Train Krav Maga to Protect Yourself

We’ve been preaching to students for years that when violence erupts, no one is coming to save you, and I was reminded this morning of a court case that firmly illustrates this point. While researching the events of the case, I ran across the Wikipedia summary version. While Wiki isn’t always the best source, this report is extremely fair in the recounting:

Police reports state that just after 5:00 a.m.[3] on February 11, 2011, Gelman stabbed and killed his mother’s companion Aleksandr Kuznetsov in Brooklyn after an argument with his mother about driving Kuznetsov’s vehicle.[4] His mother was not physically hurt. Gelman then took the vehicle and sped off in it, running over a crossing guard and breaking her leg.[5]

Gelman then went to the house of a female acquaintance named Yelena Bulchenko, where he killed her mother Anna at about 10:30 a.m.[3] He then allegedly left the crime scene and waited several hours for Yelena, who had been staying at a friend’s house, to return home. Once she did, she found Anna dead and called 9-1-1, but Gelman was on his way back to the scene to check if she returned home. Upon arrival at about 4:00 p.m.,[3] he spotted her outside on the phone and got out of the car, to which she yelled at him. He hid the knife in his pocket and approached her, but she took off running. However, Gelman caught up with her and stabbed her eleven times, killing her, before speeding off in Kuznetsov’s car. Ramming into another car, Gelman stabbed and wounded the driver, Arthur DiCrescento, three times when he confronted him, before carjacking the vehicle.[3] Gelman later ran down 62-year-old pedestrian Stephen Tanenbaum, who subsequently died of his injuries.[6][7]

Afterwards, Gelman abandoned DiCrescento’s car just before 1:00 a.m. of February 12[3] and hailed a livery cab before stabbing its driver, Fitz Fullerton. He then approached another car with a couple inside and attacked the driver, Shelden Pottinger, stabbing him multiple times in the hand. He then stole Pottinger’s vehicle and drove off in it.[3][4][7] After boarding a northbound 3 train at 34th Street – Penn Station just after 8:00 a.m., he stabbed Joseph Lozito, a ticket seller at Lincoln Center.[8] By this time, passengers recognized him from a newspaper article about his killing spree and notified authorities.[7]

According to some reports,[6] Gelman started banging on the door of a motorman’s cab, demanding to be let in, at which point two police officers assigned to the manhunt arrived and subdued him after a struggle with Lozito’s help. However, other accounts[9][10] stated that Lozito engaged in a physical confrontation that subdued Gelman, while officers Terrance Howell and Tamara Taylor hid in the motorman’s cab, and did not come out until Lozito had disarmed Gelman and pinned him on the ground.[6][9]

What you may not remember is Lozito sued the police officers for failing to render aid during his struggle with the knife wielding Gelman. To be specific, Lozito brought suit claiming the two police officers were negligent in failing to render aid while they watched him struggle with Gelman. Lozito claims the officers watched while he fought off Gelman – sustaining slash wounds to the face, neck, head, and hands.

If you are not familiar with how police handle these types of apprehensions, it’s far more likely that Lozito would have been ejected by the police officers from the booth during the apprehension – had they been integrally involved. But, the truth is, it doesn’t matter what the police officers did now that Gelman is serving time.

What is vitally important is (1) Gelman went on a violent and deadly two-day rage, killing and/or cutting up eight people BEFORE the police were able to apprehend him, (2) Even when the police were present and responding at some level, Lozito was still slashed in the face, neck, head, and hands – sustaining potentially deadly wounds, and (3) the court ruled that the police officers on the train watching Lozito struggle with the knife-wielding Gelman HAD NO DUTY TO PROTECT Lozito or anyone else on the train.

The truth is, the very best policing force cannot be everywhere at once. Most cities in the United States average between 10-25 police officers (not all of whom are on the streets) per 10,000 citizens. That’s right – as few as one police officer per one thousand citizens is the norm.

Our own student, Nathan fought of a gun-wielding attacker in his driveway. In the aftermath, the police took 30+ minutes to arrive, failed to secure the handgun Nathan had taken from his attacker for a substantial time, and then left for an hour before returning to the scene.

Do you see? No one is coming to help you – not in time. That’s way so many Krav Maga students train so diligently. They recognize effective self-defense capacity is simply a CRITICAL LIFE SKILL – period.

So, keep training with the proper mindset. It’s on you. No one is coming.

…walk In peace

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  1. Travis

    Great article. Some people consider this line of thinking paranoid, but “that will never happen to me” is just not an acceptable standard when we’re talking about your life and the lives of those you for whom you are responsible. There are people out there that would do you harm. It could absolutely happen to you. You are responsible for your own safety. Thanks.

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