Combatives Self Defense
Aita Law, LLC

The Timeline of events deals with mostly what we DON'T train in a martial arts class. That 2 to 20 seconds of violence.

So far in the three-part series I've discussed the build up from leaving your house, to the Pre-Incident warning signs which lead to the fight itself. In simple terms when I get asked 'How do you defend [insert any bad position here]' I respond 'What went so wrong in your self-defense that you ended up in this position?'

It's fun and interesting to explore the fighting but this is not the end of the confrontation. There is a final part of the Timeline.

The Aftermath.

So you successfully defended yourself. All the training paid off. The bad guy(s) is down. Now what?

This falls into three parts – Self Care, Escape and Legal Headaches.

First Aid

EDC Trauma Kit

Unless you are really lucky you will be injured too. Others you are with may be too. On the low end you may have bruises and cuts and on the high end you may have been stabbed or shot. Do you carry an EDC Trauma Kit? Do you know how to use it? Working as a paramedic I've (sadly) seen when someone has had a CAT Tourniquet applied in the right place for the right injury but not applied properly and so it did nothing. Is the scene safe? Do you need to move away before contacting EMS? Or can you stay where you are and stabilize the injury?


As part of your Pre-Incident planning you should have already identified Escape Routes. How to get out of the bar, restaurant or wherever. This might not be the front door or how you came in. All public venues like restaurants etc. have a back door. Me, I'm going out of the kitchen. Sure, that's not appropriate during normal business hours but I don't want to have a fight in a bar and then go meet his buddies outside the front door in the parking lot. I'm ducking out the back!

I always park my car by reversing into a parking space. Always. Just in case I need to drive forward out and away.

Do you know where the closest medical facility is? Luckily a quick Google Maps search will tell you but would you even think of that under stress? As well as your 'on person' EDC do you have more in the car?

Plan for the worst and hope for the best.


Martial Arts Law

Do you need to call the cops? One of the difficult questions I ask my Krav Maga students after they have performed a series of impressive and destructive moves on something like a bear hug is 'OK, now justify that level of force to me as if in front of a jury'. Far too often in the training hall people are performing the most ridiculous things like neck breaks, knee stomps or (my personal favorite) taking someone's knife off them and then killing them with their own knife. Spoiler alert, if you disarm someone rendering the threat neutralized and then execute them with their own weapon, get ready to start wearing orange a lot.

Any force you use may be appropriate, but you have to be able to prove it was necessary and legally justified. Not just in Criminal Court but in Civil Court too. If you win the fight but lose your house, car, job and family in the process did you really win?

You should be prepared and have training in legal procedures, how to talk to cops, what to say and what not to say and how to articulate your actions IF, all your skillful Pre-Incident training was unsuccessful and you were left with no choice but to act.

That concludes the Mental Side of Self Protection training of the Timeline – next time I'll be discussing physical supplemental training to your martial arts skill sets.

Paul Landreth-Smith is a 5th Dan in Tae Kwon Do, 6th Dan Kickboxing, an eternal Blue Belt in BJJ and a 3rd Dan in Krav Maga and a Director of Krav Maga Universal. Ex Doorman, 18 years as a cop, 11 years of which in an elite SWAT unit. Now a paramedic and runs training courses for LE and civilians in defensive tactics and firearms training. Author of Sheepdog with a Black Belt.

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