If you have read our book American Krav Maga you know that we don’t claim to be teaching Imi’s Krav Maga (Imi Lichtenfeld is regarded as the founder of Krav Maga). The United States Krav Maga Association is teaching a self defense system based off of Krav Maga’s philosophy and techniques. After training with Grandmaster Lichtenstein in Israel (and bringing him to our gyms in the states) I realized that nobody, other than he, was teaching Imi’s Krav Maga. Most systems are teaching Israeli military techniques and calling it Krav Maga…and then arguing over who is doing it the way Imi wanted. Imi truly wanted Krav Maga to be Israel’s martial art. After retiring from teaching in the military he started developing Krav Maga for civilians…and only then was it called Krav Maga (around 1974 was when the name was introduced). He wanted students in gi’s, bowing, calling the techniques by their Hebrew names, etc…just like every other martial art.

When I trained in Israel with the Grandmaster it was almost like a bizarro parallel universe. We taught to keep hands up to block, they taught to keep them down to invite the attacker in. We taught to twist our core and use our whole body to develop power in punches, they taught to use arms only but to toughen up the knuckles by punching brick walls every day. We kicked to the groin with any part of our leg or foot we could hit it with, they got angry at this claiming that kick was to only use the ball of the foot. We taught to kick to only the liver and below, they liked high kicks…even high spinning kicks. We keep things as simple as possible, they had some rather flashy and fancy techniques. I was always taught that Imi wanted Krav Maga to be ever changing, to evolve. The Grandmaster said this was BS, he stated “When Michaelangelo finished the David he did not leave a hammer and chisel there for others to improve upon it.” It went as far as we wore cups, they didn’t and would kick you on purpose in the groin if they knew you were wearing one.

Was our way wrong? Was theirs? No, it was all about who we are teaching. They are used to tough as nails, macho Israelis in their classes. They can be all about bravado and keep their hands down, can punch walls, can basically be training to be the baddest dude in town and win a stand up fight with anyone. That is their way, the way they think. In the U.S. I certainly can’t teach my small females using that way of thinking…or anyone else really. If I trained people that way I would have very tough students…all ten of them. When I owned gyms in Ohio we topped out at 760 members with 670 of them being adults. We were teaching a lot of people to be safe! To train the average U.S. citizen to be safe isn’t about brutal training to make them tough. It’s teaching them to win no matter what. We teach them to cheat, to kick to the groin, to hit from behind and to hit non-stop until they are safe. If we are in a fair fight our tactics suck! I have often said that if a master from bjj or Muay Thai came to my gym and challenged me to a fight me in front of my students they would probably kick my butt. If that same person were in my house and going to hurt my family, I would not lose. I would hit them from behind with a chair, take one of the broken shards from that chair and shove it down their throat. I would do whatever it took to keep my family safe. This is Krav Maga.

Our only purpose is to keep people safe. We teach (in this order) to stay away from bad places, to run, to pick up something to use as a weapon and, as a last resort, to use Krav Maga. We teach the most battle tested, real world techniques that we can find…and then tell people that techniques won’t save them. Our main goal in class isn’t to teach techniques but to give people a switch to go from overwhelmed, confused and uncomprehending to going forward with hatred and rage to do the maximum amount of damage in the minimum amount of time. As I’ve blogged many times, ask any cop whom they would rather face. Their first choice is a very proficient black belt martial artist. Their second choice is some crazy who wants to claw off their face and chew their eyes. They would pick that martial artist every time. If we can make our practitioners that crazy (when they needed to be) and give them skills we are making some very safe people indeed. We are not getting people ready for a stint in the armed forces. We are getting people ready to defend the type of random violent attacks seen in the U.S. Getting people ready for the gang tactics, weapons, home invasions, car jackings, rape attempts, beatings, etc. that we see in the U.S. BE SAFE!


“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!!



Brazillian Ju Jitsu is an amazing art. I actually have my son taking BJJ lessons. 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 will be in a school yard type fight? 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 pulled guard like he was trained to do. He ended up nearly being killed with seven stab wounds. Ya know what else sucks if you are on the ground? The idiots buddy showing up…and every asshole has an asshole buddy near by. Add this to the fact that doing any of this on concrete and black top sucks and it’s easy to see that you don’t want to take it to the ground!!

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! With my keys? Well, I’d wing them at the attackers face and then kick him in the groin!

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…from 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. Really, about the only thing empty handed that has a chance of working is to block the knife as good as you can as you hit the idiot as hard as you can.

There is a popular women’s self defense system that teaches 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, 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!


One of my fellow USKMA Krav Maga Instructors carries around a list of UFC fight rules in his gym bag and whenever someone asks him exactly what is it we do in Krav Maga he pulls the list out and says “whatever is illegal to do in the ring!”
I was recently asked about the rules in MMA so here they are….

Should a fighter fail to follow these rules they will be deducted a point or be disqualified from the match.
Theses rules and faults include:
-Butting with the head.
-Eye gouging of any kind.
-Hair pulling.
-Fish hooking.
-Groin attacks of any kind.
-Putting a finger into any orifice or into any cut or laceration on an opponent. (see Gouging)
-Striking to the spine or the back of the head. (see Rabbit punch)
-Striking downward using the point of the elbow. (see Elbow (strike))
-Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea.
-Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh.
-Grabbing the clavicle.
-Kicking the head of a grounded opponent.
-Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent.
-Stomping a grounded opponent.
-Kicking to the kidney with the heel.
-Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck. (see piledriver)
-Throwing an opponent out of the ring or fenced area.
-Engaging in unsportsmanlike conduct that causes an injury to an opponent.
-Attacking an opponent on or during the break.
-Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee.
-Attacking an opponent after the bell (horn) has sounded the end of a round.
-Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee.

There are rules in the ring to outlaw certain things that could cause injury and end fights quickly. On the street this is exactly what we want to do…cause injury and end fights quickly! So, I guess Krav Maga’s rules would be to head butt, eye gouge, bite, pull hair, attack the groin, put a finger in a laceration and yank (how cool is that?), strike the spine and back of head, strike downward with the elbow, strike the throat, claw, pinch and twist flesh, grab the clavicle, knee, kick and stomp a downed opponent, kick a kidney, spike and throw the attacker, be unsportsmanlike, attack and attack some more and flagrantly disregard the ref…if this is what it takes to survive and BE SAFE!!


We have several training opportunities coming up this summer. Level 1 Instructor trainings will show how to run the USKMA system to get adults in the door of your gym and keep them interested, while learning the most battle tested self defense system anywhere! Law Enforcement training saves lives. 99% of the officers who go through our training tell us it I the best, most useful stuff they’ve ever seen. We are bringing Rory Miller (author of Facing Violence, Meditations on Violence, ConCom, etc.) to Jacksonville. Hit us up with any questions.

05/28/15 – 05/31/15
Level 1 Instructor Training; Tuscaloosa, AL
Tuscaloosa YMCA

Rory Miller Seminar; Jacksonville, FL
St. Johns Krav Maga

07/06/15 – 07/10/15
Law Enforcement Instructor Training; La Junta, CO
Ortero County Sheriffs Dept.

07/27/15 – 07/30/15
Alaska Krav Maga

E mail us at for details