Under: martial arts, Police
27 Apr 2014


When I owned my karate school, one of the neighboring businesses was a biker bar. One of their bartenders and I were talking about karate one day and he made the remark that if any karate guy messed with him – he would just use his gun. I retorted that would be fine if you happened to have it one you. The bartender started laughing. You see I had assumed the bartender was a law-abiding citizen and would not carry a illegal handgun.


My assumption was natural in California because up to now – only one county in the state allowed for concealed handgun permits without showing cause (that is being challenged now and may change here). So the bartender assumed since he had a fire stick – he could take care of himself if he had to against any unarmed or lesser armed man.


It this post I will challenge the bartender’s assumption as any martial artist knows like any weapons attack – you have to fully deploy it with a calm state of mind to use it. Guns are no exception. Martial artists are under no illusion that they will be ready if attacked so Bruce Lee’s famous words, “Expect the unexpected” is actually a better mantra.


I will make the case that a gun, knife, bat or whatever is no substitute for actual martial arts training. If you ever to get attacked it is going to be when you are asleep, sick, totally unaware and such so you are going to have to regroup and let your training take over. With that said – lets bust a myth. Take a look at this video to see how prepared police (arguably should be the best prepared) to take on a sudden knife attack.


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This video shows that having a gun is not enough to counter a close in knife or whatever attack. The defender should have hand to hand combat skills if he/she expects to survive a knife or club attack. Did you see the bit about the concealed weapon even slower to draw at the end of the video? That means having a concealed gun is not immediately effective in self defense. If you have a reasonable time to react then sure the gun is great.


I’ve often spoken to students about having a layered defense. Don’t depend on any one thing. I think having a firearm your home is good, legal in the US and one should have time to hear an intruder breaking into your home. Also your house alarm goes off, and your dogs bark – attacking, you should have time to grab your gun and protect you and your loved ones.


Walking on the streets, in parking lots, and such you might not have enough time or warning to grab for a concealed weapon (mace, stun gun, handgun) so you will have to use hand to hand combat techniques (aka self-defense). If even cops are not able to counter a surprise close range knife attack with their guns – what chance will you have with a concealed handgun?


I hope this video helps you understand how slowly people react to attacks, thereby giving the advantage to the attacker. If one has martial arts training and a will to survive, he/she can mount an effective counter attack in many situations. While I don’t think fighters are invincible – I do think they train for the odd chance that they will have to use their skills someday. If that day happens, don’t think – just let your training take over.


I’m not against guns as part of an overall self defense strategy, I just don’t think you should be your life on any single method. Go get some martial arts training.

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2 Responses to “Concealed Handgun for Self Defense? Don’t Bet your Life on it!”

  1. Dr. J Says:

    Very well illustrated and useful information, John!

    I can understand why having too many choices can be limiting at times. There are advantages in being a one kick pony :-)

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