The Illusive “Window of Opportunity”

The illusive “window of opportunity” “A window of opportunity is a short time period during which an otherwise (seemingly) unattainable opportunity exists.” Window of opportunity…..an interesting term which most people envision as an opening in a dark plane which will allow them to gain whatever they need at the time the window opens.  This “window of opportunity” is something that is rarely offered, never actually ‘given’ and almost invariably earned by searching for it.  However, without awareness it will pass by unnoticed. The term “Opportunity only knocks once” is a total misnomer, at least insofar as this dissertation is concerned.  One can fashion such a window easily with proper mental attitude and conditioning. Related to a violent conflict, or fight situation, the window of opportunity is almost always fleeting and appears for only fractions of seconds, if at all.  Unless you can stay reasonably calm and somewhat confident, analyze what is actually going on, and deal with it even under bad conditions, you may never see this ‘window”. Windows of opportunity sometimes just “appear” amidst the chaos and violence and you must be able to recognize and take advantage of them.  By the same token, amidst the same chaos and violence, if you maintain focus and control of your mindset you can actually create or force these ‘windows’.  I believe that looking for them would be futile in the midst of a violent confrontation.  Recognizing them, however,…

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Follow “The Force”

KICKING in the real world of Self Defense……An analysis from a Krav Maga point of view. Follow “The Force” In many traditional martial arts styles the students are taught excellent kicking form and tend to practice kicks in the air (i.e., without kicking anything with enough resistance to speak of). Focus pads or hand held focus targets are generally used to develop accuracy. All of this is excellent practice if your goal is to develop a correct kicking form, good targeting and in some cases speed. Typically, even if using a thick kicking pad held by a partner, the kick is pulled back more or less instantly after making contact, leaving the kicker more or less in the same place as he started. Unfortunately the above is where most traditional martial arts kicking starts and stops without much additional thought. Equally unfortunately this approach does little to prepare the kicker for a real world conflict in which everything involved is dynamic (i.e., moving erratically), surfaces are not necessarily level and adrenaline is high making fine motor skill activities virtually impossible to perform. Additionally, in this situation, the kicking target will, given the opportunity, strike back and with a vengeance. Kicking is a strange animal. Some (a very few, percentage wise) people are natural fast, accurate kickers but most are not. Developing the instincts necessary to use your legs as offensive or defensive weapons for most of us…

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I SEE BLOGS AND POSTS RELATED TO SELF DEFENSE THAT DON’T REALLY RELATE TO MOST OF US…

I see blogs, Facebook posts and other internet “posts” where martial artists are espousing their “macho-ism” and likely trying to impress potential and current students with their ability and/or willingness to run 20 miles every day in 120 degree heat, run up and down bleachers or other significantly difficult (for normal or mortal people) in similar conditions. As a point of departure for this post please take note that I totally respect, admire and envy (In a way) anyone who can do this on a consistent basis. These folks set a great role model image for those of us who are less inclined to spend our lives emulating their achievements. All of this “extreme?” conditioning is great and certainly productive if your approach to training is geared to enable you to fight and/or defend yourself on a regular basis, such as MMA or UFC or similar endeavors. Active military personnel who will be logically going into combat zones need all of this and more to survive and hopefully that is a “given” to most of the readers of this post. Then we come to the “average person” who simply wants to learn how to deal with a potentially life threatening situation or a situation which may end up with either the defender or his/her aggressor in a hospital in intensive care, etc. In the U.S. our society is without question deteriorating into a situation whereby most of…

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BAD ATTACKER, GOOD ATTACKER….????

It seems that most traditional martial arts teach defenses which are predicated on specific types of attacks. This likely comes from the eras long ago where everyone involved in a conflict was trained essentially the same way. For example, the vast majority of martial arts teach straight line reverse and/or lunge punches aimed at the defender’s face and then teach defenses against these. With weapons attacks we are typically taught to defend from a particular type of style of attack as well. Since we know from the outset what the attack is likely to consist of, with a little training the defense is relatively easy, even when the intensity of the attack is increased. More often than not, when the attacker (in class) inadvertently or deliberately changes the method of attack the defender tends to ask the attacker to start over and “do it right” or he ends up failing to effectively defend the “unorthodox attack”. Herein lies the origin of the term “bad attacker”. Moshe Katz, founder and head instructor of Israeli Krav International once said “There are no bad attackers……There are only bad defenses.”. This brings me to the point where I would like to share my personal observations based on over two decades of training and well over one decade of teaching. As a matter of clarification, these observations are related strictly to real world self defense (on the street, in your home, etc.)…

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INFLICTING PAIN vs. MECHANICAL DISRUPTION in Self Defense Situations

There is little question that inflicting sudden and intense pain is a great way to enable you to escape a threatening situation and possibly temporarily disable your attacker. OK then…..What is “mechanical disruption”? It is simply disrupting the mechanics which allow the aggressor to attack, defend or chase after you. Make it so that he is physically unable to effectively chase you or attack you further and the situation is resolved (for you). Most who train in martial arts and/or self defense are capable of inflicting varying degrees of pain via striking, joint locks, ripping or other methods. Unfortunately there are a lot of drugs on the market and in use by what most would consider “bad” people and some of these drugs make the user all but impervious to pain. It’s not that inflicting pain does not work it is simply that the user’s sensory perception is so far beyond ‘normal’ that they just do not feel the pain. Some of these same drugs also enhance the user’s strength and agility, adding to the problem. In a sense, striking someone using one of these drugs or executing what would normally be a painful joint lock would be much like pounding on a heavy bag. The bag simply hangs there, rocking back and forth due to the physics involved but feels nothing at all. This situation can be and usually is very, very bad for the defender…

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GROUND FIGHTING IN SELF DEFENSE

(This post was copied from an article written as an advertisement by a self defense school.  The principles and concepts are very much in line with what we emphasize and teach in IKI Krav Maga) It could happen anywhere! Many fights or struggles will undoubtedly end up on the ground, whether you are in a street brawl, a domestic violent attack or even involved in a sexual attack. It could happen anywhere, whether it is in your home, in the street, at work or anywhere else. Ground fighting in Self Defense - is a very important aspect of training. You may have been dragged down by your hair, attacked from behind, you may have simply gone into a clinch and lost balance in the struggle, or maybe you have been punched to the ground. Whatever the reason that you're in this situation, you must do something and quickly. If you don't react quickly then you could be on the receiving end of a kicking session by one or several attackers, you may even become the next statistic of a sexual attack. Although we do utilize simple ju-jitsu techniques, it is not any fancy technique on its own that will save you but your hunger for survival. The techniques give you a good grounding on what to do in many situations and practicing them helps build your confidence. You must still find your inner savage. We all have…

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DEFENSE OR OFFENSE……That is the Question……or is it?

Visualize a training center for suicide bombers located in the Middle East.  Then let us assume that there are at least one thousand (yes, 1,000) students involved.  Let’s further say that the “students” in this training center are individually signing up (being “scripted”) to commit to this short life of commitment to their beliefs and in the process destroying as many “infidels” or innocent people as possible. Given the above brief scenario we can approach a solution in two distinctly different ways: Wait until the students complete their training, try to follow each student’s movements, actions, etc., in an attempt to determine when, where and/or if they will in fact initiate their suicide bomber training and kill an indeterminate number of innocent people…..OR…. Determine when the vast majority of students and instructors (trainers) will physically be in the training center, totally destroy the center and eliminate any potential of the pending problem. To any rational person, option two above is the only realistic solution.  How can anyone track, analyze and/or otherwise control the actions of persons so totally committed to such violence, much less know when, where and how they will act on their commitment to violence. This being offered as a theoretical example (based absolute fact from someone who was involved in locating a similar facility in this situation in Iraq but with closer to ten thousand ‘scripted’ trainees) one has to wonder why our (and…

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Defending Against Long Weapons Attacks

(“Long Weapons”, for our purposes, will be anything noticeably longer than a normal sheath type hunting knife. ) In a nutshell it’s all about movement………. To paraphrase Richie Grannon of ‘Streetfightsecrets.com’:  If you understand the principles you can develop your own techniques.  If, on the other hand, you only learn (memorize) techniques and ignore the principles you will likely fail when things get rough. It is this author’s observation that it is critical to have a pretty good understanding of the mechanics, movement and forces of both the attacker and his weapon during an attack in order to prevail or even survive.  There are certain principles which are inherent in these situations.  Without understanding the basics of these principles you will be at the attacker’s mercy (or lack thereof).  You must also gain an understanding of how incredibly easy it really is to escape the main force and impact of the weapon.  No matter how many great self defense techniques you know, how good a kicker you are, etc., if you end up in the wrong position in this type of attack there is a good chance you will not prevail in the conflict.  (Wrong place+ wrong timing = wrong outcome).  Once the attack starts you will likely have less than one second to make your move.  Where and how you move could mean the difference between your survival and severe injury or even death. There are…

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Principle vs. Technique – Dealing With a “Haymaker” Punch

More and more martial arts school touting great self defense training programs are emphasizing how many devastating and effective techniques they teach.  There are some who check out their competition in the same style and all but arbitrarily add techniques so that they can say they have more.  One of the great architects of the Bauhaus era, Mies van der Rhoe was quoted as stating emphatically “Less is More.”  One could translate this into quality vs. quantity I suppose.  At any rate let’s look at the “technique mills:”  Certainly an instructor can teach virtually any interested student a large quantity of techniques, all the while emphasizing to the student how great and effective the techniques are.  Inside the training room the technique(s) may be appear to be incredibly effective.  But what if your partner (the ‘pretend aggressor’) decides to resist or even start moving around or fighting you like he might in a real life confrontation?  Will the technique be as effective?  Will it even work? Now let’s look at the principle upon which the technique is based.  As principles, there may be a specific kind of motion or movement involved such as circular motion.  There is a HapKiDo principle known as ‘non resistance’ which in essence utilizes the aggressor’s force or movement against him while allowing the defender to use as little exertion, force or strength as possible.  Take a haymaker or “roundhouse” punch as an example. …

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How Does Martial Arts Kicking Relate to Real World Self Defense

Aside from “point sparring” martial artists are generally taught to kick (generally a hand held target or some type of heavy bag) with accuracy and great power.  One advantage to kicking is applicable distance.  Since the human’s legs are typically longer than the arms, a kick can generally be delivered from outside the opponent’s hand striking range.  Given timing and accuracy a good kicker should be able to land an effective kick well before the opponent can evade it or move in for a hand strike or a grappling technique.  Given the amount of power a good kick can generate this one weapon can devastate an attacker.  All this is true in a controlled environment, especially inside a martial arts school, a gym or a sports arena and it can be equally true under favorable conditions on a street, sidewalk, parking lot or even a grassy field.  However there are a number of considerations to ponder when contemplating the value of a powerful kick in a real world “street fight” confrontation. The typical showy or flashy high (head shot) kicks typically seen in movies and even in sparring matches can be dangerous to both the kicker and the opponent.  Obviously if a good, solid, powerful kick lands against your jaw or face there is a good chance you will be badly injured or knocked out.  On the other hand a high kick leaves the kicker wide open…

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