Archived entries: June 2010

We switched locations and had to manually archive our entries. Enjoy!
June 27: Martial Arts and MMA | June 19: Home Invasions | June 12: The Scumbag | June 5: Self Defense for Women, Part 2


First and foremost we in Krav Maga never bash any other system.  Blogging about this topic by one system is almost always self serving and a put down to others.  A few statements; 1) I was/am a 4th degree black belt in a traditional system.  2) I will say right off that any system can be used effectively if proficiency is achieved.  When we in Krav Maga think self defense we believe it has to be easy to learn, easy to remember, come out of us automatically and be effective.  Reading our past blogs on adrenaline dump will give insight into why we think this way.

There are many talented martial artists.  I know of Tai Chi masters who could whip 99.9% of us.  I especially admire BJJ.  Those guys are the most in shape, best conditioned people I know.  If my son was to do a martial art I would want him in BJJ.  But….BJJ’s philosophy is to patiently control an opponent until they can be submitted.  Add a second attacker, a knife, etc. and that philosophy isn’t self defense.  I have often said if masters from other systems came into my gym and challenged me in front of my students most would probably kick my butt and make me look stupid.  However (and this is self defense) if that same guy was in my house and going to hurt my family I would come from behind, break a chair over the back of his head and then take one of the broken shards and see how far into his throat I could ram it.  I would not lose.  Krav Maga is doing what it takes to be safe, and refusing to quit.

Martial arts are great for kids.  Martial arts are great exercise, great stress relief, great for socializing and meeting other good, hard working people.  When a traditional martial art calls itself the ultimate in self defense is when I have a problem with it.  All martial arts were designed to overcome the problems that the founder was facing.  Some martial arts were designed for the battlefield, some for unarmed peasants to overcome soldiers wearing armor, some for using anything found in nature to make a weapon of, etc.  I spent countless hours in my traditional martial art in a front stance only to discover that it was designed for balance when fighting on board of ships, and even more hours in a horse stance to discover that it was for peasants who were too poor to own a horse to practice for the cavalry!  Krav Maga was designed by the Israeli Defense Forces to keep people alive in modern times against enemies with handguns, rifles, knives, sticks, throwing fists, throwing knees, choking them, grabbing their hair, etc., etc.   We have a friend from another system whom we train with who just doesn’t like Krav Maga.  He over thinks everything and wants pressure points, joint locks, etc.  What he does is better than Krav Maga….for him.  He doesn’t get that he is an unusual person who wants to spend hundreds of hours a year for many years getting proficient.  He loves working on the stuff.  Krav Maga is only concerned with getting people as safe as possible as quickly as possible.  Are we the best at knife defenses?  Maybe not but instead of spending hundreds of hours getting awesome at a knife defense only to have a handgun shoved in our face we want to learn enough of a knife defense to keep us safe and alive and then move quickly to learning the defenses to the other hundreds of ways a person can be attacked.  I think most martial artists will admit that if someone takes their art for three months and quits that they aren’t very good and won’t be able to defend themselves very well.  Three months in Krav Maga gets a person almost ready to be tested into level 2…and you are pretty darn good when you get that far.

Most martial arts made sense in their place in history or are now being designed by one man for modern problems.  These that rely on one “founder” worry me.  Techniques are designed in a gym with students as the attackers.  I have seen a system that taught a straight knife defense as a crescent kick to the knife and a back kick to the attacker (you better have a quick crescent and a devastating back kick!!).  I have also seen a system where the founder taught his students a handgun disarm that consisted of doing a forward roll towards the gunman and then coming up from under the gun and twisting it away (with his students mesmerized at his awesome technique…scarey!!).  A handgun defense that looks like it should work, and works with simunition guns, is being taught as gospel.  Has the founder ever had someone try to shoot them, stab them, bash their head in with a brick?  Krav Maga was designed by an entire Military.  The bullshit didn’t make it through because there is no Grand Poobah who has an ego….there is only keeping people alive, period.  When I hear someone say they have a way better handgun defense than what Krav Maga has I laugh.  If it were easy to learn, easy to remember and effective it would be Krav Maga, we would have stolen it already.  We don’t have a system that has to guard its traditions. We’ll switch to another technique in an instance if it works better.  Keeping people alive and safe is all it’s about.

A lot of systems work for the head instructor.  I can think of several systems where the head instructor is awesome and totally unbeatable (he’d kick my butt!) but the question is can that same system work as well for a 100 pound unathletic female as it does the six foot two, two hundred fifty pound instructor?  In Krav Maga any technique that we use or add has that exact filter to get through.  Will it work for our smallest, weakest practitioner?

A lot of martial arts are technique based while Krav Maga is philosophy based.  For example, when a knife is coming towards our mid section we want to deflect it, counter at the same time if possible and then either get the heck out of there or beat the idiot senseless.  The traditional martial art I took had of 30 different techniques for a straight knife stab.  Hick’s law states that when we have more than one choice it takes time to decide between them.  How much time do you have when a knife is being thrust into your gut?  Another problem is a lot of techniques have many steps.  If in practice I always must do A through F I get lost in real life when it derails at step C.  One other big problem I have with martial arts and real violence is students buying into what they are taught and having it be bad training and getting them hurt.  SGT Rory Miller in his great book Meditations on Violence talks about the time he visited a martial arts school and was sparring with one of the black belts.  He got punched in the nose and threw a technique back at the black belt.  The black belt stopped and bawled him out saying that they train realistically and that if he broke Rory’s nose the fight would be over.  Rory told the black belt that he has had his nose broken from a punch three times in his life and it never ended the fight, that he did indeed go after the puncher harder!  If that black belt is ever in a real fight he’ll deliver a nose punch that he was taught would devastate the other guy, stop fighting, and get creamed!

MMA?  These guys have the Krav Maga philosophy for training.  Be ready for anything.  If you are great on the ground but are facing a stand up guy or vice versa you are in trouble.  It makes sense to be good no matter where the fight is.  The UFC has taught us that there is no unbeatable martial art but that you have to be good at several.  The main problem with MMA training is that it is for sport.  One of my instructors carries around the rules for MMA in his bag and when someone asks him what we do in Krav Maga he shows them the rules and tells them “We want to do everything that is illegal in MMA fighting”.  We want to bite, head butt, poke eyes, kick to the groin, etc.   These are illegal in MMA because they cause damage.  Causing damage is what we want to do in self defense.  Really, self protection and self defense in MMA would be to bring a knife with you into the ring, to hit him from behind before the bell or to know that your fight is Saturday afternoon but find your opponent on Thursday morning, bring some friends with ball bats, and have at him.  I certainly don’t condone this but the point is a fair fight means your tactics suck!!

Again, we are not bashing any other system.  We just believe that when it comes to self defense people need to think about what real violence is.  Flashy techniques, training incorrectly, training for situations that no longer exist and complicated moves get people hurt.  Our main rule in Krav Maga is BE SAFE.

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“Home intruders are terrorists without a political agenda.”  SGT Sanford Strong

Home intrusions have a higher rate of serious injury and murder than any other crime.  Armed robberies have a 10% serious injury or murder rate, for example, while home invasions have a 35% rate.  Home invasions mostly follow the same pattern.  It’s as if these scum get together and exchange depraved ideas!  It starts off with “do as I say or I’ll blow your (child, spouse, etc’s) head off!”  They then tie the adult males up (often making one of the victims go after rope, electric cords, objects to use as weapons, etc.) before tying up the rest of the family.   This is almost always followed by torture and sadism.  The women will be raped and brutalized.   This will go on for hours as the scumbags have seclusion which gives them time.  When they leave it is often not before killing everyone.  In 1991 there were nearly half a million home invasions nationwide, it is worse today.

The predators burst in, sneak in a window, etc. or use a ruse to gain entrance.  Almost 100% of these predators are career criminals.  With isolation comes control and these crimes almost always go from robbery to terrorism and sadism.  This is a most serious, horrible situation.   First and foremost look around your home.  Decide how anyone can get in and rectify the situation.  Set rules with the family about locking doors behind them, not answering to anyone they don’t know, etc.  If you decide to have a gun in the home remember that they aren’t magic.  Someone who merely has a gun in the home and never trained with it quite often has the gun used against them.  The whole family MUST be trained well in their use.  As we said in previous blogs, as soon as you realize the bad guy is there you go off on him with all the rage you can muster.  Fight as if your life depends on it until he has been taken out.

What is the best thing you can do to prepare for such a horrendous event?  Home invader drills!  We practice home fire drils with our kids, we must also prepare and practice a plan for home invaders.  Kids are more resolute than we think.  This won’t really scare them if handled matter of factly.  Let them know that there are bad guys out there and if one is ever in the house here is what we do!  The intruder will almost always try to subdue the adult males first.  Let everyone else know that they are to make noise, bust out windows and above all…get out.  Do not listen to a word the predator is saying but scatter and go get help.  If even one person is out the predator now has to make a decision about how much time he has before police arrive.  SGT Strong makes the point that it is very, very hard to leave a family member in danger but the danger they are in for the few minutes before the criminal must flee is miniscule when compared with the danger of the entire family being taken captive.

Why Krav?  We learn to attack when faced with danger.  This becomes our first reaction.  We pride ourselves on teaching not only techniques but situational awareness as well.  Our drills help us to mind set and think in advance about what we are going to do in any situation.

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Scumbags are good at what they do.  Most have a system down that they follow time and time again, because it works for them.  If you are attacked there is an 80% chance that it will be by a recidivist.  A recidivist is someone who has been in prison for a violent crime in the past that has been let out (hooray for our awesome legal system).  He has a long list of victims.  He will not change for you.  You are not human to him.  You are a resource.  He sees you as the means to an end….you are money, the car, the rape, etc.  Begging, pleading or trying to reason will not work because, again, you aren’t human…. you are just next.  The recidivist considers himself more important than his victim and his wants more important than following societies rules.

The recidivists do not look at consequences.  Jail doesn’t scare them.  They live for today because they really don’t expect to live a very long life.  Prison is a stop to get medical care, food and shelter.  They will continue their victimizing in jail, it’s just a change of scenery to them with a new victim pool.   This criminal’s sense of right and wrong is grossly distorted.  There is no remorse, no regret and no hesitation to use violence as and end to a means.

He is an expert with words.  He can lie so sincerely that his own mother would believe him!  We expect people to be reasonable like we are.  We expect people to be truthful like we are.  When the predator is telling us to obey him and he won’t hurt us it causes us to not spring into action because we reason that if we do what he says he will keep his word.  The predator knows this, he knows what works.  Always remember, if he had any humanity, would have any remorse, had any good in him at all, he wouldn’t be committing a crime against you in the first place.

Predators are very patient to get what they want.  They will wait and attack from the greatest advantage they can find.  They will set up this advantage one of two ways.  The first way is by absolute surprise.  You weren’t paying attention and were somewhere secluded from others.  He was waiting with his weapon, handcuffs, van, etc.  He was planning while you were totally unaware.  The second way is to use charm and then surprise.  The predator charms his way close to you, into your house, near your car…and then attacks you.  Please remember that charm isn’t something we are born with.  We can be born a happy person.  We can be born a serious person.  We can be born a quiet person.  Nobody is born a charming person!  Charm is something that someone has had to work on.  Charm is an act!

Most Scumbags were raised in horrible situations.  They weren’t loved or nurtured, were abused, had a rough life.  This makes the bleeding hearts want to “educate and rehabilitate them”.  These people can’t be helped and don’t want help.  They hate life and hate you.  They don’t think you should have a happy life because they didn’t.  Stanton Samenow in his book Inside the Criminal Mind makes the point that no matter how the predator was made once he is created he remains a predator and no rehabilitation will change this personality trait.  Personally, I don’t care about their bad life.  That’s a sad attitude but my role in life is to care about my family.  There is no feeling bad for someone who wants to hurt my family.  They don’t look at us as human so if attacked don’t look at them as human.  Look at them as a horrible animal that needs your all out effort to destroy.  Don’t listen to a word coming out of their mouths, don’ t be tied up or moved.  Don’t hesitate.  When confronted go off as soon as you know what is happening and go off with all of your might!

Why Krav?  Because there are people out there like this!

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Some statistics dealing with crimes against women;

-93% of rapists who break into homes grab a knife from the intended victim’s kitchen

-80% of men involved in general attacks on women (muggings, robberies, beatings) don’t use a weapon, 80% of men involved in attacks on men do use a weapon.

-A study of intended rape victims found that of the 51% who fought back there was only a 2% increase in injury level compared to those who did not resist.

-80% of rape victims are between the ages of 16 and 24.

-80% of crime happens at work, at home or on pathways between the two (as well as pathways for exercise, etc.).

Statistics are good to know but don’t do us a lot of good.  Even those who avoid being in the majority categories of any of these statistics can be attacked.  The main thing I want to get burned into your mind today has to do with the secondary crime scene.  The secondary crime scene is anywhere the Scumbag is moving you.  This can be around a corner, behind a building or into his car to travel 100’s of miles away.  If a piece of Human Garbage is going to hurt you in public for not obeying him what can the outcome possibly be when he has you in an isolated spot?  The perpetrator of rape and torture needs time and seclusion to fulfill his plans.  Nearly 100% of all murdered rape victims were in an isolated spot (home or apartment) or moved to an isolated spot.

There are two horrible mistakes that women too often make when face to face with a criminal.  The first is believing him when he says things like “Come with me and I won’t hurt you”.  The other is waiting for the right moment to make their move.  On the first point, the bad guy knows you want to believe him when he says those kind of things.  This is why he has perfected lying.  This works for him.  On the second point there will be no perfect (or even good) time to resist.  More important than anything else for your safety is the fact that you must go off with rage and total commitment the second you realize what is going on.  From Strong on Defense by SGT Sanford Strong “Time works against you.  Don’t cede control, even if you think it’s only temporary.  (If you don’t try to escape right away) you are much less likely to escape at all.”

Most women who successfully fight off a rapist or killer, according to studies, all did the same four things.  1) they reacted immediately,  2) they resisted with rage,  3) they refused to be moved to a secondary crime scene and 4) they refused to give up, even when injured.

Our first option is always to run.  Even if he has a weapon, run!  This should always be our “flinch” reaction and be our first response.  Be aware and observe wherever you are.  The sooner you see him the more distance you have.  Distance is our friend.  Be aware of exits, where other people are, etc. at all times.  Realize that if you walk in on something bad going down the way you got in is usually the fastest way out. Sometimes hiding is an option.   Fighting is last on the list.  Men are generally larger and stronger than women.  When a woman decides to fight back it has to be an all out effort with the main goal being escape.  In most cases there is no amount of force that you can use to discourage a male attacker, he must be incapacitated.

In summary;  Don’t ever allow yourself to be moved to a secondary crime scene.  Don’t wait to resist.  Resist the second you realize he means you harm and go off with all the hate and rage that you can muster!  Don’t listen to what he is saying, concentrate only on escape.  Run when it’s an option.  Always be aware of your surroundings.

Be Safe!

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