Intimidation As A Tactic

“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.

“I’ll take 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 MEDITATIONS ON VIOLENCE 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. This is also why armies wore those silly tall hats at the time…they looked like a bunch of 7 footers coming at you. The uniform is part of intimidation, this is why our state troopers today still wear those big ol’ Smokey the Bear hats!!

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!!


Women’s Self Defense Advice…That’ll Get You Hurt!


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 a school yard type fight is the violence that will find you? 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. Doing those techniques on mats is cool…you’ll be hamburger attempting them on concrete.

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!

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.

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!

Keepin’ It Real

“If it’s not simple, it’s not self defense.” R. Hoover

KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid! In Krav Maga we want to have the fewest answers to the most questions. Our weapons defenses, especially, rely on simplicity. In our handgun defenses seminar we show a “cupping technique” that we learn for a handgun from the front that also works for handgun from the side of head, from a kneeling position, from a gunman in the guard, a gunman mounted, a gunman standing over us, a gunman across a bar or table…you get the picture. We have changed our long gun defenses so that one defense works from the front with the weapon aimed high, from the front with the weapon aimed low, with a slung weapon, from behind, etc. Same with our knife. We wrap the arm and beat on the attacker whether the attack is overhead, under/upward, straight stab, shank, slash, etc.

This is gold when we teach law enforcement officers…or anyone else for that matter. A lot of LEO’s that we teach are mandated a whopping four hours per YEAR of unarmed training. They are not going to spend much time practicing what we show them…they have a lot of other things to do. To show them one defense that will work for several different attacks saves lives! They do not have to think of which defense works for that situation, didn’t have to practice it much for it to come out of them and get good at the defenses with much fewer reps.

From time to time we get someone who believes that they have a much better stick, knife, long gun or handgun defense. I tell them that what they are showing me may well be better…but think about it. That defense you show me for, say, a handgun from the front may indeed be five percent better…a touch more effective, a touch quicker, etc. Now when you show me your handgun from the side and then from kneeling they are as different as night and day. Completely different muscle memory. Maybe one in sixty officers we teach are the type who love training, will spend hours working your different handgun defenses and get good with them. The other fifty-nine your five percent better defense made forty percent less safe! They won’t practice, will hesitate when a handgun is shoved in their face thinking about which one of their twenty defenses they should use and will screw it up because they have so many defenses in their head.

Let’s say you have a knife defense system that is just awesome but it takes 150 hours of work to be fairly proficient with it. What if on hour 148 someone puts a gun in my face? The only thing that we claim to do better in Krav Maga than anything else is to get people from zero to being able to defend themselves quickly. In four two hour seminars we can get people proficient enough in handgun, long gun, knife and stick to give them a good chance of being able to defend themselves and live through an attack.

We are not in a Hollywood movie! We want to avoid flashy. Learning one simple defense with as few moving parts as possible that works in many situations saves lives. This is Krav maga! BE SAFE!

E mail us at for info on our upcoming Law Enforcement Instructor training Oct. 24 – 29 in PA and our level 1 instructor courses in AK and MT next month.