Kelly McCann

Edged-weapon attacks are on the rise. Throughout the European Union, they're almost epidemic. Even worse, edged weapons used in attacks overseas many times aren't the 4-inch folders Americans are used to seeing. They're 10- to 12-inch-long kitchen knives, which makes many of the standard disarms taught in martial arts schools more dangerous, if not impossible. The problem has grown so significant that London Mayor Sadiq Khan recently issued a proclamation: "No excuses. There is never a reason to carry a knife. Anyone who does will be caught, and they will feel the full force of the law." He basically banned knives for civilians to carry.

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BLACK BELT: "You win 100 percent of the fights you don't have."— Kelly McCann, combatives instructor

Jarret Schonbrun: I teach my students de-escalation as part of self-defense. I always tell them that if it comes to a point where they need to use blocks/strikes, then they have already failed (but make sure that you fail successfully if needed!)

Meet Kelly McCann, the world's leading combatives instructor, and find out what he's doing to teach civilians the same self-defense skills that used to be reserved for the world's elite fighting forces.

Since 2008, Black Belt has released a ton of top-notch content featuring the knowledge, skills and real-world experience of Kelly McCann. (Here’s a sample.) All of it revolves around the subset of martial arts known as combatives. In his own words: “Combatives represents a physical manifestation of force — a sledgehammer, not a jeweler’s mallet. Combatives is sometimes denigrated as ‘too basic’ by martial recreationalists because of the simplicity and the intentionally limited number of techniques. "Bruce Lee had it right when he threw out all the stuff that was meaningless and boiled it down to 'less is more.' In combatives, we boil it down, then attempt it under duress.”

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Street attacks are typically quick, brutal events intended to overwhelm the victim. Learn how "Combatives for Street Survival" author Kelly McCann stays conditioned for quick, explosive and equally brutal counterattacks in this exclusive article!

"Good to go" is a common military colloquialism indicating readiness. Are you physically good to go for an unexpected, violent street confrontation? What's considered adequately fit in regard to defending yourself? How can it be quantified? On the no-to-low end of the spectrum, some believe fitness is irrelevant because self-defense techniques are supposed to incapacitate an attacker so quickly … "supposed to," hmm. That's a pretty naive perspective. The results of any self-defense technique are always conditional on the street because of myriad variables that are out of your control. You can't depend on technique, power and luck always aligning perfectly to achieve a desired outcome; "guaranteed to succeed" is a dangerous appraisal of any technique, tactic or weapon. Middle-grounders believe fitness is a requirement of self-defense and achieve their personal concept of it in different ways — from running to weightlifting to cross-training. Although well-intentioned and generally fit, some in this group may find that their conditioning program failed to adequately prepare them for the demanding and specific physical requirements of a snot-slinging fight for their life.

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In this combatives training video, Black Belt's Mil-Spec columnist shows you how a simple stance can make or break your chances of survival on the street!

An index position is nothing more than a stance you assume in any threatening, face-to-face situation you can’t simply walk away from. You’ll recognize when it’s appropriate to “index” because you’ll feel really uneasy and uncertain. Indexing enables you to instantly defend or attack without the appearance of being prepared to do either. Sweet! Two for one! Indexing is like cocking a firearm. When you cock a firearm, you make it ready to fire, cutting the trigger pressure that you need to fire in half. When you index, you cock your own trigger by mentally committing to a pre-emptive attack in order to protect yourself, if necessary.

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