Let’s get through a few myths and essential details on this topic. At the outset, I would like to point out that each of the solutions that I teach, was tested many times on UTM / FX training ammunition personally and with the help of my students. Each time, the effectiveness of the learning solutions was at the level of 80-90%.
It is often said that if someone wants to kill you, he will do it from a distance and will never come closer than within reach. It’s a myth!
Many people in the world of martial arts and self-defense claim, that no one will use a weapon to threaten in the short distance. The LEOKA Statistics (FBI annual report on the use of weapons in the US territory) says something completely different. Only in 2019, there were 44 police officers killed in the US – and 14 of them at the distance of 0.5 – 1.5 meters (source: LEOKA FBI 2019). It clearly proves the need to train the use of weapons in the short-range and close combat, as well as the need to familiarize users with the techniques of defense against gun threats or murder attempts in such situations.
What is important – you should always pay attention to the intentions of the aggressor. Not every attempt of threat with a firearm is a murder attempt and it does not always take place at distances above 1 meter. How do we know it? It only takes one look at the analysis of security cameras or industrial cameras records. They clearly show that many situations related to gun threata with weapons take place in a distance shorter than the length of an outstretched arm.
You have probably heard the well-known mantra, that “no one smart enough will approach you at arm’s length”… but it’s simply not true!
It often happens, that our surroundings, aggressor’s demands or kidnapping attempts are factors forcing the aggressor to reduce the distance between him and the victim. And here comes the need of Krav Maga training. Can you imagine a situation, where a kidnapper or robber gives orders to the victim from a few meters distance in the city center..? No way!
Can I be faster than a bullet?
It’s not our intention to teach students how to be faster than bullets or bulletproof.
Our overriding goal is to equip students with the skills of crisis negotiation, taking the initiative, avoiding the hit by controlling and redirecting weapons, leaving the line of fire, countering and in the final phase, and – if necessary – disarming the aggressor. We can increase the chances of survival only through training. There’s never any guarantee of 100% safety.
Is it possible for the hand to be faster than the finger on the trigger?
Yes – it is. However, we are not directly comparing finger-to-hand speed, but considering a general overview of the situation. Every move we make should be well thought and prepared.
Let me set an example. If you have time, use crisis negotiation to redirect the aggressor’s attention from the weapon and the blackmail itself to conversation or movement. It’s a highly complex skill, that should be trained parallelly with the technique. If there is no time for talking, react quickly, decisively, and aggressively! When someone wants to kill you, there are no bad solutions, only those not showing adequate determination and speed. And on top of it – you just need to be lucky!
Won’t my reaction turn against me?
If your defense is not decisive and your further reaction is not aggressive and dynamic enough, it might happen that your moves might trigger a reflex attempt to fire. When you decide to defend yourself – you can’t stop. Every mistake needs to be corrected in the next move, and the attack must be determined, strong, and fast. It’s a solution to every problem. So no matter how the situation unfolds, don’t lose the initiative! The aggressor won’t let you do the same trick twice.
How can I prepare?
1. Proper training
As with any training of this type, everything is a matter of proper training, methodology, and training tools. First, you need to be sure that what we do really works. It’s easier to understand the mechanisms of operation and a specific technique then.
For this purpose, it is necessary to use UTM / FX training weapons, or more available and not requiring the carry permit – Real Action Markers. Rubber replicas are useless!
2. Mental & physical preparation
The next step is mental and physical preparation, which are two key and most overlooked issues.
While physical preparation is simple, shaping the appropriate mental attitude is a completely different – much more complicated issue, that most students have no idea about (it’s such a broad topic, that I will for sure focus on it in my next article, by the way).
The least important in Krav Maga (in my opinion) is the technique. Of course, there are some elements that need to be kept, such as:
- getting off the line of fire with the simultaneous interception of the gun/wrist
- pressure – that is a strong forward step towards the aggressor, which causes unbalance and redirection the aggressor’s remarks on the need to stay on his feet
- the fastest and strongest counter possible
All the rest, about how to place the toes in the foot, how the grip should pose, or what disarmament should look like… is simply a showoff and steak of unnecessary details, not really useful in a real confrontation. The truth is, disarmament will be as circumstances allow.
Your defense has to be as universal as possible – it means, easily adaptable to changing conditions of body positions or differences resulting from the strength, mass, and speed of people participating in the fight.
The more details and technical obligations, the more ineffective and not universal the technique becomes. In most cases, our training-time during classes is very limited, so and students should be initially ready to use what we show them after a few pieces of training. Otherwise, we are no longer talking about self-defense – but martial arts.
5. Weapon awareness
The last element that gives us a better chance of success is the knowledge of the weapon. And it’s not all about shooting skills, but about basic technical knowledge, and experience of grabbing the weapon while shooting. Do you need an example? Anyone who has had the opportunity to catch the pistol during the shot knows, that after firing the first shot occurs a jam – and it gives us an additional advantage and the possibility of defense.
No technique gives us a guarantee of effectiveness. That’s why we teach how to increase the chance of survival in an extreme situation when there is no other output but to defend yourself.
Author: Mateusz Orczykowski
Translation & edition: Kasia Maciejak