Self-defense techniques are fascinating. The combination of physics, strategy and determination is poetry in motion. Well, not really. Real fights recall Thomas Hobbes’ view of life: nasty, brutish and short. While I’d like to believe that police officers and other civilian gun carriers could master the master’s moves for ground-based in-hand gun retention, I seriously doubt it. Most people are unwilling or unable to practice hand-to-hand combat sufficiently to perfect the perfect technique for getting an oaf off of them. And even if they did, the map is not the territory. There’s an excellent chance their “muscle memory” would forget to remember Richard Nance’s sage advice when push came to shove. So where does that leave us? With one simple principle . . .
Fight! Fight for your life! Kill, crush, destroy! No rules, no mercy, no holding back. Give it all you’ve got the moment you’ve got to give it.
As far as I can tell, after taking a number classes with a variety of instructors, that’s the Krav Maga way. The moment you know you’re under attack, or about to be under attack, you let slip the dogs of war. You punch, kick, strike, whatever with as much force as you can possibly muster. If you’re defending yourself from an assault, you do so with speed, surprise and violence of action. In other words, you attack as you defend.
This is not news; I’ve written on this topic before. I shared how I taught my girls to do anything not to be dragged into a stranger’s car, even if it means being shot or stabbed. All-in at the start. But a commentator recently brought up the subject of a gunslinger’s willingness to kill in the post Three Good Reason Not to Carry a Gun. Which raised the question: does “going all-in” mean shoot sooner rather than later?
More than a few members of TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia have stated flat-out that if they clear leather (un-holster their firearm), they’re going to shoot. I don’t hold with that definition of “all-in.” A lot can happen between unholstering, aiming and pulling the trigger. Best case scenario: the attack – or threat of attack – has stopped. Second best case: the bad guy or guys sees the gun and stops his, her or their attack. Either way, that is my goal. Stopping the attack.
Remember: shooting someone is no guarantee that they’ll stop their attack. (Anyone who counts on an immediate and conclusive ballistic solution to a lethal or potentially lethal threat is ignoring the astounding effects of adrenalin, buying Hollywood BS and making a big mistake.) Equally, shooting someone could seriously annoy them, with all the retaliation that would entail. And don’t forget the paperwork.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying don’t shoot the bad guy when your or other innocent life is in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm. I’m simply pointing out that bringing your gun to bear on a bad guy or guys is different from mounting a physical defense/offense on your assailant or assailants. You might – might – have the chance to reconsider shooting your attacker(s). You might – might – have the time and/or distance to make that decision. If so, keep an open mind about taking it.
Now. Keep an open mind about it now. Chances are you’ll be acting on pure instinct during an attack. And if you do, so be it. Your survival, and the survival of other innocent life, is Job One. If all goes well, there’ll be plenty of time to analyze your performance after the fact. (Not that you should, but there will.) If you win, if you survive, that’s all that matters. Going all-in to win works. Unless it doesn’t.