“We will fight like we train only if we train stupid, blind, deaf and clumsy.” 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!




I preach constantly that Krav Maga’s techniques are not magic and will not, by themselves, save anyone. The philosophy of go fist, go crazy, go hard and go mean is what will save us if real violence ever finds us. As I have asked several times in these blogs; Who do you think a cop would rather face on the street, 1) a very proficient black belt martial artist or 2) a crazy who won’t quit and wants to claw their face off and see them bleed? One hundred percent will you they’d rather face the martial artist with the great techniques. Now, if we can train people to be awesome with Krav’s techniques AND be a crazy we have developed safe people!

I do not understand those who teach martial arts and self defense systems who concentrate on the techniques as if they are the end all. To not run classes where everything taught is put under stress and exhaustion, to not run drills that confuse and surprise and to not make students “uncomfortable” is teaching self defense techniques, not self defense. There is a big difference!

This was reiterated to me once again in the Krav Maga black belt training courses that I taught recently. I had ten level five students who have been training Krav Maga for years, who have been teaching Krav Maga for years and who know the techniques like the back of their hand. At the end of training some handgun techniques we ran what we call the “jostle drill”. One student is “it”, one has a handgun and the other eight take kick shields and push, whack and bump the student who is “it”. When the student with the handgun yells “gun” those with the kick shields get out of the way. The person with the handgun points the handgun at the “it” person’s face. Each person has five tries being “it” and then the next person takes their turn. This really isn’t much exhaustion or stress. The person who is “it” knows what attack is coming. They simply need to do the cupping technique for a handgun. Again, these are people who teach these techniques and are very, very proficient with them. Well, with just this little bit of confusion and stress the techniques go to heck! Out of the fifty reps (ten people doing five reps a piece) I saw twelve really good defenses and another twelve that were the technique done kinda like it was supposed to be done. That means that twenty six weren’t the technique at all. With just that little bit of stress and confusion the techniques degraded a bunch.

Now, the good news is that nobody did anything “wrong”. The handguns were taken offline and the attacker beaten (even if not with the exact right technique). This is why we teach the philosophy over the technique! They all stayed safe getting the weapon offline and then going forward, going hard and beating the crap out of the attacker. This was Krav Maga!

If those who teach techniques as the end all would apply drills like the one above I believe that they would have an epiphany. If techniques degrade in a drill where the student knew what attack was coming, that they are in no real danger and that the weapons weren’t real how much more will the techniques degrade in a real attack when they didn’t know it was coming at all, didn’t know what attack or weapon would be used and realize that they are about to die? The technique will not be there. If, however, we trained to make our “flinch” reaction “go forward, go hard, go crazy and fight with rage” that will be there. The philosophy will survive when the techniques degrade. BE SAFE!


“If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore, what he must be taught to fear is his victim.” Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper

After showing a video on our Facebook page of a mob attack in Memphis this week we had several comments on what to do. I put a video on the page on what I would do…here it is written down.

These gangs of usually teenage boys, when they decide to randomly attack strangers, are involved in what SGT Rory Miller in his books Meditations on Violence and Facing Violence calls the “group monkey dance”. This is a dangerous dynamic. They are looking at who they attack as below them, not part of them and have no more remorse for their victims than you or I would in killing a snake. They are showing loyalty to the group by taking part in the violence. Even more terrifying is the fact that the more violent and crazy they act the better their reputation in the group is. This is why you see people who are already unconscious continuing to be kicked in the head, etc.

The concepts I try to get across on this subject are be observant, run away, you can’t win when outnumbered, carry a weapon and when it’s go time it’s time to get mean and nasty all come to play now.

First, of course, is don’t be there. The quote my friend John Burton uses all the time is “Don’t go to stupid places with stupid people to do stupid things”. You know where the bad parts of town are, don’t ever go there. Keep your head on a swivel because the bad parts of town may come to find you when you are someplace not so bad. We are all decent people, we pride ourselves on not being prejudice, being color blind (cue the music to “I’d like to teach the world to sing”) believing that we are all created equally, etc. but guess what, the scum bag thugs are some of the most prejudice people on the planet. This is why they are scum. There are scumbag whites, blacks, Hispanic…this isn’t a race thing, it’s a being a piece of crap thing. If you notice that you are suddenly in the minority where you are at and being looked and pointed at, keep your eyes peeled…as you leave.

Don’t be like most of America and bury your head in your phone to answer that oh so important text. Keep your eyes open and observe everywhere you go. Always be vigilant watching for groups forming. Watch for people talking while their eyes dart to you. Watch for pointing or anything that just doesn’t look right. Don’t ask yourself what doesn’t look right and try to figure it out, leave. As soon as you feel the least bit uncomfortable, leave.

If you see the attacks start and you aren’t targeted yet, run. Yes, there is a time to intervene and help those being attacked but when outnumbered fifty to one adding another body to their count isn’t helping.

When they start to approach you it’s go time. We don’t wait to see what they intend to do. As soon as even a few start towards you put your plan into action. Your first plan, again, is to run. Run now and run fast. If others are with you, they should know the plan ahead of time. If you are cut off or have family with you it’s time for part two of the plan. You escape by going through. You get vicious and mean and do the most damage to anyone close that you can. You clear a path and get out of there. Being on the ground is death, if you get knocked down do as much damage as you can to those around and get up! There is no talking your way out, no reasoning. These are scum bags who don’t look at you as human, they look at you as entertainment. In our seminars on this subject we show a video of some news footage of a family that was attacked by a mob. As they beat the husband the wife was pleading with one of the attackers to stop. He turned around and punched her in the face. We are dealing with animals and we must become an animal.

In this vein, nobody can fight twenty people and win. This ain’t Hollywood. Cops can’t be everywhere. Cops are only minutes away when seconds count. If you are going to survive this it is up to you. Do what I do…carry a handgun where it’s legal and a knife all the time. I’m not talking about a small apple cutting knife, I’m talking about a pig sticker. We’ve already decided it’s go time. The only way out of this mess is to be more violent, nastier and dirtier than the scumbags. This isn’t the time to think about not hurting anyone, what the police will think, etc. You will eventually be let out of prison, you’re in a casket for good. Here’s my plan. If it’s the knife I attack. I don’t waive it and try to intimidate a path open. The scumbags all have knives I’d bet…and handguns. Go for whoever is closest and stab them in the face. Go right down the line stabbing any face you see as you clear a path. If they are not running away they are a threat to your life. They may eventually take me down but I guarantee I won’t be the only one bleeding at the end. If it’s the handgun with me that day…same plan. I shoot the closest person in the face and I get out alive.

Brutal is what Krav does best. Mind set and have a plan…think about this stuff before it happens. Tell yourself that “I will go home today no matter what”. BE SAFE!




Knives are the last thing I want to come across on the street. Knives are a danger because they are concealable (most who get stabbed never saw the knife, they thought they were being punched), everyone has one, small angle changes in the attack make for large angle changes in the defense and any idiot can kill you with one. Also, think about the mindset. A handgun is a distance weapon. A timid attacker can just close their eyes and pull the trigger. Someone with a knife wants close, wants to see you bleed. I’ll take a very competent and well trained martial artist as an assailant over a nutso with no training but the desire to kill any day!

A handgun has a reach advantage over the knife, this is obvious. At close range, the only advantage the firearm has is the POSSIBILITY of greater damage per strike. A knife has far more advantages over the handgun at close range including 1. unlimited use, never have to reload. 2. It doesn’t require aiming. 3. It can cause damage at ANY angle of attack. 4. It is more difficult to control a knife as the defender. 5. It can be used stealthily, often the victim doesn’t know it’s in use until it’s too late.

TRAINING TOOLS; The training tool that is popular with Krav people that I don’t get are the shock knives. They don’t hold up that well, are expensive and…pretty friggin worthless in my opinion. What is the reason to use shock knives (or the old put lipstick on a rubber knife and wear a white t shirt)? Are you saying that if you get touched by the knife you didn’t do the defense right? I call bullshit on that. In a knife attack you are going to get cut. We don’t even call it “knife defenses” in our seminars, we call it “knife survival”. If you are doing defenses and not getting touched by the knife I can guarantee you that the attacks aren’t realistic. We expect to get cut, we are trying to avoid the 40 stab wounds to the chest that the average psycho is attempting to deliver. I’ve also been told that the “shock” mimics pain and teaches us to keep going when we feel it. I would suggest that people who believe that go study the adrenaline dump and stress. You ain’t feeling pain under the stress of someone trying to kill you…that comes later!

A much better training tool for knife defenses would be KY jelly. Any defense you are teaching should be able to be used with that stuff slathered all over your arms and hands. There is blood on the scene of almost every knife attack. Blood is one slippery substance. If the defense can’t be used effectively all slicked up like that it isn’t a good defense. Guess what, most every defense you know for a knife fails under that test. What works best? Punching or kicking the attacker as hard as you can as you attempt to block the blade…and creating distance to get the heck out of there or access a better weapon.

Now, let’s talk about “realistic” attacks. When most self defense experts talk about a realistic attack they are talking about a shank, hockey punch or the like type of attack. Actually, I would argue that. Any of the attacks listed in this chapter, including someone coming from ten feet away, have happened. Whichever swing or distance a person gets attacked with certainly seems realistic to them! My problem with the defenses I learned in martial arts was that they all started half way across the room. Can that happen? Of course. Should we also train for stabs that happen with someone starting who is already right up against us? Of course.

If I were a scumbag and wanted to do great bodily harm to someone with a knife I would blitz the person, hit them hard and push them back while keeping the knife out of reach in my strong hand and pushing, punching, controlling their limbs with my off hand. What technique works for that? Our “hockey punch” defense is the closest thing we have technique wise but, thankfully, we are philosophy based. We would teach to blitz the attacker, swing for the fences punching them in the throat and kicking them in the groin all the while keeping an arm in the way to block the knife. The philosophy is to not get stabbed (block) and to knock out the idiot. Nothing else to remember, no technique to recall. Just be brutal and hurt the idiot trying to stab you!! BE SAFE!