A good defense against any threat must first address the primary danger, and clearly the most immediate danger from a gun is getting shot. Specifically, the danger is being in the path of the bullet once it leaves the muzzle, which means that to avoid the danger, you must get out of the line of fire. You can accomplish that by redirecting the line of fire or moving the target (body defense).


Krav maga instructors frequently teach a redirection and control technique with one hand.

Any technique that moves your body by stepping, twisting or leaning requires more muscle activity and offers the gunman telltale signs, triggering his response to fire the weapon. Instead, your initial movement must be as undetectable and small as possible, and it must alter the line of fire. In most cases with krav maga, this redirection is made with a hand. Students train to use their hands without making any initial body movements — no leaning, no tensing up, no weight shifting. This makes the defensive technique more difficult for the attacker to detect. Only after the initial hand movement has begun should you initiate a body defense.

Krav maga teaches you to make initial redirections using only one hand. This results in smaller, less detectable movements, and it facilitates a body defense because the one-handed action turns your body slightly sideways. Two-handed defenses create bigger, easier-to-see motions, and they make a body defense impossible unless you drop down, which slows your ability to move in and finish the gunman. In addition, two-handed defenses decrease your length, while one-handed defenses allow you to stretch out, making the technique more effective at greater distances as well as at different angles.

You should redirect the gun off your body along the shortest path possible. In addition, you must redirect the line of fire in such a way that it travels across less vital areas. Krav maga’s techniques move the weapon laterally, parallel to the ground along the shortest, straightest line possible. For example, if the weapon is pointed at the center of your chest, the redirection makes the line of fire travel from vital to nonvital areas whether you move it to the left or the right. This may seem like common sense, but many instructors of other arts prefer to push the gun upward, which means the line of fire travels from their chest to their throat to their mouth to their brain and then off their body.

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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 kravmaga.com.

The following 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.

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