This blog by guest blogger; Matt Kissel – 2nd degree USKMA black belt and Law Enforcement Officer

Permission to strike first!

Traditional martial arts often wait for the first punch. We don’t live in a traditional world. Your attacker is not raised with Honor, Discipline and Respect for others. He has chosen you as his victim and wants to prey on you.
The attack comes on fast and brutal. Sometimes without our ability to even see it. A full on ambush from your blindside and you enter the fight from the worst possible time. You’ve been hit, cut, knocked to the ground, swarmed… But not all attacks start this way. I want to discuss the ones that start a bit more slowly.

We have all heard of the X. The place the attacker has chosen. He is waiting for his prey to arrive at it. Your there and he approaches. The setup, The attacker may use a ruse to gain your attention or distract you from their real intent. “Do you have some change.. Know what time it is.. I lost a puppy. “. No matter how benign it may sound you have to trust your guy. Is this guy legit or setting me up?

The confrontation. His real intent comes out. He produces a knife or gun. Maybe he just grabs you or blocks your way. Now is the time to ask your self. “Can I get away?” If you can run! The attacker is looking for “easy prey”. Your running metamorphous you into the difficult prey or better yet ” an opponent”. If you can’t, should you do what he demands. He can have my money, there isn’t much there anyways. He can use my credit cards. The detectives will get pictures of him buying gift cards at the gas station. Someone will know him. He will get caught. It’s my immediate job to get home to my wife and family.

But what if I can’t get away? What if giving him what he wants won’t satisfy him? What of he wants something from you like rape? What if he wants to take you somewhere? You are going to be in a fight very soon.

I say start it. Be the one that hits first, knocks him to the ground, ambushes him. Come in strong, fast and brutal. In Swat we call it the trinity (speed, surprise and fierceness of action). It must have all three to be an effective counter attack. If you lose one of them you have to work very hard to get back in control of the situation.

Make witnesses that see and hear you with your stance, open hands palm out, yell “stay back” back off, call 911. “. Criminals never yell these things. We need witnesses from near and far. Someone that will point out my actions before the fight starts so the police will list me as the victim. Get to a safe spot, Be the first to report the attack.

We as instructors have to give permission to strike first. Those that trust us to teach them to protect themselves also trust us to tell them the truth. You can not block all the attacks. You can not always absorb the first punch. If you wait to be struck first you may be too late and not survive the attack. Tell your students it’s O K to strike first. Use roll play with attackers and let them explain their actions afterwards.

Bottom line; If you identify the setup and confrontation and decided you can’t get away without becoming physical. You have permission to strike first.

A story from my job as a police officer; We had a criminal attempt to rob a pizza delivery driver. The driver saw the knife and slapped the knife hand and delivered a right cross that knocked the robber out. Bet he didn’t see that coming. We never solved the robbery but we never had any more either.

In law enforcement we have a saying to each other ” be safe!” I say ” be dangerous!” Be the most dangerous prey he ever crossed.

Mark Slane 


Request Information Now!