Concealed Carry and Jiu Jitsu
Be Safe. Be Aware.
As a firearms instructor, I get an interesting view into the thought process the general public has towards self-defense. Many times, it’s very one sided, assuming because I know (insert any number of things here eg: Karate, military training, etc) I’ll be fine in every situation I might run into. As I think most of us who train Jiu Jitsu know, most people think they are tougher than they actually are, until they start training. I know I certainly thought I’d be fine in a fight, and that I could hold my own before I started training. As it turns out, how much you bench press doesn’t correlate to how effectively you can defend yourself… go figure.
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I teach concealed carry firearms classes that cover the state required guidelines allowing people to then apply to carry a concealed firearm. I like to start the class with the brutally honest statement of “simply having a firearm with you doesn’t make you any safer”. Having a firearm is a tool, like having a knife, or striking training, or jiu jitsu training, it’s a tool in your tool belt.
Expecting that carrying a gun around with no additional training is going to make you safer is the equivalent of going to a construction site with a hammer assuming you’ll be able to cut lumber, put in screws, mud drywall etc. The point is once again, it’s simply a tool. So now that everyone can agree that a firearm doesn’t make you safer by itself, I feel an obligation in class to discuss how you can be safer in society.
Obviously, situational awareness is first and foremost. As with anything, pay attention to your surroundings and don’t put yourself in a situation you know isn’t going to be good. One of my favorite examples of this is, if you wouldn’t go down that dark alley without your firearm, or without your jiu jitsu, don’t go down the dark alley with it. Beyond situational awareness though there are a number of things we can do to be safer.
1. Using the buddy system when walking outside, specifically at night time. I get a lot of students in class that are in the medical field and often times these folks have to walk a distance to and from their cars, and they start and end work at odd times, typically very early in the morning or very late at night. Pair up with someone, even if it’s the on-site security team, there is power in numbers. In addition, calling a loved one to tell them you are leaving, and letting them know when you arrive safely in your car isn’t a bad idea either.
2. Carrying, and practicing with non-lethal self defense options such as pepper spray, a tactical flashlight or a taser (where permitted by law). The key here is to practice. Like anything, you going to perform at whatever level of training you have. Just like you’re not going to walk on the mats at the ADCC trials and win without any training, you’re not going to be effective at using pepper spray, strikes with a tactical flashlight, or taser if you haven’t trained with these weapons. It’s mind boggling to me the number of people who carry pepper spray but have never actually used pepper spray. It’s the perfect setup for a bloopers video, but in a true self defense situation it could make all the difference.
3. Training a self defense martial art. Personally, I honestly feel that Jiu Jitsu is the best self defense platform for real life. There are a plethora of reasons Jiu Jitsu edges out other martial arts in being the most effective martial art for self-defense, but we wont dive into all of those right now. For now, let’s just cover the top few reasons. In my opinion, the biggest reason Jiu Jitsu is the most effective is it’s realistic. Jiu Jitsu forces you to learn to get comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Secondly, if the majority of “street fights” end up on the ground within the first few seconds, wouldn’t it be a good idea to know how to grapple? I think so. While wrestling is an amazing sport and certainly adds value to your grappling game, there is no “pin” in the streets. Personally, what I love about Jiu Jitsu for self-defense is it’s scalable to the situation. You can simply arm drag the drunk at the bar and let them go flying across the room while you escape, you can choke the attacker to sleep, or you can do serious damage to joints if the situation requires. When we are talking in concealed carry classes I always stress the point that I don’t want to have to kill someone, but I want to be good at it in case I must. Jiu Jitsu gives you a non-lethal option in almost every situation. Choking an attacker to sleep puts a stop to the threat, without any lasting harm to the attacker, their ego taking a hit doesn’t count.
4. Last but not least is to evaluate the situation and decide if it’s worth engaging. The example I typically use here is an armed robbery. If I’m in a situation where the robber already has a gun pointed at me and is asking for my wallet, I’m just going to give them my wallet, regardless of if I am carrying or not, regardless of how many gun disarms I have drilled. Risk verses reward. What’s the point in trying to disarm the person or submit the person? Call and cancel the credit cards and go home to your family. There’s no shame in walking away from a situation like this. There are so many variables people don’t consider. What if you do the gun disarm and the person fires one round into the sky in the process? While that round isn’t going to hit you, what goes up must come down, right? It’s unnecessarily putting other people at risk.
In summary, the world can be a scary place. It’s best to be prepared for as many possibilities as you can. Training Jiu Jitsu is the single most effective self defense strategy in my opinion. Beyond that you can begin adding additional tools to your tool belt such as a concealed carry firearm. Remember, having a firearm without training isn’t making you safer, but having training without a firearm will.
Be effective with anything you have! Check out Chad Lyman's DVD "Weapons For Self Defense", and learn how to use everyday items to keep yourself safe. Get it here!
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