Health and Fitness

What Should You Do in a Shooting Scenario?

Should you fight or take flight?

How should you react when someone suddenly opens fire in a public space? It feels rather pessimistic to prepare, but let’s face it, incidents like these are because much more frequent nowadays. Do you duck and hide? Do you run away? Do you fight? What’s the safest thing to do? More importantly, what’s the smartest thing to do?

If there’s anything we learned at tragedies like in Resorts World Manila and Greenhills Shopping Center, it’s how unprepared we are to handle such scenarios. There’s no one magic formula to deal with these instances, but it’s best to be prepared anyway. We asked regional director of International Krav Maga Federation Asia and its chief instructor Dindo de Jesus on what to do. Krav Maga is an Israeli self-defense system that borrows techniques from various martial arts. Classes are situation-based and simulate real-life high-pressured attack situations, like being harassed in a car, being choked in water, and et cetera. 


Esquire: There have been news of rage shootings around the world, and, of course, we have the recent one in Resorts World. What do you recommend in this sort of situation? Fight or flight? How do you assess what to do in this type of situation?

Dindo: This situation is what we call "active shooter." Around the world this has become a very common problem especially during a terrorist attack or when a person out of his mind with a gun starts shooting anybody in sight. This is a very dangerous situation anyone can experience. 


The normal reaction of a human being is either fight or flight, whether to defend himself or to run to avoid the gunman. To defend is a fighter's reaction. These are usually people who have self-defense training and know what to do. On the other hand, flight is the natural reaction of people without self-defense training. And when I say training, I mean training self-defense at least once or twice a week. 

We have to understand that people cannot react instantly nor do the proper solution if they are not training self-defense like IKMF Krav Maga. Mindset, reaction, and proper techniques should be trained. In IKMF Krav Maga, we have what we call "timeline", there is a beginning and an ending to every attack and we can react from different distances and to different assaults.  We train our students on the timeline so they will know how to react with the proper mindset and IKMF Krav Maga techniques. 

If you see a person with an assault rifle and there's enough distance to escape, run towards a safe area: any place you can exit from or barricade and hide to give yourself enough time to call for help. If your distance from the gunman is within reach, you need to fight to defend yourself and others.  

In the case of the Resorts World incident, if you see a person with an assault rifle and there's enough distance to escape, run towards a safe area: the exit doors, or a room or any place that you can exit from or barricade and hide to give yourself enough time to call for help. If your distance from the gunman is within reach or close, you need to fight to defend yourself and others. 


E: In these types of shootings (assuming it's not a terrorist attack), there are usually only one or a few people involved. Would you say it's smart to fight in such scenarios?

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If the gunman starts to shoot and you are within reach, you have to fight and defend yourself. After dealing with the gunman, scan the area if there are other gunmen and deal with them using the gun that was disarmed from the assailant. Using IKMF Krav Maga is the only solution.  If you are far and have time to run, the smartest thing to do is escape to a safe place and call the police. 


E: What are the best moves to defend yourself when dealing with an attacker with a gun? 

This is a complex detailed technique that one should train in. One must be aware of the "line of fire" and disarm the assailant. For people reading this, here are the IKMF Krav Maga key points to remember.

  • Grab the gun (your hand defense)
  • Redirect the line of fire
  • Move your body away from the line of fire (your body defense)
  • Strong counter attack of punch, kick or both
  • Disarm  

Once the assailant has been disarmed, scan the area for other possible assailants. If there are, use the gun and if it is clear, escape the area.


E: Are there any surprise moves that a person could do to perhaps take the attacker off his guard?

There are IKMF Krav Maga techniques that one can use to surprise and at the same time neutralize the assailant.

From behind: IKMF Krav Maga Take Down. 

Grab both legs by the knees then push and lift both legs to slam the assailant to the ground. Once the assailant is going down, the natural reaction is to move his hands in front of his face to break his fall thus losing his control over the gun.  Once the assailant is down, jump on his back, and execute several elbow strikes to the back of his neck and disarm.

From the front and side: IKMF Krav Maga Sub-Machine Gun Take Down.

Lift the assailant from the crotch and slam him to the ground. Once he is down, do an elbow strike to the back of his neck and disarm.

E: Do you think it's time to start training security members in hand-to-hand combat and defense? Or are they already?

It's a must for everyone who are in charge of security to train IKMF Krav Maga and at the same time train Tactical Shooting. The "Flight" reaction is never an option for them, they must fight and end the situation. 

Security ffficers are always on the line of attack, the very first persons to be killed if there's a terrorist attack, robbery or siege. They should be fighters and train IKMF Krav Maga regularly. And when I say regularly, I mean until the time they retire. 


People's lives and property protection are their primary responsibilities. They must defend us. But how will they do that if they don't know effective self-defense like IKMF Krav Maga? Without proper training they can not do their jobs, thus the natural self preservation "Flight" reaction will kick in. In other countries, security members are well-trained and well-equipped. I hope because of the Resorts World incident, business establishments will take security more seriously and start training their people. It's better to be prepared in case similar incidents happen.

For class schedules and information about the International Krav Maga Federation Philippines, visit their website

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About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy
Sasha eats to live and lives to eat. For five years, she handled's food section and edited the last two installments of its Top 10 Food books. She also recently participated at the Madrid Fusion Manila as curator.
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