I in a place where there are crazed ninjas in the first place? Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people to do stupid things. Self defense is truly recovery from stupidity or bad luck.

-If I can I will run. Yep, 4th degree black belt in Taekwondo, National light wt. tkd sparring champion 33-40 y.o. division, 3rd degree black belt in krav maga, have taught self defense to thousands, author of three books on krav maga…and I would run. Nobody is unbeatable, there are always bigger, stronger and badder. More than one attacker is hard for anyone to handle. A person with just a little training with a weapon will beat an unarmed expert more often than not. Add all this up and the smartest thing to do in almost any violent situation is to beat feet!

-Find something to use as a weapon. I know many empty hand defenses to take a blade away from a knife wielding maniac. They are the best ever developed, tried and true, IDF approved and, yet, I’d take a ball bat and an attitude over any of them. Honestly, I’d take a ball bat and an attitude over a black belt in any system.

-If left with no other choice but to fight it is always “get rid of the danger and destroy the idiot.” If choked get the attackers hands off my throat as I kick his groin, punch his throat, etc. If he is on top beating me it’s block and elbow his groin, punch his throat, bite, etc. If it’s a knife block it and hit the idiot. If it’s a handgun get it pointed so the bullet doesn’t hit me and beat on the idiot.

Notice how everything ends with “hit the idiot”? This is why half of every class in Krav Maga is spent on combatives. This is why we hit things often and hard in class. This is why I say that if a student drops out of a martial art after three months they really aren’t very good but if they leave Krav Maga after only three months they have a decent chance of being able to defend themselves. We didn’t have to do anything but show them how to hit hard and often and develop an attitude of “go hard, go forward” in them. This is the key to staying safe! I have had three of my black belts attacked over the past few years. They were all bummed because they each had this massive arsenal of techniques to use but they ended the attack with the first strike. One ended it with a punch, one with an elbow and one hit the idiot with a six pack of beer. Basics are what we need…basics and an attitude!

So when it’s the crazy “what would you do if a guy had both an AK and a 12 gauge pointed at you?” It’s easy to answer “Get the things pointed somewhere besides at me and beat the crap out of the idiot!” BE SAFE!

THE BIG HURT!

You won’t hear this in many systems but in Krav Maga we let our practitioners know that they can and probably will sustain damage. This can be a game changer! If you rely on both hands to do a joint lock and break one….what do you do then? If you rely only on jump kicks and the attack starts with your ankle being crushed…what do you do then? If we’ve never trained thinking about an injury and then it happens our brains want to freeze because this wasn’t in the plan. We want our practitioners to expect this and train for it. We will go as far as to have the first half of an upper level test be done with the student tying one arm down. They must figure out how to do the choke defense, handgun defense, knife defense, etc. with only one arm working. If this should happen in a real attack they now have a plan!

SGT Sanford Strong, in his great book “Strong on Defense” interviewed many crime (especially rape) victims. The ones who consistently fought back and got out of the horrible situation were those who feared the crime (the rape) more than they feared injury. Injury will happen….tell yourself that right now! The scumbag knows that you fear injury. This is why he will say “Do what I tell you to and you won’t be hurt.” Those who allow themselves to be moved, tied up, etc. on the “promise” of no injury from the bad guy will almost always paid dearly for it. Those who were so afraid of injury that they did nothing but hope and pray the attacker was telling the truth needed to know that the bad guys always lie and they are good at it! Put in your brain right now that the scumbag is there to hurt, torture and probably kill you. Injury is coming. It’s up to you to decide if it’s on his terms or if you are in control. It’s up to you to decide if that injury will come to only you or if it will come with you injuring him back tenfold!!

A greate quote from Meditations on Violence by SGT Rory Miller; “This fear of escalation is based on unknowns. The attacker has already decided to hurt the victim and largely how much. The feared ‘greater level of damage’ is only in relation to the level of damage, unknown to you, that the threat has already planned. If he is already planning to torture and kill, the feared escalation is meaningless…the fear of provoking a beating or torture or death will not help you if the attacker has already decided on the beating, the torture or the murder.”

Why Krav? Any class that would include being injured on purpose would be a short lived one! We don’t purposely injure anyone but we do go hard. Our drills don’t cause injury but they do wear us out, make us feel like we can’t go on and cause general discomfort. This is for a reason. We want to know that we can continue no matter what! Krav Maga’s techniques are such that losing the use of a limb, in general, doesn’t affect us. We incorporate no joint locks or fine motor skill movements in our techniques but whole body, gross motor skills that we do in an extremely pissed off stage of mind…..that keep going til the bad guy is done mentality!

If your instructor tells you “do our techniques right and you won’t get hurt, the bad guy will” you probably need to look for another instructor! BE SAFE!

THE “DUMP”

“We will fight like we train only if we train stupid, blind, deaf, clumsy and mentally impaired.” SGT Rory Miller

We’ve all felt the effects of the adrenalin dump (actually a whole cocktail of hormones and chemicals, not just adrenalin). Something scares us (like a close call in our car) that leaves us tingling, breathing faster, heart rate up, etc. If this happens in an almost accident imagine how much more pronounced it will be with life threatening violence. This will happen and, sadly, this is something that is totally ignored in most self defense systems. Too many martial arts and defense systems take a logical and mental approach to visceral and chaotic problems.

Effects of fear (the “dump”) include;

-your mind will change! The mind you have will not be the one fighting for you when attacked. Memories can be wildly distorted. Perception and auditory input can become very messed up. This is seen when those being attacked remember, for example, a knife that was four inches long being a machete, a handgun going off by their ear repeatedly that they didn’t hear, etc. Irrelevant thoughts can intrude in our heads. Off the wall thoughts can seem like brilliant ideas. We make dumb decisions and get stubborn about them. We can get tunnel vision and not see the other attacker or the weapon. Behavioral looping can easily occur with trained fighters. They will use a technique that isn’t working but get stuck on that technique and try it over and over. Sadly, if we haven’t used mind setting and had a plan for this attack already formed we won’t come up with one now because our mid-brain is now in charge and it will be stuck in freeze mode…trying to scan for any training for this scenario.

-You don’t feel pain and don’t bleed as badly due to vasoconstriction. This is one of the few good effects of the dump. Remember, however, that the attacker is in the same state and doesn’t feel pain either. That awesome joint lock that you never fail with in class doesn’t faze the bad guy….and we freeze because our brain said that it should end the fight.

-Skilled techniques degrade under stress….a bunch! Our heart rate goes way up. Blood is pooled into our internal organs. This makes our limbs feel heavy and we feel weak. Our skin gets cold and clammy. Fine motor skills go to pot.

The dump is the bane of Self Defense Instructors as it makes the untrained more dangerous and the trained less! A great example of this is police officers. When they are shooting at a target at the range within ten feet most have over 90% accuracy. Under fire on the street? One major city studied police hit statistics under live fire over a six year period and found that their officers from contact range to six feet out hit the bad guy only 38% of the time. There is a big difference in how our body reacts on a range and with someone actually trying to kill us!!

Again, the dump makes those who are trained fight worse….and the untrained actually fight better. Why is this? God put this response into man at the beginning. It wasn’t for self defense but for self preservation against wild animals! No amount of technique will drive off a tiger, but a flailing, focused (tunnel vision), repetitive (behavioral looping) defense might. Not feeling pain and not bleeding like we usually would comes in handy when limbs are being bitten. At the worst stage we freeze, drop and even have bladder and bowel evacuation…..this is good as a last resort with a wild animal who may think you are dead and save you for later! If you ever hear someone say “if it were for real, I would have done a lot better” try not to laugh at them!

Why Krav? In our classes we don’t teach a lot of joint locks or things that need fine motor skills? This is the reason! Under attack we want to think only of hitting the scumbag, grabbing hold of him any way we can and then kneeing and kicking him into oblivion. We don’t teach that one devastating attack will end the fight…because when that technique doesn’t end the fight we won’t know what to do. We teach attacking with whole body, gross motor skills and we teach to go with all we have until they are on the ground, balled up and knocked out!! BE SAFE!