hands up baby

September 10, 2015, Israel

I heard a song called, "Hands Up Baby", I hate. But apparently this song is what a lot of Krav Maga instructors base their system on. i.e. you must always raise your hands in case of a threat, always, no need to analyze the situation. Hands up Baby!

When I teach Krav Maga around the world and I approach the topic of handgun defense, I see that students (and sadly many instructors) automatically pick up their hands. Like the silly song...Hands up Baby. They seem to do this without thinking, an automatic response. There is a gun, or a knife, first thing we do is Hands Up, like kids playing Cops and Robbers.

But why?

Is no one but me thinking?!?

There are certain cases where we do take the extra step of raising our hands, however...that is only in certain cases where it is warranted by the circumstances, were we must do so in order to shorten the gap and bring our hands to a better position. We bring our hands closer to our intended target and we improve our leverage (i.e. our strength and ability to take the gun away, not relying upon speed or muscle but on body position and leverage). 

So we have accomplished two things: We are closer to our intended target, and we have better leverage. 

However in most gun defense situations this is not the case. Yet everyone else in the Krav Maga world seems to be automatically picking up their hands, like some inborn auto-response, a knee jerk response that they have no control over. 

Why is this a problem?

This is a major problem; a major error that could cost you  your life.

They are making two major mistakes.

1. They are wasting valuable time. It may not seem like valuable time, in training, I mean we are only talking about a second or so, so what's the big deal?  All this "Please don't shoot me Sir" groveling is taking up precious time. Every second matters, every second counts. It does not take long to pull a trigger. Don't give the enemy more opportunities. You are engaging the enemy for too long. There is no guarantee that while are busy groveling and begging he is waiting for you to finish your performance. Never assume he is falling for your pathetic acting routine. Criminals are not fools. He has experience in this line of work.

Every second counts!

Do not waste valuable time. Do not waste a step raising your hands unless there is no other option. Instructors who teach the Hands Up approach, (or who do not correct you when you do so), are putting you at greater risk than you need to be. 

2. In most cases this "Hands Up" approach will actually put you in a position with very poor leverage. You may not realize it but, structurally, you are in a worse position than before. While watching videos it may look good, it may appear as if the defender is easily taking the gun away, but remember - that is acting! That is only a video. Those are his students and this is a choreographed video, not a real event. It is no more real than the cool antics you see on TV. Do not be fooled by a video. Life is not a movie. You have to be more discerning. "What a Fool Believes" Perhaps we are not all fools, but most of us lack knowledge in many areas. That is why I never rely upon my own judgment when purchasing any electronics devices. I certainly don't go by commercials!! 

At my seminars I stress not to automatically go to the Hands Up approach, but to understand distance, timing, psychology, body position and leverage. All this is part of our approach at IKI. We are a thinking system, not a "cut and paste" system. Not all Krav Maga is the same.

An educated person is our best student. The head is not built for headbutts, it is built for thinking.

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