Self-Offense Tips


I was recently reviewing one of my instructor’s tapes on combatives: Jim Grover’s Situational “Self-Offense” A Hard-Core Guide to Offense-Based Defensive Tactics.  Jim Grover (a pseudonym for Kelly McCann), is a specialist in combatives and high risk environment skills and is owner/operator of the Crucible, which provides this training to the US Government and military.  Please read more about him on his website: or visit his company’s website:  The information on this video is phenomenal and extremely practical—nothing fancy here.  Hard-core is an understatement!  This is the kind of stuff that will truly help you win in a violent encounter, and as you know, we are all about winning in Gutterfighting.


I wanted to share some of the tips at the end of the video because I think they have great value and apply to our main objectives in Gutterfighting:


  • Final confirmation of an assault will generally come in the form of injury to you.  Be alert and stay focused.


  • Don’t watch your opponent’s eyes; they can’t hurt you.  Focus on the real danger: his hands, which can hit, hold weapons, etc.


  • Disarming doesn’t necessarily mean taking the weapon away from a person.  You can disarm him by making it impossible for him to use the weapon through injury or unconsciousness.


  • Martial arts is something you do with somebody.  Combatives is something you do to somebody or on somebody.


  • You will most likely be attacked when the conditions most favor your attacker and least favor you.


  • Understand the concept of branching: if a technique is not working, go immediately to another one instead of trying the same thing over and over again.


  • In a fight, maintain the combative attitude.  Any fight is 10% technique and 90% attitude.  The superior combative mindset will win.


  • Keep it simple; if a technique can’t be performed while under the physiological effects of imminent danger, it is useless.


  • A fight is, by its very nature, a struggle.  Your techniques must be effective against an opponent who will be fighting and struggling against you every step of the way.


In class, we have talked about the effects of extreme stress on the body and how that, in turn, affects our motor skills.  Once your heart rate goes through the roof, you can only rely on your gross motor skills—think of big movements.  Combatives focuses on these kinds of simple, uncomplicated techniques, which is why they are so valuable in any violent confrontation.


We also talk about failure drills.  If your technique is not working, MOVE ON TO SOMETHING ELSE.  The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!


Lastly, we talk a lot about gearing our minds towards winning, or as Grover calls it, the “superior combative mindset”.  You may have all the fancy skills in the world, but if your mind is not prepared for the fight and all that it entails, your chances of being the victor are slim to none.


Remember to stay in Condition Yellow (being alert, maintaining 360 degree security) as soon as you walk out your front door—this is the best way to avoid the fight.  When avoidance is impossible, fight hard and fight to win.



  1. […] Go here to see the original: Self-Offense Tips « Gutterfighting USA Weblog […]

  2. Awesome Post. Keep them coming.

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