View Full Version : Offensive Weapons Training
03-13-2006, 11:34 AM
So, my question has lots of sides to it. What exactly DOES Krav Maga have to say about civilians using weapons to defend themselves? Is there value in training with improvised weapons? As far as such training would go, do the three categories (knife, stick, gun) still apply as a working categorization? Does anything about the non-weapon techniques change if, for instance, one hand is taken up by a weapon?
This question was inspired by GiantKiller's thread about axe and pickaxe. My mind started going places like...\"under what circumstances would I use an axe, if it were handy, to defend myself? And how could I make sure that, given the assumption I WOULD use it, to make sure I used it effectively? What about a less weaponized object...a chair? An ashtray? A tire-iron?\" Just so you know where my mind was when I thought about the question
03-13-2006, 02:12 PM
I can't address much of this, but I'll take a stab (haha) at the gun part. If you're not an officer and you're defending yoiurself with a gun, the goal is to maintain distance. Distance is your friend. Keep them away. Far away. Of course you want to get out of the situation without shooting. It's not your job to apprehend suspects. Just keep your distance and get away safely. Usually, when you draw, they will turn and run. Just let them go.
03-13-2006, 02:55 PM
Hey, I inspired KravMDjeff! :D
I think training with improvised weapons can be very important. Also to train how to defend against them. For example, we say ax is similar to stick, but if you have never done the defense against an ax, you might be stumped at the moment of attack and don't know what to do against that kind of weapon. Same with a chair, or a lamp or anything else that may be similar to stick. Or broken bottles or glass, which may be similar to knife. If you have never been attacked with it in training, you may not be able to recognize which defense would be the correct one to do in that type of situation.
We always encourage people to use common objects, so to use them in class, even if lightly, just to see what it feels like, would be great.
Also, you are right, some things would probably change if you held a weapon, even an improvised one in your hand. For example if you have a knife in one hand and are attacked with a stick, you could redirect the stick, but instead of punching, you could use the knife to stab the attacker. You couldn't really take the stick away as long as you are holding the knife, but you are in close, so you could continue to stab him, even cut his throat if necessary. But if you only practice to do the regular defense, you may not even think of that.
There is some knife against knife and stick against stick in higher levels, but so far I don't think we have ever actually worked with improvised weapons. I'd love to do it, though. John, if you are going to be teaching LV 5 on Wednesdays, can we do some cool stuff like that? :D
I have always been taught in KM to use whatever you can as a weapon if you are defending yourself. As far as the law is concerned, if you use a chair leg or lamp or your elbow to crush a windpipe, the results will be the same....... If you have a gun or a knife though, that is not really an improvised weapon.....
03-13-2006, 07:24 PM
I can't speak to the Krav Maga side of this since Iím a new guy but, with my background I feel that I'm qualified to speak in the general sense about knives and guns.
First, a knife should be considered an extension of your hand. If you were fighting someone and you had a knife in your hand, nothing really changes. Instead of throwing a jab/cross, you might throw a jab/thrust with knife or perhaps a block with the free hand and counter with a knife instead of an elbow. This applies in just about every situation you might encounter. Of course, once you're swinging a broom handle or rolling pin this no longer has the same affect.
As for firearms and civilians, let me say this. If you have to draw a firearm in defense you only have ONE choice, fire the weapon until the bad guy stops whatever action made you draw the weapon in the first place. Someone earlier had mention distance being your friend. This might be true, even more so if you're in a combat situation, but in a civilian encounter, if you're drawing a firearm then distance is no longer an option. Obviously at this point your situation awareness has failed to keep you out of a bad situation and now you're depending on this weapon to save you from death or serious bodily harm. Once you draw, you better be justified in firing. And if you are justified, then you're only option is to fire. Just my $.02
03-15-2006, 01:39 AM
Talking about using improvised weapons in class, a cool thing to do might be to get some breakaway objects from a motion picture store and then use them to attack each other in class. You know, those items that look real, but are made with a soft, safe material, the stuff they use for bar fights in the movies. They have bottles, too, so one could simulate broken glass or a broken bottle. Or a chair or lamp, you name it. Could be a safe way to train with improvised weapons.
03-15-2006, 05:52 PM
ooooorrrrr, you could take kali. Improvised weapons are covered, but we train with the real thing not hollywood breakaways. Couldn't resist :twisted: . Profuse apologies :oops: .
I'm actually surprised to hear the question. Like ffdo my krav maga instructor always encouraged the use of improvised weapons. Use of the handgun was not an addon, it was part of the krav maga curriculum. He also demonstrated Israeli stick fighting and knife fighting, but would not teach it to any of us. He said it was part of the original krav maga curriculum, but had fallen into disuse when Israel could finally afford hot weapons.
03-15-2006, 11:40 PM
As far as a knife being an extension of the arm, there are things you can do with a knife that are very effective but do not translate well to unarmed work, mainly pertaining to large or specialized knives. For example a vertical whip, backhand thrust, assisted cut, lunge or rake (sometimes called a tear) are not really done unarmed, but they can be useful with certain knives. If you were going to structure a knife platform to be the same as unarmed fighting, various small knives lend themseives well while larger ones are not the same as unarmed. These use mechanics similar to unarmed moves:
Fred Perrin La Griffe (this guy makes a lot of gnarly little knives)
various push daggers:
Any knives by Shivworks:
As a side note, I just ordered a bag of goodies consisting of a bunch of hand held self defense tools to try out. Here's a few:
Wow, thats a lot of links.
03-16-2006, 07:36 AM
Tehillim...there's a big difference between \"encouraged the use of (I kind of assumed that was the case)\" and \"trained to be effective with\"
03-16-2006, 11:15 AM
\"As far as a knife being an extension of the arm, there are things you can do with a knife that are very effective but do not translate well to unarmed work, mainly pertaining to large or specialized knives.\"
This is true but I was speaking more in a general sense. If you study knife fighting then there are allot of other things that can be accomplished, especially with a specilized knife as you mentioned. However, for those who are looking for basic uses of a knife without having any official training, it's best to keep it simple.
03-16-2006, 02:11 PM
I'm all for using the real thing instead of breakaways. Whatever works, just doing it at all would be cool. :D
03-16-2006, 02:26 PM
Those are some weird weapons. What does the CIA ice scraper do? Scrape the skin off the opponent? :shock: :wink:
The push daggers are interesting. Looks like it would be hard if not impossible to do a takeaway against those. Same with the knives that have a hole in the handle for the index finger to be put through.
That reminds me, in the same SWAT magazine that had the KM article, there was an article about the Karambit knife. It's relatively small, but the blade is curved and it also has holes in the handle for the fingers, making it hard to be taken away.
I was wondering if our 360 defense would work against such a knife. Because the blade is curved, one would probably get cut trying to do a 360 defense wrist to wrist. So, should one do a 360 defense a little lower on the attacker's arm, to avoid the blade? This might make the defense harder and potentially less effective, but it seems as though that would be safer. That's a pretty sharp blade and if it cuts the wrist it would probably cause a lot of damage.
03-16-2006, 07:40 PM
KravMDjeff good point. There is a big difference between encouraged and trained to be effective. In krav maga we always heard use whats close at hand but we never actually trained to \"be effective with\" improvised weapons. But, watching my krav maga instructor demonstrate double stick fighting inspired me to pursue kali after he shut down his school. Now I am learning to be effective with a whole range of blunt and edged weapons. The other day I was doing my spear fighting drills using my daughter's keyboard stand in its folded position. Folded keyboard stand is a potent weapon. It lends itself to blunt force as well as hooking action.8)
John W. any chance KMWW will introduce the Israeli stick and knife fighting to civilians? It would be a great help against cannabalistic pickaxe wielding mutants. It also improves footwork and speed.
03-16-2006, 08:39 PM
The ice scraper works like a push dagger with a straight edge rather than a point.
A 360 defense would work against a karambit the same way. The blade protrudes from the bottom of the fist and arcs away from the wrist anyway. The difference is mostly that the karambit sort of hacks while a straight blade will stab like an icepick. The tricky part is that cutting is usually done with the elbow 90 degrees like a hook- which doesn't lend itself to the 360 defense (at least what I know of it).
03-16-2006, 11:34 PM
I found a very interesting page of knives and such. Some very innovative designs, but I probably won't buy any- too expensive for me.
03-17-2006, 01:18 AM
So, would you hold a karambit (or any other knife that is curved) in a reverse grip or a regular grip? Would the curved part always point away from your own wrist? If the attack is done with a very narrow hook motion, I guess the 360 defense may be hard to do. Something else to try....
Once in a while, we do a little stick against stick or knife against knife in level 5. In one class we even put on some gear and did some light sparring that way, trying to put the individual defenses into practice. Great training - you are right, it helps with footwork and speed, also recognition of the attack and reaction time (and the cannibals, of course! :wink: ).
03-17-2006, 10:24 PM
A karambit is usually held in a reverse grip with the hooked edge extending away from the wrist, so a hook or uppercut motion will cut with the hooked edge, and a hammerfist motion will hack with the other edge. The karambit is built to be gripped this way- you can't really hold it in a reverse grip with the edge in. You can grip in in a forward grip with the ring around the pinky, or in the reverse grip you can sort of spin it around on the ring to an extended position thats kind of hard to describe. This is used in certain techniques- Steve Tarani has an interesting book on these knives.
Other curved knives can be held in different ways. Knives like the clinch pick and disciple by shivworks, along with some hard to find name brand knives are built with an edge opposite where you would expect in relation to the handle. Some people think the blade was put in backwards. Imagine a kitchen knife with the handle turned around. These are meant to be infighting knives held with the edge in in a forward or reverse grip (mostly reverse grip). I've read that this knife style and method was used with those knives you see in the middle east with the curved talon shaped blade (I don't claim to know a lot about this field, but I believe its the same knife used in the sikh tradition- the kirpan). The main cutting edge was the inside one, not the outside one.
Basically the curved part won't always move away from your wrist- only on a karambit or hawkbill style blade with the edge out. Karambits are designed that way. Most knives will curve towards the wrist because they curve back towards the point and most people will use the edge out grip rather than the edge in.
03-18-2006, 01:27 PM
If you have to draw a firearm in defense you only have ONE choice, fire the weapon until the bad guy stops whatever action made you draw the weapon in the first place.
Walt, I'm sorry but I have to respond to this. Over 97% of the time a firearm is used in lawfull self defense it is NOT fired. Studies of various types conducted by various entities (including the US Government) indicate that a firearm is used in lawfull self defense from 700,000 to 2,000,000 times each year. All studies indicate that from 95% to 98% of the time the weapon is not fired. The attacker imediately runs away.
Now I do agree that a firearm should never be drawn or displayed to gain \"leverage\" and should only be drawn when the use of lethal force is justified, but if the attacker turns and runs as soon as they see the firearm, you had best not fire. Shooting people in the back is not only morally wrong but will also land you in prison.
03-18-2006, 03:00 PM
\"Walt, I'm sorry but I have to respond to this. Over 97% of the time a firearm is used in lawfull self defense it is NOT fired. Studies of various types conducted by various entities (including the US Government) indicate that a firearm is used in lawfull self defense from 700,000 to 2,000,000 times each year. All studies indicate that from 95% to 98% of the time the weapon is not fired. The attacker imediately runs away.
Now I do agree that a firearm should never be drawn or displayed to gain \"leverage\" and should only be drawn when the use of lethal force is justified, but if the attacker turns and runs as soon as they see the firearm, you had best not fire. Shooting people in the back is not only morally wrong but will also land you in prison.\"
I couldn't agree with you more. And yes, that's absolutely right, if you draw your weapon and the BG immediate turns and runs, game over. BUT, when you draw that weapon, in your mind your only course of action should be to fire until the BG stops his attack. That's all I was saying.
03-20-2006, 11:29 PM
Well, I received some Comtech stingers and Executive Ice Scrapers in the mail today. The stingers are some of the most convenient weapons I've come across. They're lightweight plastic, but very solid. I put one on my keychain. The grip is very comfortable, and would do some good damage with a good punch to just about anywhere. I highly recommend it. The ice scraper is a little bigger and doesn't lend itself to a keychain as well. Rather than a piont, it has a sturdy edge that would damage the hard parts of the body. A chopping hammerfist with the corner does the most damage. This thig would bust up the bridge of the nose, corner of the orbital bone, or philtrum. Its alright, and worth keeping in your car if you live in an icy area.
03-20-2006, 11:30 PM
The stinger would also make a good window breaker in emergencies.
03-21-2006, 02:14 PM
Why just an icy area? You mean I can't bust noses in the desert?
I wonder how quickly you could deploy such a weapon if it's on your key chain. Do you actually have keys on the chain as well and would they interfere with the weapon? What are the legal ramifications of using it in a fight? Would you get in trouble for carrying a dangerous weapon?
Talking about key chains, how about using ordinary keys as a weapon? I'm thinking, if I took a key and put it between my fingers, so that the pointy part is sticking out when I make a fist, and then I struck somebody that way, it could cause some damage (almost like a tiny knife or dagger, although not as sharp, but if I hit soft tissue, such as the face or neck, it could yield some good results. :wink: ) Have you tried this? Or better yet, do you know of a special website for house key fighting? :wink: )
03-21-2006, 02:20 PM
Oh, another thing I just thought of, if you held a bunch of coins in your hand, and then struck a person, would that increase the power of your punch (because your fist would be heavier)? If yes, by how much and would that be a good thing to do if you happened to carry a lot of change in your pockets when you are being threatened by somebody and a fight is inevitable? Or would it be better to just use an ordinary fist without the change (to prevent breaking your knuckles)?
03-21-2006, 09:21 PM
A fistload is anthing you put into your fist to reinforce it and/or add weight to the fist. One of the most common fistloads is actually a roll of coins, another is the spark plug. Also regarding coins, knifemaker Fred Perrin makes a self defense wallet:
Its near the bottom of the page. The basic idea is that there's a pouch at one end that you fill with change, so it makes your wallet into a sap. Personally I would hate carrying enough change to be a weapon.
With the stinger, I keep it on my keychain, and you can punch with it without removing the keys. When I carry may keys, I naturally grip the stinger in its punch alignment simply because its a comfortable way to carry keys. With any weapon, it seems the fastest way to deploy it is to already have it in your hand. The legal issues can get complex because weapon laws are deliberately vague. There's a lot to be said about use of force laws, but as far as carrying it around, unless you're doing something suspicious, a cop probably won't give you any trouble- if they recognize it they are probably a fan of self defense gadgets.
A lot has been written about the use of keys as a weapon. One of the interesting ways I've seen is to clip your keys to the back of a baseball hat to add some weight, then if trouble breaks out you can whip it off and use it like a sap/flail. This assumes some somewhat heavy keys and a clip or carribeaner. If you experiment with this, you can generate some impressive force. I think this was on a James Keating video.
03-22-2006, 12:37 AM
Many instructors in use of lethal force (guns and knives) suggest the carry of some kind of less lethal weapon as well. Civilians are often completely restricted from carrying guns, and in some locations even knives. Certainly training in Krav makes us better able to use our hands, feet and other body parts than the average person. However, I have found the ASP Street Defender to be an excellent adjunct tool for self defense. It is essentially a hollow 6î aluminum cylinder that has a pepper spray cartridge in it. It can simply be used for delivery of OC, but will also function as a Kubaton, hand load, key flail, sap, force concentrator for hammer punches and, with a little training, is very useful for pain compliance and control techniques. The other advantage over many other tools is that, without training, the bad guy is not likely to use it effectively against you.
The Street Defender is the largest model, and is far superior because of greater OC spray capacity, but ASP also offers a Key Defender which is thinner and slightly shorter, and a Palm Defender which is sort of stubby. Your keys can be carried by stuffing the Defender down the inside of your pants, with the keys showing, and is admittedly somewhat nerdy looking, but allows it to be very quickly deployed, if not already in your hand. I have carried one for years, and have used the Kubaton techniques on drunk or drugged idiots who I was forced to deal with and ìencourage to cooperateî because of my work.
There are at least three different books out on Kubaton techniques. ìThe Persuader Batonî by Monadock PR-24 Training Council, Inc. and ìOfficial Kubaton Techniquesî by Takayuki Kubota are restricted to law enforcement, but ìAction Kubotanî also by Takayuki Kubota is the civilian version that has most of the useful striking techniques in it, but leaves out the pain compliance and restraint techniques. Any martial arts instructor who knows how to use a yawara stick can show most of these to you. Reportedly Kubota designed the Kubaton to use techniques developed for a pen or yawara stick, but be less likely to cause permanent injury. Mas Ayoob teaches a course through Lethal Force Institute that he calls the ìPersuaderî which is very good and covers many of the above techniques. He doesnít specifically advocate the Defender, but the pepper spray seems to be a useful item to have and the rest of the techniques are equally applicable.
Please donít misunderstand me. This is not a substitute for a rapid escape, and I would still advocate the carry of guns and / or knives if you are legally able to do so and willing to devote the time to proper training and practice. The Defender just might provide an additional tool for intermediate options between fists alone or lethal force, and could certainly be used in combination with striking techniques, if appropriate. As is often said on this forum: just my 2 cents worth.
03-22-2006, 03:50 PM
If you follow the link for the wallet, there is actually a baseball cap too, already loaded with coins. That could work, but it may be heavy to carry on your head all day. Another thing that was interesting was the sharp credit card, to be used as a knife.
I usually only carry a few keys, which may not be heavy enough to be swung, but if you took one key and held it in between your thumb and index finger, you could probably cause some damage if you hit a soft, vulnerable area, such as the neck. But then again, maybe a strong punch would do a better job.
How much more effective would your punch be, if you held maybe a roll of quarters while punching? Enough to make a difference?
03-22-2006, 05:42 PM
Giantkiller...I would strongly suggest not using your keys to strike an opponent. Damaging your keys could stop you from being able to get in your car and take off at the right moment...several people have tried and found themselves in a situation where their escape was cut off.
03-22-2006, 09:48 PM
The roll of quarters thing seems to be effective enough for it to be common knowledge. Personally I feel that I generate more power through the body, not the weight of the fist. It also reinforces the fist like those bars in bag gloves.
Although normally I don't feel the need to have a heavier fist, but I remember when I used to get in fights as a kid it would feel like my fists were really light. Its kind of a weird feeling, maybe from boxing. Psychologically it may help aside from the actual eight and reinforcement.
There's a good article on fistloads:
03-24-2006, 05:40 PM
That's a pretty good article.
As for damaging the keys, I'm not sure one could damage them, since they are made of metal. But I guess it's possible to lose them during the fight. I wouldn't do it with my car keys, if I planned to get away with that car. However, if I'm far from home, I might be able to use my house keys, since it wouldn't matter too much if I lost them at that point.
03-24-2006, 06:35 PM
Giantkiller...I'm saying that it's been documented that people have used them. I'm not bringing up a theoretical point.
03-24-2006, 08:42 PM
Can you cite a source?
03-25-2006, 10:01 AM
03-26-2006, 01:34 AM
Where is the part about the keys? I didn't find it. :?
Thing is, I see your argument about something happening to the keys. I've thought about this myself when we sometimes teach to possibly throw the keys at the attacker as a distraction, before launching a counterattack.
I can imagine them getting lost, but I have a hard time believing that they could be damaged so badly that they lose their function. At least the keys I'm thinking of are made of metal, are kind of short, how would you damage them if you hit or stabbed a person with them? It just sounded strange, but maybe it's possible.
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