Krav Maga Bristol Instructor Jim Halton writes on the reality of defending yourself against a baseball attack on the street.

Krav Maga Bristol Instructor Jm Halton writes:

You hear a knock at the door and answer and someone stood there with a bat in their hand, it’s pulled back, chambered and… Read more

krav maga bristol ground image

Instructor Jim Halton of Krav Maga Bristol writes:
Here are 3 tips for students beginning to train in groundfighting.

krav maga bristol ground imageIn the Titans club at Krav Maga Bristol we train sparring every session. We train stand up sparring but we also train in sparring on the ground. When new students to Krav Maga Bristol first start rolling it can be an uncomfortable experience. A mix of confusion, nervousness, fatigue, trying to use your strength instead of technique you find yourself exhausted. Getting submitted by your fellow student again and again isn’t much fun and eventually you will ask, “How can I get better at ground sparring?…. Read more

Mugged for an iphone

Krav Maga Bristol – Street Robbery

‘Yesterday I had one of the worst experiences of my life, I was mugged at knife point meters from my front door’

Yesterday, I had one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life when I was mugged at knife point in broad daylight just metres from my front door. But I learnt a lot about how I could have allowed the police to better respond to a crime like this, and the actions that I needed to take to ensure my data was safe.

What was the robber after? My iPhone, according to the police, the target of many mugging attacks.

Here’s what happened. After arriving at my nearest London Underground stop, in North West London, I walked up a side street to my house. It’s a journey I’ve made hundreds of times and never one that I have been particularly concerned about my safety during. While walking, I received a text message, which I was replying to. I have to say that given it was 10.20am, I didn’t feel particularly at risk for having done so.

I was wrong, and from nowhere, a youth on a bicycle confronted me holding a knife. “Give me your iPhone” he shouted. I wasn’t sure how to react; I looked around while shouting “leave me alone!” But as I looked I became aware that there was no one else on the street.

“Don’t be f**king stupid!” he shouted, pushing a blade close to my neck

The youth came closer to me, I was holding the phone, but he was on his bike and I did try and run, principally because I didn’t want to actually get into physical contact with him. He started grabbing me and somehow my iPhone cover seemed to get detached from the phone, leaving him with the cover and not the phone. “Don’t be f**king stupid!” he shouted, pushing a blade close to my neck. I gave up, giving him my phone and he cycled off.

I ran home, I’m not ashamed to say, crying. When I got there I immediately phoned the police while loading my iPad. The operator told me that officers would be with me in minutes, with their own iPad so that they could use “Find My iPhone” to see if the criminal was still in the area, the operator asked for my logins so that they could start looking while driving to me. I tried myself as well, but the location services settings on the missing iPhone appeared to have been disabled.

Within minutes, two wonderfully calming police officers arrived and we went out in their car to try and identify the robber. Had he have not turned off the location settings, it may have been possible to work out where he was.

I realised that, unlike when I had my phone pick-pocketed (I seem to have a face for this sort of thing), my phone wasn’t locked when it was stolen. I had already unlocked it to reply to the message. This meant that the robber had a lot more access to my device that they would have done if it had have been locked. Indeed, when my phone was pick-pocketed in New York, police were able to find the rough location of the phone, but were unable to recover it. But even knowing the rough location was only possible because it was still continuing to beam out its location until it was switched off.

Yesterday’s attacker appeared to have immediately switched off the location services settings on the iPhone. But I’ve since learnt that it’s possible to prevent someone from doing this. In addition, it’s important to ensure that the robber doesn’t turn off functions like “Find My iPhone”.

Here’s how you do it:-
(1) Open the settings function
(2) Touch General
(3) Select Restrictions
(4) This will ask you to set a Restrictions passcode. Chose one that is different from your unlock passcode
(5) Scroll down the list of restrictions until you find “Allow Changes”
(6) Open Location
(7) Select the “Don’t Allow Changes” option
(8) Go back to the Restrictions menu and select Accounts
(9) Then chose “Don’t Allow Changes”, this stops iCloud and Find My iPhone being disabled then repeat for “Deleting Apps”

This will mean that anyone who gets hold of your phone will find it very hard to stop it beaming out a location and it stops them from disabling iCloud and Find My iPhone

Of course this sort of trick only helps if the phone is still connected to your phone network. It’s likely though that you will choose to block your SIM CARD in case someone starts making a load of expensive calls. But it will be worth keeping it connected for a little while to see if the device appears on “Find My iPhone” or on iCloud.com.

But the other key thing that I started to consider was whether the person may gain access to my personal information stored inside my iPhone. As soon as the device locked, the robber would be in theory locked out because I always use an eight digit passcode (rather than the standard 4). But if they kept playing with the phone (maybe on wifi) then they would continue to gain access to my personal information.

So I considered what I would need to do to ensure they couldn’t access anything that wasn’t stored locally on the phone. Email is a treasure trove of personal information and would have allowed the robber to effectively gain access to my PayPal, Amazon, iTune and other online billing accounts. So first off, I changed the passwords for every single email service I use.

Then I thought about social networking in particular Twitter and Facebook. Changing the password on Facebook was easy at https://www.facebook.com/settings?ref=mb. Here you also have the option to force any apps on smart phones and tablets to be automatically logged out to ensure that who ever wants to access them is really you.

Twitter was harder and was in two stages. Firstly I went to https://twitter.com/settings/password and changed my password. But then I noticed that my iPad was continuing to access my Twitter account without the new password being stored. That’s because Twitter doesn’t automatically check that an application connected to it has the correct password. So I actually asked on Twitter for advice and found this page https://twitter.com/settings/applications where I found a list of all of the applications granted permission to access my account. For the iPhone and iPad access, I selected iOS by Apple and clicked on “Revoke access”. This meant that I’d need to login again to Twitter on each Apple device I use to connect to the social network.

Of course, you may need to follow similar steps for other applications on your phone such as PayPal, eBay or Google+.

Using Find My iPhone, I did try to remotely wipe the device after the police concluded that it would be unlikely that we’d spot him. But thus far, the request has not been successful.

But when it comes to the mugging itself, what did I learn?

Perhaps that I shouldn’t be using my mobile phone, while I’m mobile, out and exposed in a public place. But given that is what they are for, it seems pointless advice. I’m certainly going to be more careful about where I’m displaying it. It’s too easy to forget that when it’s in your hands, you are literally holding a £700 piece of technology. It’s so much more valuable than a wallet, particularly given that most of us don’t carry much cash, and chip and pin in theory makes it hard for thieves to use our credit and debit cards.

The other thing I learnt, is how valuable it is to have my social media community around me in a time like this. Some of my Twitter followers have been out looking for a cyclist on that street (I assume he targets it regularly), others gave me really useful advice on how to deal with the technological challenges that the incident threw up.

It also meant that my family learnt about it differently. My grandparents saw that I was attacked on their Android while looking at Facebook while shopping. One of my sisters found out when she was emailed by a friend, who had heard from a friend that I had been attacked. My sister then asked my brother-in-law if I had been tweeting about something bad, and he then forwarded her the stream of tweets. My parents found out in the more usual way, I phoned from a landline, a number no-one had actually called me on before because everyone had my iPhone number, or at least they did.

Article by Benjamin Cohen

Krav Maga Bristol

This article gives an interesting insite into the process of mugging. From a training perspective I would make a few recommendations.

1. Dont text in the street. Texting requires requires thought and co-ordination. It takes focus and in the real world this means lack of awareness, makes you very vulnerable, and that you demonstrate in plain site have a phone worth stealing. If you must reply, STOP, check look around and be aware whilst on the phone. The mere act of being aware will put many potential muggers off.

2. Always have your phone locked. It makes it harder to access the phone.

3. Dont be a hero. If there is a weapon and you cant easily escape – give the phone over and get away fast. If the Mugger gets too confident they may take more time and demand more or even assault you after.

4. If you decide you are going to act, be ruthless and profoundly aggressive (within the law). This could mean simply running and barging the attacker or fighting back.

5. Make noise – lots of it – shout, scream draw attention. Whilst many people may not act criminals hate to be seen as it increases the risk of capture

Stay Safe

Paul Grey

Krav Maga Bristol

Krav Maga North Bristol Instructor Will Bayley discusses the harsh realities of violence in the context of home defence and why you should make sure you keep your training real.

I was in a bar recently waiting for a mate when I heard an all too common conversation about home self defence – what to do when someone breaks into your house in the middle of the night. You can imagine the people having this conversation. A small group of blokes, beered up. Normal, average blokes. Workers not long out of work, ties off, collars undone, sleeves rolled up for the serious business of Friday night drinking and setting the world to rights.

The common conversation and the inevitable bravado.

God help anyone comes in my house. I keep a bat by the door. I have a Maglite by my bed. I’d do em with that. I don’t care what the law says, if someone breaks into my house I’m going to drop them.

I appreciate the sentiment. Even agree with it. But I want to throw out a tiny bite of reality for you because your life may depend upon thinking about this in another way

There’s a place called violence. It’s a lonely and terrible country, torn apart by war. The people you find there are monsters, predators, everything that you, in your seat of civilisation, would call evil. How many times have you been to that place? Honestly? I don’t mean the scuffles you had at school or that time your mate got loud at that party and you shoved each other. I mean how many times have you been attacked by a wild animal and had to fight, literally, for your life?

Most haven’t.

If it’s happened to you, you won’t be full of bravado. The people who know what I’m talking about are typically silent on the matter. Humble.

And those who have been there, how many times have you been there? Once? Twice? How long each time? Most assaults are decided in seconds. So your experience, throughout your lifetime, of that place is approximately ten seconds. Does that make you an expert, a travel guide to that country’s horrors?

No.

And I want you to imagine for me something.

Someone.

Imagine this person…

He’s early twenties but he looks a decade older because of the brown he’s been putting in his arms for the last seven years. He’s lean and underfed, malnourished, his body fucked up on years of opiate abuse, on the cycle of constipation and laxitives, on junk food and chain smoking, his teeth falling out and his nose half fucked from his forays into stimulants – amphetamines adderall and cocaine. At the moment he comes through your door he’s been off the smack for a day and a half. He’s in a fever of pain, fear, nausea, cramping and worse. He knows that his hunger will deepen by the hour, until it incapacitates him, until he can’t do what he’s doing now to solve his problem. He needs his solution more than you have ever needed anything. He knows desperation like you never have and never will. He will take something from your house and sell it for a fraction of its value to fund a solution that will last him a few hours at best. And he will literally kill to do it.

Let me state that in a more complete way: There is nothing he won’t do to get what he wants. Literally nothing. If you don’t stand in his way, that means take and run. If you stand in his way, it means stabbing you or punching you to the floor and taking and running. If you go at him with a weapon – and you’d be the thousandth person to try – he’d take it off you and beat you to death to make sure you didn’t present a threat to him, before taking and running.

Your morality, he doesn’t have that. It’s gone, along with any notions of self respect, guilt, conscience. It’s been drummed out of him by years of addiction.

But don’t think that the addiction makes him weak. Once he was a strong kid, stronger than you can ever know, driven to the solace of the drug by a life of terrible violence and abuse.

When you were taking your first steps, he was sitting in a house full of addicts, starving, undernourished. When you were going to nursery he was stealing food and getting beaten when he was caught, learning how to take a beating with the minimum of damage, desensitising to the pain and the fear. When your parents came home from work and cooked you tea, his sent him out to run money and drugs, or came home loaded and beat him until his eyes swelled shut and his gums bled. When you were doing your entrance exam for secondary, he was out in the parks fighting other kids over selling territory, knowing that if he lost he’d lose everything, that he’d take it badly at home, that he might not get to eat. While you were mastering maths and english, he was mastering violence, learning through the weekly, if not daily fights, threats and skirmishes how to most effectively beat another human to the ground. While you were learning the ropes in your first job he was learning how to use surprise to paralyse a victim so that he could take what he needed with the least risk to him. By the time you were competent in your career, he was a master of his, the veteran of a thousand or more fist fights, stabbings, muggings, breakins and arrests.

He’s experienced front-line violence almost every day of his life. Immediate. Total. Around him all the time.

Home Self DefenceHe’s lost count of the amount of times he’s struck someone, knocked them down, stabbed them when he was too weak to fight any other way. And he’s lost count of the amount of times someone did that to him. The violence, it holds no real fear for him, like it does for you. And in that lack of fear, in that desensitisation, there is a certainty, not that he will win, because truly he doesn’t care about win or lose in the way that you do, but that he will fight, and do everything that is necessary to get the job done and come home with his solution. While you’re finding your feet he’s already beaten you. You’re the hundredth person that swung a Maglite at him. The hundredth person to leave a cricket bat by the door for him to arm himself with when he comes in.

And when he comes he will come without hesitation. From the moment you are aware of him he’s already had hours to come to terms with what’s about to happen. He’s got momentum, practice, initiative.

Think about this.

Carefully.

That land we were talking about, the country of violence, at best you are a visitor to that land. He lives there.

Real world violence isn’t a place where bravado is well rewarded. Hard training is the answer, based on solid research.

And here is some research:

Survey after survey, when we study violent crime, there are only two significant predictors of success in the survival of real world violence.

  1. By far the most significant. Exposure to previous instances of real world violence.
  2. Self Defence training that involves close approximation of real world violence through stress inoculation, contact drills and adrenalisation training.

Whatever else you do, come to the fight prepared, without the bravado, and see it for what it is. Come to the fight not with bravado but with realism and humility. See that to run is not shameful. To die defending property is hubris, and ludicrous. You fight when there is no other choice, when you’re on the stairs and you meet that man and it’s clear there’s no other way. And if you have to fight, make sure it isn’t a fight. Find a way to surprise. Hit first. Hit hard, with so much aggression you overwhelm the opponent. And train for that moment with the real world firmly at the front of your mind. The research. The numbers. The facts. The statistics.

You bend your training to fit reality. Then you don’t die doing it the other way round.

Train hard, fight easy. Your life depends on it.

Will Bayley – Krav Maga Swindon, Krav Maga Bristol Central, Krav Maga North Bristol, Bristol University Krav Soc.

Krav Maga North Bristol instructor Will Bayley has an unofficial rule-book when it comes to the learning, teaching and practice of Krav Maga. Some of you might be most familiar with Rule #5, but here’s rule #1 from that rule-book:

Rule#1

If something bad is happening, move towards it as rapidly as possible.

The world of violence is not well understood by most people. And to the uninitiated, raised on a diet of Hollywood Kung Fu and Karate Kid since the ’70s, it may appear as if all violence is won with skill. Nothing is further from the truth. Most people carrying out successful violent attacks on their victims – assaults, muggings, beatings – have no more skill than the victims they assault. And when the victims do manage to fight back and are successful in turn, it is often not because they have skill over their attackers. No, the currency of violence is not skill. It’s aggression.

And management of fear.

Let us state that in another way:

The person in charge of their fear is the person moving forward, taking action. The person taking action is the person winning.

There are other truths about violence that go towards our Rule #1. Here’s one:

You can’t win a defensive fight.

Take the recent case made public this week in the Sun of a small unit of British Special Forces soldiers who got ambushed by 50 or so ISIS fighters. They ran out of ammo engaging the threat and still had 30 or so left to fight. Running would have invited pursuit, almost certain capture, torture and death by burning or beheading. So they made their peace and took the fight forward. And so fierce was their resolve, so immediate their attack that a good number of the 30 fled for their lives.

Of course, the 30 ISIS men could have won that fight, if they had committed to it. But the battle wasn’t won in the territory of skill and number; it was won in the territory of fear.

These British soldiers had one chance, and it lay in Rule #1.

If something bad is happening, move towards it as rapidly as possible.

 

Will Bayley, BKMA Graduate Instructor, Krav Maga North Bristol.

Krav Maga North Bristol examines the old adage and how preparation and training can mean it’s a choice you don’t need to make.

There’s an old adage in the martial arts world. “It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.” It’s been around a long time, that saying, and with good reason. The practice of functional, real-world self defence is all about balance. Not balance as in falling over or standing up; balance as in walking the fine line between six undertakers or 12 jurors.

When violence comes to take you, certain strategies work and others do not. We know, statistically, that pre-emptive striking is essential to street survival. The numbers leave no room for argument. Some ninety-odd percent of people hit by an attacker’s first punch go on to lose the fight and succumb to the assault. In short, to survive an assault by even one attacker, you need to hit first. And you need to do this early enough that you are still in control of the situation. If you leave it too late, even if you take the first attacker down with your first strike, the subsequent attackers might be close enough to you to finish the job the first one failed to finish.

But here’s the balance: Throw that first strike too early, and without proper justification, and you could be looking at prison time.

There’s a phrase used to describe what can happen when you hit someone once and unlawfully. One Punch Manslaughter.

So here’s the balance stated again: You must hit early enough to give yourself a tactical advantage so that you can survive the oncoming assault. You must hit late enough that you can show, morally and legally, that you did everything you could to avoid conflict, that your actions were justified.

Remember, you need to demonstrate that the situation was such that any reasonable person would have been in fear for their life because of the actions of the aggressors, and that the force you used was reasonable, proportionate and necessary in that situation.

Sometimes it can feel like a no-win situation, which is why the old saying came into being. Better to find yourself in court than in the ground. But we train specifically to avoid this terrible dilemma. Our practice with conflict de-escalation, the Fence, the Back Away drill, are designed not only to give you a tactical framework for your defence, but to set up a legal defence for your actions.

Remember that the justifications for force in legal terms are the same justifications we use in tactical terms. If you can make the decision making process conscious, you can simply explain why you did what you did in terms of the threat you saw. You can build a legal defence, an explanation of your decision to use force, even as you use that force.

Of course, real self defence goes beyond these desperate measures. Our first principle is avoidance. This is at the top of the Hierarchy of Responses for a reason. As Miller says: “It is better to avoid than to run. Better to run than to de-escalate. Better to de-escalate than to fight. Better to fight than to die.”

And if you do fight, be sure, absolutely sure, that you are fighting to defend life – yours or another’s – and not to defend ego. Sometimes, in the heat of it, you may not be able to tell the difference, but there is a difference. And it’s a difference that could see you in prison for a long, long time.

One Punch Can Kill – the family left behind

If you ever find yourself in a situation where tensions are running high, please stop, think, act responsibly and walk away. Don't let a split second of anger turn you into a killer. One punch can kill.The family of Greg Beyer, who was killed following a one punch incident in Swindon in 2016, talk about their loss and why it is so important that people think before they act.

Posted by Wiltshire Police on Friday, July 7, 2017

One man couldn’t tell the difference, one night in Swindon. And he went away for 8 years for One Punch Manslaughter. Wait another year and there’ll be ten more in the papers across the nation. It’s common. And utterly unnecessary.

Fortunately, there’s something that tends to happen to people who train in Krav Maga. The longer they do it, the less likely they are to find themselves in a fight. There’s a bunch of reasons for this. The first is that your awareness will keep you out of trouble. The second is that, with a confident bearing, you are less likely to be selected as a victim of violent crime. The last, and perhaps most important, is that you will be far less likely to engage in risk-taking violence for reasons of ego. Once you have confidence in your ability to fight, you just don’t need to fight. There’s nothing left to prove.

Will Bayley – Graduate Instructor, BKMA. Krav Maga North Bristol,

In January of 2017, Krav Maga Bristol instructor, Will Bayley was asked by the Commanding Officer of The 1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles and the British Forces Brunei to travel to Brunei and introduce Krav Maga to the Battalion personnel. Lt Col Charlie Crowe had trained with Will Bayley for 18 months while posted to Shrivenham, and is a keen and skilled Kravist. When the time came for him to change station to Brunei, he wanted to take Krav Maga with him and introduce it to the soldiers and officers of the Gurkha Rifles.

The brief was simple: Will was to travel to Brunei and spend a couple of weeks teaching Krav Maga. Obviously, in the time he had, no experts were going to be made, but it would be possible to introduce Krav Maga as widely as possible both to ingrain some good basic skills and also to begin the Krav Maga journey for as many people as possible, complementing their skillset with proven hand to hand capabilities.

The Royal Gurkha Rifles are a legendary Regiment, with a long-standing reputation for being fierce and indomitable warriors. All soldiers in the Regiment have experience in the more traditional martial arts, with Tae Kwon Do being taught to them during basic training at ITC Catterick. However, very few had previously trained in Krav Maga, which is something that the Colonel wanted to change. Doing so meant blazing a trail as one of the first Regiments of the British Army to take up the practice of Krav Maga.

The Task

Teaching core combatives to the PTIs of 1 RGR

After some planning, Will and Colonel Charlie Crowe decided that the best way to achieve a good exposure throughout the Battalion was to run a five day, twenty-hour series of sessions with the Physical Training Instructors of the Battalion. The idea was to drill them thoroughly in four or five basic Krav Maga fundamentals, so that they could effectively and safely begin to involve basic combative drills in their daily physical training sessions with the three companies of the Battalion. That way, the whole of the Battalion would be able to have sustained and regular exposure to the basics of Krav, preparing them well for further training with Will when they return to the UK. Long term, the objective is that several members of the Battalion will take the British Krav Maga instructor course, enabling them to provide continued, in-house training, furthering the skills of the personnel.

The PTIs took to the training with incredible focus and skill. It was immediately clear that not only were they incredibly physically fit, but also skilled and competent fighters with a good deal of martial arts experience between them. Their ability to take on new skills and patterns of movement was remarkable, their learning curve almost vertical. Will was able to skill them in good basics easily within the 20 hours available.

At the end of the 20 hours, Will worked with the PTIs to deliver Krav Maga focused physical training sessions to the companies. These sessions were a marriage of basic Krav Maga drills and murderously tough PT. The men flew into them with total focus, made even more impressive when considering the intense heat and humidity present in Brunei. Of course, it wasn’t possible to ingrain any advanced skill in that one hour, but Will did manage to introduce them to Krav Maga and create in them a desire to train further. And of course the PTIs will be able to satisfy that desire with a new routine of daily Krav focused Physical training sessions.

Will reports that it was ultimately a deeply satisfying trip, accomplishing what he set out to do, and a real honour to work with such dedicated and incredible warriors. He looks forward to working with the Battalion again when they return to station in the UK.

Debrief – Lt Col Charlie Crowe, CO 1RGR, Commander British Forces Brunei

We asked Lt Col Charlie Crowe to discuss his reasons for introducing Krav Maga to the Battalion, his views on Krav Maga as a tool for the armed forces, and his experience working with British Krav Maga’s Will Bayley…

Why did you want to bring Krav Maga to the Battalion?

Training in Krav Maga in Swindon over the past year I learned that it is an excellent tool for the intelligent and judicious application of effective violence; this is core business for fighting units like 1 RGR.  The training also develops high levels of anaerobic fitness, determination and resilience.  These are all qualities required of soldiers in 1 RGR.

What was your opinion of the training outcome?

I am delighted with the outcome of the training.  I now have PT instructors who are able to deliver Krav-based physical training to the Battalion on an enduring basis.  We are very aware that we do not possess the experience or qualifications to deliver wholesale high intensity Krav Maga training, but we do now have the means to develop basic drills and test them under stress in a safe environment.

Do you see Krav Maga as a useful skill for today’s soldier?

The operating environment we can expect to deploy into requires all ranks to be highly disciplined in how and when to apply violence.  But when the time comes for aggressive action it must be decisive, and our own recent operational experience is full of examples of lethal threats at close quarters.  Krav Maga is an excellent tool for developing the right responses to this and is, in my view, highly relevant to modern soldiering.

Do you see Krav Maga as being a continued future part of training with the Regiment?

It is my firm intention to pursue Krav Maga as a basic skill set and training discipline across the Battalion.

How was your experience working with Krav Maga Bristol instructor Will Bayley?

Will Bayley has a thorough knowledge of the psychology and physiology that underpins close quarter fighting.  This gave real depth to the practical training he delivered, which he had painstakingly tailored to the particular requirements of this unique unit.  His instruction was excellent throughout and he very quickly gained the respect of my experienced PTIs.  A highly impressive professional.

B Company, 1 RGR, having their first taste of Krav Maga in a practice session run by the Battalion Physical Training Instructors…

 

We’re fortunate in the BKMA to be surrounded by some very experienced people in the security industry and in the forces, and of course the two often overlap. I’d like to share with you today a lesson I learned during my Close Protection training, a lesson delivered by Mark Edwards. Mark is a quiet, humble chap who won’t make a lot of noise about his achievements, but let’s say he’s got a lot of both military and security experience behind him and is extensively respected in both Bootneck and Close Protection circles as well as being a great Krav instructor. Far as I’m concerned, what Mark has to say about Security gets written in stone. He knows his shit.

The lesson is this. Build a bubble around yourself and keep it up all the time as a way of life. It becomes habit which you can then use effortlessly to protect others.

People who aren’t in the Krav or security industries listen to comments like this and their reaction is often the same: “Isn’t it really stressful going around being paranoid all the time?”

This comes up all the time so I’m going to address this point now.

PosturingViolent crime happens at rates that are small but significant. It can happen. It does happen. And if you are unaware, that is living in a state of unawareness, you are already in a class of people more likely to fall victim to crime. Victim Selection rituals are designed to find people like you. People who, when attacked, will be so surprised and unprepared that you will react with immediate and total paralysis and capitulation. Criminals don’t want fights, they want victims. Easy, predictable, safe victims.

Secondly, it isn’t stressful to be aware. Security Awareness, as it’s known to the professionals, is not a stressful state of being. It’s just awareness. It means being present and awake and aware of what is happening around you. When it’s practiced regularly it becomes natural and unthinking.

Cooper, in his now industry standard theory on Colour Codes, talks about the levels of threat awareness…

White: Code White means you are asleep. No trained professional is ever in this state, even in their own home. Code White means you have absolutely no awareness of anything occurring around you. If this sounds dangerous, it’s because it is. Think of all the near misses you see on the roads because a driver has not looked or seen a hazard or a pedestrian, texting away, has stepped in front of a car. That’s Code White.

Yellow: Code Yellow is the relaxed state of awareness we are talking about here when we mention the Security Bubble. Yellow means you are chilled out but very aware of your surroundings. When you first switch on and begin to learn security either through law enforcement or military/intelligence work, close protection work or simply as a civilian learning a reality based system such as Krav Maga, this will be an effort as you make habit all the observations. After a time, all these observations become automatic and happen as easily as breathing or blinking. You don’t have to try, the information is just there:

  • Where are the exits?
  • Are there any intoxicated and potentially violent people around me?
  • Can I see this guy’s hands? If not, why not?
  • Why is this group of three splitting up and forming around me?
  • The car behind me has been present through two roundabouts and three turns. (Surveillance awareness.)
  • Etc.

Orange: Code Orange occurs when something elevates to the level of threat. Someone is eyeballing you; the vehicle described above follows you through three sides of a square (a standard counter-surveillance maneuver); footsteps quicken behind you when walking at night; someone steps too close to you at a cashpoint.

Red: The threat becomes immediate and aggressive. There is physical contact or the immediate threat of physical contact and/or verbal aggression, typically profanity.

Black: Black isn’t on Cooper’s list, but it basically means it’s on, you’re fighting for your life.

Clearly, being in code Yellow is the best way to prevent things escalating to Red or Black. And equally clearly, if you are in White and suddenly you are in Black, you’re screwed. Your adrenal Predator and Preysystem will hit you harder than any punch and you’ll flounder in utter, hysterical paralysis while someone dances the tango on your head.

When you ask professionals about security awareness, or OPSEC, and people’s lack of it, the professionals are always amazed at how people can be so whimsical about their lack of thought. Of course it’s all about ignorance and bliss, but to a security aware person, they can see the threats everywhere and can’t understand people’s ignorance of it. That guy over there is twitching, suggesting he’s come off antipsychotic medications or is otherwise unbalanced. That guy over there walking directly towards me has his hand just behind him so I can’t see it. Or he’s repeatedly checking a pocket or back of belt.  I’ve crossed the street twice and the guy behind me has done the same. There’s a guy in a bar eyeballing everyone. It’s only a matter of time before he chooses to engage someone and I don’t want it to be me. When you see all this, all this potential threat, you make different choices. It’s not stressful, it’s just awareness. But it keeps you safe and you wonder at the fact that so many live in such total oblivion. And it becomes easy to see how terribly easy it is to select a victim from amongst all these Code White people and attack them without fear of any reprisal or fight.

The Bubble.

Once you have security awareness, you extend a bubble of habitual security protocols around yourself, your property and, by extension, your loved ones. This means, in practice, such everyday things such as:

  • Parking the car front out every time.
  • Checking rear seats before entering vehicle.
  • Locking car doors when travelling. Even before car start or seatbelt on, doors get locked.
  • Have safe places in mind to drive to in the event of hostile surveillance or action (road rage is included here).
  • Don’t drive home if you think someone is following you. Go to a safe place.
  • Avoiding known trouble spots. If you have to walk through them, keep head up, aware, walking briskly and with purpose. No headphones or mobile phone use.
  • Keep aware of your exact location at all times so you can report it promptly to emergency services, for example mile markers which appear every 0.5 miles on British Motorways.
  • Never opening car windows more than two inches, less in traffic or stationary.
  • Drinking moderately when out and keeping an awareness of immediate threat, being prepared to stand up and walk to another place if there is threat or hostility.
  • Avoiding obvious or known trouble spots or bad routes for foot.

These are just some of the very many things a security aware person does to keep their safety managed. This is the bubble. And the fact is, professionally, if you come to a place where you’re asked to protect another individual, or personally, when it comes time to protect your own, your habits can simply be extended to protect the other, without any work on your part. Your protection will be thorough, practiced and solid. Contrast this with someone who only thinks about this stuff when they’re working. I know who I’d want protecting me if my life were in danger.

BKMA StudentsTo learn more about security awareness, consider a good Close Protection course, if you are a professional, choosing one that puts heavy emphasis on fieldwork rather than classroom time. Or, if you are a civilian wanting to protect your family or simply yourself, learn a good reality based fighting system such as Krav Maga from a reputable and experienced teacher. Ask questions, of the teacher and yourself. Watch the world. Open your eyes and start to see how it works. Ignorance isn’t really bliss; it’s putting your life in some scumbag’s hands and hoping they won’t end or seriously alter your life.

Stay safe. Happy training.

Will Bayley, Close Protection Officer and Krav Maga Instructor, Krav Maga Swindon, Krav Maga North Bristol, Bristol University Krav Society.

 

Tags: Personal Security, Close Protection, Awareness.

TL;DR: Put a good security bubble around yourself and when the time comes to step up and be responsible for someone else’s security you’ll be able to simply extend your bubble and be much more effective than a person who only practices security on a need-to basis.

The British Krav Maga Association conducts regular surveys into violent crime. The statistics help us to understand what is happening on the streets of Britain and to tailor our training to meet those threats. What we know, from looking at hard evidence, is that a large percentage of people facing violence fail in their response at the level of dialogue, which is to say Pre-Fight. They are beaten by fear and an inability to transition from being a civilised human being to unleashing hell on their aggressors. There is a simple lesson here: it is not enough to know technique; you have to be able to execute that technique. Adrenal freeze awaits the ill prepared and the consequences of paralysis are dire.

In this article we will look at what Krav Maga instructor Will Bayley calls the Two Thresholds to Violent Action. We will build upon the Fence and attempt to give you a framework to understand and manage the transition between civilised behaviour and violent action. This is a bedrock of self defence.

Rory Miller, one of the best contemporary writers on the subject of real world violence.

Rory Miller, one of the best contemporary writers on the subject of real world violence.

Social Violence

Social Violence makes up the vast majority of violence in most people’s experience. As notable writer Rory Miller calls it, Social Violence is the Monkey Dance. It’s primate behaviour. It’s also distinctly different from Predatory Violence. Social Violence is about increasing social status by beating down or backing down another human. Predatory Violence is about taking something you want from another human. Social is typified by an approach, aggressive dialogue and posturing, escalation and probable physical conflict. Predatory is typified by victim selection, stalking and then a sudden, intensely violent blitz attack that the victim usually will not see coming.

In this article we are primarily concerned with Social Violence. To explain the theories here clearly, we’ll imagine a scene.

Stage 1: The Challenge

You are in a bar, sitting with friends. Across the room, at another table, two men are drinking. One makes eye contact with you. Unaware of the consequences, you maintain the eye contact for a little too long and then return to your conversation with your friends. Later, you get up to visit the toilet. On the way you bump into a man. You don’t realise it, but it’s the man from the table across from you. The man reacts angrily, telling you to watch where you’re going. You apologise. The man hurls some abuse at you and you walk away. The situation ends.

In this scene a challenge was laid down, whether or not you realised it. Often, in the Monkey Dance, it’s enough that you back down. Animals are evolved for conflict like this. It’s hard wired into the DNA. It’s not a survival advantage to have constant infighting that results in injury, so most animals will bark or growl and posture and one of them will back down with no injury to either party.

But what if the guy isn’t satisfied with your reaction? What if he wants violence? He’ll escalate. You can escalate too, of course, by issuing any challenge, verbal or postural.

Stage 2: Escalation

The man steps in. Distance is reduced to 18 inches or less. There may be physical contact of the chest, head to head, or aggressive shoves with the hands. It is vital at this stage to control the distance between you and your attacker. The hands must come up into The Fence. Your hands must rise to be between you and your aggressor. You should do this in a natural, conversational way, such that it does not cause escalation. However you do it, your hands should be in position to stop an attack reaching you and also to launch an attack, should you feel it necessary.

At this stage, here are some key points:

1. The vast majority of assaults in the UK begin with an overhand right punch, or Haymaker.

2. In the vast majority of fights, the person who hits first wins. This is especially true if you face multiple opponents. If you do not hit first you are facing terrible odds.

3. UK law does not prohibit ‘first-strike’ or pre-emptive striking. You ARE allowed by law to hit first if you ‘have the honest belief that you are about to be assaulted.’

Of course there are ethical considerations to hitting first. You must believe that there are no other options. You must leave your ego out of it and look for any way to de-escalate. You have a moral duty to avoid violence where possible and most cases of social violence can be avoided simply by being aware. When the eye contact challenge occurred you could have stood up and left the bar. Violence is a last resort, but if you must fight, you must go first and hard and mean to win. This is the most vital principle of Krav Maga.

The good news is that the techniques necessary to put an attacker down are simple to learn. All you need is a good stance and some strong, straight punches. But you must control the situation, and your fear, to ensure you fire first and do not freeze.

Your biggest opponent, your biggest threat comes from your own endocrine system. It’s called adrenaline. Fail to manage your own mental and physical state and you risk a dump of adrenaline hitting your blood and the dreaded adrenal freeze that will destroy years of training in a mere second.

This is where the two thresholds comes into play.

Geoff Thompson, the man who brought the Fence into modern self defence.

Threshold 1: The Adrenal Threshold.

An attacker engages you. There is dialogue. There is posturing. You spilt my drink. You cut me up on that roundabout. You were staring at me. You put up your fence and begin a counter dialogue, attempting to de-escalate the situation. You swallow your ego and apologise for whatever affront you are supposed to have caused. You offer to buy another drink. Whatever method you choose, you control your distance with a subtle but functional fence and you attempt to talk the situation down.

At some point, adrenaline may rise in you. You may become increasingly and rapidly more fearful. You may feel control slipping away. Adrenal freeze comes during times of inaction. If you don’t take action when you feel yourself becoming extremely adrenalised, you risk freezing and taking no action. Such paralysis can and does result in attack, defeat, hospitalisation and death.

The point at which you cannot effectively speak and think about responses or arguments, the point at which the adrenaline or the ‘fear’ becomes too much, this is the first threshold, the Adrenal Threshold. Past this point, you should do the following:

1. Stop engaging in dialogue. Stop listening to the dialogue. Continuing to engage will occupy your already overloaded higher cortex and risks shutting you down. Attackers know this experientially. It’s a common strategy. Disengage from it. Shut it out. You tried de-escalation and it didn’t work. Anything else the attacker has to say is irrelevant.

2. Revert to the Broken Record drill, a drill taught to British Krav Maga practitioners at P1 level. This means maintaining a fence, using the hands to firmly push away the aggressor and backing up the movements with a loud “BACK AWAY”. This instruction is repeated as many times as necessary, or until the second threshold is reached.

It is important to understand that the Back Away drill, or Broken Record drill is a mainstay of self defence training. By learning a set pattern of behaviour – fence, pushing, loud verbals, pre-emptive striking – we have something to fall back on when we are under intense stress. There is no need for thought. We train it in over many months of scenarios and role plays. It should be second nature. When the fear hits, fall back on the familiar. Train hard, fight easy. And no matter what nonsense is coming out of the aggressor’s mouth, the response is the same. Back away! A few warnings and then a pre-emptive shot that ends the situation.

Threshold 2: Threat Recognition.

The Second Threshold is set by threat recognition. It is the point at which you launch your pre-emptive strike. To restate, it is the moment at which you escalate to violence, pre-emptively using violence to stop your attacker. Morally and legally, you must only do this when you have the honest belief that you are about to be assaulted and a failure to act will result in you, or another party, being attacked, hurt or killed.

You cross the second threshold, simply, when the threat reaches the point where if you do not act immediately, you risk attack, harm and injury. There are many things that would take you over this threshold and these are things best learned under an instructor, with visual and experiential practice, but some of them are listed here for example:

  • Attacker shows signs of imminent attack – forward movement increased to chest bumping or head contact. Language diminishing to single syllables – “Yeah? Yeah?”
  • A second attacker is moving to your flank.
  • A hand disappears into a pocket – think weapon. In the UK, a knife. In the US, potentially a firearm.

Whatever the trigger, the Second Threshold is your Go point. You should be trained and prepared to take this step. If you doubt your confidence and ability to do this, the best thing you can do is engage in training. The very core of Krav Maga training, its very methodology, is simple technique, aggressive forward movement, and overwhelming combative attack. Your Krav Maga instructor will be able to guide you through this process, teach you an effective fence and give you the practice you need to make these methodologies work for you.

To summarise:

  • You should always be aware. Awareness makes it possible, often, to see a situation an hour before it occurs. Violence professionals such as security personnel and Door Supervisors will tell you that they can see the potential for violence in a person a long time before it bubbles to the surface. A good professional will confront it and stop it before this happens.
  • If awareness does not keep you from attack, you should, where the level of threat and your own fear level make it appropriate, attempt to de-escalate.
  • If your fear level is too high, do not engage in dialogue or reason. You are already in conflict. Fall back on the Krav Maga drills. They will give you a place of familiarity from which to engage and transition to violence.
  • When the threat level is such that you believe an assault is imminent and unavoidable, you should initiate the attack.
  • Your attack should be sudden, committed and overwhelming.
  • The same elements that trigger the Second Threshold – the signs that an attack is coming – are the same elements that form your moral and legal justification for use of force. Learn them well – they are critical to any training in self defence.
  • Seek out good training from a credible instructor. Ensure that your practice includes not just techniques, but the process of threat escalation and adrenalisation.
  • You can’t learn to swim without going in the water. A good instructor will train you through this process in a professional, constructive and safe manner.
  • Si vis pacem, para bellum. The better prepared you are for violence, the less likely the need to use it. The animals of our society can sense fear and also strength of will.

Finally, from Rory Miller:

“It is better to avoid than to run, better to run than to de-escalate, better to de-escalate than to fight, better to fight than to die.”

 

Will Bayley, BKMA Graduate Instructor, Krav Maga Swindon, Krav Maga North Bristol, Bristol University Krav Maga Society

Krav Maga Training for Weight Loss

Weight loss or control is a common reason to train in Krav Maga. It’s successful at helping people lose weight too. Principally, this is for two reasons. One, it’s easier to motivate yourself to exercise in a class, which is driven by an Instructor and gives you a skill, such as self defence, than it is to do meaningless exercise in a gym. Second, a Krav Maga class is a great place to meet people, people who themselves are motivated and who will help push you along to reach your own goals. My experience with Krav Maga has taught me that most Krav classes, in Bristol or otherwise, are full of motivated, decent people who are only too happy to help beginners.

But there’s truth in what they say: you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Good health begins at home, with the choices you make about the things you eat.

Endless books have been written on diets and dieting. But we’re going to keep it simple. It’s about calorie exchange.

Calories CountYou eat calories all day. Everything you eat has a number. Add up all those numbers and you get your daily calorie intake.

You have a basal metabolic rate, or BMR. This is the amount of calories you need to eat in order to maintain your current weight. The heavier you are, both in fat and muscle, the bigger this number will be.

You have the amount of exercise you do in a day. Every task requires energy, measured in calories.

This gives us three variables. Here’s the simple version:

Total Calories In – Total Exercise Done = X

If X is greater than BMR, you will gain weight.

If X is less than BMR, you will lose weight.

There are approximately 9 calories in a gram of fat. Therefore, for every kilogram of fat you wish to lose, you must create a deficit of 9000 calories. It’s that simple. Conversely, if you eat an excess of 9000 calories you will gain a kilogram of fat.

There are other factors at play, obviously, such as the makeup of those calories and the time of day at which you eat them, but this simple equation is the best way to think about weight loss.

How to Tip the EquationScales of Doom

There are two ways to tip the equation in your favour.

One is to eat less calories.

The second is to maintain your calorie consumption and increase the amount of exercise you do. This is the easier way and the longer term way of achieving weight loss goals and maintaining a healthy weight. You body needs more than a healthy weight to thrive; it needs a balanced diet and regular cardiovascular exercise.

Healthy Eating

It’s not just about reducing calories or increasing exercise. What and when you eat matter too. Here’s some tips.

Eat large in the morning. Breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day. Some people say they cannot eat much first thing. Mostly, they turn out to be smokers. Nicotine is a potent appetite suppressant. The rest of it is habit. Your body will adapt to regularity. What seems a chore now will, with diligent repetition, become the favoured norm.

Choose the life that is the most useful

Don’t eat carbohydrates past six or seven in the evening. Carbohydrates are basically long chain sugars. They break down into sugar relatively quickly and if you eat them before bed, when there is no activity, they will lay down as fat.

Reduce booze. Booze is massively calorie dense. A single shot of liquor is about 110 calories. A pint of lager, up to 300. Four pints is half your daily calorie requirement before you’ve eaten anything. And it metabolises as sugar, which turns readily to fat.

Eat more vegetables. A balanced diet is essential.

Use protein powders as an easy way to maintain muscle after high intensity workouts. You should take protein within 20 minutes of hard interval training, to prevent the body breaking down muscle fibres. Pea and Hemp proteins are far, far more healthy than milk based isolates. Taking on more protein calories means less carb calories. A good strategy later in the day.

Exercise all the time. Join a Krav class. Chuck, an instructor in Bristol, commonly wears a heartrate monitor while training and it’s not unusual to see him burn through 1400 calories in a single 90 minute session. That’s going to make quite a dent in our equation.

Keep watching this space for more articles on exercise, health and fitness, and self defence and Krav Maga.

Happy training.

Will Bayley

Instructor, Krav Maga North Bristol, Krav Maga Swindon.