Know Your Weapons

Often during my Krav Maga classes I not only teach my students different self-defense techniques, but I also stress the different ranges at which certain techniques should be taken advantage of. What are the situations when you are better off engaging in hand-to-hand or knife combat? When should you use a gun or a stick to defend yourself? In order to truly be able to protect yourself, you must understand the advantages and dangers of each weapon and how the distance from your opponent affects each weapon’s efficacy.


When it comes to fighting with your hands, things will get personal immediately since using your body as a weapon makes it easier to open and close fighting distances as necessary to dictate the course of an attack. However, often your choice of position will depend on the size of your attacker. For instance, if an attacker is significantly bigger than you are, you have two options available to you to gain the advantage. These are:

1.     "Run" to improve your positioning or remove yourself from the threat.

2.     Approach your attacker as close as possible to neutralize the power that the length of their limbs can generate.


Defending yourself against a knife threat is a similar concept to hand-to-hand defense since a knife does not lend a significant amount of length to over-all reach of an attacker’s limbs. However, depending on if your encounter with an assailant is a threat or a direct attack, because you are dealing with an armed person, your defense strategy will need to compensate.  If you are simply being threatened with a knife, the best course of action is to analyze the situation and determine the most efficient way to neutralize or redirect the threat. This can mean engaging with the opponent aggressively to neutralize the threat, or it can mean that you employ a long distance counter attack in order to improve your position and prepare for engagement. If you are being actively attacked with a knife, however, you will not have the luxury to formulate a strategy. You will have to react quickly, effectively, and aggressively to stop the attack. 

Blunt Objects

Should you encounter a situation in which you are required to defend yourself against an opponent who is wielding a stick, baton, or blunt object, you will quickly need to find a way to lessen the distance advantage that the object gives them. The best way to do this is to approach the situation just like you would if you were defending yourself against an opponent who is larger than yourself. You need to close the distance as quickly as possible, neutralize the use of the object as a weapon, and then counterattack swiftly to prevent a further assault. 


When it comes to defending yourself against an opponent with a firearm when you find yourself unarmed and unable to escape the situation, your only possible solution is to defend yourself against this threat. However in order to do this, you must be within arm’s reach of the weapon. This means that a firearm defense will always be a close range defense.

If you find yourself in a situation involving firearms, it is crucial that you, first and foremost, redirect the gun’s line of fire away from yourself and any potential bystanders. (It is also pertinent to remember that a bullet is able to go through non-re-enforced walls, cars, and people.) Once you have redirected the line of fire, similar to other defense techniques in Krav Maga, you will then need to aggressively counter attack your assailant in order to ensure that you stop your threat. 

No matter what, when it comes to defending your person, when possible, you should remove yourself from the situation. Should that option become impossible, then pay attention to the weapon that your aggressor has chosen to determine the best approach to defending yourself.

Do you have any questions about self-defense? Do you have any stories that you would like to share with us on the subject? Then comment and tell us about a time when you found yourself in a situation when you needed to defend yourself!

Ron Grobman

Founder-Tactical Fitness Austin