Combat Hard Handgun Combatives Program

Here is a great overview of the Combat Hard Handgun Combatives program.  A big shout out of “Thanks” to Prepper Jalapeño Gal for writing this great review.  All the best!


Preemptive Strikes and Distraction Techniques

Many self-defense practitioners and self defense legal experts believe that if the situation is so clear-cut, and one feels certain violence is unavoidable, the defender has a much better chance of surviving by landing the first blow and gaining the immediate upper hand.  I totally agree with this.  In fact, statistics have shown that a single well-placed strike in such a circumstance has usually been all that is necessary to end the conflict.  If we get lucky, we might just knock the attacker out; even if this was not the result, the first strike is usually enough to distract the attacker so that one can either run or follow-up with more effective strikes.

“When it is clear to you that you or anyone dependent upon you for protection is about to suffer physical violence at the hands of extralegal assailants, attack, and keep on attacking until you are safe.” – Professor Bradley J. Steiner

Your Self Defense arsenal should include “preemptive” (offensive) action on your part.

“An attempt to strike another, when sufficiently near
so that there is danger, the person assailed may strike first,
and is not required to wait until he has been struck.”

– 16th Century English Self Defense Law

First, let us consider the situation of what I refer to as an individual’s preemptive self-offense.

Hypothetically speaking, you are face to face with the assailant, and you know you are about to be tackled.  What should you do?  You might look for an improvised weapon or other tool.  But what if these are unavailable?  If you plan to hit and kick your way out of the situation, should you be the first one to strike? The answer is yes, you should.

Preemptive Attack

A preemptive attack, i.e., physically hitting someone else before you yourself have suffered actual physical damage, would be justified for an individual if, in an emergency situation, he had a rational (reasonable) expectation that another person was about to assault him.

Lawful “preemptive” self offense is simply the act of landing the first-blow in a situation that has reached a point of no hope for de-escalation or escape. If you are walking alone down a dark street, and you notice a suspicious person approaching you, what should you do?  Should you wait until they have their hands on you to start preparing to fight back?  No!  What you do before the physical attack begins can have a huge impact on the outcome of the attack.  If you know an attack is imminent, or you have a strong gut feeling that you might be in danger, it is time to begin mental preparation.  If you have a stun gun, pepper spray, or another self defense device, it is also time to make sure it is immediately accessible and not buried in the bottom of your bag.  Many people shy away from making the first move for several reasons.  One may be a lack of confidence in fighting skills.  Another may be fear of legal aftermath—will one get in trouble for initiating the attack?

The short answer is, no.   Whether you use a self defense device, or protect yourself using your fists, as long as you can articulate that the attack was indeed imminent, the law allows you to protect yourself physically.

It is often unwise to wait for your attacker to get his hands on you before you put up a defense.  In fact, you will often find it very difficult to defend yourself if you wait until you are already in this situation.  By allowing the attack to unfold without creating a pre-emptive offense, you lose control, or the upper hand of the situation.  It is always best to run away from the situation, if at all possible, but if not, you should still be the one to make the first offensive move.  If the attack is truly inevitable, you have no reason to wait.

Intimidation is a crime.  The definition of intimidation is this: if someone verbally threatens you, even if they have not yet touched you, they have committed the crime of intimidation, which is considered in most states as unlawful force or coercion.  If someone threatens you by shouting, “I’m going to kill you!” they have already committed a crime of intimidation.  You should, in fact, you must assume that they mean what they say and immediately take whatever action you feel is appropriate under the circumstances!  Do not wait for confirmation when they actually attempt to murder you!  I believe that this statement by Professor Steiner truly sums up my thoughts on this topic, “Innocent human beings cannot be expected to wait until they are actually suffering what may be permanent or lethal injuries before undertaking necessary self-protective action.“

There are a lot of martial arts teachers who are divided over the issue of the pre-emptive strike. On the one hand, some traditional training begins with the “assailant” attacking the student.  As a result, many students think that they can wait for someone to attack them, at which point the student deftly escapes the attack using their martial arts techniques.  Although these strategies work well in practice, will you really be able to escape such a situation by beginning to fight back only after the attack has already begun?  You might if you have invested some time in training for the surprise assault and utilizing some form of default position.  I would rather position myself for the preemptive attack and let the bad guy play catch-up, not the other way around.  Keep this important fact in mind: fighting in a martial arts competition and real fighting on the street are two completely different things, requiring two completely different mindsets and training.

As a self defense instructor, you should encourage the preemptive attack in real self defense situations.  In other words, hit them before they hit you and keeping hitting them until they are no longer a threat to you.

Index Positions or Passive Stances

Index positions are prepared stances.  They allow you to place your preemptive weapons in range of a target without telegraphing your intention.  The four basic index position are the “Jack Benny”, the “Ed Sullivan”, the “Bodyguard” and the “Fence”.

“An index position as is nothing more than a stance you assume in any threatening, face-to-face situation you can’t simply walk away from.  Indexing enables you to instantly defend or attack without the appearance of being prepared to do either.

-Kelly McCann-

These are natural positions, sometimes called “passive stances” that you might find yourselves in on a daily basis.  Miyamoto Musashi said, “Make your fighting stance your everyday stance and make your everyday stance your fighting stance.”  We highly recommend you follow this simple principle and to become cognizant of the stances you currently assume habitually.  It is impractical to assume a fighting stance all day every day—what a ridiculous thought.  The answer to readiness is the index position, which becomes your everyday stance.  When assuming an index position, the feet should be placed in a configuration that provides you with a balanced platform.  Once the balanced platform is in place, focus should shift to hand and arm positioning.  You should position your hands for the most effective preemptive strike.   A great concept to remember is Closest Weapon, Closest Target, which is a fighting strategy developed by Tony Blauer.  Blauer’s concept, coupled with index positions, is a very effective strategy for situational readiness.  An excellent example is the Ed Sullivan index position.  It is a very natural set-up for the Ax-Hand strike.  The Ax-Hand strike, as you probably know, is a penetrating hand strike that can truly devastate an unexpected opponent.  It should be noted, that the more persistent the aggressor is, the more quickly you should move to the “Fence” position.  This position allows for a natural barrier between you and your opponent.  It also places your hands in position to strike very effectively, if needed.

Distraction Techniques

Distraction Techniques are designed to disrupt the assailant’s mental process and draw focus away from their primary assault, thereby allowing the victim the ability to apply a release and or escape.  Bruce Siddle, of PPCT Management Systems, LLC, defines the distraction technique as “the use of control techniques that weaken motor action by changing the thought process”.   Most distraction techniques work for about 3 seconds, which is a very short amount of time. Either immediate follow-up or escape is highly recommended.  Distraction techniques are often used in situations where another person grabs you or your clothing.  They are a simple, yet effective.


As I suggested, if you believe that the situation is so black and white as to feel certainty that violence is unavoidable, you stand a much better chance of surviving by delivering the first blow and gaining the immediate upper hand.  By gaining the upper hand you are more likely to WIN in this confrontation!  I am all about winning.  It is critical to understand that three elements should be in place for you to utilize any type of force.  Those three elements are ability, opportunity and jeopardy.   As I say, once the “stars are aligned”, hit them and keep hitting them until they are no longer a threat to you or your loved ones.  Preemptive striking is an important element that must be considered in regards to your Self Offense arsenal.  Ensure that you are training and practicing these strikes often.  Remember this great quote: “Martial arts are something you do with someone; combatives you do to someone.” – Kelly McCann



Part 1

By Burton J. “Jimi” Brown, JD, PhD

You’ve heard it all before. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Skipping the rest of Miranda’s famous warnings, these two sentences speak volumes. You have a positive right NOT to speak but if you do, there could be a heavy down side. I call this downside, “shovel potential”, because if you choose to speak you might very well dig yourself a hole you can’t easily climb out of. Remember, you ARE the best evidence against yourself if you say the wrong things. However, you can also be the best evidence FOR yourself. Between these two rather stark choices I recommend the latter.

Before diving any deeper into this subject let’s define what we mean by evidence. Legally it is anything asserted (meaning submitted to the court) to prove a material issue or fact in a case. By proof we mean that the item of evidence asserted will tend to make something either more or less likely than it would be without it. This could be a photograph, a security tape, a blood analysis, a witness statement, a police report, or your own words. Keep in mind that this is a double edged sword and works both ways. The item of evidence asserted might just as likely tend to show your innocence or your guilt. Once your case arrives at trial there are other issues that will need to be resolved. Among those are relevance of the evidence, the reliability of the evidence, and the possible grounds for excluding the evidence. If you are ever in this situation discuss these to YOUR satisfaction with your lawyer. I will cover these issues in later articles and I am develpoing a curiculuum module for addition to the Combad Hard Education system. You do NOT need to be an expert but you should at least be familiar with these concepts and how they might play out for (or against) you. Hopefully, you wont ever be in this position.

If you are involved in a personal defense shooting you are already standing in the midst of a veritable sea of evidence before 911 has even been dialed. The assailant’s physical body, his clothing, his blood, his position, his weapon and so on are all evidence and will be treated as such. This also pertains to your own body, clothing, weapon, spent shell casings, and etc. We haven’t even gotten to other witnesses if present, closed circuit camera records, cell phone images ready for Youtube, phone tapes to law enforcement agencies and on it goes. Keep in mind all of this EVIDENCE is just lying there awainting collection and interpretation and you haven’t spoken a single word to anyone. Oh, but there’s more. What if the assailant is alive? If he is, he is not likely to be singing epic songs about your many virtues. Being the guy on the scene with the bullet hole he may get the first chance to speak and therefore influence any and all listeners including medical and law enforcement first responders. Remember, the bleeding guy will automatically draw at least some early attention even if he’s a scum bag.

I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, but it was a clean shoot! This guy attacked me with a knife. I was scared to death! I thought I was about to die!” Ok, but the clarity in your own mind may not be equally reflected in your shooting scene. If it is, you may very well be in good shape. But if it doesn’t, not so much. So do not assume anything. But most of all do not think you are so clever as to safely run off at the mouth without encountering the aforementioned shovel potential.

In the Handgun Combatives Program you’re trained to say certain things. These are solid and should be memorized well. If you say just these things both on the phone to 911 and after law enforcement arrives you won’t be hurting yourself too much if at all. There is a potential downside risk and I’ll write more about that below. However, know these phrases and if the moment comes that you need them you should, even under stress, be able to say them properly. By way of a refresher here are the kinds of phrasaes I’m referring to.

1)    I was attacked

2)    I was forced to defend myself

3)    Identify yourself and give your location

4)    Please send an ambulance

5)    I need my lawyer before saying anythng else

Another item to remember is that law enforcement dispatchers are trained to keep you on the line. You are NOT required to do so. Remember, the line is taped and anything you say or anything that is overheard becomes evidence. Hey, didn’t you mention a downside to using the program phrases? What did you mean? If there’s a problem, then why learn them?

Keeping in mind that you should not assume your shooting represents the poster case for a clean shoot you may not want to appear so mechanical as to cause a law enforcement officer to become suspicious of you. Ok, how do I overcome that? While staying close to the script, be cooperative. Take your time, stick to the essence of the script, be thankful for the presence of the officers, and without running off at the mouth, be cooperative. I myself was a cop, deputy sheriff actually, for two decades and neither myself nor anyone I worked with was ever eager to jail someone for cleanly taking down a bad guy. But that’s one more thing not to assume. Having called an ambulance you should, as quickly as you can, be on the way to the hospital to have yourself checked out. Quite frankly, you’ll probably need it and it will serve to get you away from a scene full of inquisitive investigators. Do not under estimate the effects that shooting someone, even a bad guy, will have on you.

At the beginning I mentioned shovel potential. There is however, at least  one thing worse than “shovel potential” and I call that “breaking in to jail.” Running off at the mouth could lead to that result. Personally, I consider out of jail better than in jail. So don’t go breaking into one.

One final point to deal with. Exactly what kinds of things would be bad to say? This is by no means an exhaustive list but these and other similar, “evidence creators”, are what I mean. Do NOT extoll the virtues of your training in handgun use or handgun combatives. There may be place for this later and it can be made to work FOR you but you will need your lawyer to choreograph that if at all. Do NOT mention a martial arts background. Do NOT sing the praises of your Dojo or your instructors. Do NOT run on about your choice of handgun and why you believe it to be a superior choice. Do NOT sing the praises of your state’s CCW law and how happy your are to be partaking in its freedoms. Do NOT wax prolific on your opinions concerning the second amendment. You get the idea. Appear cooperative but remain close to the script.

More Later.

Stay Safe!!

Five Women Subdue Another Woman’s Attacker

I definitely snagged this article for the crime file.  I’ve begun collecting stories like Charles Nelson did for his students, which he used as teaching points.  I thought is was very interesting that not only did these Good Samaritans intervene to help another woman, the victim’s attacker (whom she knew and sought legal protection against) was wielding a knife and had already stabbed her.  Nice going!  That is an extremely dangerous mission, indeed.  Who knows if the victim would have survived this harrowing ordeal without the intervention!  I would love to know how they got the knife away from him and brought him to the ground.

Ferocious Resolve In Action

Dr. Ruthless posted this article on Facebook.  This is a great example of ferocious resolve.  I think the woman is Hatmaker’s “crazy cat” in this scenario.  Definitely a strong will to survive!

Be Like a Gazelle. . .Scout Out the Watering Hole

In his book, No Second Chance, Mark Hatmaker talks about gazelles scouting out escape routes at the watering hole before they settle down to drink.  He then suggests that we, as human beings, do the same with the places we frequent.  Keep in mind that he sees the good citizens of the world as prey animals in comparison to the beasts that perpetrate such crimes as described in his predator profiles.  Whether it is your place of work, your home, restaurants, bookstores, coffee shops, or whatever places you frequent, it only takes a few minutes of your time to make an assessment that could save your life.  He says it is not paranoia, and I have to agree.  It never hurts to plan for worst case scenario, yet continue to live positively in each moment of your life.

You can practice this by taking note or even writing down information about the places you visit often.  How many exits do you see, and where are they located?  If it is a food establishment, can you determine whether there is an exit from kitchen?  What else do you notice about the layout that may help or hinder your departure in case of emergency?

Something else I want to mention about the book is an interesting discussion on running from danger.  He advocates flight whenever it is an option.  You only fight when you absolutely cannot flee.  One thing about flight is that if you are in a crowd, it will encourage others to do the same.  He explains that humans are often sheep-like in a crowd, and if one person initiates some kind of response to a situation, others will often follow suit:

“If one individual, in a threatening situation, makes a movement toward escape, the herd begins to ripple with like-minded activity.”

He argues that it is the very best thing you could do as Joe Random citizen, is to make the decision not to freeze and to run, even though at first blush it may not seem like the most heroic thing to do.  But if there is no way to avoid fighting a threat, then you must fight, and others will probably follow suit, as well.  For instance, you might find yourself in this kind of situation on an airplane.  Kind of hard to run at 30,000 feet.

He always provides interesting food for thought and thinks of things from a different perspective.  I am really looking forward to his bootcamp in May!

Choke from the Front: Krav Defense

I really like the way John Whitman explains things.  So clear and to the point.