Consider these two scenarios:

Scenario No. 1

It’s late at night. You’re walking to your car in a parking structure. Your mind is occupied, and you’re obviously not as aware of your surroundings. Without warning, a man steps out of the shadows. You can’t see his face, but you can see the semi-automatic pistol in his hand. It hovers a few feet away, pointing at your chest.

“Give me your car keys now!” he orders.

Startled out of your thoughts and frightened by the gun, you dig into your pocket and pull out the keys.

“Give them to me!” he commands, and you obey.

“Back up. Get back!” Again, you do as you’re told.

The gunman snatches the keys, gets in your car and drives away.

Scenario No. 2

It’s late at night. You’re walking to your car in a parking structure lit by a few dim bulbs spaced too far apart. Your mind is occupied, and you’re obviously not as aware of your surroundings as you ought to be. Without warning, a man steps out of the shadows. You can’t see his face, but you can see the semi-automatic pistol in his hand. It hovers a few feet away, pointing at your chest.

“Give me your car keys now!” he orders.

Startled out of your thoughts and frightened by the gun, you dig into your pocket and pull out the keys.

“Give them to me!” he commands, and you obey.

“Back up. Get back!” Again, you do as you’re told.

The gunman snatches the keys, then backs away and shouts, “Now get in the trunk!”

The first scenario is a clear argument for complying with a gunman’s demands. A handgun represents a significant threat to your life. If you can maintain your safety by giving him what he wants, do it. Your car, your wallet and your jewelry are meaningless. Going home to your family is everything. The actions described in scenario No. 1 are replayed on the streets of America every day. Unfortunately, so are those described in scenario No. 2. You can cooperate with an armed assailant and give him everything he asks for — and still end up in mortal danger. The worst part is that you may never know which scenario you’re facing until it is too late. This simple, unnerving fact is the clearest reason for including realistic gun defenses in your defensive-tactics system.

Krav maga, the official hand-to-hand combat system of the Israeli Defense Forces, includes some of the most practical and effective techniques in existence — techniques that are relied on by soldiers and police officers who face armed threats day in and day out. The methods krav maga teaches for gun defense allow you to create responses that work in a wide variety of circumstances. That reduces the number of techniques you must learn and remember, which results in a shorter training time and faster application under stress. For instance, krav maga uses the same technique when a gun is placed anywhere in front of you, whether it is touching you or not. The same technique, with very minor adjustments in body defense, works when the gun is pointed at your forehead, under your chin or at the side of your head. All krav maga gun techniques employ four basic principles:

Often these four principles will overlap. For instance, controlling the weapon and counterattacking frequently take place at the same time. For you to successfully use a gun defense in the gravest extreme, you must understand and be able to implement all four principles.

In the following weeks, each of these principles will be discussing in further detail.

[ti_billboard name="Neutralizing Gun Attacks 4"]

Use of the Gun

Students often ask whether they are allowed to shoot the gunman once they have taken away his weapon. The answer depends on the context. This article cannot define and explain the legal ramifications of self-defense and the use of force in every part of the United States. Furthermore, such decisions must be made by you in the heat of the moment, not by a magazine article.

However, sound tactics must at least include the possibility of using the weapon if you believe your life is still in danger. If the gunman charges after you once you’ve taken his weapon, the assault clearly is not over. Consider his mental state in that situation: He threatened you with deadly force, you defended yourself and disarmed him, you are now armed, and he still attacks you. In this scenario, it makes tactical sense to retain the weapon and hold it in a position where it may be used. It will then be up to you to determine your own course of action.

About the Author:

John Whitman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and third-degree black-belt krav maga instructor with more than 10 years of experience in the system. For more information about krav maga, visit

The above article is an excerpt from The Ultimate Guide to Reality-Based Self-Defense. This book gives you the keys to unconditional survival. Featuring some of the best self-defense articles from the Black Belt archives, the book explores a wide spectrum of violent situations, delves into the criminal mind, and teaches you how to effectively assess a violent situation and act accordingly.

Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
Keep Reading Show less

Looking to buy some weights to gain some strength?

Looking at Dumbbell, Kettlebells or Weighted bar? How about an all in one that won't just save you some good amount of money but also space? Look no further, we bring you the GRIPBELL!

Let's face it, when we do want to work on some strength building, we don't want to go around shopping for 20 different weight equipment things. That would just not want us to even do any sort of strength training. But what if we only needed a few, a few that can do the things we want without having 20 things lay around? That's where the GRIPBELL comes in. Let me clarify with you first, these are not some heavy duty, muscle exploding weights, they are for building the level of strength we as martial artists want without going crazy and insane in bulk sizing!

Keep Reading Show less

Many different types of "blocks" are taught in most martial arts school. We are taught high blocks, low blocks, middle blocks, knife hand blocks, etc. Some schools will also teach how to use the legs to block an attack, as well.

The purpose of this writing is to possibly open some minds to the possibilities of going outside the box and considering alternatives to the basics.

Blocking is taught as a way of protecting oneself from harm. Truly, we don't "block" anything, as a non-martial artist would think of it. What we call "blocking" is more of a redirection of an opponent's attack, or even a counterstrike against the opponent's attacking limb.

To block something would mean to put something, like your arm, leg or other body part directly in front of the attack. That would certainly hurt and possibly cause some damage. The goal should be to move the attack out of the way in order to prevent injury and provide a way to fight back. For example, many schools teach blocks as a limb moving toward the strike such as a circular high block.

The movement required for a block might have other uses, if you keep an open mind. The blocking techniques can also be used as attack techniques. For example, your "low block" may be used as a striking technique against the outer thigh of the attacker. Your high block might be used as a strike to the jaw. The set up for a block can be used as a deflection, as well as the actual block.

Doing a block or a series of blocks will most likely not end an attack. A block needs to be followed by a counterattack. While the block is usually taught as a separate technique in order to learn it correctly, it should also be used in combination with a counter.

The more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. Intensive books can and have be written about basic techniques. With this writing, I am hoping to create interest in exploring the additional possibilities for what we have been taught and what we teach others.

About Grand Master Stevens

GM Stevens has been training in taekwondo for 47 years under the tutelage of the late legendary Grand Master Richard Chun. He holds an 8th degree black belt and is certified in the USA and in Korea. Grand Master Stevens is a member of the Board of Directors of the prestigious Richard Chun TaeKwonDo World Headquarters organization. He has been very active in his community and has been a volunteer with the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps for over 11 years. He is a certified member of C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team).

Gary Stevens Taekwondo is located at 175 Rock Road in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

For more information: call (201) 670-7263, email: or go to

Having partners at or above your skill level is important for improving in your martial arts training. At some point, however, you will probably find yourself with a shortage of skilled partners, especially if you are an instructor.

This can happen for any number of reasons: students can move away, change their work schedules, start a family, etc., and just like that, you find that you're the highest-ranked student, or sole instructor, in your gym or dojo. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, if you take advantage of it, even working exclusively with lower-ranking classmates or students can improve your skills.

I used to host a twice-a-week training session at my dojo where I invited mostly black belts from other schools (as well as a few of my advanced students) to come and run drills. It was a blast. These were tough two- to three-hour sessions where I got to work with fighters of all different sizes, speeds, and technique preferences. My sparring improved dramatically over the next few months, and I don't think I've ever been in better shape. But unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. And as the old saying goes, "You gotta work with what ya got." So, make it hard on yourself.

I like to set handicaps when fighting my students. Specifically, I focus on forcing myself to work on improving my weak areas. Is you right leg weaker than the left? Then only kick with the right leg when sparring your students. Not much of an inside fighter? Don't kick at all. Training with partners of lesser skill not only helps you improve your weak points but gives them an opportunity to improve as well by working on strategy. It's also great for building their confidence. It can also be a low-cost opportunity to test new techniques and combinations, which benefits you as well.

In grappling, just like sparring, there is little benefit to wrapping lower ranking classmates into pretzels over and over, for them or you. Instead, let your partner put you in a bad situation. Let them get the mount; help them sink in that choke or armbar. If you start standing, such as in judo, allow your partner to get the superior grip before attempting a throw. This way you will get comfortable working out of a weaker position and your less-experienced partner can perfect their technique (and get experience using multiple techniques, if you get out of their first one).

You might think that giving advantages like these to students who may be far beneath your skill level is much of a challenge. Trust me, you'll reconsider that sentiment when you wind up sparring a 6'5" novice with zero control over his strength after deciding to only use your weak leg, or have a 250-pound green belt lying across your diaphragm trying to get an armlock after you let them get the pin. Remember, this is exactly what you signed up for: a challenge.

If you find yourself at the top of the heap without partners who are sufficiently challenging, there is no need to despair. Use it as a low-stress opportunity to improve your weaknesses and develop avenues to help your less experienced classmates and students to grow. You may even be surprised. One day they might present more of a challenge than you ever imagined!
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter