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I’ve heard stories of an Army instructor who likes to read the riot act to his soldiers. “Any soldier engaging in close quarters combat (CQC) deserves to die.” His thinking: if the soldier and his cohorts had allowed the enemy to get close enough to go hands-on, the good guys had all failed at their jobs. Miserably. I’m not exactly sure why I told you that; civilians are highly likely to “engage” a bad guy at bad breath distance. I mean, what perp worth his salt wouldn’t attempt to surprise his victim? So what do you do? Well, you could learn the techniques above. Nothing wrong with that—other than the fact that there isn’t a range I know where you can actually practice shooting from your nipple. Meanwhile . . .

Keep a simple idea in mind: the more violent person is likely to win a fight. If you can’t get away from the perp(s) and you can’t get to your gun efficiently, attack! Go all-in. Go nuts. Lean in and inflict as much damage as you can. Krav Maga the bad guy’s ass. No half measures.

Fear isn’t the mind killer. It’s the body killer. It wants you to freeze. The best way to overcome fear is by sheer force of will. And nothing (in my experience) triggers that will more quickly than physical commitment. In other words, make a move. Does it matter which move you make? Not as much as the fact that you made one.

Just as culture eats strategy for lunch, an aggressive mindset eats technique for breakfast.  At least initially. After that, who knows?

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  1. Bring a level of violence to the fight so that your enemies will never forget your cruelty. No such thing as cheating in a fight for your life.

    • heh – I was attacked by a much bigger guy outside a bar one time. He pushed me to the ground so I ended the fight with my thumb under his eyeball. Took about three seconds.

  2. I’ve seen this in action, from a few years studying martial arts as a teenager. Whoever was more aggresive tended to win in sparring amongst the beginners and lightly trained. With more experienced fighters, it evened out more. Interestingly enough, there was one brand new student, who had just got to the point of sparring, that stayed calm, kept his head, and took down much more aggressive opponents (including me). Turns out he had just gotten out of the Marines after a tour in the middle east in Desert Storm.

    Almost 20 years later I’m still friends with the guy. Later this month I intend to see how badly I can damage my hand trying to fire his Desert Eagle 50 cal.

  3. I’ve argued with co-workers regarding this before. They seem to believe that some form of Marquess of Queensbury Rules are in place in a fight and that it wasn’t manly to have a fair fist fight. I told them they were crazy and that they’d be better served to be a survivor than a dead sportsman. They took issue with me claiming that there are no rules when pushed into a confrontation and if necessary one should crush testicles, stomp feet, and headbutt until said one could fire his weapon.

    • The only rule in a fight for your life is you must be the winner at any cost. The whole, “its not manly to fight unfairly” thing could get those people killed.

      • Not “could,” but “probably will.”

        Violence is violence is violence, the only necessary degree in a life/death situation is maximum force. A fight for your life is not a fsking tennis match.

    • I would rather be alive and be known as one who crushes testicles and headbutting instead of having my family mourn over my death.

      • Or worse… you be the one with crushed testicles mourning the death of a family member because you wanted tried to have a ‘fair fight’.

    • OK. I will forgo the internal contradictions and and just observe that your have no idea whatsoever how to get your ideas across to others in writing.

      • The offending statement should have read, “…wasn’t manly to *not* have a fair fist fight”. I acknowledge mistyping it, but as no one seemed to have difficulty gleaning the meaning by context, I see no need for a grammar Nazi to goose-step his way into the conversation.

        • Yeah, when being a grammar Nazi, it is always best to avoid typos in your post, e.g. “your have.”

  4. “…other than the fact that there isn’t a range I know where you can actually practice shooting from your nipple.”

    Depends on the range, of course. I’m lucky enough to belong to a local range that is an outdoor “bay-style” range where within the bays you can set up pretty much whatever shooting scenarios you want as long as you comply with certain range rules, are safe about it, and the bullets end up low in the end berm. “Shooting from your nipple” would certainly be permissible as long as you are being safe and prudent.

  5. “…other than the fact that there isn’t a range I know where you can actually practice shooting from your nipple.”

    It depends on the range, of course. I’m fortunate to be a member of an outdoor “bay-style” range where you can pretty much set up whatever shooting scenario you want as long as it complies with the (minimal) range rules, is safe, and the bullets end up low in the end berm. So shooting from the nipple would be perfectly fine as long as you are being safe about it.

    • Ditto — In fact, I didn’t realize that this was an issue for most people. I do shooting from retention training at my range all the time — perfectly within the rules.

  6. Carry a folding knife with pocket clip that is good for knife fighting, length as long as is legal in your area. Keep it clipped to the hem of your trouser pocket. Rest your hand on it when walking; always be ready to deploy.

    Why? Because you will always be thinking about how to deploy it when needed. Also buy a book about knife fighting (Knife Fighting: A Practical Course by Michael Janich is a very good one). Your situational awareness will increase. You will develop the mental fortitude required to fight moreso than if you don’t. You will be forced to think about getting up close and personal, thus you will be better-prepared to deal with an aggressor aggressively.

    But the most important reason: It acclimates you to the idea of fighting aggressively. In a knife fight, you play for keeps: The fight generally doesn’t end until you administer a lethal attack.

    • It is worth mentioning that this mindset allowed me to disarm a man with a 12″ blade once. I didn’t even think twice – training took over, and I acted without fear. The level of aggression required to perform the action was conjured naturally.

    • Can I carry my M&P9c with the knife and just pull it instead? I have more practice and feel a bit more comfortable with it. Plus, I don’t like the thought of getting cut in a knife fight. 1st rule of knife fighting, you will get cut.

      • Yeah, I’m gonna have to side with Chris on this one. That whole “knife to a gunfight” thing. Yes, at certain distances a knifewielder can stab you before you draw, but the answer to that is to speed up your draw, not switch to a knife that will take just as long to draw and have less practical lethality.

        • I don’t believe I ever once advocated “bring a knife to a gun fight.” You seem to be missing the point.

        • I stand corrected, you are advocating knife carry as a way to force situational awareness and as a weapon to fight off a violent threat. That being said, if your attacker is weilding a gun, you have brought a knife to a gunfight. I can see your point for those that can’t legally carry a firearm at the time, but could legally carry a 3in one handed folder, but it’s hardly optimal.

        • What about those of us who are unable to get CCW’s, but can carry knives? Such as college students, like myself. I carry a 2.75″ (college frowns upon 3″+) Kershaw Cryo with me everywhere. And I have to say, Daniel is right on with everything he said.

          Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to carry a gun, and having a knife is certainly better than having nothing.

        • “…college frowns upon 3″+…”

          Frowns upon, or prohibits? Because I generally don’t give a damn what someone frowns upon. Because they also frown upon people attacking me.

    • “Carry a folding knife with pocket clip that is good for knife fighting, length as long as is legal in your area.”

      So, Citizen Daniel, if the law says two inches max, you are going to carry a TWO-INCH KNIFE? If you act like anything other than a street criminal, the chance of getting arrested for a knife that’s too big is miniscule. If the law limits a knife to two inches length, that law and everyone who voted in favor of it is an ASS.

      Civil disobedience si. Death no!

      • It’s all about technique. I work in a federal installation, the rule is 2.5 inches. I see many people with longer knives, no one ever checks for knives at the gate, so unless you get pulled over and piss of the LEO, no one will care. I can’t ever remember seeing any serious charges about a folding knife that was too big, I guess it happens, but I don’t think its a high risk. Anyway, I have 2 knives thst are 2.5 inches, I carry one of these to work each day. I train with them and with a even smaller Kiradashi knife. So, a small knife can be effective, but it would be less effective as an improvised weapon if you had not trained with it. I travel frequently, and that was part of the reason for these two smsll knives, you can’t always know what the local knife laws are.

        • I carry a Gerber FAST Combat Folder. Texas just passed legislation legalizing spring-loaded/switchblade knives. Showed mine to a cop a while back, and he explained that I was in felony violation of the law. He let me slide because I’m retired military and former LEO. NOW WE’RE LEAGL (in a few months, anyway).

  7. Grab opponent by both sides of the head, then smash his nose in with your forehead repeatedly until he sags or dies. When he’s down on the ground, piledrive your knee into his neck from a standing position, then stomp his head with your heel or keep your weight on his throat.

    • Nothing like a good headbutt. I know I once broke my friends nose like that after he knocked my glasses into a crowd.

      TL;DR : Headbutts are effective. Scream like a madman for added effect.

      • After being on the receiving and giving ends of a head butt, I’m pretty sure nobody wins.

    • headbutts are harder to pull off effectively than a lot of people think. If your opponent is drunk and stupid, sure. But if they’re halfway decent? Soon as you grab the head they try to close into elbow/knee distance.

  8. Is it just me or is the instructor in the video having way too trouble drawing smoothly and cleanly from his Blackhawk Level III holster?

  9. I remember having to go at a few Taliban in Afghanistan despite having secured an area. They blend in after all, and theyve ambushed me with knives plenty of times.. Krav Maga and Jiu-Jitsu came in handy.

  10. It all comes down to who is doing the attacking. If you are attacking a bad guy, he can’t be attacking you. I like the tip: “Go nuts!” It works.

  11. On an unrelated note I think it’s hilarious for some reason that krav maga is now a verb as well as a discipline.
    On topic, I completely agree with the article, if someone comes at me, as far as I’m concerned, the enemy gate is down

    • I haven’t found an earlier reference for “if you’re in a fair fight, you’ve made a terrible mistake” than Fairbairn’s 1942 pub, “Get Tough.” A bad scan is here: Pulling a knife under my local laws guarantees you an indictment and trial.

      I have an acquaintance who proved the truth in this, that you just need to carry a glass bottle of iced tea. Use it in its various configurations, very fast. Then run like hell. If there is no attempted mugging, just drink it. The Skittles bit may be an innovation on this, but I don’t know how you use those effectively.

  12. I feel that I can conjure up unmitigated rage if I need to go postal on his azz

  13. If it’s my ass on the line, no holds barred. I will do whatever I have to to stay alive. I have no qualms whatsoever with fighting dirty if it keeps me alive.

  14. “Nothing wrong with that—other than the fact that there isn’t a range I know where you can actually practice shooting from your nipple.”

    That is why I don’t shoot at a range for this kind of practice. I know many of you don’t have that optoin, but if at all possible, find a place you can do this. Also, there is airsoft and it is better for the force on force training anyway.

  15. Jeff Cooper’s Principles of Self Defense is filled with example after example of people who, upon recognizing their life was in danger IMMEDIATELY went on the counter attack (even when unarmed vs multiple armed opponents) and came out alive if for no other reason than they got inside their attacker’s OODA loop and scared them into reconsidering their plans. For the more HSLD crowd, Chris Costa has a line in one of the Magpul Dynamics videos about how “it might be called ‘defense’, but in that moment I am ‘defending’ myself and my family in the most offensive and aggressive way possible”.

  16. “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

    – Theodore Roosevelt

  17. Much of what’s written for LE regarding escalation of force applies to the rest of us as well. Frankly though aggression is the essence of winning. This is what every branch of the military attempts to teach in their brief training Re hand to hand and pugil stick fighting. I think there is some confusion regarding the term ‘aggression’. In this sense it doesn’t mean to be the initiator of violence (though it can mean that in other contexts). When applied to surviving a violent confrontation it means simply that you are actually and tenaciously attempting to cause harm to your opponent. If your primary concern is not being harmed and/or you are reluctant to harm another you’re exactly who an aggressor wants to be up against because either you won’t attempt to harm him, or won’t commit to harming him in such a way as to incapacitate him before he gains control over you. Someone who will offer you physical violence has made a couple of things frighteningly clear; they are not opposed to causing you harm and they value their own physical safety less than they value the ends to which harming you is the means. This means they are committed and will likely prevail unless they are either rendered unable to continue aggression (less likely) or meet with a degree of danger (counter violence) that alters the equation and puts them back into damage avoidance mode (highly likely).
    Step one in achieving this shift is simply trying to hurt them as badly as you can as often as you can and giving no pause or quarter. Any strike or technique you’ve ever thought seemed too awful or too damaging is precisely what needs doing, but anything that’s apt to inflict injury or pain may do the trick. While rendering them unable to continue should be the goal, the more likely outcome is that they develop fear of your aggression and either retreat or withdrawal enough to allow you to retreat.
    There are a multitude of different approaches and techniques that are effective and which one(s) you choose are largely immaterial. In the words of one battered old brawler ‘Put it on ‘em, then just keep puttin’ it on ‘em till they quit.’ As has been put various ways by various people most notably Sun Tzu; If both sides think they’re losing, they’re both right. They may be hurting you and you may feel like quitting but if you persist in hurting them it just might be the last straw since they may too be at the edge of quitting.

    ‘Go Nuts!’ isn’t such bad advice, double entendre included.

  18. Self-Defense Tip: Go For The Nuts

    This tip does not work on crazy women. For them, try jewelry.

    • While *I* have never kicked a woman in the ovaries, I have seen one woman do it do another, with similar results.

    • Kicking for the groin requires a fairly high kick, which depending on what you’re wearing or how old your bones are might be difficult. It will usually generate an instinctive protective block, and it puts your foot in the opponent’s reach.

      Kicking out the knee, on the other hand…

  19. my strategy is: go for the eyes. the brain is hardwired to protect the eyes, as sight is the single most important of the human senses. if a guy has a kick aimed at his crotch at the same time a pair of stiffened fingers are aimed at his eyes, he’ll protect his eyes every time.

    • Attacking the face is what starts your attacker into thinking they should have done something different. Also, most fights lead to the ground. Fighting on the ground can be scary, but if you have trained to keep your head, there are a lot of things that can be done to control your attacker and end the fight.

  20. When you must fight go all or nothing yell, kick,spit,shoot, but go nuts is right, no rules, no laws, or die..attack,attack, and never stop!hit then with the gun if out of ammo,stick a knife in the eye, and watch out for a second bad guy. put everyone down, and down shoot them again,,,, forget the GZ trail , live or die…

  21. I’m sorry, I saw the headline and I couldn’t help myself,


  22. “The best defense is a good offense.” Projecting force and confidence, even if rationally you should not, is immensely effective. After all, the attacker is always free to back off and reconsider, but your aggression communicates clearly that you don’t feel you have the same option.

    Marquess of Queensbury rules apply in duels (be it the old fashioned pistol kind or the schoolyard ‘meet me at the flagpole’), not life-and-death fights.

    • I don’t know where people get this idea that a fair fight is the only way to go. If you’re being threatened, fairness shouldn’t come into it. The goal is to make it out with you and any friends/family’s lives intact, not to follow an arbitrary set of rules. Someone attacks you, they don’t deserve a “fair” chance.

    • Well put Re Dueling E. Jones

      It is good to remember that combat mutual joined and agreed upon is a form of duel, not a fight proper. Dueling (even empty handed) puts one on shaky legal and even ethical ground if one then goes all out attempting to destroy the opponent. Avoid duel, consider the advice about stupid people, things and places. . .

      In a ‘fight’ which is neither mutually agreed to nor reasonably avoidable, there is no rule but winning at all costs.

  23. Bruce Lee’s self defense books always harp on attacking weak spots. Groin, knees, eyes, ears, mouth, etc. But in all of the books he tells you to be aware of the surroundings and do your best to avoid bad situations. He acknowledges that you are not always able to.

  24. The rule is about 7 yards… or 21 feet…. The distance some one can run or lunge with a knife and in a time to draw your weapon (unless you have your gun in some stupid place like your pocket or purse). If you are shooting people at +50 feet or more, you might have some explaining to do (in defending yourself against lawsuits or criminal charges). With that said, there IS NO WAY you can control how close an attacker will be when you go to deadly force….make room, talk your way out, evade, get away without letting lead fly. We are not assassins to execute bad guys, we are to protect our self ONLY if we are immediate threat of seriously bodily injury or death AND the attacker has the intent and means.

  25. I don’t totally agree with the notion to “go all in” and/or “go nuts.” You guys need to remember the LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS for this. The law will look at it from the perspective of, did you use the minimum amount of force necessary to protect yourself? If it can be argued that you used excessive force, then your life can be ruined as you end up in prison. You should find a take a course regarding the legal use of lethal force so you know the limits of what you can and cannot do.

    As for those saying carry a knife, again check the laws regarding use and carry of a knife. You get caught by the police carrying a knife and that can get you into a world of trouble as it is flat illegal in much of the country.

  26. “You take that back! These tacticool pants do not make my ass look big!”……….Oops, this ain’t the weekend photo caption post is it?

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