Written back in 2010
Recently I sent out a gun disarm clip to one of our new IKI members, part of our Krav Maga Online training program. He asked the following sensible, logical question; when doing the gun disarm I am ignoring the attackers' other hand (his non gun hand), isn't this dangerous? Can't he punch me with his free hand?
Good question and I believe I have a good answer. I get asked this question often, and my answer is "No, he is not likely to punch me."
I wish to present three points:
Number One – What is the greatest threat to my overall well being at this moment? The gun! One gun shot at close range will most likely end one's life, and this is not a good thing. Thus, my number one concern must be the gun. Getting the gun away from me is literally a matter of life and death. All other concerns are secondary, devoting any portion of my thought process and physical power to secondary concerns only takes away from my primary task; Get that gun away from me! I cannot afford to dilute my focus; it must be one hundred percent on my primary task.
Number Two – Just as my main focus is the gun, so is his. I have done this drill with many people and I always focus on their reaction the first time we do the drill, i.e. when they do not know what to expect, how do they react? Without exception they react with non-reaction. The gun defense comes as a surprise and they are caught off guard. There was not a single case where the gunman instinctively started pounding me with their other hand. In all cases they were disoriented, frozen like a deer in the headlight, and off balance. Thus I say – "No, he is not likely to punch me."
Number Three – And if he does punch me? So what? We are all martial artists and I assume we have all been hit many times. When I was a white belt in Kyokushin Karate I was kicked in the nose by and advanced practitioner, knocked down, and had to go to the hospital. Many years later at the Oyama dojo I was hit above my eye and needed stitches, that blow did not stop me or even slow me down.
What I am saying is we have all been hit many times; it is very rare that one punch will end a fight. Look at boxers; they get hit for a living, what percentage of punches cause a fighter to go down? It is far less than one percent. So why focus so much attention on this punch? First, it is unlikely to happen, second, if it does happen and actually hits you the odds are it will have no immediate effect. On the other hand one little bullet will have a very serious effect.
Number Four – You are at a good defensive angle. In all our gun disarms the moment the gunman might theoretically be able to punch us we are not facing him in a sitting duck position. We are in the midst of a powerful motion, we are in motion and our side is turned to him. So if he does somehow get a punch off it would be to our shoulder, upper back etc; areas pretty solid and able to absorb quite a bit.
Number Five – He would be hitting you with his weak hand. He is holding the gun in his strong hand. Thus, his free hand is his weaker hand. So here we have him off balance, disoriented, with his gun being taken from him and you are in motion. If he does, somehow, manage to get a punch off, it will be from his weaker hand, from his weaker side while off balance. In my opinion this is not likely to be a very threatening punch. And again, thinking about that punch will only distract you from your main task, it will dilute your main effort; getting rid of the gun.
For all these reason I believe our focus here is correct. We do make a point to never expose vulnerable body parts to our opponent while doing the disarm, we do this as a precaution and soon, with proper training, it becomes second nature.
Number Six – Part of our Krav Maga training is learning to ignore non-life threatening pain and focus on the task at hand. In the IDF there are many drills that develop this ability. For example, hit the heavy bag while someone punches and kicks your body. Do a gun disarm while someone is slapping you in the face. You learn to focus on what needs to be done and ignore the irritating, mosquito like, pain.
In conclusion, your life is on the line put 100% of your efforts into the gun disarm. Do not be distracting by minor blows or by thoughts of "What if the guy tries this or that", just do it, fast and aggressively, as if your life is on the line, for it is.
Read more on this important topic