Fighting to Win: More Martial and Less Art

In my waning months on Active Duty at Fort Stewart Georgia with the Civil Affairs Battalion there, our combatives representative sent out a mass email containing an offer I couldn’t refuse. Several instructors from Pooler Karate were coming out to Hunter Army Airfield for a week to teach Krav Maga, the Israeli Defense Force’s signature hand to hand combat style.

I knew little to nothing about it, other than the idea was to fight to win using any means necessary. I was to learn that was an understatement. A few of the instructors were former law enforcement and some had trained with members of the IDF. Those of us who could attend were excited.

The thing that separates Krav Maga from other well-known martial arts such as Tae Kwon Do, Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, etc. is that there are no forms, routines, or competitions. There isn’t even traditional sparring because of the grave risk of injury. Krav Maga is there to put your opponent on the ground and out of commission as quickly as possible.

(U. S. Air Force photo/Alan Boedeker)

The course we took lasted only a week, albeit all day every day. There were no weight class considerations. The idea was that you must be ready for anyone, any size, to confront you. For this reason, what most would consider “fighting dirty” was not only allowed, it was encouraged. Be sure to use everything at your disposal. Holding back is not an option.

Army combatives instructors present at the training took up the role of assailants during live drills. The padding they wore was (and needed to be) extensive because of the combat methods employed. I commend these men for their dedication and probably owe them a few rounds.

The most significant topic of instruction covered was disarmament. I, personally, do not carry. I live in a place where it is prohibited and I have never felt the need. So, my curiosity on how to properly disarm an assailant eclipsed all else, and they delivered. Whether you are in your vehicle, at an ATM, or simply confronted head on, we learned how to remove a pistol from an aggressor.

We also learned when to not do anything, which is just as important, if not more so. Sometimes you are just too far away, in the wrong position, or this individual is a professional and won’t underestimate you. One example is that there is no sure-fire way to disarm someone with a knife or a blade. You can do it, but chances are you will be cut before you do.

You won’t always be armed. Good luck with that on an airplane, major cities, or most forms of public transit. The purpose of this article is not to comment on open/concealed carry policy or firearm hoarders. My point is that for the price of a low-end pistol you can receive instructions on how to be the weapon (pardon the cliché). Learn how to channel aggression into a frame of mind where you coordinate your instincts into actions that get results. Natural instinct makes people drown, overeat, and tense their muscles before a car crash. Don’t “trust your gut” until you train your gut.

Make a good investment in yourself and stay safe out there.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Bryan Bintliff

Bryan is an Army veteran, Masters Student at NYU, and a freelance writer dabbling in travel advice and survival tips... sometimes both at once. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and is enjoying his new weekend warrior status.
Bryan Bintliff

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