When A Stickup Might Get You Killed:
The Universal Quick
By Christopher Caile
You never want to have to argue with a pistol, especially one pressed
into you. If it is money they want, give it to them. Don’t argue,
don’t fight. But if you are convinced that your life is at stake,
that the gunman will shoot you no matter what, you just might want to
know this technique.
This technique is demonstrated by Moni Aizik, founder and chief instructor
of Combat Survival Commando Krav Maga, who was recently in New York City
for a training seminar. He graciously extended me an invitation. Mori
teaches hand-to-hand combat and weapons training using simple straight
forward and effective technique that evolved from first generation Krav
Maga and other fighting arts.
The benefit of this technique is that it is fast, simple and, effective.
(1) It will work against a whole variety of gun positions, right hand
or left, to the chest, head, side of the head, back of the head, to the
side of the body or to the upper back – if the gun barrel is actually
pressed into the defender, or is at least nearly touching. Thus, the
beauty of this disarm is that you only have to learn one technique moving
the hands and body the same way.
The sequence of photos above moves from left to right. A robber with
a gun in his right hand extends his arm pressing the pistol into the
chest of the defender. In reality the gun arm can be straight or bent.
The defender immediately raises his arms, keeping them in front his body
and at the level of the gun – and as near to the gun as possible.
Moving the hands up or outside the body adds both difficulty and time
to any defense. The defender should look defensive, compliant, even scared.
Don’t look in the attacker’s eyes since the attacker may
pick up any movement before it actually begins. Say something like, “OK,
OK, what you want?”, or “I don’t want any trouble,
what you want.” Here the idea is to sell the gunman that he has
been successful. This will dispel some of his own fear and tension and
allow him to say to himself something like, “I’ve got this
sucker.” If you are going to disarm, be sure to first to also add
some other words, something he will have to mentally process and answer –the
processing itself working to slow the reaction time to any move you make.
Some people here suggest that the words have no simple meaning, something
confusing –the effect requiring more mental processing time from
the gunman, something like, “My money and wallet ontology.” When
he starts to speak, such as asking you to repeat what you said, or asking
what you meant, move. This is the point of the attacker’s slowest
The third photo shows the first move of the disarm. Moni’s left
hand moves a few inches inside grabbing the wrist of the gun hand while
his body pivots to the right (moving him off line of any gun shot). At
the same time Mori’s right hand has shifted to just above and outside
of the gun barrel in order to grab it from the top. The idea is to get
hold of the lower forearm and gun barrel thus exposing the wrist to a
quick technique that will dislodge the gun. This very same technique
using the same hands would be executed in just the same way if the attacker
is holding the gun in his other hand.
Looking from the other side (photo on left) Moni shows the disarm. In
executing this technique most would attempt to pivot the barrel of the
gun inward and away from you (stabilizing the wrist with the other hand).
This can work, but the technique is made much more effective, if instead
the defender pulls the wrist and lower forearm toward himself strongly
with the left hand while pushing with the right hand (gripping the gun
barrel) simultaneously. If this is done correctly the gun will be easily
disengaged from the attacker’s grip. Notice here Mori has taken
the gun away and is holding the gun in his right hand and is actually
now facing the attacker.
It is important to remember that you are dealing with a gun. Often a
person trained in hand-to-hand combat will try to add an extra percussion
technique, an elbow, punch or knee. While this might work, an extra move
might just give the attacker that instant an respond and he may grab
you back. The last place you ever want to be is caught fighting over
control of a gun.
what you want to do is to disengage as quickly as possible. This means
not only stepping back, but retreating as quickly as possible
while pointing the gun on the opponent. Of course you could just run,
but the environment or circumstance may dictate that you momentarily
orient yourself. In any case, safety here means distance – ten
feet or more. Your attacker might just try to fight back, rush you
or have a back-up knife. So about the time the momentary shock wears
that he has lost his gun, you should be heading for the hills. Also,
make it clear that you will shoot if he advances.
A note of caution: If the defender uses the technique as shown (grabbing
the wrist with the left hand and the gun barrel with the right) against
an attacker holding the gun in the left hand, the disarm will catch the
gunman’s finger in such a way that the disarm will break or severely
injure the finger involved. So if practicing this disarm, either use
a practice gun without a finger guard, or if the practice weapon has
a finger guard, the person simulating the attack should leave his or
her finger outside the guard.
The only limitation of this disarm technique is if the gunman holds
the gun very low, such as pressed into the belly at belt height or lower,
a location below which the defender’s raised hands (even if held
low) can easily move to grasp the arm or gun. Defenses for these positions
will be covered in future articles.
Editor’s Note: This article is posted solely for educational purposes.
FightingArts.com and Moni Aizik never advise that this technique be attempted
on the street or elsewhere unless the defender has been fully trained
over extended time by a professional teacher and even then not used against
a gunman who intends only robbery. This article alone is not sufficient
training, for circumstances and positioning interject many variables
that can not be sufficiently covered in an article of this length. In
addition, considerable practice is required to master this technique,
practice that should be supervised under qualified and professional hands-on
It should also be noted that the term, “Universal Quick Pistol
Disarm,” is one not necessarily used by Mori Aizik, but was used
by the author to simply categorize this technique.
About Moni Aizik
Moni started his martial arts training in Judo and Jiu Jitsu at the
age of 8. In his youth, Moni dominated Israel’s tournament scene
winning 7 national titles. During his late teens, Moni joined the Israeli
military and became a member of an elite commando unit known as the Sayret.
During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Moni was involved in special commando
missions behind enemy lines. During one of these missions, his unit of
64 members was ambushed by over 1,000 Syrian soldiers in the Golan Heights.
Only 6 of the members managed to survive and escape, primarily because
of their superior hand-to-hand combat skills. Shortly after, Moni was
assigned to develop a more comprehensive and improved version of Krav
Maga to the Israeli Military.
Paired with Imi Lichtenfeld, the founder of Krav Maga, the two collaborated
on developing a more definitive system of Krav Maga. By combining elements
of Krav Maga, Judo and Jiu Jitsu, along with real combat experience,
Moni created Commando Krav Maga, the militarized style of Krav Maga.
From his experiences in the battlefield, Moni had a deep understanding
of what techniques would and wouldn’t work in a real life or death
situations and integrated CKM with Israeli Special Forces training.
Moni later started teaching his system to the public, opening a school
in Israel and eventually in Canada. He now teaches this technique modified
toward street self-defense needs. His technique focuses on quick, explosive
tactics that deliver maximum impact.
Other of Moni’s students have also found success in competition.
Some of Moni’s past students include Yael Arad (Olympic Silver
in Judo) and Carlos Newton (former UFC Champion).
Moni is currently teaching CKM to military, law enforcement and security
units around the world. As well, Moni has a school based in Concord,
Ontario that is open to the civilian sector. For more about Moni Aizik:
About the Author:
Christopher Caile is founder and editor of FightingArts.com.