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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 […]

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Lorde of the Tweets: Lorde tells fans it’s ok to have flaws

On Good Morning America this morning, we talked about Grammy-winner, Lorde and her most recent viral tweet that showed two photos.  One photo showed Lorde with flawless skin, photoshopped to perfection.  The other photo showed Lorde completely natural, skin imperfections and all. Why is this significant? Lorde is a superstar with millions of fans.  And […]

Lorde of the Tweets: Lorde tells fans it’s ok to have flaws is a post from: Dr. Robyn Silverman – Child Development Specialist, Body Image Expert, Success Coach & the Creator of the Powerful Words Character Development System

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WHAT I DID IN MARTIAL ARTS CLASS…

“Listening to the average martial artist talk about real world violence I like listening to ten year olds talk about sex.” SGT Rory Miller What I did in martial arts class…and why it was pretty worthless for self defense; This isn’t a put down to those doing martial arts. I spent a big chunk of […]

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OUR TRAINING IS FLAWED!

“Instructors, if you aren’t putting everything you teach under stress and exhaustion you are teaching self defense techniques, not self defense. There is a big difference.” M. Slane Some self defense training is better than others but ALL training has flaws. The flaws are built in on purpose. Think about it, we are training to […]

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OUR TRAINING IS FLAWED!

“Instructors, if you aren’t putting everything you teach under stress and exhaustion you are teaching self defense techniques, not self defense. There is a big difference.” M. Slane Some self defense training is better than others but ALL training has flaws. The flaws are built in on purpose. Think about it, we are training to […]

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How Can Parents Instill Their Top Values in Their Children?

Resilience, empathy and leadership. Respect, compassion and perseverance. Authenticity, gratitude and integrity. In preparation for my presentation Creating a Community of Character: Inspiring our children to become role models for The American Camp Association tomorrow, I asked my Facebook audience yesterday for their top 3 values that they would like to see in their children.  […]

How Can Parents Instill Their Top Values in Their Children? is a post from: Dr. Robyn Silverman – Child Development Specialist, Body Image Expert, Success Coach & the Creator of the Powerful Words Character Development System

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SELF DEFENSE THOUGHTS…

When I first started teaching Krav Maga in 1998 very few people had heard of it. When they had heard of Krav I almost always got the comment “Oh, that brutal stuff”. My answer was always “I don’t look at it as brutal, I look at it as effective. I didn’t start the attack.” Problem […]

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FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE!

I am sent videos of other defense systems quite often by friends across the nation. They always want to know what I think of the system and of the system’s head honcho. More often than not the video is awesome. It shows an expert smashing people, flipping and throwing big guys around and whooping three […]

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