I just received a blog update(yes I do subscribe to a number of mail lists) titled “Israeli Gun Disarm Secrets” That is the title the post has all the trappings a catchy headline needs. “ISRAELI” has been a buzz word ever since the Mossad emerged as a force to be reckoned with after the 1972 Olympics. They wrote the book on counter terrorism and protection tactics. I have had the opportunity to meet some of these people in seminars in the early 90’s and they were most impressive. Unfortunately counter terrorism has nothing to do with personal self defense. It has everything to do with gathering intelligence, technology, weaponry and tactical planning. If you are using your hand to hand combat in a counter terrorist situation a lot has gone wrong. There are only 24 hours in the day. Most of your training is intelligence gathering, small arms and other technical devices. Hand to hand is a part of it, but a very small part of it. The Israeli moniker is a marketing buzz word. Because underneath, it’s just the same old martial arts myths and misconceptions.
I just use this article as a jump off point, the same can be said for the vast majority of self defense, not just what is being promoted as Israeli Elite Commando. Let’s put it this way, I have seen a lot of things. I know, I’m only one man and one life. I have only met a handful of people on the right track. A lot of them “talk” the same language, but their actions turn into the same old stuff. They may execute it harder, or faster, but it’s still based on the wrong principles.
The mistake lies in the way we think. We all have a tendency to Monday Morning Quarter Back our lives. It’s easy to watch a professional fight and yell at the screen “Why isn’t he just punching him.” But unless you’re in there, you don’t know what’s going on inside his head. Martial arts look at self defense and project REASONING into it. You look at a situation “logically” and come up with a solution. This may work in practice, but under real world conditions, reasoning is non-existent.
Fighting and pain evoke emotional reactions, not intellectual responses. When you take yourself outside the emotion and you THINK about a self defense situation you will come up with response based on reason. This is natural, this is how we all think. Heck, we all can give the best advice in the world, but when it comes to our own lives, that’s a different story. That’s because you act on emotion and feel, not reason.
Your body is engineered to react emotionally to danger and physical stress. This is actually a good thing when you learn how to channel the adrenalin rush. Training to make your body REASON and go against instinct is an exercise in futility. You can’t go fight mother nature. You must accept the fact that you will react a certain way and prepare for that reality.
This is what happens to you when you are under stress.
From the book “On Combat” by Grossman
“An understanding of the stress of close combat begins with an understanding of the physiological response to close-range interpersonal aggression. The traditional view of combat stress is most often associated with combat fatigue and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which are actually manifestations that occur after, and as a result of, combat stress. Bruce Siddle has defined combat stress as the perception of an imminent threat of serious personal injury or death, or the stress of being tasked with the responsibility to protect another party from imminent serious injury or death, under conditions where response time is minimal.
The debilitating effects of combat stress have been recognized for centuries. Phenomenon such as tunnel vision, auditory exclusion, the loss of fine and complex motor control, irrational behavior, and the inability to think clearly have all been observed as byproducts of combat stress. Even though these phenomena have been observed and documented for hundreds of years, very little research has been conducted to understand why combat stress deteriorates performance.
The key characteristic which distinguishes combat stress is the activation of the SNS (Sympathetic Nervous System). The SNS is activated when the brain perceives a threat to survival, resulting in a immediate discharge of stress hormones. This “mass discharge” is designed to prepare the body for fight-or-flight. The response is characterized by increasing arterial pressure and blood flow to large muscle mass (resulting in increased strength capabilities and enhanced gross motor skills–such as running from or charging into an opponent), vasoconstriction of minor blood vessels at the end of appendages (which serves to reduce bleeding from wounds), pupil dilation, cessation of digestive processes, and muscle tremors. Figure 2(below) presents a schematic representation of the effects of hormone induced heart rate increase resulting from SNS activation. “
That being said, let’s review what will happen to you with the “Fit hits the shan.”
1. Tunnel Vision
2. Auditory Exclusion
3. Loss of fine and complex motor control
4. Irrational behavior
5. The inability to think clearly
You will however have increased strength and the capability to run away or charge your target.
Now marinate with that for a few moments. Think of all the gun disarm techniques, all the “weapon control” techniques. All the complicated trapping and subtle movements you’ve been training for decades. I’m not going to tell you they are a waste of time (BUT THEY ARE). Physically, it will be impossible to execute them. Being tired is different than being stressed under combat. This effect happens when hormones hit your blood stream and that only happens when you feel your life is truly in danger.
I’m sure somebody has heard of someone doing something at some point in time that resembled a complicated disarm. Hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day. I’m not going to hang my life on something I heard some guy did somewhere. I’m going to depend on what I know is fact. You can convince yourself into thinking (reasoning) that you will be able to remove millions of years of evolution in a few short years of practice OR you can embrace what the good lord gave you and train in a manner that takes advantage of what your body is designed to do.
Things like “gun disarms” are a fantasy. All of the “disarms” I have ever seen involve two things 1. diverting your attention away from your attacker towards the weapon for an extended period of time (more than a second) and 2. Complex motor skill movements that will be beyond your capability when your SNS takes over. You know what happens to complex movements when you try to process them when your SNS takes over. They turn into gross motor movements and look like twitched and convulsions. You may just manage to put your hand on the weapon and then you will stop. The best disarm is when the guy pointing his gun at you is knocked the f#ck out. Then you can bend down and pick up the gun.
Why is it that the more dangerous the situation, the more complicated the technique?
This is funny, or tragic, that martial arts and self defense experts teach more complex techniques for weapons defense and less complex techniques for unarmed defense. Sure the SDTS teaches you THE SAME TECHNIQUES for both and I know, it’s too easy (Sorry for not wasting your time). The right answers MUST be complicated and difficult (being sarcastic here).
The first thing you learn in the SDTS is that if your faced with a gun or any other weapon at a distance is to escape. Even with firearms, the FBI and the Department of justice show that in situations where a firearm was present less than 20% of the victims were shot at. Less than 2% of those people were actually hit and 0% were seriously injured or killed. That’s right, there is a 100% chance you will live when you run .
NOTE: Pepper spray or a “substitute” can work wonders against a knife or club attack from a distance! On the other hand, pointing pepper spray at someone who has a gun trained on you might be a big mistake.
But, when walking away is not an option, you will need to do a two things:
1. React in a manner you that you are capable. SIMPLE, GROSS MOTOR MOVEMENTS
2. Get out of immediate danger and inflict as much damage to your target in the shortest amount of time.
Gun disarm, sure when you gingerly pluck it out of his unconscious hand. Complex movements and Hollywood disarms look cool and are fun, but in reality you are NOT going to pull them off, your engineering simply won’t let you.
NEVER die in training.
You will be surprised on what your body can endure. Google “knife wound” or “gunshot survivor.” Gruesome, I know, but the people survived. Hey, I’m the first person who doesn’t want to get shot or stabbed and my doctor has recommended I avoid this as much as possible. But you have to understand that people with out any training at all who attacked their assailant first sustained minimal damage.
Using paint guns, markers, chalk knives and shock knives are good but you must train with them correctly. Getting touch with a shock knife might mean you’ve been cut, but it doesn’t mean you’re dead. What ever you do, train to fight HARDER after that happens and DON’T STOP! It’s not a game of tag, train to fight through the pain. Train know that these things will happen. DON’T assume you will be able to walk away without a scratch, that’s just plain silly.
Work within the parameters of your engineering and stop trying to fight mother nature. Instead, use what she has given you to your advantage, embrace her, take her out, she’s quite the MILF.
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company
Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.