I Feel Awful…But I Want More!

Krav Maga 2.jpg

I took my first Krav Maga course today. Yikes! I’m in rather good shape (yeah, yeah…for a man my age) but I was ready to throw up after the exertion (and the experience of having the simulated stuffing kicked out of me). I’m ready for more — lots more. I’ll be taking private instruction, as well as group lessons, and am very much looking forward to it. I hope to focus on knife and gun disarmament and knife fighting, as well as hand-to-hand combat. I was very impressed and already feel more confident (not to be confused with complacent) for my trip to Iraq. One of my colleagues is fairly advanced in Krav Maga and has recommended the program to me, as has my brother, who is an instructor in Tai Chi, but who recommended Krav Maga as a survival skill.

Note: Posting this note is also a way for me to precommit to being successful in my training, as I would be greatly embarrassed were I to have written this and then dropped out.

27 Responses to “I Feel Awful…But I Want More!”

  1. Brian Radzinsky

    So it sounds like it’s not full contact (yet). That’s good because that way they’ll teach control (what the Japanese say is a prerequisite for “ikken hiatsu,” or “one-punch death blow”). Good luck with further training.

  2. Get yourself some rubber applegate training knifes and mark the edges with chalk so you can see the “cuts” on your body and clothes.

    Now practice sparring with those.

    You will rapidly discover you have very little chance of taking on a knife unarmed. Actually you have a better albeit low chance grabbing a gun.

    I was recently held at gunpoint in Kazakhstan and a lifetime of martial arts training wasn’t much use even against an itsy bitsy 9×18 Makarov.

    I’m a long time martial art enthusiast but when it comes to knives and guns you should look into Jeff Cooper or Massad Ayoob’s firearms training.

  3. Dr. Palmer-
    I was just wondering, what do you need these self-defense classes for (and I know you were one of the plaintiffs in the DC gun suit)? Were you ever attacked personally (if the question’s too personal, feel free to not answer.)?

  4. Tom G. Palmer


    I have used a handgun to defend my life and am alive to tell the story. And I’m planning a trip to Iraq in April, which will involve a fair amount of driving around the country. I believe in a multilayered defense, and this represents the last line. (Not being conspicuous and not inviting attack is the first line. There are several others in between.)

  5. Tom G. Palmer

    Thanks, Pete. I’ve already got Level IV body armor (ceramic plates, side protection, etc.), which I wore for my previous trip. The Kevlar should stop pistols and shrapnel, but won’t stop high velocity rifle shots, which is where the ceramic plates come in handy. Most importantly, however, the best defense is not to be attacked, which means not being conspicuous.

  6. Anonymous

    the best way not to be attacked is to stay at home and avoid travelling to Iraq.
    Now, a question to the Libertarian. Following worst case scenario: Dr. Palmer is the next US-hostage in Iraq…in case of ransom, what do you expect your state to do? pay to get you free? let you die? NV

  7. Chris P.

    I was going to say reading the above, CL II won’t cut it in Iraq… CL IV is the way to got there, plus a little armor around the vehicle can’t hurt.

  8. Tom G. Palmer

    The author of the query posted on March 9, 2005 at 6:02 AM has posed a very important question. I think that people who travel abroad generally do so at their own risk. (There may be odd exceptions, but private citizens who go to dangerous places cannot expect the U.S. government to rescue them.) My own request, already written down and in the hands of the right people, is that nothing be done. No one knows what one might be coerced into saying ex post, but I have expressed my considered will: whatever might happen, the risk is clear to me and the consequences fall on my shoulders. No one else should risk their lives for mine. I expect the U.S. government to do nothing. I am in general opposed to negotiating with hostage takers and I am opposed to the payment of ransom.

    When I went on my previous visit, I got the usual emails from the antiwar.com/lewrockwell.com constituency, stating that, since I was visiting a country whose government had been defeated by the U.S. military, I was an agent of “Empire” (understood in the manner of the unreadable-yet-evil book by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri) and deserved to be killed. Such people would no doubt have preferred that, at the end of World War II, the U.S. government return Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo to power, as a validation of their opposition to going to war in the first place. My view is quite the opposite: it seems only right that advocates of liberty should try to help the Germans, Italians, Japanese…and Iraqis to create freer and more just societies. Still, private citizens do so at their own risk.

  9. Otto Kerner

    Geez, someone said you deserve to be killed for going to Iraq? Just for going there? That’s revolting. What makes you think it’s valid to link this kind of opinion to antiwar.com and LRC? Was it Alan Bock or Ran HaCohen or someone that said it?

    PS – Congrats on your self-defense training. I’ve thought of taking up krav myself when I get back to the States.

  10. Nathalie I. Vogel

    sorry for skipping the address in my mail, I asked the question about Iraq.
    Now, re: the “Antiwar.com-crowd”, dear Dr. Palmer, why bother? res ipsa loquitur… We agree I think, that before creating “a freer and more just society in Iraq”, as you quite rightly put it, a battle needed to be fought and a war had to take place. Like it or not.
    Re: worst possible case, congrats, quel brio!

  11. Tom G. Palmer

    I surmised that they were from the antiwar.com/lewrockwell.com “constituency,” not writers, since I got them after the Justin Raimondo denounced me for going and they were written in the overheated style of that core constituency. (I’m sure that Alan wouldn’t write such a thing; he’s a decent person who keeps bad company. I don’t know Mr. HaCohen, but have no reason to suspect that he would do such a thing.)

  12. Dr. Palmer-
    You said that you “have used a handgun to defend my life and am alive to tell the story.” If you don’t mind telling us (if you do mind that’s fine), what IS the story?

  13. Ross Levatter

    BTW, Tom, since no one else has bothered to mention it, I did want to thank you for the fascinating article on “precommitment” you linked to your Krav Maga experience, Who else but you would tie in a novel defense technique with issues in public choice theory?

    This reminds me, Tom; many of us have long felt you should be precommitted.



  14. Tom G. Palmer

    For Adam,

    This article (http://www.nationalreview.com/murdock/murdock070102. ) by Deroy Murdock mentions my experience. I was fortunate that I did not have to discharge the weapon, but I am very glad that I had it when I needed it. I would very much like to be able to own a weapon in the District of Columbia and at least to keep it in my home for defensive purposes. (I’m not a “gun nut,” nor am I a hunter, but I do believe in the right of self-defense. A gun can even the odds very quickly. As my mother used to say, “God created men and women, but Colonel Colt made them equal.”)

    And for Ross L., “You’re welcome!” We face issues of pre-commitment all the time in our lives….like my pre-commitment to being fit, which is why I have to get out of here and rush to the gym for my full two hours today. (I had an hour earlier of the Krav Maga and am almost recovered enough now to do the usual fitness and some practice of the various defenses and attacks — and what I expect will prove the most useful, the defense-plus-attack moves.)