When you are in the middle of a fight for your life, is not the time to decide which vital areas on your adversary to strike.  This decision should be made well in advance.  A great acronym to remember four specific striking areas is B.E.A.T.  B.E.A.T is short for Brain, Eyes, Abdomen and Testicles.  These striking areas should be used to distract your adversary long enough for you to exit the threat zone.  They should not be considered blows that will incapacitate.  They might, but most likely they will create a very short time period in which your adversary is not thinking about you but is thinking about pain.  That is your window of opportunity.  RUN!

I was first introduced the B.E.A.T model in Frank Albert’s great book One-Strike Stopping Power – How to Win Street Confrontations with Speed and Skill.  This book is available at www.paladin-press.com.

BRAIN – Rock the brain and you reboot the computer.  Slapping the side of your adversary’s head will usually get their attention and cause a distraction.  If the distraction works, run.  The best self-defense technique is running away from the threat.  Remember that slapping someone is only a distraction; follow-up strikes are obviously necessary if the distraction does not work and you plan on winning this encounter.  Always have a follow-up plan.  Preprogram Murphy’s Law into the equation.  Plan for the worst and when it does not happen, cool!

EYES – If they can not see, it is very hard to find you.  We all should be able to agree that shoving your fingers into the eyes of someone that is attacking you will most likely upset them.  It will also usually cause them to drop or let go of whatever they are holding and retract their hands back towards their eyes.  Again, this is the golden moment for you to exit the threat zone.  Do not stand around admiring your handy work, RUN!

ABDOMEN – Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you?  A good straight punch or better yet, a knee delivered to the abdominal region should do the trick.  Where do you want to strike?  Well, make it simple, and hit them around the navel region.  Drive your strike through the navel; do not just strike the surface.   Here is something to think about: Melchor Menor, a former two-time Muay Thai world champion was tested on the power of his knee strike.  Menor delivered a knee strike to a monitored test dummy, and the power of his knee strike was equal to the power of a 35 mile per hour car crash.  That would certainly cause some destruction!

TESTICLES – Ok, nobody really wants to talk about this one but grabbing the soft area of the testicles and attempting to rip them off will certainly get the attention of any would-be rapist.  Obviously, this is a little more difficult if he still has his pants on.  You will have to grab through a lot of cloth.  The only problem is that the testicles are well protected by the large leg muscles and getting a direct hit is difficult.  A simple strike or flick of the fingers into or towards the groin region will cause just about any man to take a step backwards, or at least flinch. That certainly does not put him out of the fight; however, do not be discouraged. Aim low and hit hard.  If you do get a direct hit, you will have most likely hit payday.  Stun and RUN!

So, there is the B.E.A.T. model.  Train it, practice it and prepare yourself for battle.

Top 5 weapons for the Zombie Apocalypse (ZA)


In defeating Zombie hordes, as with any other predator, training, mindset, and skill with all weapons is crucial to your survival.  In this article, I want to discuss my top five weapons choices and their respective combat ranges for use during the Zombie Apocalypse.  Some of these will be familiar to you, and some may become your new favorites.

Long Range

Long range is the most advantageous fighting range to vanquish a Zombie horde, and an AR-15/M4 carbine is the best tool for the job. It is easy to fire and highly accurate.  The only major drawbacks are noise, and ammunition is expensive unless you have reloading supplies or an unlimited ammunition cache.  Keep in mind it provides a finite form of protection.

Melee/Medium Range

An excerpt from Roger Ma’s awesome book, The Zombie Combat Manual: “Weapons with the melee class are typically between two and three feet long and are used to engage undead attackers at a distance of approximately four feet between opponents.”   Melee range is a dangerous close-proximity range.  If you are not quick and deadly, you could be infected, or become zombie food.  I recommend three weapons for this range: the Kukri, the Tomahawk or Axe, and the Baseball Bat.

The Kukri is a traditional Nepalese or Indian knife, and the battle knife of the famous Gurkha fighting force.  It is approximately 17 inches in length, and because of its distinctive forward dropping blade, it allows for a very forceful swing and destructive hit.

The Tomahawk, or Axe, is one of the oldest man-made weapons, and modern versions have steel heads and wooden handles.  Both were designed for utilitarian use and as weaponry.  The Tomahawk is easier to swing and manipulate, but requires closer proximity to the adversary. The axe has the longer handle; however, if you over-commit and lose control, you could be left defenseless.

The Baseball Bat is chosen for ease of accessibility.  It is easy to swing and can cause major brain trauma to a zombie.  Aluminum is preferable to wood, but in a zombie attack, I will take whatever I can get.  Be mindful that wooden bats can break and aluminum bats can warp.

Close Range

At this range, you need a knife that is long enough to thrust deeply inside the bottom of the neck and straight up into the brain.  I recommend the Mark I World War I Trench Knife.  It was also designed to pommel the head and crush the skull: it has a double-edged blade with a hilt incorporating a guard shaped as brass knuckles.  This is a last-resort weapon.

Well, there you have it–my top five weapons choices for the Zombie Apocalypse.  Whatever your personal preferences, skill and proficiency with those weapons are critical for survival and victory in an encounter with a Zombie.  Training is crucial!  My blueprint for success is this: follow the Warrior Lifestyle.  Develop the proper mindset, study tactics, be fit, sharpen your skills, and train with your equipment.  With this preparation, you will be ready for any Zombie encounter!

Soft or Hard Target!


Learning how to protect yourself is an interesting process.  Your first step is to do a threat assessment.  What is your threat?  Living in a high crime area, you are possibly faced with a more serious personal threat than living in a million-dollar subdivision.  But is this really true?  Only you can answer that question.  I would suggest to you that you need to make a conscious decision today to be a hard target.  What is the difference between a Soft target and a Hard target?

A Soft target is usually unarmed and unaware.  Do you know how to use your personal weapons like your head, elbows, and knees?  Do you carry a firearm, a knife or some other type of improvised weapon and know how to use it properly?  If you do not, then you are relying on luck and you are most likely unarmed.  You are unarmed if you do not have good situational awareness.  Most victims are unarmed both mentally and physically.  Do not be a victim, be the victor!

A Soft target is accessible and predictable.  Accessibility is all about controlling your personal space and environment.  Do not put yourself in a bad situation.  If you must go some place that by normal standards could be consider dangerous, then use the pack or gang mentality.  Travel in a group.  There is strength in numbers.  Muggings occur when people are alone, not when they are with a group.  Do not be predictable.  Please change your routines or patterns.  Now you do not have to do this everyday, but you should do it.  I am not talking about adopting a state of paranoia; I am talking about healthy awareness.  Yes, I know, most criminals are looking for a target of opportunity, but some do not.  Some are looking for a pattern, an opening into our daily defenses.  Take a moment and look at yourself from a third party’s perspective.

“We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.” –Anaïs Nin

Use your awareness skills and see things as they are.  This is the greatest self-defense technique you already have in your arsenal: your ability to be aware!

A Hard target is armed with the capacity to perceive and accept the threat.  You must see the threat, and hopefully before it is upon you.  You must also believe that the threatening action is actually happening to you and not shut down to it.  Do not “Freeze”, take action.  Never become complacent, always maintain a heightened state of awareness and be alert to potential threats.  Practice these skills daily; present moment awareness really is the key.  What do you observe as you move through your environment?

Once a Hard target perceives and accepts the threat, a process of analysis and evaluation of the threat’s potential for harm needs to be conducted.  Obviously, this process must occur relatively quickly.  Studying pre-attack indicators and body language will go a long way in giving you the ability to size-up the situation quickly.

Lastly, a Hard target is unpredictable and takes action.  After the situation is assessed, action must be taken, which usually entails running or fighting.  My suggestion is that you Fight to Run.   Fight long enough to create space and then run like you have never run before.  This may not be possible if you are with a loved one, unless he or she has already run away (and hopefully called the police).  Do not fight just to be fighting.  Remember that situations quickly change; one minute you are the victim and the next minute you might just be the aggressor in the eyes of our court system.  Fight and Run, then contact the local authorities.

“When you are hungry, it is foolish to hunt a tiger when there are plenty of sheep to be had.”  Baader-Meinhof slogan 

Your goal today is to become a “Combat Hard Target”!  Be the Tiger!

Take all Training Serious! Live the Tactical Lifestyle!

Chris ending the Snake Drill

I have had the opportunity to serve with some the greatest law enforcement officers and professionals in the world.  It has been 31 years since I started my law enforcement career and I have had some amazing training experiences that have helped shape my life.  My story is simple, Military Police, Corrections Officer, Police Officer, Deputy Sheriff and Federal Special Agent.  I continue to grow each and every day however if there is one thing that I wish that I have known when I started three decades ago, is the philosophy of taking all training serious.

I have unfortunately, sat in many classes spaced out and saying to myself, I will never need or use this stuff.  This instructor is terrible, where did they get this person.  I cannot believe I wasted my day off to come to this training.  Every one of us has possibly had one of these thoughts.  I am going to suggest to you that once you have had this thought, it will be but a few shorts minutes, maybe days or sometimes even years later you will be in the middle of a situation and you will say to yourself, ”Damn”, I  wish that I had paid more attention in that class.  Trust me when I say this, take all training serious, you truly never know when you will need to pull a tool out of your tool box and you want to certainly know how to use it.

Brian Willis is always talking about WIN!  What’s Important Now!  This is so powerful.  Think about WIN the next time you are sitting in a training class and remember the most important thing you can do is absorb all the information the instructor is providing and figure out a way to make it stick in that brain of yours.  You never know if the next call you are on, will test you like you have never been tested before.  The simple fact that you paid attention and thought about how you could apply your new knowledge could very well save you or your partner’s life.

Let us take CPR as an example.  Shake to establish consciousness.  Ask if they are Ok.  Have someone dial 911 for assistance.  Check the airway for obstructions.  Check the pulse, give breaths and compressions.  Do you really want to be trying to figure out what to do next while you are in the middle of saving someone’s life?  I think not!

Life has a way of slapping you in the face with you least expect it.  You need to have a plan of attack to deal with this slap and move forward.  Taking your training seriously will certainly help.  Here are some additional thoughts:

Take notes.  Ask questions.  Get involved in the class and learn as much as you can.  Be an active participant and student.   This will go a long way in retention.  I also suggest that upon completion of your training, review, review and review.  Reviewing you notes helps with retention.  You should probably do this for several weeks following the training.  One other trick for retention is too immediately teach the skills you learned to someone else.  At the minimum, discuss what you learned with someone else.

If there is one piece of advice that I could give, here it is.  Follow and Live the “The Tactical Lifestyle”.  The concept of Tactical Lifestyle is borrowed from my good friend and excellent trainer, Dennis Martin.  If you do not know Dennis, please visit his website at www.cqbservices.com.  He is one of the best.  The Tactical Lifestyle focuses on a blend of Mindset, Tactics, Skills and Kit acquired during training and used every day in travel, work, home and leisure activities.

Proper mindset is critical.  It is often stated by some of the great gunfighters; that combat is 90% mental, 5% skill and 5% luck.    As far as mindset applies to the Tactical Lifestyle, there are two principles that need to be discussed.  They are Colonel Boyd’s OODA Loop and Threat Evaluation.  In my opinion, you need to immediately start your research and study of Boyd’s Loop.  The loop consists of four phases, Observation, Orientation, Decision and Action. It is a life saving principle that has unfortunately been overlooked by many.  Do not be one of the many.    As far as threat evaluation is concerned, look at realistic threats that you could face on a daily basis and have a plan to deal with these threats.  Mentally image a positive outcome for each threat and when time is available role-play the scenarios with fellow officers and find viable conclusion to each threat.

Tactics is the next part of the Tactical Lifestyle.  You should develop a set of core tactics to deal with a variety of situations.   You tactics should become a habit. Obviously the only way to do this is constant, serious practice.  I call this practicing with intent.  Too often we just go through the motion during training.  Do not fall into this trap.  When you are training, train!  We can play later and I am all for that aspect of life also.  You should also practice integrated team tactics.  Often we are tasked with working with other individuals, so it would be extremely beneficial if our tactical thinking matched.

You must practice Skills that work.  These are just a small example of skills that you should be practicing.  Defensive tactics, firearms, immediate weapon use, first aid and driving skills.  The list could and should be endless.  The main point is to practice effective skills that transfer effectively from the gym to the street.  Remember, stress is the prime consideration when talking about skills.  The skills that you are practicing must work under extremely stressful situations.  If they do not work in the controlled environment of the training hall, then they will most certainly not work on the street.

Lastly, you must know your Kit i.e. your Equipment.  Please make sure you kit is serviced and in working conditions and do not carry kit that you do not know how to use.  It is great to have the latest and greatest equipment, but it would be even better if we knew how to use it during a crisis.  My thoughts are keep it simple and it should be ready when needed.

Well, there you have it.  This is my five cents worth of information based on my experiences.  The law enforcement profession is a very noble occupation.  You will not receive many pats on the back, raises or awards.   You can however, except that during your career you will most likely be assaulted, spat on, possibly shot at and all other sorts of nasty things.  You have chosen this profession for your own reasons.  I only aks two things, first take your Training Serious because you just never know when you will need the skills you are being taught.  Secondly, live the Tactical Lifestyle.  Proper mindset, solid, proven tactics, the development of practical hard and soft skills, and the knowledge of your equipment will go a very long way to ensure not only your survival, but will give you the edge to WIN!  Thank you and Best wishes.



I was reading an old Combat Hard Blog post that referenced an article by the Combatives Legend Bob Kasper, entitled “Swamp: How to Make The First Strike Your Last.”  In the article, Bob talked about power in combatives, and the idea that when you strike, you sure as heck better make it count in order to lessen a perpetrator’s commitment to the attack.  Being an average size person, I have always been extremely interested in generating as much force as possible with the my God given body.  SWAMP is a simple acronym for Bob’s five principles of power.  Apply these principles to make all your strikes count and effective break in your opponent’s OODA loop and force him to go on the defense.  Remember you should be driving the bus.

S: Stay relaxed.  You slow yourself down if your muscles are tense.  Try throwing a punch with all the muscles of your arm contracted.  Not very efficient, is it?  Now throw a punch with your arm more relaxed.  Think about how you clench the fist right before impact, but stay loose at every micro-step before that moment.  Explode on impact.  Not easy, and it takes practice.

W: Weapon first.  Kasper says, “Let him feel the technique before he sees it.”  In other words, avoid telegraphing your movement.  This is also takes practice.

A: Acceleration.  Speed is critical.  Slow and steady, like the tortoise, is not going to win this particular race.  Be the hare, and beat him to the punch.

M: Move in the direction of the strike.  For instance, sometimes students will shuffle forward and leave a foot planted instead of bringing it along with them and moving the whole body into a strike.  The body is essentially divided in the effort.  Moving all the mass together as a cohesive unit is a beautiful thing, and makes all the difference in the efficacy of your effort!

P: Plunge.  We talk a lot in class about putting your a** into your strikes.  Not only do you have to move in the direction of the strike, but you have to utilize your bodyweight correctly behind the strike.  I’ve seen 220 pound guys punch with just their arms.  A lot of them are still powerful, but again, they are using just their arms.  Now, what if a 165 pound guy can put every ounce of his weight into his strikes, and strike as fast and decisively as a cobra, who do you think has the advantage?  How powerful do you think the 220 pounders could be with efficient body mechanics?

Use these principles with any technique.  As soon as you perceive the threat, explode.  Force him to change his mind, or diminish him to the point when he is no longer a threat.  As I often say, “This guy brought you to this dance.  Okay, buddy.  Now, we’re going to dance.”  Just make sure you are leading!

Are you at Risk?

If you are reading this, then you are obviously alive and are at risk.  What do I mean by risk?  American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language defines “risk” as “The possibility of suffering harm or loss; danger.”  Mall shootings, school & church violence and murder, carjacking and home invasions are becoming so commonplace that it seems that nowhere is safe.  Here are the headlines related to churchs!

February 14, 2010 – Richmond, California – Three hooded men
walk into Gethsemane Church of God in Christ and opened
fire and then fled the scene, as the singing of the choir
was replaced by frightened screams. The two victims, a 14-
year-old boy and a 19-year-old man, were hospitalized.

March 8, 2009 – Maryville, Illinois – Suspect Terry Joe
Sedlacek, 27, of Troy, walks into the First Baptist Church,
and shoots pastor Fred Winters dead, point blank. Several
church members are injured by a knife in the struggle to
capture the suspect after the attack; the suspect also had stabbed
himself, but survived, when his gun jams.

July 27, 2008 – Knoxville, Tennessee – A gunman opens fire
in a church during a youth performance, killing two people
and injuring seven.

Dec. 9, 2007 – Colorado – Three people are killed and five
wounded in two shooting rampages, one at a missionary
school in suburban Denver and one at New Life Church in Colorado
Springs. The gunman in the second incident is killed by a Church Security

Wake up!  We are all at risk.  This is not meant to scare anyone; this is simply a wake up call for everyone.  This world is a dangerous place and we must treat it as such.  Yes, many people are dying from incurable diseases, dying from natural disasters and automobile accidents.  That is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about violent physical aggression directed at our society.  I am talking about hate that is so deeply seated that innocent lives are being taken for fame.  This is a truly sad fact of life with no real end in sight.  This is not paranoia, this is a fact.  Wake up and start preparing yourself for survival.

Should you arm yourself with a firearm?  Only if you are going to train with it and decide that you are willing to take a life if necessary and are justified.  Should you learn the martial arts?  Only if you are going to train them with reality in mind and invest your time in learning battle-tested self-defense techniques.

 “Situations will arise which are not of your own choosing. 
 You must be fully prepared to meet them with confidence. 
 No matter what they may be…” Leonard Hector Grant-Taylor   – 1942

Prepare yourself today!  Decide today to embrace the “Way of the Warrior”!  Seek out a competent, certified, real world instructor and learn to defend yourself and your family.  Living with risk is a necessity of world.  Learning to minimize your risk, takes courage, practice and a will to win.   My thought is that winning is the only answer.

Develop a “winning” training plan.  Make sure that this plan includes physical fitness, mental conditioning, firearms or self-defense skills, tactics, and the proper use of equipment that you carry on a daily basis.  Make sure your family is well trained in your plan.  The truth is in the following quote by the great Carl Cestari.

 “Anyone out there “getting” this! IT AIN’T ABOUT what is or isn’t “BETTER” or more “EFFECTIVE”. ANYTHING THAT SAVES YOUR ASS IS GOOD!”

Carl Cestari

Practice Deploying your Firearm!


I have had the wonderful privilege of training with some of the best firearms instructors in the world.  I have learned so many things about gun fighting and pray that I never have to use any of these skills.  I have fired thousands and thousands of rounds on every type of civilian, military and law enforcement ranges but the one skill that I have practiced without shooting an actual bullet or worked with one of these professional instructors is the actual deployment of my firearm.  Yes, drawing the firearm out of the holster.

All the training in the world amounts to nothing if you can’t get your weapon out of the holster and able to engage your threat.  The practicing of deploying your primary and backup firearm should be done from open carry, concealed carry, standing, kneeling (one or two knees), seated, prone (on your back, on your stomach, or on either side), in your vehicle, in your bed, and just about any other place you can think of. You should also practice while you are defending yourself from an adversary attack. All this training can all be done without firing any rounds and it cost absolutely nothing, except your time.

My good friend and instructor, Hock Hockheim has taught many students to practice drawing your firearm from the Stop 6 positions.  These are the six common stopping or sticking points/collisions in a fight.

Stop 1 – The Stand-off/Showdown/Interview

Stop 2 – Hands on Hands/Fingers in Fingers

Stop 3 – The Forearm Crash Collision

Stop 4 – The Biceps/Neck Line Collision

Stop 5 – The Bear Hug “Clinch”

Stop 6 – The Ground Stop

Once you have worked through the Stop 6 positions, the next step is conducting a few “Pressure” drills or what Tony Blauer calls Ballistic Micro-Fightsä.  These realistic scenarios & drills are conducted with all participants wearing some type of protective equipment and problem solving is learned in a controlled but physically demanding environment.  The end goal of the training is the justified deployment of the firearm to resolve a deadly force situation.

Stay tune for some future clips on exactly what I am talking about in this Blog post.  Until then, train smart, train safe and train each and everyday!


Proud Member!


I am very proud to be associated with the Gung Ho Chuan Association!  There are several location to find out more information about this group.




I am working diligently to get enough people together to host Mr. Fred Bauer, Director of the GHCA and 2nd Regent of the American Society of Arwrology at the Combat Hard Training Center in October 2013.

If you are interested, please email me immediately at steve@combathard.com.


Pre-attack indictor(s)


Almost all attacks are preceded by an indicator, or several.  You must identify the pre-attack indicators as part of your situational awareness.  Here are some common ones:

Verbal Threat – Yes, if they are talking, they are not attacking; however, this is certainly a pre-attack indicator.  Telling you that they are going to beat you should certainly rise to the level of a personal threat and you should prepare yourself.

Scanning – Is the individual approaching you looking directly at you, or is he looking around to see if others are watching him?  Is he looking for witnesses, the police or an escape route?  The important question is, why is he not looking at you?

The Target Glance – Is the potential attacker preoccupied with a particular area of your body?  Is he staring or repeatedly glancing at an intended target area to strike?  Possible target areas are your eyes, throat, chin or nose.  Do not forget that some additional target areas might be your hips or upper legs.  The attacker might be preparing to take you down to the ground with a tackle.

Clenching – You should look for both clenching of the hands or the teeth.  The constriction of either of these areas indicates physical stress and the possibility of an imminent attack.

Eye Blinks – The average eye contact between friends and others are about three seconds.  One of the most common things you will hear about potential attackers is “the thousand yard stare”.  When a person looks through you versus looking at you, there is certainly a potential problem.

Fighting stance – Taking a fighting stance is an obvious precursor to a fight.  If the potential attacker places one side of his body behind the other and his hands come up, the likelihood of an attack has certainly risen!

Flanking – This is normally associated with multiple opponents.  If you are facing multiple threats and they begin moving around to gain a better position, they are probably cutting off your avenues of retreat or escape.  Do not allow yourself to be flanked.

There are many more pre-attack indicators.  I highly recommend you read and conduct your own research.  Pre-attack indicators are the key to writing an effective statement for the police especially if you have used force to defend yourself.