UPCOMING LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING

UPCOMING USKMA LAW ENFRORCEMENT TRAINING DATES (go to uskma.com events page to register);

May 5 – 9
USKMA Handgun & Patrol Rifle Instructor Development Course, Denver

June 16 – 20
Law Enforcement Instructor Training, Missouri City, TX
Missouri City PD, Missouri City Texas

July 22 – 26
USKMA Handgun & Patrol Rifle Instructor Development Course, Fairbanks, AK

August 25 – 29
Law Enforcement Instructor Training, Columbus, OH

SPRINTING AS SELF DEFENSE!

When I teach knife defenses I always start with the statement “I only have one guaranteed, for sure, you won’t get cut knife defense. Outrun the dude with the knife.” The first thing we do in our knife defense seminar is to have every student sprint away from their training partner when they make a move to their pocket. The second thing we do is punch and sprint away from the training partner when they make a move to their pocket. Does this sound macho? Nope, macho will get ya hurt!

When I teach Krav Maga instructor training I make sure that the potential instructors realize that using Krav Maga means that we are recovering from stupidity or bad luck. If we are using our Krav Maga we ignored warning signs, were in a bad place to start with or were just unlucky that day. We tell these future instructors that they must teach their students (in this order) to 1) not be there. Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people to do stupid things. 2) Run. Really. I don’t care if our local news has video of me running away from a knife wielding thug and laughing about how “a Krav Maga expert runs from knife!”. I would be a still living, non injured Krav Maga expert! 3) Pick up something to use as a weapon. You are much smarter to defend a knife with a ball bat than with any of those cool, expert Krav Maga empty hand knife defenses! 4) Krav Maga. See how far down the list our actual Krav Maga techniques are? If you are there you probably did something wrong!

Does this mean a good Krav Maga class would include sprint work? Yep.

When there was trouble Forrest Gump ran! This was a brilliant tactic as it kept him safe (even kept him from being fried in ‘Nam). But let’s think about this advice. Can you run? When is the last time you did any sprint work? The average violent criminal is a male ages 18-25. Can you outrun a young dude who is still in his athletic prime? I doubt I can anymore. Are we fit enough to not keel over dead after attempting to run thirty yards? Do we just hope that we are attacked only by overweight, slow and lazy people? Hope isn’t a strategy. So, first point of running for safety is to get yourself into shape. This is why we are so physical in our Krav classes. This is why we recommend to our affiliate gyms that they add CardioMMA and Crossfit. Techniques won’t save anyone. Being in better shape than the attacker, going off with rage, going forward and going hard is what will save us.

Next thougt; what are you wearing? Most guys I know, when they go out, are in athletic shoes. Most women, however are in things I couldn’t even stand in, yet alone walk or run in! During self defense for women seminars I talk a lot about this. Those “cute shoes” could be your downfall. How can you outrun anyone in those stiletto heels? Statistically violence tends to happen more often where young men gather and where minds are altered. This sounds like most bars, doesn’t it? If you are going to the bar those cute shoes may not be the thing to wear. How quick can you get them off and run barefoot? The second point is to plan and mind set. Wear things you can fight and run in…have a plan!

Last thought; Where are you running to? Again, have a plan and mind set. Don’t run from danger, run to safety.
When you go into a restaurant, theater, etc. you should not only know where the exits are but also should have put yourself in position to get to them quickly. If outside in a city do you know where you can run to most likely get help? How about out in rural areas. Where can you run to quickly where help is available? In our self defense for women seminars I make the point that a tazer isn’t to be totally relied on. When you taze the guy it will lock him up for thirty seconds…if both barbs got him (happens less than 70% of the time). How far can you run in thirty seconds? When it lets go of him he may well sprint to wherever you are to do you harm.

We have one goal and one focus in Krav Maga. That is to make people as safe as possible as quickly as possible. Does it look sissy having a big, tough Krav Maga black belt instructor telling the class that he/she would run from danger? I don’t care if it does!! When we as self defense instructors have to look tough and feed our own egos we are going to get people killed. When a student comes to us for self defense training they are literally putting their lives in our hands. If they ever need what we taught it will be for the worst few minutes of their entire lives. We as instructors had better have showed them the best, most battle tested, scientific and safest self defense possible. That starts with telling them to RUN when they can. BE SAFE!

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES!

We in the USKMA look hard into what other arts, systems, instructors and guru’s are teaching as far as self defense goes. We attend seminars, host instructors from other systems at our gyms, buy books and videos and generally study everything that’s out there. This makes our system better. We don’t have the ego to think that we are doing everything the very best way possible 100% of the time. Being closed minded wouldn’t make the USKMA’s practitioners as safe as possible.

We make changes to our system often. We are looking for the most effective, easiest to recall and easiest to perform techniques possible. When we see something that we think may be easier , more effective, etc. we rep that technique until we are proficient at it. It’s easy to try something once and like what you’re doing already because, heck, you’re good at the technique you’ve practiced for years. After we can explain exactly why what we are thinking of switching to is better we have one more step. We then have one of our small female instructors learn and perform the technique. If it isn’t going to work for them, it doesn’t get changed. We can’t change things if they don’t work for everyone no matter their size, strength or athletic ability.

We change to keep people safe. We get griped at from time to time by USKMA instructors when we do make changes. It would be easy for us to just keep things the same. We might look smarter if we acted like we’ve had the answers all along. We’re willing to catch flack from some of our instructors when changes are made because we take what we do seriously. For example, after teaching our long gun defenses for years we changed them to a much simpler, much better defense. I had LE instructors griping that they wish we’d have taught them the new way years ago. I agreed…I wish I would have too! We taught something to many people that is now in the trash can. We found better and passed it along!

In the last six weeks alone we have changed one of our full nelson defenses (so that we don’t fall with the attacker) and our slashing knife defense (we now wrap the attacking arm with our arms instead of grabbing a wrist). Over the years we have made a lot of changes to the curriculum that I was taught. In 1998 I was in one of the very first Krav Maga instructor trainings ever hosted in the U.S. I was taught by some very, very good instructors. I have spent time training with Grandmaster Yaron Lichtehnstein, one of only ten people the founder of Krav Maga, Imi Lichtenfeild, taught from beginner to black belt. I learned some great stuff. I would say that over the years we in the USKMA have changed 60 to 70% of what I was taught.

We have pretty much completely revamped what we taught for handgun, knife and long gun disarms. We simply found better, more reliable, easier and more effective techniques. Our “go to” handgun disarm is the cupping technique to get both hands on the weapon and deliver a groin kick. The one we replaced had the weapon controlled by one hand as the other hand punched the attacker. I always worried about a small female police officer trying to disarm a huge thug. I had no faith in that technique in that situation.

Our old handgun disarm;

Our new handgun disarm;

We have changes all of the knife defenses from grabbing the wrist with our hand to wrapping the attacking arm with our arm. When a person attacks realistically (like a sewing machine needle) the grabbing the wrist defenses always worried me. Add a slick wrist (blood, etc.) and they became mighty hard to pull off. Our long gun had good techniques, just three totally different techniques. The front to the dead side, front to the live side and from behind were just as different from each other as could be…and they had a lot of steps. We basically now have one technique whether it’s from the front of behind. Much easier to remember and a much stronger technique.

Some things I see being taught in other systems that make me wonder “why are they teaching that?” include;

-Techniques that only work if you perform them the second you are touched. I have seem a headlock defense, for example, taught that would only work if the person being attacked is standing straight up and reacts immediately. In reality, I didn’t see the attacker coming. I am bent forward and knocked off balance and swung forward before I can possibly react. Better have a defense that works from there!

-Handgun defenses that go up. This always makes me want to tear my hair out! That gun is going off as you
redirect it, the idiot’s finger is on the trigger. Why would you purposely take the barrel of that gun across your brain bucket? I know of a police officer who turned a corner and immediately had a gun fired at his head. He reached out and redirected it offline the way he was taught and the bullet blew his front teeth out…and nothing else. If the defense that came out of him was to push the gun up he wouldn’t have been around to tell the story.

-Knife defenses that require grabbing and manipulating the wrist. A realistic attack would prove this is virtually impossible. Attempt the defense with a realistic attack and your arms slathered with ky jelly (representing blood) and it becomes beyond virtually impossible. Here’s what a realistic knife attack would look like;

-Techniques with several steps that must be followed. When I see these choreographed moves I think that the person performing them had better hope an attacker steps the same way, does the same things and reacts the same way that the practice partner does. If it’s steps a through f and in the real world it derails at step c because the attacker did something different, the practitioner is in trouble.

-Techniques that have the practitioner somehow knowing when the attacker will quit. I see instructors turning their back on an attacker after delivering a technique. Whether it was a punch to the throat, a kick to the groin, a “knock out blow” or a bone break they are teaching that it will end the attack. We have seen videos of people taking pipes across the head, several bullets mid torso, dozens of knife wounds…and they keep coming. Thinking you know what will stop an attacker is bad training. Go until they are done…and then still beat feet away from them!

-“Non lethal” techniques. In other words, techniques for when you can’t really kick someone in the groin, punch them in the face or the like. WTF? I have zero use for control techniques unless you are a bouncer, cop or in a job where you must control and not damage. To teach these to a female as self defense is reprehensible. If attacked in the real world there are no rules except to stay alive. The only way to do this is to swing for the fences with all the hatred and rage you can muster, attempting to deliver as much damage in as little time as humanly possible until you can get to safety.

Instructors, when people are coming to you for self defense training they are literally putting their lives in your hands. You had better be teaching the best stuff you can possibly find and not crap from a system just because it’s your system! BE SAFE!

KRAV MAGA’S PRINCIPLES

When I am asked about the principles and/or the philosophy of Krav Maga I say the main principle of Krav Maga that all others branch off of is to STAY SAFE. We stay safe by first and foremost, not being there. Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people to do stupid things! The second rule is RUN. Really, run when in danger…run when in doubt. I don’t care if the local paper has a picture of me running from a knife wielding punk with the headline “krav maga expert runs from knife”. I would be a smart, still living Krav Maga expert! Our third rule is to pick up something to whack the bad guy with. Why go into a knife with just my hands when I can pick up a pipe or stick and have distance and impact on my side? The fourth rule is to DESTROY the attacker. We aren’t safe if we merely fend off the attacker but still have to go to an ER afterwards. We aren’t safe if we win the fight but have months of rehab ahead of us. We are safe if we are unscathed. If we go hard, go first and go until the threat is gone we have a much better chance of being unscathed. Notice how far down the list that the actual Krav Maga techniques are used. If you get to the techniques you weren’t paying attention or were in a stupid place to begin with!

Wikipedia says the principles of Krav Maga are: 1. Do as much damage in as little time as possible. 2. Change from defending to attacking as quickly possible (including simultaneously). 3. Use items around you as weapons. 4. Be aware of everything that is happening around you. Let’s look at these one at a time and think about why they make sense for self defense.

1. Do as much damage in as little time as possible. This goes back to a few of my blogs where I talk about not sparring but ending. Sparring is moving around, throwing a combo, backing out, changing levels, going back in, etc. This is never a good idea as it extends the time that we are in danger. The attacker may be a better sparrer than we are and (more importantly) extending the fight gives his buddies time to get to you. As a wise man once said “every asshole has an asshole friend nearby”. Our goal in a real world violence situation should be to end things and get out of there…as quickly as possible. This is why in class we teach to go forward with rage, swing as hard as you can and strike targets that do the most damage. Keep hitting until you can escape, which is when the attacker is unconscious generally.

2. Change from defending to attacking as quickly possible (including simultaneously). I talk about this in my self defense for women book. When we are attacked we are a victim. As soon as we fight back there is no longer a victim and an attacker, there are two opponents. Most scum bags are looking for a victim, not for someone who will fight back…and fight back hard!

3. Use items around you as weapons. Absolutely! I know some “great” unarmed knife defenses but why would I want to use them if there is a pipe laying close by? Something with impact and distance is a good idea…I bleed! As I’ve said in previous blogs, a person with a weapon and just a small amount of training will beat a well trained person who is empty handed more often than not. I’d take a ball bat and an attitude over a black belt in any system!

4. Be aware of everything that is happening around you. This is talking about self protection and being aware at all times. Self defense is you grabbed me so I had to react. Self Protection is I saw you coming and avoided you. Self defense is I went into a seedy looking bar and, sure enough, I got into a fight. Self protection is the bar looked seedy so I didn’t go in. Self defense is you were hitting me so I smacked you back. Self protection is you were in my space looking like a threat so I smacked you. We are much better off (and we must teach this) to learn and live by self protection than we are self defense. We must teach our students to be aware of their surroundings, to avoid trouble and to “mind set” (we covered this in a few past blogs). We are doing our students a disservice if this isn’t taught and talked about in every class. If we are only teaching self defense techniques we are failing them. Self defense is recovery from stupidity or bad luck. BE SAFE!

The Big 5 Friggin 0!!!

“The young man looks at the thug and thinks ‘If I had to, could I take him?’ The old man looks at the thug and thinks ‘If I had to, how would I take him?’” M. Young

For only the fourth time in over three years of blogging my blog today isn’t really abut self defense. This one is about a life changing (life shattering?) event…I turn 50 this weekend. Yippee…not. How did I get that old this fast? Heck if I know. I set out a year ago to see how good an old man of 50 could look at feel. Now, just in my small Krav circle I know several guys who are older than 50 and in way better shape than I am (yep, talking about you Rhett Ricart, Guy Bruno, Scott King, Al Guinne, Scott Lorenz and Tim Fisher). However, I know many, many more than that who have big guts, couldn’t sprint if they were paid, don’t work out and look older than they are. I teach young people (I am almost always the oldest in the room when I lead training) and I refuse to be that instructor who can’t see his feet because of his belly, teaches by talking a bunch and demos half azzed!

A snippet of my 50th birthday workout;

When I turned 49 I weighed 230 pounds. I vowed to get below 210 by fifty…and I did it. Now, don’t congratulate me. Letting myself get to 230 was pathetic and I don’t deserve congratulations for now weighing what I should have all along! Here are some lessons for anyone looking to lose some weight and live a happier & healthier life…and feel half way decent in their golden years.

It wasn’t like I was eating fast food and Krispy Kremes all day. I was eating organic, not really eating a lot and doing a good job of being healthy. Yet, after I hit 45 I just kept gaining weight. For four years I had tried different approaches to losing weight and nothing worked. I am sure it was a slowing metabolism but at that rate I would have weighed 300 pounds in a few more years! What I did to lose the weight was easy, anyone could do it. It does take discipline and some life changes, so automatically 95% of Americans won’t do it!!

I boosted up my exercise routine, but nothing crazy. I had been travelling so much that I wasn’t exercising nearly as much as I should have been. I work out every other day and alternate kettle bells, heavy bag and sprint work. I do try to walk an hour at a time twice a week. Other than teaching that’s about all I do…but it’s more than I was doing a year ago.

Next, I read two books…and followed them religiously. Read Mark Sisson’s PRIMAL LIVING and then Dr. William Davis’ WHEAT BELLY. Trust me, these aren’t just thoughts on what may be keeping weight on…they are truth that flies in the face of what the medical and dietary communities preach. How do I know what they write is true? Personal experience. I followed it and lost 20 pounds without dieting.

I have a lecture I give in USKMA instructor training about thinking for ourselves. Most people believe 1) the majorities opinion and 2) whatever an “expert” tells them. Our medical community and govt. agencies tell us to stay away from grass fed beef, raw milk, eggs, animal fat, butter, etc. and to eat whole grains. They started preaching this in the mid 80’s. Since the mid 80’s obesity and diabetes has sky rocketed. WTF kind of advice was that? Yet, thirty years later we still believe it…because that’s what they tell us even if opening our eyes tell us that they are wrong. Following this advice has made America the sickest nation in the history of the World. 7 out of 10 Americans have taken a prescription med in the past sixty days…I haven’t taken one in 9 years. I’ve come to honestly believe that the healthy thing to do is the exact opposite of what the “experts” say!

The crazy thing is that as much as I am griping about fifty I wouldn’t go back to any other point in my life. I’ve never been happier…I have a great life! A few more things that have worked for me. 1) Quit being stressed. Get rid of that which is causing stress in your life. There really isn’t much worth getting upset about. Looking back on my life I can tell you that I’ve never made any situation better by worrying about it or stressing. Whatever you are going through there are literally billions of people in this world who would trade problems with you! 2) Find a good significant other, the kind who makes you a better person. My wife is my best friend! 3) Get right with the Lord. Accepting Christ as my savoir has given true peace and happiness! 5) Be nice. I was a jerk most of my life. Nice is better. 6) Have a baby in your old age. I am fifty and have a six year old. Wouldn’t trade it for the world!!

There you are…all my secrets on how to be happy and healthy at 50! BE SAFE!