Fight or Flight

Why Train in Fighting or Self Defense?

First and foremost it’s 2012 and whether you like it or not, all humans are NOT great people. Sorry to break the news to you. I live in Columbus, OH. In 2010 in the state of Ohio there were 476 murders and 3,699 rapes. That means on average everyday at least one person was murdered and 10 were raped. As an overall, there were over 36,399 violent crimes. Every day in 2010 in the state of Ohio roughly 100 people experienced some form of violent crime. Phew that sucks! Luckily for my man Brandon in Washington, only 7 people get raped each day and every other day someone gets killed. Defending yourself isn’t important though right? Interested to check out your own states crime rate? Visit

Now I know what you are thinking. We on this website dedicate our lives to getting big and lifting heavy stuff, so in turn I should be able to easily beat the snot out of a would be attacker, correct?!? Unfortunately that is not exactly true. Strong hips from MOAR SQUATZ will without a doubt give you the ability to develop more power on your hitting, and being the size of our man Frank Burton will surely scare off a good percentage of those violent offenders, but unfortunately size isn’t all that matters.

Bad guys are smarter than the general population gives them credit for. They aren’t going to go out of their way to attack someone they feel threatened by. They will always stack the deck in their favor. They will go after the men and women who look like they lack confidence, are alone, and are unaware of their surroundings: The people that are smaller or weaker than them. In most cases they will attack in pairs or groups and if they are going to attack a larger individual it will be at gun or knife point. I don’t care how many times you’ve seen Rambo, Enter the Dragon, or Bad Boyz, knives and guns are scary as HELL and they are a reality. If you have never trained for any of these scenarios, or any type of attack in general then you are going to be at a severe disadvantage if you are ever the target of these crimes.

I train people in defensive tactics everyday and I travel around the country putting on seminars and trainings for the United States Krav Maga Association, alongside a brilliant man named Mark Slane. Both of us will tell you truthfully that no amount of training can guarantee your safety, but training can sure raise your chances of avoiding those scenarios or getting out safely if you can’t.

Finding a good self defense gym should be just as important to you as finding that right Coach who will get you that 800# deadlift. I don’t ever say that I have all of the answers, but I will say if you can find a Krav Maga gym in your area, it will be the closest thing to realistic training you can get without joining the CIA (who also train in Krav Maga). I took Karate when I was younger and it was great, but it’s not practical in real life by any means. I have yet to see a crane kick in a knife fight on YouTube, so let’s be real. You’re looking for someone who will train you how to punch, throw kicks to the groin, gouge eyes, bite, headbutt, stab with pens, etc… The real fighting style. If you can’t find a Krav Maga gym, look for gyms that legitimately specialize in defensive tactics, NOT MARTIAL ARTS! If you still can’t find one, you’re next best bet is to find a good Muay Thai gym and learn to hit and hit hard. It may not be geared directly at defensive scenarios, but being able to kick hard enough to tear a large human being’s ACL is a good tool to have in your back pocket.

If anyone ever tells you to wait for the first punch to be thrown or says something “always happens this way”, immediately leave. Fighting in real life sucks, it really does. Things can go terribly wrong in a heartbeat; you need to be prepared for the unknown and the unknowable not only in the gym but outside. (Think I owe Glassman for copyright infringement?!) Things don’t go the way you plan, if you are attacked, it will undoubtedly be when you weren’t prepared for it. If you’ve never trained under these stresses, I highly suggest it.

I know it isn’t feasible for everyone to find amazing training and dedicate themselves to that program, so in closing here are a few immediate tips/strategies to help make yourself safer:

– If you can’t afford training, splurge for a heavy bag and start beating the piss out of it. Think hips. If you punch, power comes from the hips, if you kick, power comes from the hips. Good thing we do all of those squats, deadlifts, and Oly lifts eh?

– Remember this order of operations to survive….

1) Don’t be there

2) If you are there, RUN!

3) If you can’t run, pick up something to use as a weapon

4) If you have no weapons THEN you are stuck with hand-to-hand fighting

5) Get aggressive and primal and beat that person until you see the opportunity to get to safety, but run as soon as possible

– Small weapons are great, but only if you mean to use them. Ladies: pepper spray does you NO GOOD if it’s in your purse. Have it in your hand when you walk places and point it the right direction (yes, people have sprayed themselves in the face under stress!). If you’re looking for a great weapon that is legal to use and carry without a license, buy a small, heavy, metal flashlight that sticks out roughly one inch on either end of your hand when you grip it with a fist. Preferably one with a bright light and a push button on the end. Use it to see around dark corners or in/under your car. If you get attacked, shine it in their eyes then bash them in the face with it!

– If you own a gun, do you really know how to use it? Are you willing to use it? You don’t learn how to shoot bad people in your CCW or NRA class, you learn to shoot paper. If you own a gun, find a defensive firearms instructor who specializes in personal self defense. Seriously!! It will keep you out of lots of trouble. Look up I.C.E Training, they have top of the line instructors.

– Mindsetting: everywhere you go take 5-10 seconds. Look around; find all of the exits, all of the things that could easily be used as weapons and all of the shady looking people.

Knowing these things and being aware of them will be huge when things get stressful. Make a plan in your head. “If someone busts through that door, I’m going to grab my chair, throw it then bolt out the back hallway.” YOU CANNOT FORMULATE GOOD PLANS UNDER STRESS. Attacks happen in a split second, don’t think you’re going to be MacGruber under stress. In the same respect, don’t become paranoid! Look around, find the exits, weapons and bad people and then go about your business, just be aware, not scared.

If you have any questions, concerns, or anything else pertaining to defensive tactics please feel free to contact me at

Aaron Jannetti is the head of the USKMA’s curriculum and instructor development. He earned his Krav Maga Black Belt in January of 2011. Over his time training he has had the opportunity to learn and study under many of Krav Maga’s greatest instructors and black belts across the nation: Mark Slane, Yaron Lichtenstein, Ryan Hoover, John Whitman, Eyal Yanilov, Kelly Campbell, Jarrett Waldman and many more. In October of 2008, he helped to open the Hilliard location for Ohio Krav Maga and Fitness where he is currently the Program Director and Head Instructor of both Krav Maga and CrossFit as well as affiliate owner of Crossfit OKM. Aaron is also a certified Crossfit Instructor, USAW Sport Club coach, Certified Defensive Firearms Instructor and avid eater and lifter of big things. Outside of Krav Maga he also studies and teaches in the arts of Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing and Kali.

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