Attacking where it hurts…

“It’s all fun and games until someone gets kicked in the balls” -me

There is no way of knowing who or when someone will attack you.  It is important that we never make any assumptions about an attacker, and if we do assume anything, it should be that we will be at a disadvantage in size, strength, and stress level.

So if the person that attacks me is stronger than me, and faster, and more coordinated, how can I possibly get out of the situation safely?  One of the answers to that question is that I need to choose smart and effective counter attacks that will likely illicit a response out of someone regardless of size or strength.  I need to make quick movements that are difficult for the eye to perceive, thus making them difficult to defend against.  Going after the eyes, throat, groin, and knees are great places to start should you need to fight your way out of a dangerous situation.

One of these attacks, is the front kick to the groin.  Sometimes referred to as ‘The Krav Maga Handshake’ (see official pic below!), we use this attack in many situations that require us to defend ourselves.  This move is effective, fast, hard to see, and it can do some seriously painful damage!


In this week’s video, we have a special guest instructor Kelly Campbell, who has been known to do some serious damage with her front kick.  In this particular scenario, someone has entered her home, and she uses the front kick as an effective weapon to do get an immediate response and then she moves in to finish the fight with other combatives.  Often, you can use this kick to buy yourself enough time to run away if that is best way to get out of the situation safely.  Every situation is different so the best plan of action is to make the strongest/fastest kick that you can and then assess your surroundings and any imminent threats and make your next decision from there.

Ok, thats all for now. Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ @AJDraven – Twitter

KMW Lead Instructor – AJ Draven

Your feedback on the post is welcome.


Back to the Basics

We must learn to stand before we can walk…

Every now and then it is good to get back to the basics, and focus on the foundation of which we build upon.  When learning how to protect yourself, that foundation is our fighting stance.

We must get into a position that affords us the best balance, strength, and flexibility.  We must be able to defend any type of attack and counter to the best of our abilities from our fighting stance.  We should be able to move fluidly and adapt quickly to whatever danger is sent our way.

In my opinion, the best fighting stance is one that feels comfortable and is easy to get into.    By simply taking a natural step forward with your non-dominant leg, you are putting your feet in a good and comfortable position.  Your weight should be balanced and it is best to go onto the balls of your feet.  This will make you more explosive when it is time to move, and help you to go in any direction necessary.  Now bring your hands up to protect your face, and tuck your chin.  (see video for demo).

I like to call this your home base.  From here you can strike, defend, gain distance, assess the area and situation, and plan your escape.  It is important to understand that anything can happen and the context of any particular situation will dictate the best course of action.  From a proper fighting stance, we are giving ourselves the best chance to get out of a dangerous situation safely.

Ok, thats all for now. Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ @AJDraven – Twitter

Your feedback on the post is welcome.
Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!





Gun Threat to the Side

When dealing with a gun threat, we must always keep a few things in mind.  First and foremost, this is not an active shooter scenario, and the gunman is currently ‘threatening’ us as opposed to shooting at us.  The gunman likely wants something from us;  our wallet, car keys, or even to move us to another location.  Regardless of what he wants, we know that he hasn’t decided to pull the trigger to shoot us and that we have an opportunity to defend if we think that is our best option for survival.  It is important to understand that we are not necessarily racing against a pull of the trigger, but more the decision of the gunman to escalate his attack from a gun threat to that of an active shooter.  (He may decide at any second to become an active shooter so we must proceed with caution and extreme efficiency should we decide to defend against his threat.)

Second, we must take into account our own training and knowledge of the situation.  If you are new to training, and haven’t spent a lot of time dealing with weapons defenses, it may be best to comply with the attacker and give them what they want.  If the gunman is asking for an item such as your purse, wallet, keys, etc… then there is a good chance that he will just take it and leave you to go home safe.  These things can all be replaced.

However if the gunman is attempting to kidnap or assault you, it may be in your best interest to attempt a defense as the likelihood of survival in one of these situations is significantly decreased.

***This is in no way an exact science and every situation is different.  Your situational awareness and your gut instincts will help you decide if defending or complying is the better course of action.***

We also must realize that we likely have very little to zero knowledge of this attackers gun.  The weapon may be in perfect working order and it may not even be a real gun at all.  If our defense is successful and we disarm the attacker, we cannot assume that the gun will work and that we will be able to use the gun against continued attacks.  If I have knowledge of guns, I can attempt to clear the weapon and threaten my attacker to stay back as I assess the situation.  (This may or may not work, so we cannot rely on this to happen every time).  However it is more likely that we will be able to use the gun as a strong blunt object to attack with, as long as we stay out of the line of fire at all times.

This video discusses the specifics of a gun threat to the side of the body and in front of the arm.  Remember, watching a gun defense video online is a good supplement to your training but you must get some hands on experience.  Take these tools and practice them in a Krav Maga class near you, and hopefully in my class one day!

Ok, thats all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven – Twitter

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!





Uppercut Punch!

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”
– Mike Tyson

Iron Mike has said a lot of things over time, but in this case, I couldn’t agree more! If someone should ‘plan’ on attacking us, they had better be ready for the fight of their lives… and we just may send an uppercut their way!

Knowing how to punch is one of the most (if not the most) important aspects of self defense.  We instinctually use our hands for almost everything, and learning how to punch effectively can potentially save your life in even the most dangerous situations.

Today we are focusing on the uppercut punch.  This is a mid to close range combative that is meant to come from low to high, and likely up in between the targets hands.

As with all punches (and strikes in general), it is crucial to get your body working in conjunction with your hands when striking.  Using very similar mechanics to a straight punch, we want our body weight to drive forward into our attacker (assuming the attacker is in front of us of course).  The difference is that I also must drive my weight slightly up, or to the same angle that I am punching.  I must push with my feet, legs, hips, and torso.  I then drive my shoulder forward and snap my hand towards the target.  Finally recoil back to your fighting stance in a circular motion after striking through the target.  Be sure when punching to have a tight fist and use the top two bigger knuckles.  Your palm should be facing you when striking, and your wrist should be aligned properly to prevent hurting yourself.  (see video for details!)

It takes a little time and practice to get used to throwing an effective uppercut, but once you get the hang of it, it can be a very effective weapon.  I recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands and wrists until you feel comfortable with this strike.

Lastly, remember that we are not boxing here, so use the uppercut in conjunction with other weapons such as elbows, kicks, and knees if you should have to defend yourself.

Ok, thats all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!

Choke Against a Wall…

Or in this case a car!
Here is the situation:  An attacker wraps his hands around your throat squeezes, and slams you up against a wall, a tree, a car, etc…  We must defend against the immediate threat, which is his hands around my throat, but we must also prevent head or spine injury from getting slammed against the wall.  This is a very common attack in crimes of passion or domestic violence situations, where the attacker is trying to use power and strength over someone.  It can happen at any time and any place, as the attacker does not need a weapon to initiate this attack.
As the attack comes on, the goal is to do a fall break against the wall to disperse the power of the slam over your body and arms, instead of it being focused on the head or spine.  Race your hands and arms to the wall and tuck your chin if possible.  Once on the wall, we have to keep a few things in mind while executing our defense.
The attacker is pouching forward and likely up, so the places that I won’t be able to move are forward into him and down.  I need to stay attached to the wall, and must modify my regular choke defense due to the lack of space.  To do this I reach my hand up as high as I can, (think 12 O’clock) and my other hand as low as I can (6 O’clock).  From there I must dip my shoulder down (with the 6 O’clock hand) and draw a u shape with it on the wall.  this allows me to stay ‘attached’ to the wall and prevents me from moving forward into the choke.  I then rotate my body and arm past my that, applying immense pressure with my entire body against the attackers wrists.
** Tip: Be sure to keep your bicep tight to your own ear on the 12 O’clock hand to ensure that you defend at the attackers wrist, which is a weak point in his attack **
After the choke is released, and you can breathe, slam your elbow as hard as you can into the attackers face, and then turn towards the attacker, set your feet in a good fighting stance preferably to the outside or ‘dead’ side of the attacker, and give counter attacks until he is no longer a threat.  From there assess the situation, and go home safe!
Ok that’s all for now, enjoy the video, be safe, and… GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!

-AJ  @AJDraven

Knife Threat to the Throat

There are not a lot of things more dangerous than a knife attack or threat.  Knives are  unpredictable, and can be used in so many different ways that we have to be extremely careful when creating our defenses.

In this particular scenario, the attacker is threatening me with the knife against my throat.  There are only a few ways that I can move without getting cut, slashed, or stabbed.  My movement will change based on which part of my throat the knife is placed on.  In this video, we will focus on the knife to the left side of my throat.

The goal is to control the weapon while sending an effective strike to help maintain control, prevent oncoming attacks, and eventually take the weapon away.  If I rely on controlling the attackers hands without throwing a strike, I must be faster and/or stronger than my attacker, and that is not always the case.  As usual, we must prepare for the worst situation, and the only assumption that we should make is that we must strike as quickly as we can to an area that is likely to illicit a response from our attacker.

Ok that’s all for now, enjoy the video, be safe, and… GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!


Carjacking Defense

The definition of Carjacking is:  A criminal taking of a motor vehicle from its driver by force, violence, or intimidation.

More often then not, the criminal is carrying a gun to carry out this violent act.  Carjackers generally rely on the element of surprise to commit their crime.  So as usual, being aware of our surroundings is key to preventing this potentially deadly attack.

Many victims of carjacking report never even seeing the attacker until after the gun is in their face or even until they are already being taken out of their vehicle.

These attacks commonly occur in big cities, at stop lights, or in parking structures or lots.

Here are a few tips to prevent a carjacking situation:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when entering and exiting your vehicle.  Notice who is around you or if you are potentially being followed.
  • Try to walk to your car with another person if possible especially at night or in an unfamiliar area.
  • Avoid parking near objects that someone can hide behind, such as dumpsters and large bushes
  • Use Valet parking if in an unfamiliar or unsafe area
  • Trust your instincts!  If an area feels unsafe, it probably is.
  • Avoid parking your vehicle in areas that aren’t well lit
  • Lock doors and drive away quickly when parked in unknown or unsafe areas.
  • Keep windows up and doors locked while driving in unknown or unsafe areas, especially if you have to make frequent stops.

If prevention isn’t possible, it is time to make a defense, or to just give up your vehicle and leave the situation safely.  If you decide to leave the car and give the attacker your keys, do not leave any passengers or children in the vehicle!  The chance of survival after being removed from the scene of the crime is significantly reduced.

In this week’s video, I discuss a carjacking attempt from the front driver side of the vehicle.  These attacks can occur from many angles, or even from inside the vehicle, but for this video we are focusing on one of the more common types of attack. The defense will changed based on the position of the attacker and the way that the gun is presented.

This situation is extremely dangerous, so please practice this technique at your local Krav Maga school.

Ok, thats all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!

Krav Maga Stick Defense

I am a big fan of baseball, (Go Cardinals!)… However I am not a fan of someone swinging a baseball bat or a stick at my head!

In this week’s video, we discuss what it takes to defend against a stick attack coming in at a horizontal plane, similar to that of a baseball swing.  The attacker can use one or both hands on the stick, which doesn’t really change my tactics while defending.

As usual, when defending against any attack, we must analyze the inherent danger and create our defense from there.  The strength of a weapon such as a stick, bat, or blunt object is its length.  If used correctly, a stick can be incredibly powerful and even fatal if the blow is delivered effectively.  For this reason we must treat a stick attack as a potential deadly threat, and defend accordingly.

When this threat is presented, I believe you need to make a quick decision.  The choices are simple… Run away, or close the distance and strike while defending.  Staying in range of the stick, but out of range to counter attack, is potentially the biggest mistake you could make in this situation.  Remember, the stick will be moving fastest at the point furthest from the attackers arm, so getting inside that point on the stick is crucial.

When dealing with a horizontal swing, it is best to try and close the distance by building a wall and protecting yourself, and then striking as aggressively as possible.  If you can get inside the sticks long range, the weapon for the most part neutralized and the fight is on.  Now your goal is to strike as effectively as possible and then take the stick away when possible (or, as I prefer to do, counter attack until they are knock out or no longer fighting back and the stick will fall out of their hands).

Ok that’s all for now, enjoy the video, be safe, and… GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!

The Rear Naked Choke

One of the most popular moves in Mixed Martial Arts is the ‘Rear Naked Choke’.  If executed properly, it can render someone unconscious in a matter of seconds.  The goal is to wrap your arms around the neck, cutting off blood circulation via the carotid artery to the brain.

This choke is known as a submission hold.  I rarely recommend using a submission hold in a street fight, and this one in particular occupies both of your hands and attaches you to the other person.  For a variety of reasons including if there happen to be multiple attackers that you have to deal with, or the attacker is bigger and stronger than you, attempting this choke hold could put you in a dangerous position.

That being said, there may be a time where you must render an attacker unconscious, and this is probably the best way to do so aside from knocking them out with a combative.  It will be much easier to get into the position necessary to complete this choke, if you have already attacked with strikes such as groin kicks, punches, and eye gouges to ‘soften’ the attacker up.

This week’s video addresses how to execute this technique properly, as well as how to defend if someone should attempt this choke on you.  Keep in mind that the best defense (as usual) is awareness and prevention of this dangerous situation.

Ok, thats all for now, enjoy the video, be safe, and… GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

-AJ  @AJDraven

Your feedback on the post is welcome.

Please leave it in the comments, or on Twitter or Facebook!

Kidnapping attempts in Los Angeles and How to Defend

This week there have been some attempts at kidnapping women in the Santa Monica area, right near the Krav Maga Worldwide Headquarters in Los Angeles.  Fortunately, no one was hurt, but I think it is important to address this issue as anyone can attempt this attack at any time and they do not need a weapon to do so.

The attackers used the ‘Bear Hug’ technique from behind, where they wrap their arms around an unsuspecting person and attempt to lift them or pull them away.  While the initial attack of arms around the body isn’t necessarily life threatening, if you are removed from a location or kidnapped, the chances of survival are significantly reduced.

If you’re aware of an attacker attempting to come up to you, be assertive, run, and call for help.  Being aware of your surroundings is paramount to being safe and you can prevent many attacks before they happen.  It is a good idea to walk in a group of people if possible, and try to stay away from unsafe areas after dark.

Sometimes the attack may happen regardless of your awareness, and once an attacker gets in close and prevents you from leaving the situation, it is time to defend.  When grabbed in a bear hug type attack, it is important to remember these two words: ‘Base and Space’.  Your goal is to get a good strong base with your feet, making yourself heavy with your knees bent and ready to attack.  If possible, try to keep as much space as possible between the hips of your attacker and yor own, as they won’t be able to control you as well without their hips in the right place.

From here on it’s all about the counter attacks; Striking to vulnerable areas on the body, with your elbows, stomps, and hands.  Once you get the attacker to loosen up, turn around and keep attacking until they are no longer a threat.
See the video for details!

Ok, that’s all for now.  Enjoy the video, be safe… and GO DO SOME KRAV MAGA TODAY!

Your feedback on the blog post is welcome.
Please leave it in the comments or on Twitter or Facebook!

-Aj @ajdraven