Defense Against Hand Grabs
IKMF Expert 2 Rank Mandatory Essay
Table of Contents
Research Questions. 3
Personal Opinion. 3
Hand Grabs. 4
Adults Sector. 4
Women Sector. 5
Kids Sector. 6
Shaking hands is an action and an expression that implies agreement between two persons in human society; on the contrary, grabbing hands is the beginning of an argument that may end up in a fight.
The eventuality of starting a fight initiated by hand grabs from the attacker, for any reason, and the fact that this will lead to unpredictable situations of conflict, setting the defenders physical integrity in danger, makes it imperative for Krav Maga to deal with them, in any civilian sector, adults, women and kids.
The questions that are raised regarding hand grabs are about the differences between each sector, why are the civilian sectors training different techniques for the same threat and eventually should the techniques be different.
The differences between each civilian sector are examined in context of different activities that are involved in daily life, as well as different dangers are exposed and threats are facing, along with the differences in physical and psychological state among them.
The various reasons and the different threats of hand grabs occurrences among the civilian sectors, are clarifying why different techniques are training for the same attack and justifying that the techniques should indeed be different, due to the fact that each hand grab attack has different level of danger and purpose in each sector.
There are several kinds of hand grabs, depending on the way the threat is executed and the severity of the threat. There are hand grabs with one hand to one hand, across or diagonally, with two hands on one or two hands, low or high hold, front or back. Most of them are released by using either correct leverage or rotation techniques to disengage. On top of it, a hand grab, as stated earlier, is the beginning of an argument that can be easily escalated or it is actually the attempt to control the victim and attack, reducing the resistance of the defender and increasing the severity of the threat. Therefore, the hand grabs can also be categorized in simple grabs, grabs with pull, grabs with intention to control and hit. For that reason there are solutions using the concept of soft and hard solutions.
Adults sector in context of techniques includes teaching men and women and is referring to people more or less of similar physical strength - without this being firm - and similar mentality.
In daily life, for example on the street, public transportations or in a bar, when a man grabs the hand of another man, this could be either to gain attention, with no intention to strike him or with the intention to control and hit him, by punching or slapping him with the other hand, increasing the level of danger.
As stated before, there are several Krav Maga hand grab techniques depending on the way they are executed. Important factor that influences the reaction of the defender is the level of danger, thus Krav Maga practitioners are trained in order to identify the problem and to react using soft solution in case of simple hand control or hard solution, when the intention of the grab is to control and hit.
A soft solution can be executed by freeing the wrist using a leverage, for example in a low hold case, where the defender’s thumb will point to the “exit” - the attackers fingers, that are not overlapping - approaching his elbow to the attacker’s. Another soft solution case is using rotation to free the hand on a high hold, where the defenders pinky is pointing to the “exit”.
There are cases of simple hand grabs, with no immediate attack, that the four fingers of the attacker overlap with the thumb, making almost impossible for the defender to free his thin wrist using soft solution, since there is no way out. In this case, if the attacker persists controlling the defender’s hand, although the victim instructed the attacker to release him, a hard solution can be executed.
Another more specific hand grab on adults is the strong handshake, where the attacker is not releasing the hand of the victim because is trying to gain attention especially in cases of very important persons, for example a rock star or a politician, where still there is a discreet solution by leveraging the thumb and a less discreet solution, using the forearm with chopping motion.
The main issue for the Krav Maga practitioner is to correctly evaluate the situation and react accordingly, something that is trained using stress and simulation drills, enhancing their observability and decision making skills.
It is important to point out that low threat cases should not be neglected, because adults tend to underestimate the value of soft solutions. Even in low threat cases the defender should react as soon as possible deescalating with soft solution the situation. As the seconds pass, the conflict will grow and it is most probable that a hard solution will be necessary to resolve the case. Thus, timing and quick reaction is important preventing further escalation.
In general the practitioners are trained to immediately identify the problem and use soft solutions, for example a leverage to disengage as soon as possible in case of simple hand grab, where there is no immediate danger of his life, deescalating the situation and avoiding legal issues. In case of identifying a high level danger situation, for example the attempt of the attacker to punch, the practitioner is trained to react with hard solutions, so he has either to strike before the assailant or to defend and counterattack.
Women sector deals with situations initiated by men assailants, mainly with purpose to sexually harass or attack women defenders, considering the fact, that average women are physically less strong than average men.
In daily activities a woman can become victim of sexual harassment in her job, for example in the office from a colleague or supervisor, in the street or public transportation stations from strangers and even at her home in situations of domestic violence. Unfortunately, the threats a woman is facing are not only these. Sexual harassment from a man can be escalated in sexual attack with intention to rape the woman victim. Of course there are cases where criminal predators are attacking women, considering them wicker and an easy prey, with the intention to steal and rob them.
Recently, it has been reported that criminal attacks committed to women from their back, surprising and controlling one hand of the victims, combining control from neck or clothes and threating them in order to rob them.
The hand grabs against women have the purpose to restrain her, so the assailant can touch and harass her, hit her, scare and rob her or even worse bring her down with the intention to rape her. When a strong man grabs the hand of a wicker woman, she should regain the control by catching her fist with the other hand, attempt to execute a two hand release, hit the attacker in vulnerable points, by kicking him in the groins, while calling for help and bite the hand of the assailant, close to the thumb. The pain caused on vulnerable points of the attacker will release the hand grab and give the opportunity the defender to escape.
Another more specific hand grab is when the woman has been brought to the ground and the attacker on mount position attempts to pin her hands, most probably trying to rape her. In this case the defender should regain the control by crossing the hands and bridging. Even worse case is when the attacker has pinned the woman’s hands in the ground. In this case, she should try to move close to the assailant’s hands and bite them if possible, gain some space and rotate her arms by placing the one over her head and the other close to pelvis, so the attacker will lose balance and she can bridge as fast as possible. Another updated approach is to knee kick the attackers back, proceed throwing him with the hip, while circling the hands and rolling. In all cases, the technique ends with several aggressive strikes and escape.
The fact that a man grabs the hand of a wicker woman is frustrating and crates panic to victim, something that women sector deals with by training women to react, instead of freezing. In general women are taught to hit aggressively in vulnerable points in order to escape from stronger men attackers, manipulating their panic and transforming it to aggression.
Kids sector deals with threats that children are facing either in or out of school, from children or adults as well. Kids sector also deals with a great variety of ages, where the kids have to learn to evaluate the danger, something that is almost self-evident in adults and women sectors, because kids are in ignorance of threats.
In daily life of a child, hand grabs can occur in school or playground from other kids, either as a game or trying to control and gain attention. In both cases providing the kid with knowledge to escape, builds the child’s character with self-confidence and assists in extinguishing incidents of bullying before even occur, because the kid feels strong and the other kids that are potentially bullies have seen and realize it. So, bullies will avoid attacking this kid.
Unfortunately the attack can also be executed from stranger adults or familiars that will try to control the kid in order to hit, kidnap or abuse him. In this context the kid should definitely learn to decide between soft solutions and hard solutions. For example in school when is grabbed from another child, low or high hold, the kid evaluates and executes a soft solution by leveraging or rotating the hand – elbow to elbow or “playing guitar”. As finishing mode, the kid empowers his action by speaking loud and making clear to leave him alone or even ordering the other kid to stay away.
However, when a stranger adult is trying to control the hand, the kid should identify the high level of danger and react accordingly, by attempting to resist controlling the hand with the free one, calling for help, biting and running away to inform the parents or the teachers.
In general the kid has first of all to learn to evaluate the level of danger and choose between soft or hard solution.
It has been reported that in a wide area there are several increasing bullying incidents in the schools. After asking junior Krav Maga students if they have seen these incidents and if they have been bullied, they replied that the bullies classmates are not harassing them, because after an incident with peaceful ending chosen by a junior Krav Maga student, the bullies realized that “these juniors practicing Krav Maga”, so they left them alone because it is not funny to annoy them.
The knowledge of a “peaceful” soft hand grab solution in school will immediately end the appearance of bullying without troubles. The knowledge of a “warrior” hard hand grab solution can save the kid’s life. Both of them are necessary and valuable.
Adults, women and kids sectors have different characteristics. Adults are considered more or less to have similar mentality and strength. Average women are considered to be less strong than average men. Kids can become victims from bullies in school. They are less strong, less experienced than adults and considered to be naïve because they are in ignorance of dangers.
The civilian sectors also have different daily activities, exposing them to different kind of threats and dangers. So, adults in daily life are exposed to either simple arguments starting with hand grabs and can be escalated to fights. Women are exposed to the threat of becoming victims of sexual harassments or attacks of men predators that initiate the attacks with hand grabs. Kids can become victims of bullying in school or even worse kidnapped from adults, in both cases the assailant may initiate the attack with hand grab. Therefore, they should learn in training to evaluate the situation, especially the kids, enhancing the decision making skills and reacting with the appropriate technique from their tool set. Use soft solutions that should not be neglected for low level threats and hard solutions with aggression as a lifesaving solution for high danger cases.
In conclusion, it is obvious that due to different characteristics of the civilian sectors, the different threats and dangers are facing in daily life, the hand grab techniques should be different among the sectors, adjusted to their special characteristics, issues and needs.