First Rule: Always Assume they are Armed!

Today’s lesson boys and girls involves ALWAYS ASSUMING YOUR ENEMY IS ARMED! As we see in the above vid, these two “loss prevention clerks” did not, and it almost cost them both DEARLY. The only saving grace in this incident was that the alleged shoplifter with the knife was UNTRAINED and UNMOTIVATED. As CO’s we can NEVER count on our enemies being either of these.

I think the crux of this lesson is not only always ASSUMING people are armed, but being aware of how DISTANCE plays a crucial role in winning the fight on the street.

Three things to remember:

Firstly, striving to maintain AWARENESS and keep PRACTICAL distances to allow a combative response or attack. I have never liked the term “reactionary gap” only because it gives the impression that the CO will always be in a “reactionary state” at the time of the incident; this will not always be the case. Also, the notion that we must always maintain UNREALISTIC distances ( 21 feet  or more to counter a knife attack, aka as the “Tueller Drill”) between people in general public is impractical. For this theory to be viable to the everyday civilian, every person I come across in public would have to first, be packing a knife and second, have the skill and motivation to use it. This is both highly improbable (as the vid shows) and highly impractical. As a comparable substitute, we have all heard of  the term “personal space”; where keeping at least an arm’s length or more (3-5 feet) away from somebody is considered socially polite. I think this ideal when combined with the heightened awareness of a persons intentions and body language (watching the hands mostly) is a good place to start.

On the flip side of this coin, we must never be tempted to RUSH INTO a situation prematurely and give our enemy the distance advantage straightaway in an altercation. As mentioned before, we must ALWAYS ASSUME OUR ENEMY IS ARMED. When I say “armed” I am not  exclusively talking about an external weapon (stick/knife/gun). I am also referring to COMBATIVE SKILL. With the outrageous popularity of UFC, every “tom, dick and harry” is taking some type of MMA training, and although statistical probability suggest your odds of running into a” MMA expert” is low, even the chance encounter with a novice could turn out bad for the CO, as the old adage “Knowing just enough to be dangerous”, applies! Consider the recent events in the news of  CHOKE HOLDS being used in street fights and you will catch my drift. ANY technique which seeks to render you unconscious must be considered LETHAL FORCE, and therefore can be answered with in kind by the CO in most cases. Bearing all this in mind, it would behoove the CO to keep his distance!

Secondly, CREATE distance in a fight. While we are assuming our enemy is armed, at the same time, our enemy  may try and see fit to try and close with distance against us. You can only assume at this point it is to do you harm; so your best bet is to create distance with combative striking to allow presentation of your own weapon (stick, knife or gun) depending on the situation.

Thirdly, MAINTAINING distance in a fight. As we have discussed, your enemy if using empty hand or a knife will have to get close to harm you. If using a firearm, maintaining distance will serve you just as well, as a moving, distant target is certainly harder to hit than somebody an arms length away. This is not to say that ECQ shooting skills should not be in your toolbox, as most self-defense shootings occur under 10 feet, just be ready to improvise!

In closing, in this day and age, the CO has to assume that a large portion of society is carrying some type of weapon, be it COMBATIVE SKILLS, a KNIFE or a FIREARM. He must never rush into an altercation until he knows who or what he is  dealing with. Gone are the days of “Fair Fights” and “Chivalry between Men”VIOLENCE, BRUTALITY and DEATH rule the WORLD we live in now, and those who do not adapt to REPLY in like kind will soon end up with a toe tag and their own personal locker at the morgue.

Stay Aware, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

CO Combatives: The Side Choke


There has been quite a lot of flak in the news lately about the use of illegal police chokes since the death of a New Yorker Eric Garner who died while being arrested in July. It was later found in the autopsy that Garner’s CAUSE OF DEATH was from the choke hold and “overt compression on his neck” and not any other medical conditions as previously speculated.

Before we begin, let me speak plainly: CHOKES ARE DANGEROUS and INHERENTLY RISKY TO USE in a fight. The CO has to understand that when chokes are taught to Law Enforcement or Military, they are taught in conjunction with the Force Continuum. Simply put, most chokes are designed so the CO can take it to whatever level they need too, depending on the situation.

The CO has also got to remember that attempting to put somebody in a choke hold can be interpreted as LETHAL FORCE by the other party, since the aim of a choke is to put the person unconscious, and an unconscious person is 100% vulnerable.

There are basically 2 types of chokes: Air and Blood.

The Side choke is a blood choke and in my experience can be one of the most useful and practical chokes for the civilian.

I am using the  USMC CLOSE COMBAT (MCRP 3-02B) Field Manual for illustration, 6-2 thru 6-3. This really is a handy little manual to learn some very useful street wise Combatives, so please read the whole thing, not just this section.

This choke is executed while FACING your opponent. It is particularly effective while deflecting a punch, which is why I like to teach it. In essence, it really is a COUNTER for the CO to de-escalate violence, which a majority of the time, puts the CO on the right side of the law as far as self-defense statutes go.

Lower Right Picture. The CO deflects the punch with his left hand, parrying the opponents punch INBOARD.


Top Left Picture: CO brings his right arm UNDERNEATH the opponent arm and up around the front of his neck. It is very important to carry some momentum into this move by stepping “into” the opponent, as the opponent will most likely have begun to back up.  While extending your fingers, place the back of your forearm against the opponents neck, just below the ear, and press on the CAROTID ARTERY.

Bottom Left Picture: Reach with the left hand around the back of the opponents neck and clasp hand together TIGHTLY. Pull the opponent toward you by PULLING clasp hands toward your chest.

Top Right Picture: Exert pressure on the side of the opponents neck with forearm. Typically, you can expect the average opponent to either get COMPLIANT or ASLEEP in under 8-10 seconds if done correctly.


For those of you who like vids (like me) here is the simplest, no bullshit, no frills vid I could find on You-Tube. Pay attention to the movement instructions, as this is key to get good position for both leverage and force for the choke.



There are multitude of counters put forth for this type of choke, and many ways to “skin the same cat”. Some teach HOW to escape the choke hold, but my take has always been to stop from getting put into a choke in the first place  Keep your opponent from closing with and getting close enough to put you in a choke. We have to remember, that attempting to put somebody in a choke constitutes lethal force, since the aim of any choke is to make the person unconscious, and a person that is unconscious is 100% vulnerable. Therefore, our counter has to be a combination of a violent and acute strikes to gain distance combined with the presentation of a weapon (knife or firearm) at close contact distances.


Presentation of a Weapon

Integrating the presentation of a weapon with our Combative drills has to be a mandatory skill-set for the CO. Maintaining the option of a quick, seemless presentation is our goal. Remember the principles of working with our momentum and eliminating any un-needed (jerky) movements in our draw. Examine your draw and see where it could be faster. Using the tried and true principles of geometry such as The quickest way between two points is a straight line, etc. As I have discussed before, I believe Appendix Carry offers the CO the quickest draw stroke, for both knife and firearm, but the CO will have to experiment for himself what works best for him.

As I have stated before, Kelly Mccann’s Combative Pistol DVD is an awesome primer for this study, as it integrates blade and firearm techniques into ECQ Combatives.

Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!

Great Example of “Being Explosive” in a Fight

For those of you out there that drill on your empty hand skills regularly, or even just watch MMA matches regularly,  you know how important “EXPLOSIVENESS” is in a fight. It is the one thing that often can make the difference between you getting knocked out versus your opponent.

To keep this short and sweet, EXPLOSIVENESS is the Following:

  • Going into a FIGHT with MORE MOMENTUM than your Opponent
  • KEEPING that MOMENTUM longer than your Opponent
  • Allowing that MOMENTUM to DRIVE your AGGRESSION to DESTROY YOUR OPPONENT (or knock him out, either way)

Now, here is a GREAT example of EXPLOSIVENESS from (what seems to be) an Everyday Joe CO…(Note to all wannabe thieves/thugs or scumbags: BE CAREFUL WHO YOU MESS WITH OR TRY TO STEAL FROM..YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU ARE DEALING WITH!!)

Stay Explosive, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!