Kenpo Budokan Karate: White Belt: Lessons: 10 Gun to the Stomach from the Front

Gun to the Stomach from the Front (十級拳銃護身術)

As we mentioned in the previous lesson introducing weapon self defense techniques, the primary focus of defense against a weapon needs to be your ultimate safety. For the vast majority of situations, giving up the wallet or car keys is going to be your best option. In addition, if you just practice this standing still with the attacker standing still, you aren’t going to be very realistic in your practice, so it is highly encouraged that you start practicing the moves using a more dynamic practice, as well as using real weapons (empty) in the mix. If you really want to change things up, try practicing with an air soft gun and some thick padding to prevent any serious injuries with the rules the person is not allowed to shoot until they sense you trying to move.

The ultimate goals of these self-defense techniques is to build up your confidence, so that when you are faced with these situations, you will know how to properly react – including just giving the attacker your money and walking away. The thing about Kenpo is that it teaches you to mentally prepare for any and all eventualities, so we introduce weapons defense at the early stage – as weapons are very frequently found in these situations.


These assume the attacker is attacking with the right arm extended.

  1. With your left hand you are going to grab the barrel of the gun as you push it off to the side as you rotate your body.
  2. Your right hand comes up under the gun, and rotates the stock of the weapon disarming your opponent.
  3. Re-grip the weapon, train the weapon on your attacker, and step backwards to give yourself distance and prevent the opponent from reacting further.
English: Selection of internal organs in human...
Selection of internal organs in human anatomy.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


So many thing can go wrong, even in the static movements, that we can’t stress enough that this should be done as a matter of ultimate defense, and not as a first reaction to the situation. In this technique, your first order or business is getting out of the direct aim of the gun, wherever the gun is pointed, is where you should expect for it to fire. As long as the gun misses the internal organs and major blood vessels, you should be relatively ok. This is why the motion to move the gun has to coincide with turning the body and stepping out of the way of the gun. If the gun does go off during the move, don’t freak out, but continue to defend yourself. It is for this reason, that we recommend that everyone training against gun self defense spend at least some time out on a firing range to get used to both the mechanics of a firearm as well as the sound and movement it will make when/if it does go off.

The first thing to note is that most guns do not have hair triggers, meaning there needs to be significant motion on the trigger (force and distance) before actually firing, this time of firing is usually sufficient time for you to react enough to get out of the direct line of fire – most attackers, while their finger is on the trigger, won’t have the trigger pulled back far enough for a split-second reaction, but will take a few milliseconds between squeezing and actually firing. The action you perform moving the gun to the side and rolling the stock to disarm can be sufficient enough counter movement to prevent the gun from actually firing.

The second thing to note is that you always want to attack to the outside of the attacker’s body, it’s a lot harder to turn a wrist outward to fire at someone then it is to turn an elbow inward. With all weapon self defense moves, you want to be attacking the attacker and not the weapon – yes you need to disarm the weapon, but you do this by attacking the attacker. In the case of this movement, you are taking advantage of their hand position on the gun itself. The force of the attacker on the gun consists primarily of the squeezing motion on the handgun, this means any attempt to pull the gun forward or push the gun backwards is going to leave the attacker at an advantage. However, lateral movement against the fingers, or rolling motion against the thumb should be sufficient to move the gun out of the attacker’s hand. This is why it is vitally important that during the practice sessions you get the mechanics of the disarm down cold. Have the attacker stand there and hold onto the gun and not let it go, have them squeeze it as hard as possible. Using leverage on your side, get the motion down so that in a situation, you will not only be confident about the movement, but also sure that you know you can disarm the attacker. Having bigger partners for this drill is highly recommended.

Things to Work On

“Move. Get out the way. Get out the way. Move!”

In the lesson on environmental awareness we discuss the issues surrounding self defense situations involving you and others, but it is something we need to bring up at this juncture. When dealing with a projectile weapon, it is VITALLY important that you are aware of your surroundings. Let’s say you get held up at gunpoint while you are walking along the street with your boyfriend/sister/mother/son/etc… If your escort is standing at your right side, and you go through this movement as described, you are likely to get them shot in the process. You will need to see where they are standing to determine what is going on and how best to maneuver the muzzle to ensure they aren’t caught in the crossfire.

So what if the disarm doesn’t work and the two of you are struggling over the weapon? In this situation, you want to be aware of where the gun is pointing, but instead of focusing on getting the gun out of the hand of the attacker – you want to keep your grip on the weapon, but then you want to start attacking and striking the attacker, not focusing on the weapon itself. In the worst case situation, you need to lock onto the weapon and keep it pointed away from everyone and hold it there until help arrives.

Concluding Thoughts

Gun self defense techniques are some of the most dangerous ones out there because too many students either practice too little, or jump to defense too quickly rather than looking at many of the alternatives. The other problem is that most gun self defense practices are very static and use plastic or wooden weapons and not take into account the dynamic struggles that a real weapons self defense scenario involves. As you start practicing this technique, make sure to rapidly move onto the more dynamic situations so that you are better prepared to survive in a situation involving weapons.

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