Guns are the great equaliser

It's crucial to remember that, no matter how many black belts you have, no matter how skilled you are at street-fighting, no matter how well you can prepare yourself, a bullet to the head is still a bullet to the head:
It's a sad day for Brazilian jiu-jitsu as master blackbelt at martial arts gym Ipanema Fight, Bruno Inacio Nunes, passed away at 37 when he tried to fight back during a mugging on a bus in Rio de Janeiro. Nunes was on his way to a gig where he worked as security and according to Nunes' brother, Leonardo, he tried to choke the assailant, but was shot in the head. 
"The bus wasn't too crowded, one guy was just picking up everyone's belongings. When Bruno was approached, he thought he could apply a rear naked choke. He tried to disarm the robber, he saw the opportunity, but was shot in the head, on his left eyebrow," Leonardo told local newspaper, O Dia, as it was reported by Tatame
Nunes had already been mugged twice before and now leaves behind three kids. One of Ipanema Fight's owners, Marcos Nigri Dana, explained how Bruno's work affected the neighborhood positively. 
"We were surprised. People wouldn't stop texting us. We are all shocked with all this violence. He had both really young and older students. He would bring them all together, he would take them to the tournaments and was always bringing something new to practice. We will pay a tribute to him on Wednesday. We have students of all religions, so we will make something where everyone can participate. All students are asking for it. He was a master, a teacher and an extraordinary person."
No insult is intended at all to Mr. Nunes. The man died trying to protect other people. For that, he deserves the utmost respect. For what little it is worth, I offer my condolences to his family, his students, and his friends. A good man lost his life trying to do what is right.

I use this story simply to point out a cautionary tale.

If you take a martial art of some kind, especially one dedicated to street defence, you'll quickly learn to understand that when you're up against an assailant with a weapon- or, worse, multiple assailants with multiple weapons- your chances of survival rapidly dwindle into the low double digits.

If you're up against someone with a gun, that probability declines into probably the single digits.

There are highly effective techniques for defending against sticks, or more generally, against long blunt objects that work most effectively at long range. To defend against such things, you move to a range that nullifies the effectiveness of that weapon- namely, you move in as close as possible to your attacker and then beat the snot out of him.

There are also highly effective techniques for defending against knives, at both leg and hand ranges. Since knives are (generally) short and sharp weapons, at least in the context of street defence, you want to keep the knife as far away from you as possible, so you do whatever you can to keep the knife from entering your immediate vicinity while striking your assailant as rapidly as possible.

With guns, however, you've got a huge problem.

While knives have killed far more people than guns in human history, it is still possible to use a gun with complete lethality at both short and long ranges. And if you are more than, say, ten feet away from someone with a gun, well, you have very little hope of reaching your attacker before he snuffs out your life.

Your only hope of survival, if any exists, is to let your attacker become overconfident and move to ranges where you can reach the gun, move off the line of attack, and attack him in turn.

And even then, your probability of success is very low.

A gun is a terrific equaliser. If used properly by someone who isn't a complete idiot, a gun nullifies all of the advantages of speed, fitness, endurance, skill, and power that a trained martial artist might possess. A gun is precisely what makes it possible for a 50kg 150cm girl in skinny jeans to successfully stand up to a 100kg 190cm would-be rapist or mugger.

Of course, this also works the other way around. And all too often, decent men find themselves suddenly running out of time, training, and skill in indecent times.

The lesson from this sad story is the same for any man who wishes to learn how to defend himself- which, in this day and age, should be every man, regardless of occupation, fitness level, or ideological persuasion. A man with a gun can snuff out your life with minimal effort, and only a very great fool would think otherwise.

I hope you never have the misfortune to confront an assailant wielding a gun. But if you do, remember that playing the hero is more likely to get you- and more importantly, others around you- killed than not. Even if you have training in disarming people with guns, you will still find it a real challenge to move fast enough to get off the line of fire before your attacker shoots you.

And if you don't succeed, you're going to find out firsthand just how painful an acute case of lead poisoning can be.

With that being said- it is not impossible to defend against guns, at least at close range. It can be done. Here, my teacher and two of his top students demonstrate how:

I have personally witnessed the two brown belts in these videos test to black-belt ranks- one to 1st Dan, the other to 2nd Dan. I have seen them execute these techniques at tremendous speed, with perfect control and accuracy. I have seen them do these things with almost superhuman skill.

Could the average man do the same things, without training, or without at least understanding the nature and purpose of a gun as a weapon when used with lethal intent?


And that is precisely what students of martial arts, especially, need to understand. One should never feel a false sense of confidence due to being a student of a martial art, even a legitimate and great art like jiu jitsu- or, for that matter, Krav Maga.

There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon. There are only dangerous people. But when you combine dangerous people with weapons, and you don't know how to deal with the strengths and weaknesses of those specific weapons, then you're going to find yourself in a world of terrible trouble, very quickly.

Always remember that the best defence against a man with a gun is always going to be another gun, in your hands, aimed at his head or body. That is the simplest and safest way to guarantee your physical well-being.

Don't ever let anyone, or anything, take that right and duty of self-defence away from you, for any reason.


  1. Over at no-nonsense self defense, it is pointed out that the kind of person pulling a gun or knife on you may or may not be smart, but he likely is cunning and experienced, and has you at a disadvantage. And he's often enough ready to deal with you being a hero.

    The point is not to give up, but to remember that whatever odds you think you have, they are, as you point out here, likely not as good as you think (no matter how bad you think they are)


Post a comment

Contact the Didact:

Popular Posts