Montie’s Law of Self-Defense

A while ago I posted a video on my Facebook page and gave a short explanation of the dynamics involved. One of the things I mentioned is “Montie’s Law”, which is:

It’s never the other guy’s turn.

This needs some explaining, so here goes.

Montie is a LEO friend of mine, who I interviewed for my podcast a while ago. He’s done different kinds of work in law enforcement and is now involved in counter-terrorism. He is well-trained, experienced, smart and we have a matching sense of humor. As a result, we get along famously and getting together means copious amounts of alcohol are consumed… In short, I would trust him at my back any time.

Back on track: a long time ago, he explained his strategy for fighting and spoke the words I now call Montie’s law.

“It’s never the other guy’s turn. He doesn’t get a turn. It’s always my turn.”

He swarms his opponents with constant attacks and uses overwhelming force to get the job done. If the opponent is lucky, he might get in a first shot, but after that, it’s never his turn again. I liked that a lot and expanded that idea into what I use it for now.

Montie's Law of self defense

Montie’s Law is one of the biggest disconnects between traditional martial arts or combat sports training and real-life attacks: the level of violence doesn’t necessarily get cranked up slowly and gradually. It can go from zero to 100% in a fraction of a second.

That doesn’t always happen, but the possibility for it is always there, which is the biggest issue you need to be aware of.

Look at the video again. As soon as that first punch lands, the victim is groggy and has a hard time standing up. He isn’t knocked out, but – and this is the critical point – he is no longer able to defend against the next attack. When that next attack comes, it doesn’t matter if it is less effective than that first blow because it still does enough damage to lower the capabilities of the victim. This progressively diminishes his ability to stop the aggressor and so each next blow lands as well. The result is a vicious circle the victim can’t get out of.

It’s never his turn…

The moment he starts to go down, he is incapable of doing anything other than taking more damage. A few seconds later, he is unconscious and the stomping begins. All this, from getting hit by that first punch.

 

When I explain this to people, I often get a response of “yeah, yeah, we know.” Then they proceed to train as if this isn’t an issue they need to handle. This in turn leads to unrealistic training or training that depends entirely on being able to avoid getting hit. Or worse, knowing they can get hit but pretending they can take that punishment without consequences. I call this the “Street Fighter mindset.”

Many years ago, there was a video game that became extremely popular, Street Fighter. They still make new versions of it today and there are hundreds of similar games. They have a basic set up:

Street Fighter Self-Defense

  • Two characters fight each other.
  • They both have “health bars” and you decrease the energy in it each time you land an attack on the other character. When his bar becomes empty, you win.
  • Regardless of how full or empty your health bar is, your punches and kicks always have the same speed and power. The same goes for your ability to block attacks and use footwork.

As a simulation of a real fight, it’s not a bad analogy: if you hit somebody long enough, they eventually go down. But it’s the last point that has the disconnect I mentioned above. In the game, getting hit doesn’t change how well you can fight; in real life it does. That is why Montie’s law is so effective: if your opponent never gets a turn, his “health bar” empties out with each successful attack you land. That leaves him less and less able to defend himself against the next one. This continues until he is down and out.

The key point is  that just one successful attack can put you at a disadvantage you can never recover from.

Train with this concept in mind, always.

 

But what about!

Does that mean you can never get out of a bad spot when somebody surprises you and gets the first hit in? No, not at all. Training recovery techniques should be an integral part of your curriculum, similar to failure drills in firearms and other weapons training:

  • What do you do when the gun malfunctions? You practice how to clear it.
  • What do you when you stab with a knife and the opponent evades the attack? You practice following up with recovery techniques or secondary attacks.

At no point should your training involve a mindset of “Well, my awesome technique just missed, so I have to give up and die now.” On the contrary: you always train to survive, to escape, to overcome. However, you also have to acknowledge the realities of violence: if an aggressor gets the first shot in and it’s a good one, the odds of you making it out in one piece drop dramatically. They don’t necessarily go all the way down to zero, but they sure don’t look good. Try your utmost to get out of that pickle, but accept that things are looking mighty bleak for our hero…

That is the negative side to Montie’s Law: if your attacker gets the drop on you, you might never get a turn. In the video, you can see an example of how bad things can get. Just so you know, there is far worse than what happened to that man…

 

How do you train with Montie’s Law?

The positive side of Montie’s Law is this: if you train correctly, you can stack the deck in your favor so it is never the other guy’s turn. There are different ways you can do that:

  • Preemptive attack. The most effective way to end a fight is not being there to begin with. The second most effective way is to attack first. Now most of you will already know this so let me add some nuances I think are important: attack first, making sure your technique lands with sufficient power to knock your opponent out or down, break his balance and structure, injure him, switch his mindset from offense to defense and buy you the time to land your next attack. Or any combination of the above, preferably all of them simultaneously. If you fail to do so, that first hit you land risks merely pissing him off. This forces you to face an opponent who is now hellbent on (at best) beating you up. Attacking first isn’t enough; you need to make it count too.
  • Overwhelming, continuous attack. This concept is illustrated well in the video I mentioned in the beginning. Obviously, I don’t justify this attacker’s actions. I only use them as an example of how overwhelming, continuous attack is an effective strategy and how it can be used in real life. Here’s how he applied it:

After landing that first sucker punch, he throws a barrage of wild punches that overwhelm his victim. In the space of a few seconds, he throws about twenty non-stop punches. It doesn’t look like many of them land cleanly, but that is not important at that point. His victim keeps on receiving hard percussive impacts, each one shaking up his already scrambled brain a bit more. The punches also drive him to the ground, where he is both unable to escape or defend himself effectively and stomping is the logical and instinctive next step for the attacker.

  • Tactical progression. Every martial art and combat sport uses this concept. Some do so only in a limited way, others dig extremely deep into this concept. I will stick to self-defense as this is the topic at hand but know that the subject is much broader than this.

In short: each technique sets up the next one. Like a good pool player sinks one ball and lines up the next one with the same shot, each move you make sets up your next technique. When used correctly, each subsequent move places your opponent in an even worse position, hurts him some more (or in a different way), takes away his weapons and pushes him closer to defeat (whatever “defeat” may be…).

This can be as simple as throwing a quick eye jab with the lead arm to line up a power punch with the rear arm. Or it can be as complex as the Kuntao I learned from my late teacher Bob Orlando. For an example of that, look at this video of him slapping me around. If you slow it down, you can see that each movement not only sets up the next one, but it also uses instinctive reactions his attacks trigger: the slap to the groin tends to make people’s heads come down. The following upward strike then comes in at a head-on collision and raises the head again. It also places Bob’s right arm in the perfect position to swing my arm through, which in turn whips my head forward into his incoming elbow strike. And so on, until I am down and out.

For the record, this is Bob going slow and stopping long enough at each point so the camera picks it all up. He was more than capable of going faster, hitting harder and chaining it all together into a fluid combination.

The most effective martial arts and combat systems I know combine all these elements, simply because they yield consistent results. Which brings me to another nuance I need to add.

 

In a comment to my original posting of this video, Marc wrote the following:

I think that the other guy never gets a turn problematic as it can lead to excessive force. If for instance, a smaller female was being pestered by a guy in a secluded location and was breaking the boundaries that were being set by the female then I would definitely give her the benefit of the doubt in such circumstances such as in she reported it and the guy was found unconscious or badly injured where she said she was feeling unsafe due to what I described and due to a probable size and weight difference.

However if two guys going at it near a bar and one is beaten to a pulp and no weapons are involved then the victor would in my mind be under suspicion of using excessive force.

The idea of using minimum force necessary to deal with a situation for self defence does not seem compatible with the other guy never gets a turn as for me self defence is to resolve a situation not dish out a revenge beating.

I’m going to paraphrase my response to him here:

The one does not exclude the other. Simply put: you hit until there is no longer a reason to hit him. You stop when it’s time to stop and train for that.

 

When is it time to stop?

When there is no longer a threat or when you can safely exit, which is often the same thing.

How many times you hit him before that happens is irrelevant in that regard; hit him until he is no longer a threat. If it’s only once, that would be awesome, but you already have all your ducks in a row should you need to follow-up. Montie’s law means you are always positioned in such a way that you can deal out that second, third, fourth, etc. technique if necessary. You don’t have to rearrange your weapons, reposition yourself, etc. to do so; all that was already taken care of with each previous attack.
So minimum force is the default, but you train to have plan B, C, D and so on ready to go. Montie’s Law means the other guy never gets another shot at you. That is your goal and your tactics should take this into account.

 

Conclusion

Implementing Montie’s law in your training takes some time and effort. It’s a continuous process instead of a one-time goal. Most of all, it’s a mindset: you train for it and expect attackers to use it against you as well.

 

This article was originally published in my Patreon Newsletter of July 2017. If you would like to receive it too, join me here at Orange Belt level or above.

 

Basic Self-Defense Instructional Video

I just released my new instructional video, Basic Self-Defense 1: Controlling Techniques. I explained the system in episode 23 of the podcast and gave lots of details there. The first part of the curriculum is now available.

Check it out:

I’ve been teaching it for over 20 years now and it started as a collaboration between me and another instructor. After a while, we both developed our own versions and went our separate ways. The best way to view it is as a multitool:

It works for the average person in the average violent situation.

The system has two goals:

  • Give you functional self-defense techniques as quickly as possible so you can handle the most common attacks.
  • Give you the best bang for the buck when it comes to the time needed to train the techniques and how soon you can use them effectively.

There are also two assumptions in it:

  1.  You have no prior training so we start from scratch. That means covering lots of basic information. If you do have prior training, Basic Self Defense isn’t meant to replace it; it’s only an addition to it.
  2. There are three common self-defense situations and the system is versatile enough to handle them all.

Because of these two goals and assumptions, there is a specific training method that is powerful and yields results quickly:

  • Only a limited number of movements and techniques. These have to be versatile and recycled depending on context.
  • Rapid ingraining due to the repetition of these same movements and techniques in different situations.
  • Technical progressions. Each movement is used as a stepping stone to the next one.

I’ve had great results with this method throughout the years and am confident you’ll find it practical and effective too. However, you have to follow the progression. When people skip ahead, they run into trouble making the technique work in certain situations. Don’t do that. Follow the program and it will guide you through it.

For this video, I cover a handful of specific attacks that are common in a self-defense situation. This speeds up the learning process and ingrains the key principles and movements much faster. In later videos, I will show other attacks and how to handle them.

Speaking of which, there is a full curriculum and this is only the first module that lays the foundation of the system and focuses on controlling techniques. The other modules teach techniques to neutralize the attacker, variations and how to personalize the system to your specific needs.

I’ll publish those in the coming months.

To launch the video, I’m offering a special discount of 25% off the full price if you buy it before September 1st, 2018.

Just go here and use promo-code 25OFF on checkout.

How to fight in an elevator against multiple opponents

Here’s a free video in the Violence Analysis series on my Patreon page: How to fight in an elevator against multiple opponents?

I have no additional information on this incident. I read somewhere that this was in Russia, but I can’t confirm it. So we don’t know what happened before the video starts rolling or what the aftermath was.

To be clear: I am only commenting on the tactics used. As I explain in the video, I very much doubt his actions would be seen as legitimate self-defense in pretty much any Western court of law.

The reason I analyzed this video is because it debunks one of the myths about violence: you can’t win against multiple opponents. As with other martial arts myths like “high kicks don’t work in the street“, they need to be nuanced and that’s my goal. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that fighting multiple opponents in an elevator is a good idea or that you should assume it’s easy. I cover that too in the video, that the guy is lucky and things could have gone very wrong for him.

All that said, here’s the video.

If you enjoyed this video, you might want to check out all my other violence analysis videos on my Patreon page. There is lots more there: instructional videos, Q&As, my newsletter, etc.

And there’s loads more to come…

 

Suicide by cop and misinformation about violence

I remember when the term “suicide by cop” became mainstream. Before that, the general public was mostly unaware that this even happened. Afterward, there was a lot of resistance to acknowledging this phenomenon as something real. Simply because to the average person with little to no experience with violence, it is counter-intuitive (more on that below) and therefor couldn’t possibly be true. Today, we know better but there is still a lot of pushback against the mere concept.

Case in point, this example here:

I’m not going into the reasons why people try to get a LEO to shoot them. That is beyond the scope of this article.

For more details on the video above, go here. While you’re at it, read the comments for a while…

As you can see, the “they didn’t have to shoot him” or “shoot him in the leg!” type of opinions are all there. Decades of Hollywood and TV brainwashing people about violence is hard to get rid of.  By the way, I answered the “Why don’t you shoot him in the leg?” myth already so feel free to check out that video.

What’s the point?

My point is that we’ve never known so much about violence as we do know, yet so few people seem to understand even the most basic concepts about it. As always, those with the least knowledge and understanding tend to be the loudest and dominate the public (and official) debate. The result tends to be useless or counter-productive measures and laws that get put in place. In the long run, this leads to more trouble, more uninformed opinions fueled by outrage and even worse solutions get pushed through.

I believe that this trend will not slow down and at the very least, it costs lives.

I also believe there is a way to fight this trend: share accurate information to dispell the myths.

Here’s what I’m doing on my end:

1) Articles

A while ago, I wrote “Everything you know about violence is wrong.” as a basic introduction to the concept of violence and how our media leaves us misinformed. I have plans to expand this article into a book, but it will take a while to get it done given the other books I’m already working on.

Throughout my blog, you’ll find dozens more in which I try to explain the realities of violence in various situations through videos or by commenting on incidents.

2) Interviews

I also interview LEOs and violence professionals so they have a platform to not only explain their point of view but more importantly, give regular folks access to the kind of information they desperately need to keep themselves safe.

Here are a few violence professionals you might want to listen to:

Here are some LEOs that share their experience and procedures:

Podcast Episode 15: Interview with Captain Jon Lupo

Podcast Episode 13: Interview with Montie Guthrie

Podcast Episode 003: Interview with Loren W. Christensen

All these men share their expertise and experience with you for free, despite the blood, sweat, tears and trauma it cost them.

They also all give the sober truth of the many sides there are to violence and how complex this topic actually is. Far more so than the media and the entertainment industry have led the public to believe.

The information they share can save lives, including yours.

3) Violence Analysis

I’ve been analyzing videos of violence in society for years now. You can view a bunch of them by starting here and working your way through the playlist. There are a even more here on my YouTube channel. On my Patreon page, I do more in-depth violence analysis for the people who are looking for practical training advice for self-defense. Almost every time I post a video, I get messages of people saying it opened their eyes to something they didn’t know or want to see: just how ugly and extreme violence can get. But also what to do about it in a realistic fashion, which is the goal of all the above:

Through real life examples, teaching what violence is truly like and what you can do to avoid it if possible and handle it if unavoidable.

I make no claims of offering perfect solutions.

I will make a claim of trying to offer pragmatic and practical advice.

Now all of the above, that’s me…

What are you doing?

We all make our own choices as to what we feel is important enough to spend our time on. To each his own and I fault nobody for not taking me up on this. But I would suggest the following:
  • If you are a civilian, spread knowledge and expertise in the face of ignorance about violence. Instead of shouting and insulting, give dispassionate, factual information instead of outrage. You don’t have to beat people over the head with it or talk about it non-stop. But you’d be surprised how often a few well reasoned points of information offered in a non-confrontational manner can plant a seed in the minds of people, one that later blossoms into a change of mind.
  • If you are a LEO, talk about your legal obligations (no, you can’t “un-arrest” somebody and let them go, no matter how much they yell for it), procedures and their reasons (liability, safety, etc.) and the realities of the job most civilians don’t know or understand (reasons for “slow” response times, etc.) I know this is hard. I also know this is often frustrating. But I believe it can make a difference in the long run and is better than retreating into silence or bitterness. As stated above, I fault nobody for choosing not to do this.

Why do this?

I believe there is a long, uphill climb before accurate information about violence becomes commonplace, instead of the ignorance and myths we have now. Not doing anything is counterproductive and costs lives. That only leaves a handful of alternatives.

I believe speaking out as explained above is a good start to tackle that climb.

P.S.: Take the three minutes to watch this video to understand why something may seem counterintuitive to you and still be completely true. If this is so in physics, it can very much be so in other subjects, including violence…:

Violence Analysis #012: Failed Gun Disarm

First of all, Merry Christmas to all. May you have a wonderful day with your loved ones close to you.

Second, as a gift from me to you, here’s my next  violence analysis video for my Patrons available to all of you too.  In “Violence Analysis #012: Failed Gun Disarm“, I take a look at an incident caught on a security camera in an unknown location. I have no knowledge of what happened before or after, but there are still some interesting lessons to take away.

Here goes:

If you want to see more of these videos or simply want to support the blog, go here for an idea of everything that’s there. My Patreon page has many diferent reward tiers with something for everybody, so you’re bound to find something you like. And of course, you can sign off any time you like.

Enjoy the holidays!