Self-Defense Issues: How are Your Grappling Skills?

In a recent video, a Chik-fil-A employee courageously jumps in to save a woman from a carjacking attempt.

In the video you can see the employee drag the carjacker POS from the car and then subdue him with a choke until the carjacker surrenders.

Regardless if you carry any type of weapon on your person for self-defense, you should always have a toolbox of empty-hand skills.

Some of the most basic and practical skills to have are Choke/Submission techniques from Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.

  1. Rear Naked Choke

  2. Guillotine Choke

  3. Arm Triangle Choke (Anaconda, D’Arce Choke)

  4. Triangle Choke

  5. Side Choke


There are also a SHIT TON of Clothing Choke holds that can be very useful, in particular the T-Shirt and Hoodie Choke.



You can never have enough empty hand skills folks!

Personally I think Street Combatives/Boxing combined with cherry picked techniques from all the major disciplines: Muay-Thai, BJJ, Krav-Maga and Kali offer the Armed Civilian the best chance, but as with everything in life, find what works for you and TRAIN HARD!

I highly recommend Southnarc (Shivworks) for Realistic Street Fighting Training.

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!

Over-Thinking and Under-Training


I have noticed a developing trend in tactical training blogs and forums: Trainers and Students “Over-Thinking” situations and by default of that mentality, putting forth energy toward the WRONG training goals and under-training on the skill’s needed.

Let me give you an example: At a recent “Active Shooter” class, the topic came up of shooting from behind cover; granted, a valid training topic and one that should be covered, but being this is an ACTIVE SHOOTER class, there are many more pertinent subjects to cover. Long story short, a couple of the students got waaaaay too involved in an active conversation in all of the various situations that could come up while firing from behind cover, including: shooting thru barriers, ricochet’s, the way FMJ and HP rounds behave thru various materials, etc. Needless to say, we got way off topic really fast and it cost the class valuable training time. Word of advice:  NEVER get bogged down with “WHAT IF’S” when you are training to win a fight. I am not saying they cannot be “theoretically” discussed, but speaking from experience, opining about what “MIGHT” happen in a gunfight is about as useless as a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest.

The small stuff will always work itself out, what the CO needs to focus on during training (and conversely to get the best value out of his precious training dollar) is the FUNDAMENTALS, because nine times out of ten, that is what is going to carry him home! So instead of arguing ballistic tables or round penetration test, do some Combatives training or Force on Force!

Now I know what some of you are thinking: “A man can only train on the fundamentals for so long before he moves on to more ADVANCED techniques and tactics.”

I would answer that by saying this: Those “Advanced” skill-set’s you are talking about, the “high-speed, low drag” type stuff, is simply the FUNDAMENTALS  sped up a notch.

This is what the saying “Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast” means.

When you have refined your skills to the point of being butter smooth, speed will come!

So to be clear, here is a short list of GUN FIGHT FUNDAMENTALS you need to routinely cover REGARDLESS of the “scenario” or type of weapons involved.

  1. Get in Decent Fighting Shape! Couch Potatoes don’t die from enemy fire, but from heart attacks.

  2. Train how you Live. Same Clothes, Gear and Gun.

  3. Hard Focus on ECQ Shooting >5 Ft. Distances

  4. 70/30 Dry to Live Fire Ratio. Fundamentals are Cemented by Repetition.

  5. DISPLACEMENT trumps Marksmanship. Must integrate Move and Shoot into 90% of your drills.

  6. Hard Focus on COMBAT ACCURACY. Fighting for your Life is not a Competition “Bullseye” Shoot.

  7. Use of COGNITIVE STRESS DRILLS. Learning to Think and use DISCRETION before you pull the trigger. Remember: “Every bullet has a lawyer attached to it.”

  8. COMBATIVE CONTINUUM CONCEPT. Approach your training with the “One Mind, Any Weapon” mentality. No matter the weapon (or no weapon) in your hand, you have a transferable, common structure set of skills to get you home.

  9. AMBIDEXTROUS Weapon Handling. No “Strong” or “Weak” Side. Gun Fighting is a Martial Art.

  10. SLOW IS SMOOTH, SMOOTH IS FAST. Strive to eliminate un-needed movements and tension in weapon handling and presentation. Speed will come.

  11. If the drill is not SAFE, REALISTIC & PRACTICAL, trash it! Fantasy Gun Training can kill you faster than a bullet.

Let’s be real guys: In this backwards economy, most of us are not Rockefeller’s and every penny counts! Those of you that budget for training the same as for weapons need to get every ounce of knowledge out of that instructor while you are there, and the Instructor needs to be ensuring that happens as well.

Remember #11 above! If the training you are currently receiving does not line up with these three very simple things, you are wasting your time and money and all the while, training yourself to fail when your life or the life of your loved ones may depend on it!

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!



“Listerine” Pistol: Extreme Close-Quarter Combative Realities

When we talk about “Listerine” Combat we are referring to that nasty “bad breath” distance fighting that takes place within 2- 3 feet of your nose. This can be empty hand, knife, stick or firearm. We will see that all of the Combative principles of each of these platforms intersect or duplicate each other at some point. Simply having a gun does not always solve your problem. A gun is not a magic “tailsman” it is only a tool that when combined with certain skill sets can get you out of a jam, one of those skill sets being Extreme Close-Quarters Combatives.

It is said if you want to learn something new, read an old book.

This is very true in the realm of Combatives. Without going too in depth, I would suggest any of the books by Applegate, Fairbairn or Sykes. The techniques these guys developed are simple, brutal and effective. Yes, the books are 60+ years old, but if you look at “modern” trainers in combatives, not much has changed, except some trainer trying to put his name or “brand” on it to make money. A Face Smash or Axe Hand to the throat  is the same in 1942 or 2022!

Brutality and effectiveness have a habit of going together in the same sentence, no matter the time period.

Having the pre-conceived notion you will have to get hands on with an attacker scares the hell out of a lot of guys. This goes back to the ideal that carrying a gun will keep you from getting into a fist fight. The entire reason some guys carry a gun is because they have some type of disability or are more “seasoned” warriors in age and don’t think they could stand up to a twenty-something thug intent on killing them. Once again, we have to do away with this persistent mentality of “having a gun solves all your problems.”

It is just not REALITY.

We have to be willing to sharpen ALL our skill sets if we expect to walk away from a violent attack. If we are willing to do that, firstly, we will be better trained than our attackers and secondly, we will have stacked the odds in our favor for whatever might happen.

There are several simple combative strikes that you can employ for what I call “First Strike”, or the strike that you employ to give you two crucial things in a ECQ Fight:  TIME and DISTANCE.

TIME to draw and present the weapon (gun/knife/stick) and DISTANCE to ensure weapon retention and the ability to wield the weapon and give you room to maneuver or escape.

There is a reason I say “First” Strike”; if you wait to be the poor sap who initiates the “Second” strike there is a strong likelihood you will lose the fight and at the same time, your life.

The Boyd OODA Loop dictates in a fight situation, the human brain does four things very quickly: Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.

In a fight, we want to interrupt or RESET our attacker’s OODA Loop, which will cause a lag in his response time, giving us the crucial seconds we need to win the fight. The ideal “First”  Combative Strike affects our attackers eyesight and breathing quickly and brutally, taking advantage of the old adage:

“If you cannot see or breathe, you cannot fight.” 


Some strikes I have used with great effectiveness over the years, is the Palm Strike, Hammer Fist, Axe Hand to the Throat and Face Smash. All of these will affect either sight or breathing or both. What all these combative strikes have in common is they do not have be dead-on accurate, technique wise, to be effective. The only thing they require is they be executed violently and with as much force as you can muster. It goes without saying, that Conditioning is an integral part of any Combat Training. I like working with a heavy bag 30 minutes a day on all these strikes. Once you have those down, you can move on to elbow and knee strikes.


 Once the strike is executed, you must have a plan of what to do next. Since this article is about Combative Pistol, we will assume you are armed and the attacker intends Deadly Force and must be dealt with likewise. If you were in the position of being unarmed, this is where your knowledge of extensive Civilian Operator “Dirty”Combatives would come into play. Either way, you have to respond with a violent counter-attack.


So we will assume the First Combative strike had good effect and stuns the attacker. I will tell you from vast experience, this is no time to “drag ass” on your part! You must act quickly now.

You have to keep in mind that since we are talking about EXTREME Close Quarters, there is a chance the attacker, although stunned, may be still right on top of you, in fact, I would bet he is. You must be prepared to strike as many times as needed; don’t diddle around, knock this guy’s ass in the dirt!! You will have to get out of the “Kill Box” from this position to enable you to draw your weapon and at the same time, retain it. There has been times, when no matter what I did, the guy would not allow me to get away from him, this will call for some Contact Shooting methods while in the “Clinch” or has it has been called by a friend of mine, the “FUT” (Fouled Up Tangled).

Since I am never a fan of stepping backwards in a fight, for the simple fact you can wind up on your ass, I recommend moving either to your 3 or 9 o’clock or to your obliques. Of course, you will have to make that call depending on the situation.

At these distances, Displacement Trumps Marksmanship!

It is more important to not get stabbed/shot than to shoot the BG!

While you are displacing out of the kill zone, you must at the same time, get the gun into ACTION.

Depending on how you carry your pistol (Stong Side IWB/Appendix IWB/Open Carry, etc.) you must drill regularly on the presentation of the gun, aka; “clearing kydex/leather”, quickly and efficiently with either hand while moving. (A cool piece of gear I have been using lately is the  Concealment Trigger Guard Holster). Several things come into play once the gun is out of the holster. The first is being able to fire the gun one-handed, with either hand. The Ambidextrous use of a pistol should be a mandatory skill; if you are not including that into your pistol course of fire, start ASAP. The second is being able to fire at anytime in the presentation process. The gun does not have to be in a certain position or in a certain grip to be fired during this time..all that is mandatory at these ranges is that the muzzle is facing the attacker.

In regards to sights, it has been my experience the best I can describe my “sight picture” (if that is what you want to call it for identification purposes) during my encounters was a “super imposing” of the frame of the gun on the mass of the attacker. Some have called this “Metal on Meat” Shooting, which is a great description.

Some will want to call this “Point” or “Combat” Shooting, I just call it “Shooting.”

There is no definitive “school” of thought you follow if you are truly a combat shooter IMO, it is a continuum of collective principles and techniques you call upon for each unique situation.

When do I use my sights? When I have too! I mean seriously, if a human being is 3-5 feet away from you, do you really need to take the time to align sights to get solid “combat effective” hits? Absolutely Not. Do I have to at 15 yards? Absolutely. At these close ranges, the power of the handgun round is exponentially increased, and you will find ANY hit in the torso area increases your odds of a STOP.

With all this being said, I would say 70% of your “live” handgun training needs to focus on ECQ and Contact distances.

Focus on the Fundamentals:

  • Displacement Over Marksmanship

  • Ambidextrous Use of the Handgun

  • Firing thru Presentation

  •  Super-Imposing the Gun on Target

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!


“FIGHT” not “GUN” is the Key Word in “GUNFIGHT”


“If you can’t stop the average dude from raping you in the shower, the last thing you need is a Carbine Class.” -Southnarc


In Civilian self-defense training courses you often have certain trainers that require a “pre-requisite or “pre-req”” of certain courses before you take a certain class. For example, before you take an ADVANCED Handgun Course, you might be required to take BASIC Handgun, etc. This is to ensure you have the rudimentary basics down before moving on to a more advanced skill set. This also, more importantly, ensures both the safety of the student and the instructor, but also creates a FOUNDATIONAL “BUILDING BLOCK” concept of learning. It is a solid concept and has been used in Academia worldwide since time in memorial.

Unfortunately, for the most part, it is not being followed in modern civilian self-defense training today. What is being followed is men and women who are NOT establishing a COMBATIVE base of skills to build upon; or in layman’s terms, they have ABSOLUTELY ZERO skills when it comes to defending themselves empty-handed. But instead of trying to rectify that, they are skipping it and moving directly into FIREARMS related skills thinking one supersedes the other. This is a gross misunderstanding of Combative Martial Concepts and is not CONDUCIVE to the student establishing a real-world effective martial skill set. Nor is it helpful in helping to create and maintain the Combative Mentality needed to survive in the increasingly violent world in which we live.

The key word (and FIRST word) in ANY type of FIGHT, whether it be GUNFIGHT, SWORDFIGHT or FISTFIGHT is (wait for it….) FIGHT! What good are you if you know how to shoot nice tight little groups in a piece of paper but don’t have the cardio conditioning to fight off an attacker when he jams up your gun or fouls your draw? What good are you after 45 seconds into a clinch you get gassed and a thug takes your knife or gun away and kills you with it?

This nieve and unrealistic ideal that has floated around nationwide in concealed carry classes and various other civilian self-defense classes that having a G19 in an appendix holster and a Benchmade clipped in your pocket is the answer to your self-defense woes is a LIE!

Having a CCL is a start but is only the FIRST BABY STEP and is in no way the END of the journey! Go Deeper! Get out of your Comfort Zone! Find some type of empty hand training that suits you. I like Combatives and Krav Maga, others may like BJJ or Muay Thai…whatever…just ensure the fighting style is about FIGHTING and not about COMPETITION. (This goes for firearm training as well!!)


knife hand

Understanding the Combative Continuum

Combative skills are built, layer upon layer starting with empty hand and then progressing from there; stick, knife, firearm. If they are not built layer upon layer, you are not building your skills on a solid foundation, and sooner or later, you will come against a situation (ie PERSON) that will find that weak spot and exploit it and most likely in the process, injure or kill you. The CC is not just about getting ready for a fight, it is getting ready to fight in the most efficient way possible. Coach Bear Bryant said it this way:

“The WILL to WIN compares little with the WILL to PREPARE to WIN.” 

By approaching any fighting system from the perspective of PREPARATION and EFFICIENCY, you are streamlining your training and helping ensure that in that day of trouble, your brain has to recall ONLY what it needs to KILL THE THREAT and SURVIVE. If any of these steps are skipped (ie to take that Advanced Carbine or Pistol Class for example) you will have built your foundational martial skills on sand and NOT on solid concrete, and sooner or later, your “house” will sink!

Since I started with a catchy quote, I will end with one too:

“The scars on your knuckles should ultimately teach you how to have callouses on your trigger finger.”  

Let that one sink in and then go out and find a down-n-dirty Combatives and Force-on-Force class and pretty soon, after some bruises and sweat, it will all click.

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous.

Empty-Hand Skill’s Win The Day

MMA fighter springs into action to take down NYC assault suspect


The more Skill-Set’s You have in your Toolbox, the more effective you can be in the protection of yourself and others.

Don’t have Empy Hand Skills? Pick one and Learn! I always tell people Boxing or Street Combatives is the best place to start.

My Father got me involved in Boxing at a young age and it was the foundation for all the other Mixed Martial Arts I learned over the years.

NEVER rely on a Weapon for Self-Defense!

Your approach should be the same regardless if it is empty hand, stick, knife or gun.

One Mind, Any Weapon should be your motto!