A Fighter’s Intuition. — By Jim West

Jim West is a 20-year U.S. Special Forces combat vet who has earned a half a dozen medals in the “first” Iraq war… spent 13 years in the “covert operations” as a member of the Green Berets… Jim was a member of HALO, SCUBA Teams and a combat veteran. Jim has trained organizations with a top secret clearance, including Special Forces, Delta Force, CIA and Clandestine Foreign Operators and Navy Seals. Jim West has also trained two UFC Fighters, Vale Tudo Champions, Professional Boxers and Kick boxers as seen on HBO, Pay Per View and USA Tuesday Night Fights.

Hey, you awake?

Frankly, if you’re like most people, you’re probably asleep at the wheel, spending most of your day in a kind of waking dream, on the phone, texting, listening to music. Thinking about something else, anything except what’s happening around you.

Believe me, the bad guys love this.

Police reports tell the story. Big red flags that something was about to go terribly wrong gone unheeded and ignored with tragic consequences for the victim.

It’s understandable. People just don’t want to believe that another human being would want to beat rape or kill them.

Yet it happens all the time.

You wanna get scared shitless just go online and check out that “sexual offenders” website. I’ll bet you discover a dozen or more of these goons are living right in your neighborhood.

And that’s just a tip of the iceberg.

Which is why developing a fighter’s intuition is crucial. It doesn’t mean you have to become paranoid. No, you just have to start listening for the subtle warning bells — to make sure you’re not being set up for a bad day.

Thirty five years ago, in my Special Forces days, I saw a LOT of action on the battlefield and in the streets. Those were bloody days. Many times my early-warning “sixth sense” alerted me that the shit was about to hit the fan. Other times I was caught off guard. Yep, I can happen to anyone. With more than 100 stitches in my face from beer bottles and the likes, I don’t know if I would have survived, without training and practice.

Let me make my point with a quick story. This is true.

Several years ago I was in Aberdeen, Maryland relaxing at an Applebee’s. I was new in town and didn’t know anyone, my first night in town and “Family Night”.

I was sitting at the bar and ordered a beer and food. I’m alone. I’m minding my own business.

The place was lively, families coming in for dinner, a very non-violent atmosphere and a group guys beside me loudly debating where Egypt is located.

They obviously had a few drinks in them.

Initially there were no indications trouble could be looming.

The guy sitting right next to me insisted that Egypt was in the Middle East.

His buddy laughed. “It’s in Africa, you idiot.”

This went on for a while and the guy sitting to my right asked if I was ever in the military, stating I should know all the answers. I thought he was drunk and decided to accommodate the conversation by answering. Besides I was new in town.

A moment later the “idiot” shook my hand and offered his thanks for my military service. He further offered me a drink so we could toast.

I initially declined and he became pushy about letting him buy me a drink to show his appreciation for my military service. I didn’t want trouble or to start off wrong, so eventually I accepted with a simple rule.

I told him I typically will not drink shots during the week, because it never has a happy ending.

I agreed and told him here is the rule; you have to drink one with me. He told me no problem order what you want and he would pay.

I ordered two double shots of tequila one for each of us. He proposed a toast and we clicked glasses and I started to down my shot.

At the exact time he placed his shot on the bar in front of me… ding, ding, ding a RED FLAG immediately popped up for me.

I drank my shot, set the glass down and told him he had to drink his too, that’s the rule! I was laughing when I told him this.

As I was in the motion of pushing the shot glass back to him, from nowhere he punched me in my face, while I was sitting on the bar stool. These bar stools have a high back to them, which worked out in my favor.

Problem for him is that my skull is made of steel, or something very much like it. As his fist came in contact with my face, I immediately placed my feet onto the floor, guarding and pushing simultaneously with my left hand on his chest, palm out and pressing.

I call this hitting three points of contact at the same time, for balance and the ability to shift my weight towards him while controlling the distance and blocking any further punches.

Jim West

Retired Special Forces Technician
Jim West

In a split second, I was defended and already launching my offense, a simple overhand right. Initially could only see his chest and down to the base of his chair and floor, as I had tucked my chin and bulled my neck on impact.

It was the wildest thing, because I immediately noticed the front legs of his chair tipping over backwards as I was press punching him. Odds would have it, my favorite headhunting technique, “the over hand right” landed on his jaw knocking him out in his seat.

I continued to push through after the knockout blow was delivered in order to control the distance. He was rendered immediately unconscious while falling backward in the chair. So on his way down his ear came in contact with a lower table chair ripping off half his ear.

He then landed on his head, splitting his skull open.

The poor bastard had toppled over hard, chair and all. And as an extra bonus he struck his head on the lower chair on the way down. By now (a split second from start to finish), I was fully engaged and my radar was tuned on, already looking for his friends and others who may want to be a hero.

I stood over him and briefly considered finishing with a head stomp. It would have pointless though. He was sprawled out, unconscious, and wouldn’t have felt a thing. He was fully bleeding out, nearly dying.

The joint fell into a shocked silence.

On a number of occasions I’ve knocked out guys then felt the need to finish up by stomping on them. Of course I was concerned others may get involved. That did not happen. There was so much damage a blood the crowd thought he was dead, rendering the crowd into no action!

I could see no one wanted any part of me; I went back to my beer while I waited for the police and EMS to arrive.

The manager flew from his office hysterical and indignant shouting “You are going to jail, I’ll call the police,” blah, blah, blah.

I sipped my beer and downed my unconscious friend’s shot of tequila while waiting for the law to arrive.

Later, as the paramedics loaded him onto a stretcher, the cops went into the manager’s office and watched the security video.

The security video 100% confirmed my story. A crafty experienced man ambushed me by bringing my guard down with his friendly antics, then sucker-punched me in the face while I was minding my own business.

The police captain was impressed with my handy work and asked me if I wanted to press charges.

Press charges? Nah, I wanted nothing to do with him and figured (if he lives), the scar through his skull and half a missing ear would forever remind him of my sexy smile, so I didn’t bother.

I believe if you are justified in your defense, it is best to damage your attacker so badly they will never come back at you. In fact I heard later he was telling his friends from the hospital “3 black guys beat me up”. What a jerk.

So what does this fun story have to do YOU? Just this, the most powerful tool you possess is your intuition and training. Don’t be afraid of it, and don’t ignore it. I highly recommend to all GO WITH YOUR GUT!

Observe people in restaurants, parking lots, bars, gas stations, around your neighborhood, and everywhere else you go. You don’t have to be a hyper-vigilant nut case. Just put down the phone for a second and look around.

Listen to what your gut is telling you.

If you ever hear two or three alarm bells go off, it’s probably time to get the hell out of there.

In my case I let my guard down and was lured into a false sense of security – even though the red flag indicators where present the whole time.

That pisses me off at myself. I am lucky to the extent my training and previous fight and sparring gave me an advantage. When you are under fire, you will do what you know. Practice, practice and practice.

Jim West

Retired: Special Operations Technician
U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group

P.S. Oh… by the way. If you’re interested in learning 23 of my most highly­guarded fight secrets – vicious, brutal, downright scary moves that will save your butt in the hairiest situations ­­ then check this out:

Here’s 23 hand­picked jewels from Jim West’s own personal Special Forces “bag­o­nasty tricks”.

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Defending Your Zone

You and your wife are walking along a familiar street one night. Other couples pass by, and then, somehow, you two are alone…except for the shady-looking stranger looming ahead.


You watch him approach, instinctively knowing something is wrong…yet disbelief stops you from acting. Suddenly, he’s in your face, brandishing a weapon and demanding something from you. You can’t hear him because your mind is screaming, “This can’t be happening to me!” But it is. And all that locker room bravado with your buddies about what ass-kickers and name-takers you are seems to drain from you along with the blood from your extremities. Your stomach churns, your bowels loosen, and you want to run.

But it’s too late. You and your loved one are at your assailant’s mercy.

Can’t Happen To You?

Don’t be so sure. Being caught off guard and flat-footed can happen to the best of us, literally in milliseconds. But there was a moment in the above scenario when you could have prevented this. It was the moment the attacker entered your Zone.

The Zone is an invisible perimeter that martial artists, fighters, and tactical instructors use to define the point at which an opponent becomes a threat. Different systems of fighting address this concept differently; it’s been called everything from one’s “area of awareness,” to one’s “tactical arena.”

The Basic Perimeter

Some systems address the Zone idea in a general way. The Zone is simply one’s personal space. Getting too close – invading that space – should provoke one of several responses, depending on the degree of threat.

One question that inevitably arises is “How close is too close?” Marital artist and Tactical Instructor Scott Hollingsworth sums it up this way: “If someone’s close enough to dance with, they’re too damn close.”

The Colors of Danger

In an effort to be a little more specific, other fighting systems have envisioned several concentric rings of different colors to represent increasing degrees of danger.

Outer most is the Green Zone, beginning at a radius of 15 feet from your body (or up to 30 feet in areas of known danger) and extending, presumably, to infinity. This is considered a safe area. Anyone 15 feet or further from you is not an immediate threat. Inside the Green Zone is the Blue Zone, a ring located between five and fifteen feet from your body. This is an awareness zone. Anyone entering should be assessed as either a threat or non-threat.

Innermost is the Red Zone, representing the area that is within a five-foot radius from your body. The moment someone interest this zone in a threatening way, they must be dealt with decisively and immediately.


The objective of any zone system is two-fold. First, the Zone provides a circle of awareness around your body. Being aware of your opponent’s position relative to your own gives you time to assess your situation.

Second, the Zone eliminates indecision. IF someone you perceive as a threat crosses your line, you react…period. You do not concern yourself with dilemmas of morality or legality. You issue a warning when someone approaches your Red Zone, and then simply react once they cross it.


Making use of the Zone concept does not require long hours in a dojo, or years to master. But it does require some advanced preparation. During an altercation with some crazed lunatic is probably not the best time to start thinking about being prepared.

Spend some hours with a friend in your back yard learning to judge distances. Discover how long it actually takes for someone to reach you from fifteen feet away (it will likely surprise you how quickly a person can close from 15 feet). Discuss scenarios and practice some basic defense techniques from various distances.

By training in this way you can attain a higher level of confidence and commitment which can greatly enhance your chances of success in a street confrontation.

True Story

A man we’ll call Joe was walking his date back to his truck late on night after a movie. As they walked up the ramp of the parking garage, Joe noticed a suspicious-looking male approaching from ahead.

The man started talking to Joe as he approached Joe’s outer zone, asking the time, waving his hands, and generally trying to distract Joe as he closed the distance.

About the time the man entered Joe’s Blue Zone, Joe stopped, sensing something was wrong. He took a single step forward, putting his date behind him, and pointing directly at the man with his right hand. “That’s far enough,” was Joe’s only comment.

The man stopped, somewhat stunned by Joe’s directness. He spread his arms and tried to smile at Joe disarmingly. It was then that Joe heard a sound off to his right – another assailant coming up from Joe’s blind side.

Without taking his eyes off the first man, Joe pointed his right hand in the direction of the second attacker. Joe’s left hand slipped up under his jacket to the small of his back and remained there. Joe nodded to the first man, “Tell him to stop right where he’s at, now!” The first man hesitated for only an instant, his eyes now locked on Joe’s left hand.

The man looked in the direction of the second, still unseen person, and shook his head once. He then raised his arms back out slowly and backed away. “It’s cool, man…” was the man’s only comment before he turned and ran off. The unseen person to Joe’s right fled down a nearby stairwell.

Did the fact that Joe had a loaded Walther PPK .380 handgun tucked in the small of his back, and that Joe was also a Tactical Training Instructor help get him out of that situation? It probably didn’t hurt. But did the bad guys, or even Joe’s girlfriend, know any of that? Nope.

What the bad guys did know was that Joe seemed very aware of his situation and prepared for a confrontation. Joe reacted to a violation of his zone aggressively and immediately – and it was that reaction which repelled his attackers.

The bottom line? Weapons and defense training are immensely beneficial – as ammunition. But the real weapon is your mind. It is your mind that must be decisive, confident, and alert, so that you are prepared for any situation. A key factor in being prepared is understanding the Zone.

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Punishing Stiff Arm Elbow Shot – When you get caught off guard

This technique is great for situations where an attacker has the jump on you. The stiff arm portion of the technique stops the attackers momentum and provides protection for your jaw line. The elbow strike allows you to get inside and deliver devastating close range strikes to gain the offensive and end the fight quickly.

When you use the stiff arm you need to make sure you have a stable stance and are on your toes with your knees slightly bent so you can absorb the impact. If you try to use the stiff arm while you are on your heels you’ll be pushed over or thrown off balance. This stance will also enable you to spring back on the attacker to throw him off balance as Jim explains in the video.

For the elbow strike portion of the technique remember to keep your free hand up to protect your head and use your hips and torso to develop power in the elbow strike. The power comes from your core not your arm. If you manage to deliver two powerful elbow shots to the attackers jaw and face it will without a doubt stun him and it’s very likely that it’ll end the fight. If you follow up with the horizontal hammer fist and the opposite arm elbow strike it’ll be a done deal. Remember don’t stop striking until the threat is gone, and leave the area quickly to avoid retaliation from the attackers friends.

For more simple “end it now” fight techniques check out Jim West’s Master of Destruction DVD package here.

Category: Jim West

Do you carry this crucial “low-tech” survival tool?

Bruce Beck is a well respected master at surviving in the harsh and unforgiving deserts of the American Southwest. In this short clip he explains why a simple piece of plastic tubing can be the difference between life and death in the desert where water is your most critical resource.

As Bruce explains in the video the tubing is used to reach areas where you cannot scoop water out with a cup or canteen. Simply tying one end of the tube to a stick can give you incredible reach into deep shaded crevasses that may contain water even in very hot dry areas.

Keep in mind that the water you may be extracting with this simple technique could be contaminated. As Bruce mentions in the video if the water is questionable you need to spit the water into a container to purify or sterilize later. By only letting the contaminated water contact your mouth you are limiting your exposure to any pathogens, however it could still make you sick. This technique should only be used in a true survival situation where the benefits of accessing the water outweighs the potential of exposure to waterborne pathogens.

For more life saving “no-nonsense” survival tips from Bruce Beck click here.

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Take-down from the Clinch – with Mike Gillette

Being in the clinch in a street fight is a dangerous place. An attackers buddies can attack you from behind, you don’t have much mobility, you can be easily forced to the ground, and it typically lengthens the fight (exposing you and your loved ones to more risk). For those reasons you want to transition from the clinch as quickly as possible. The reverse arm bar in the clip above taught by Mike Gillette is a technique you need to have up your sleeve. It’s simple and it works great, even for smaller guys like Mike.

The first step is to make sure that you do the lock while at least one of your arms is on the inside. If both your arms are on the outside of his, use another technique, there are plenty of other great options (knees to the groin, headbutt etc.).

Take the arm that is on the inside and loop it up and around his arm and back toward your body as shown in the video. This will give you a leverage advantage locking his joint and giving you control over his body. However, the key to making this work, especially with a large attacker, is a distraction strike. As Mike shows in the video this can be a throat strike or simply snapping the head up and over by striking the chin.

Either way the goal is to distract the attacker and gain another point of control over his body to complete the take-down.

In the video, Mike explains these two components separately. In real life they need to happen simultaneously. The attacker will be thinking about the throat strike and not even realize he is being put into a joint lock.

Now there are certainly less complex ways to transition out of the clinch, however this technique will give you control of the attacker and prevents him from recoiling from a simple throat strike or eye gouge. Some times control is necessary, especially when you have loved ones who need to escape, or if you need to do more severe damage if you are in a place where you cannot escape after a few simple strikes.

For more simple combat technique from former Army Airborne Soldier, Veteran Swat Cop, and Police Chief Mike Gillette check out his DVD package here.