Not Victims - Dealing with an Attacker Shooting at a Group
By Eyal Yanilov - Founder and Head Instructor of Krav Maga Global
The sad and overwhelming case of the July 2011, massacre in Norway returned and reminded me about past events in Israel, where terrorists assaulted and murdered dozens of innocent children and teenagers in Israel.
One case in particular is distinctly engraved in my memory. It happened in the northern town of Maalot which is close to the Lebanese border. It was May 1974. A group of three terrorists planned to enter an elementary school during the early hours of the morning. Their goal was to seize the kids and teachers, who were going to come in at 8 o'clock for the day of school, as hostages. Unfortunately when the terrorists entered the school, they found a large group of teachers and students from the center of Israel who were spending the night at the school as part of a field trip. In those days it was common for classes to spend 2-4 nights away from home in such field trips in Israel.
The terrorists killed 2 dozen hostages that day, mercilessly spraying them with automatic gunfire. You can read about the whole event also in Wikipedia at this link.
Due to this and similar previous events, Imi (the Founder of Krav MaGa) developed a technique designed to provide a solution for the situation of an attacker equipped with a long weapon, who is standing from a distance and threatening (or shooting) a group of people. The solution can be done by any one of the victims, but is mainly designated for the one who is not in front of the weapon. It is a fast and low approach, usually with a low, silent fast roll to the side or rear of the attacker, grabbing and throwing him and then adding devastating counterattacks, ending with disarming and other tactical moves. The specific throw is called – “SMG Takedown” (SMG stand for Sub-Machine-Gun).
At a later stage I was given the responsibility for this task by Imi and together with him, developed a whole line and set of techniques against all kind of rifle and sub-machine-gun threats coming different directions, distances and heights.
Dealing with an attacker who is shooting at a group of people or at individuals, shooting them one by one is not an easy task at all. Unluckily, in Israel we have faced this several times in the past, whether during a terrorist attack against civilians or as soldiers in the midst of a military operation. If one is not in the immediate line of fire the solution of a fast and strong approach, devastating attacks together with a tackle or a takedown that takes the terrorist to the ground is a simple and very effective technical solution. The main hurdle is naturally the mental state of the victims. The ability to make and execute a decision to storm the attacker and eliminate his ability to continue is no easy task.
We know from our experience in Israel, as well as in many other countries, that it is possible for people to function even after they've been shot a number of times. Of course it also depends on where the bullets hit, but the mental and physical strengths in many cases can definitely be sufficient to attack the attacker even after getting injured. Many will doubt that they can function under such conditions. Let me assure you that there has been a huge number of cases in the world in which normal people, under extreme conditions, functioned when they were injured, even severely. I believe that this is the best option, considering that the alternative is to do nothing, to duck down until the storm passes or to play dead which may work too, but in only in rare cases. This basically means giving the murderer absolute control of the person's life or death, hoping that he doesn't notice that they're still breathing. We have been taught and are teaching others to act differently. All of you who have been studying Krav MaGa, know that Krav MaGa is designed to be used in matters of life and death. It is better to have the tools and capabilities to fight and to defend yourself and your loved ones whenever it is necessary. For this, people need to learn and train.
In Krav MaGa we teach to overcome the threats, the fears and the internal and emotional barriers. We train our practitioners to respond correctly in any condition of violent confrontation. Preparation, experience, knowledge and abilities are what we offer. The tools one acquires are for life, and especially for life and death situations. The rest is up to the person who is in the middle of that turbulent and dangerous position.
Beyond all else, KMG wishes to convey it's condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the recent murderous attack in Norway and wish a speedy recovery for the wounded.