Iain Harrison, the Editor of RECOIL, flew into Helsinki to...
On the internet, anyone can be a self-proclaimed instructor — but that doesn't mean they're qualified. You've probably seen some of the many ridiculous self-defense videos that attest to this fact. The instructors in these videos often demonstrate flashy moves where they slap the knife or gun out of an attacker's hand with ease. Unfortunately, these moves would almost certainly fail in a real-world situation with a non-compliant attacker, and they're likely to get you stabbed or shot.
Our friend and former editor Patrick Vuong recently started a video series called “Death by Martial Arts Myth” as part of his urban combatives school, Tiga Tactics. In these short clips, he addresses some of the common misconceptions that are spread through viral videos. Episode #1 features one we've seen countless times — the knife-wielding attacker who freezes after a single lunge. In reality, as Vuong explains, a knife attack is more likely to involve a “sewing machine” motion where the attacker repeatedly thrusts a blade, often from several angles.
You won't believe this one crazy trick that will stop a blade instantly — muggers hate this! If you listen to instructors who profess this style of fantasy fighting, you'll be in for a rude awakening in a real fight.
Episode #2 features an analysis of flashy gun disarms, like twisting the weapon to the side or yanking it out of the attacker's hands. Unfortunately, unless the bad guy is completely incompetent and forgot to switch the safety off, you're probably just going to get shot if you attempt these movements. As Vuong explains, your first priority is protecting yourself by getting out of the line of attack — “do not disarm until you have control of the weapon hand or control of the person's body.”
If you don't want to get shot, move out of the way of the muzzle. It sounds obvious, but there are still plenty of Instagram-famous instructors who continue to teach the opposite.
For more from the Tiga Tactics Death by Martial Arts Myth series, check out this YouTube playlist. It'll be updated as each new episode is released. You can also learn more about Vuong's combatives school at TigaTactics.com.