Principles of Gun Defence

Seminar by Sensei Alessio Bresciani 1st Dan
Held at the Box Hill Honbu May 2019

Seminar Synopsis

Defense against weapons is an important part of our self defense repertoire. In later grades, we look at defense against guns. While defense against this weapon is part of the senior grade curriculum, in this seminar we looked the fundamentals of gun defense in a way that was suitable for all grade levels and built experiences of defending against this weapon.

Seminar Review

Review by Lynette Phuong, 6th Kyu

Before I attended Sensei Alessio’s “Principles of gun defense” seminar, I must admit I would feel a tightness in my stomach at the thought of having to pick up a gun as a weapon. I was fortunate to be given my plastic training gun by Sempai Sharen who used to train with us. To be honest, I hoped that I might channel her confidence using her (former) gun, I think I came close!

Sensei Alessio opened the seminar with a discussion about guns as weapons and an inquiry into what we knew or thought about the weapon. Without ever taking the gun out of my Judo/Jiujitsu training bag, I’d only really seen guns in action in movies, like all the Marvels I love! I appreciated Sensei reminding us that the fastest bullet speed was approx. 0.9kms/s and reaction time for visual stimuli, cognitive processing and then motor muscle reaction lying between 200-250 milliseconds.

Guns are different from other weapons – why? Because of the physics about them; they’re not always as ‘visible’; their effect is proportionate to the person who is carrying it and their intent. In our syllabus, we are exposed to weapons starting with sticks and the gun is introduced later. Guns can be the most lethal. Weapons are included for senior grades with gun defense part of the syllabus for brown belt. Guns need us to prepare mentally and emotionally- it’s a lot to pick up a gun; it’s confronting too. We were reminded of the importance of distractions, which can help slow down the cognitive process of the attacker. For example, if you were to comply, you might say something like “You want my watch? Take that too…” etc., which might allow you to come closer to the attacker (operable distance) and draw upon your known techniques.

There are 4 choices to be made if confronted with a gun:

  • Run
  • Duck and cover
  • Comply
  • Fight, that is, attack against the weapon

Of course,if other people are around you too, there are additional factors that come into play.

Throughout the seminar, we gained practical experience of gun defense in self-defense situations. Sensei Alessio highlighted that while it is difficult to train to defend against such an unpredictable weapon, exploring defense against the gun (as with all aspects of our syllabus and weapons in later grades) helps us broaden our skills as martial artists. In this seminar, we practiced various responses for different pistol grips (by attacker) ranging from strikes, lever and arm brace, wrist lock come-alongs and head locks.

The lessons that I learned:

  • Trust your technique
  • The importance of overcoming that fear of pulling your gun out of your bag in a safe learning environment so you are prepared
  • You can be creative with your self-defense; it’s what works and what we already know!

Overall, a great seminar! Arigato gozaimashita, Sensei Alessio!