Joey Karam has trained and certified civilians, law enforcement and military personnel. Hear his advice for nomads on how to keep safe while traveling.

We hope it never happens but one day you may find yourself in a situation where your life is threatened by someone who means to do you grave harm. Training in some form of combatives is the best preparation for such a scenario but in absence of that there are simple things one can do to minimize chances of conflict occurring in the first place and to handle it more effectively if it escalates to the point of combat.

In this episode world-renown Krav Maga instructor Joey Karam talks with us about the basics of situational awareness, avoidance, de-escalation, social vs. asocial violence, physiological responses to combat situations, escaping freezes, and the mindset of what it takes to escape with your life from a threatening situation. Joey is a close personal friend and I can’t recommend his podcast and Krav Maga school highly enough.

Show Notes

Time   Topic
0:02:02   Welcome and context
0:02:41   What is Krav Maga?
0:03:32   Why is it important?
0:06:29   Predators don’t mess with other predators
0:08:19   For the person who isn’t able to train 3x/wk what can he/she do to be better prepared?
0:10:39   Any wins your able to discuss with the thousands of students you’ve taught?
0:12:57   Can you talk about the continuum of steps leading up to combat in self defense?
0:16:17   Social aggression vs. Asocial aggression
0:18:21   If you find yourself in a sketchy area what are the things you can do to improve your odds?
0:24:08   Once combat becomes inevitable can you talk about the physiological response?
0:26:06   Being aware of the cause and effects of a social freeze
0:27:55   The answer to dealing with asocial violence: doing catastrophic damage
0:30:18   How do you know when it moves from social to asocial violence?
0:31:17   Creating boundaries and trigger points
0:34:34   What’s the best way for someone to get started with this stuff?
0:39:46   Any resources you read on a regular basis?


Krav Maga XD – Joey’s school in Newport Beach California
Joey’s podcast – #1 most popular podcast on Krav Maga led by Joey
Meditations on Violence – book Joey recommends that delves into psychology of violence
Eyal’s eCourse – online training from the highest-ranked living KMG practitioner
Verbal Jiu-jitsu video – simple techniques for de-escalation and diffusing conflict before it occurs
Garrett J White Wake up Warrior “Kings Kit” – program for elevating your game across a number of facets
Tribes – Seth Godin book on starting a movement


Testing day

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Sean Tierney – 00:21 – Hi and welcome to Nomad Podcast. I’m your host, Sean Tierney, psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a framework for understanding human needs in the form of a pyramid structure at the base of that pyramid of the most fundamental raw materials like water breathing, sleeping a needs, but just one layer above that is a set of needs related to safety. Today we’re meeting with Joey Karam, one of the world’s most highly trained Krav Maga instructors. Joey is going to be talking to us about personal safety while on the road and things that we can do to avoid conflict in the first place and what we need to know when our safety is threatened and conflict becomes unavoidable. So we’ll learn the difference between social and a social violence. Uh, the different kinds of freezes that one can go through and things that paralyze us in the most inopportune moments and how to break out of those and much, much more.

Sean Tierney – 01:11 – Joey runs a Krav Maga school in Newport beach, California. That’s where I met him. Uh, I had the good fortune to train directly under Joey and Joey has trained directly under the highest rank, living Krav Maga instructor in the world. Eyal Yanilov. So Joey has taught special forces, police SWAT personnel. He’s an incredible teacher, having trained with them, I can tell you he’s basically the real deal. He is Jason Bourne in real life. So I’m very excited. Without further ado, here. Now is my conversation with Joey Karam. Nomad podcast is supported in part by Nomad Prep, an online academy that teaches you everything you need to know to take your job on the road and crush it abroad. Enroll today at And get your first four days of training completely free. Nomad prep. Take your job on the road and take on the world.

Sean Tierney – 02:01 – All right, Joey Karam, welcome to the Nomad podcast.

Joey Karam – 02:06 – Hey, thank you for having me.

Sean Tierney – 02:07 – Right on. Um, okay. So let me set this up. So Joey, you are an expert level one Krav Maga instructor. You’ve trained a number of the other instructors out there. I think all the ones in the Americas are a lot of the ones that America’s right.

Joey Karam – 02:22 – Yeah. I’ve trained with them or I’ve actually traveled to Argentina. It’s a different countries to train Krav Maga instructors as well.

Sean Tierney – 02:27 – Well, I know I’m wearing the shirt here and if you can see the Mexico, you had certified. The guy that I took from it. Mexico City. I believe so, yeah.

Joey Karam – 02:35 – He’s cool. Yeah.

Sean Tierney – 02:36 – So a very accomplished Krav Maga instructor. What is, for those people that are listening who are not familiar with crop, what is Krav Maga?

Joey Karam – 02:44 – It’s magic. Just pure magic. No, it’s just a reality based combat fighting system. So basically we teach people how to defend themselves in a combat situation. Combat meaning a fight or a self defense situation. We have no game. There’s no, uh, there’s no competition. It’s purely a reality based practical type of self defense.

Sean Tierney – 03:09 – Yup. Why do you think this is important for people to take it in? The context here is that I took some Krav Maga from you and your school in Newport beach. That’s how I first got introduced to it and I was immediately infatuated like to me this is the most sensible practical thing that one can do to improve their security posture in terms of personal safety. So why is this important in your opinion? Why is this important?

Joey Karam – 03:34 – You know, it’s a, it’s, there’s a lot of answers to this question, but recently I’ve been kind of going towards the answer of it builds confidence and confidence instills a posture and an energy that people don’t normally have. And so by learning Krav or learning this type of a fighting system, you stand taller. You, you have this energy that you project that’s a little bit different, a little more of a confidence based energy, and that repels people from attacking you. I’m so, that’s why in my opinion, it’s really important to learn this stuff so you don’t get attacked, not so when you get attacked, you can do something. It’s so that you don’t get attacked. Um, and then it trickles down into different areas of your life. The more confident you are, the better your business grows, the better you feel, the more sexier body is a better relationships get. So realistically, this type of training just helps you in all the areas of your life.

Sean Tierney – 04:23 – So you bring up a really important thing that I wanted to touch on and I’m glad you mentioned it. There is some stat and maybe you can remember it, but it has to do with something like women that had taken self defense were like 70% less likely to get attacked in the first place, let alone know how to handle themselves in the situation where it happened.

Joey Karam – 04:42 – Uh, yeah, so the, the exact numbers are not in my head right now. I have, I wrote a blog about this and did a podcast about it. So I think I can, I can pull it up for you, but basically it’s this, they, they uh, took a study of 100 women in college and then it took a control group and then it took another. Oops, sorry. I took another control group of women in the college too. So 100, 100. The second group they trained for 30 classes, I don’t know if that means 30 days or just 30 classes in general. They didn’t really get super specific, but 30 classes. Then at the end of the four years of their college, they interviewed the both groups, the same exact questions and the questions were from as basic as where you verbally assaulted, were you touched a unwillingly, you know you didn’t want it to happen, were you sexually assaulted? And then the last one was the worst one was like were you raped?

Joey Karam – 05:32 – And then they asked the same four questions that both control groups, the control group one, the girls that did not train their stats were 30%, 20%, 10%, 5% and all the categories, so 30%, they’re verbally assaulted all the way down to 10% or five% that they actually experienced some sort of a rape situation in your college. And then the group that trains self defense was less than 50% of their answers. So instead of 30% of it was probably 10% or verbally assaulted all the way down to 0%. We’re potentially rate, so what that tells us is that just by learning self defense, they didn’t even get into these situations. It’s not that they had to fight their way out of them necessarily. Some of them may have done, but they weren’t even in the situations just from the act of learning. So that’s a big case study right there.

Sean Tierney – 06:20 – Yeah, and it goes with what you call a. we’re. One of the things I took from your course was that what you call the wolf mindset, and I think it’s this concept of prey and Predator. When you look like prey, you’re going to attract predators, but predators don’t mess with other predators. So you carry yourself differently. Not saying that you need to be a predator fit, you know, if you carry yourself more confidently, you’re less likely to attract the predators.

Joey Karam – 06:44 – Yeah. So it’s kinda what I was saying earlier. If you have confidence, if you know that you can take someone out that comes in and attacks you. If you know that you’re strong, you don’t have to punch, you know, hurt somebody, then you’re going to walk around differently and maybe less shoulder slump. Maybe I’ll be a little bit taller. Maybe you’re going to eyes will be a little more brighter. Maybe you’re going to make eye contact more often with people rather than looking down at the ground every time you walk by them. So by establishing yourself as a confident, strong person automatically will deteriorate. The willingness of attacker. Here’s the deal. Attackers are smart. They’re not dumb. I mean we want to think they’re dumb, but the dumb ones are in jail, so the smart ones are still out there because they’re smart and they attack the right people.

Joey Karam – 07:26 – They’re attacking the people they don’t think can actually defend themselves. They’re attacking the people that won’t make a fuss, that might not even fight back or scream. That’s who they’re attacking. Who is the easy target, not who’s the hard target, who’s gonna fight back? Who’s aware of me right now? Who’s gonna scream? Who’s gonna punch me? They’re not attacking those people. Otherwise they’d be in jail and most of them argued are in jail. Now obviously there’s still a handful of dumb ass attackers out there. Sorry about the cursing. I’m not sure if this is a shit. So there’s, um, there’s a group of people that you’re going to run into that are just dumb people that will fight you for no reason, but the majority of the attacks are actually scared about the kidnappings, rapes, the murders. Those are usually done by people that actually might have a little bit of idea how to be a predator. So we’d have to make sure we can find off that person. That’s kind of like the worst case scenario.

Sean Tierney – 08:16 – Awesome. All right, well, so the whole reason that I asked you to be on this show, because typically this is a, you know, this is a conversation with nomads and it’s very centric on the nomadic lifestyle stuff. And what I found is that, you know, in that sphere, people talk a lot about like travel hacks and packing recommendations and all these other things. But rarely do we ever discussed the topic of self defense and Personal Safety. I think depending on where you go in the nomadic, you know, in the, in your role as a digital nomad, you can wander into some pretty stacy places. My question to you is the average person who can’t get to a Krav Maga school three times a week and actually trained in this stuff, what kind of stuff can they do to better prepare themselves or better not get in those situations and then when they’re in those situations, be better prepared to defend themselves?

Joey Karam – 09:07 – Yeah, it’s a good question because you know, I get asked that a lot, so I have a big, a big podcast. I have a podcast and I get emails all the time from people saying, Hey, I don’t have a Krav Maga school next to me. You know, like what should I do? And the answer isn’t, they’ll fly and find a common ground school because that’s just not realistic for people. The answer is learn a combative system and get confidence. So what I mean by that is if there’s a boxing school or Muay Thai school or kickboxing school around you, train, learn combatants, learn how to punch, learn how to kick, learn how to hit, learn how to elbow, um, that alone will give you the confidence and a lot of the tools you’re gonna need. And then you can supplement that education with a self defense type of education so you can listen to Krav Maga podcasts that talk about mindset a little bit more. Um, you can go to one of my instructors, I all, he has a, a website that has online training, which is video training. So you can go over there and learn some gun techniques and stuff like that if you want to,

Joey Karam – 10:06 – but you have to practice it. You can’t just watch a video, then get a gun to your head and real life and you’re going to be able to do it. So if you train a combative system in the supplement that with some education of self defense, that’s great. There’s a lot of books out there. One’s called meditation of violence. I love that book. It’s a great one for it, for like your psychologic, a psychology of self defense. So for people that can’t get their hands on a Krav Maga school, do some sort of a combative system and that will help you a lot.

Sean Tierney – 10:34 – And your students, I know you, you, you told me at least one story a long time ago, but like of the students that have trained under you, are there any incidents that you’re able to talk about that they’ve been able to avoid or the or deal with with the training that they’ve learned from you?

Joey Karam – 10:49 – Yeah, I mean I have a lot of case studies in that respect. Um, but yes. So the, here’s the deal. I would say out of the thousands of people we’ve taught that a good five percent of them have been in an actual altercation of some sort. So like for example, I know a girl who train with me just for like two months and then her drunk ex boyfriend broke into her house when she was on a couch and started choking her and then she broke out of the choke doing one of our defenses. Elbowed him in the chin, knocked him out, almost hit the floor and she ran away and all that stuff. And that’s great. We have a guy that had a gun held up to him and he was able to successfully get out of it. We had a guy who, um, that’s just been in regular fights like a altercations, but really to me that those are just kind of like the outliers, like you don’t really expect those to happen and it’s great. And we teach law enforcement.

Joey Karam – 11:41 – And let me tell you this, I used to train this special forces or special unit guy and um, he would come in every week and we would do a two hour private lesson and every week we’d have a story about how he was able to get out of or deescalate or when a violent attack when he was undercover in this big drug lord gang, whenever. So it’s interesting to see how it. Everybody uses it differently. But the best case study is the people who get out of fights and deescalate and don’t even get into a fight. Because that to me is more important than just teaching people how to fight so they can survive a fight. Um, so I’ve have more stories and people don’t even bring them up because they don’t think it’s important. Uh, but more stories of people saying, Hey, yeah, I was, we were walking and this guy looked at us all weird and he started following us. But, you know, I was confidence. So I stood tall and then he ran away like that. Those to me are better than the ones that people attacking them because I don’t sometimes I wonder like when they’re being attacked, I’m like, did you instigate that? Just so you can fight and test out your crop.

Joey Karam – 12:40 – So, um, uh, so yeah, there’s just, there’s, there’s hundreds of stories like that. But realistically it’s about the ones that don’t get into a fight that are more important to me. And avoidance is way better.

Sean Tierney – 12:51 – So you, you must be reading my notes right now because that’s exactly where I was going to go next with this is people when they hear of self defense, they immediately think of the combat component of it. Right? But it starts before that and maybe you can talk a little bit about like situational awareness and deescalation and all those steps leading up to the last resort of actually having to fight.

Joey Karam – 13:11 – Yeah. So I mean, it’s really simple. It’s not that much magic to it. It’s, if you get in a fight, you really have three options. Option one, you’re going to go to jail because you hurt somebody and they’re going to press charges on you. Option two, you’re the one that’s hurt and you’re in a hospital or in a coffin. And option number three is that you’re being sued. That’s pretty much the three options you’re going to have a, it’s, it’s not like the movies where you can just punch somebody in a bar and run away. Um, it’s, it’s just not like that obviously happens. I get that. But the majority of the time you’re going to get in some bad situation. So there’s a, there’s two videos I’ve watched recently and video number one was a dude standing on the side of the street and there were, they’re alternating with each other and they’re doing something called the monkey dance. And what that is is where there’s a little bit of physical contact, but maybe I can push then it get big, try to be big and superior and whatever, and they’re just kind of in each other’s face, just cursing each other out.

Joey Karam – 14:07 – And then one guy punches the other guy in the face, he hits the ground bleeding and the guy that hit him so starts kicking him in the face and the video is just watching. This whole thing happened. And dude’s teeth falling out. His nose shattered that blood. You could even see a skin anymore. She was all blood and people were walking around and like videotaping and nobody was helping. Of course, you can’t rely on people to help. That’s the lesson from itself. Um, and then the dude gets up and he walks away and he’s fine. The video later says that, oh yeah, they actually checked up on a guy and he was fine. Cool. Video number two was in a restaurant. Two dudes. This is in the U. s two dudes in a restaurant gotten a same monkey dance, big chest bumping, looking at each other, cursing little guy punches, big guy, big guy, falls, hits his head on the bar, stool, convulsed this are shaking and died within three minutes.

Joey Karam – 15:02 – Little guy that was there with his family in a restaurant is now in prison for seven years for involuntary manslaughter. The moral of this lesson is that you just don’t know what’s going to happen when you get in a fight, so you need to avoid it at all cost. Really? If I would say there’s two different kinds of people, the people that can avoid anything and the people that are going to get in anything, and if you can be the person that’s going to avoid you should be that person. If someone comes up to you and they’re talking smack, cursing you out, that does not give you the right. Well it kinda does, but you shouldn’t want to get up and punch that person in the face because if you punch that person that face, he falls down and hits his head and dies. You are now in jail for seven years now. Was that ego trip, right? They’re worth the jail time, or you punched him in the face and he hits you back, pulled out a knife and stabbed in the throat. Is that worth the hospital time? Or You punch in the face. He walks away and six days later you get served because you’re broke his nose. Now he’s suing you. Is that worth it? So really at all costs, you should be able to avoid the fight.

Joey Karam – 16:07 – Um, there are two different kinds of situations. We have the basically someone is being social. So social aggression where they’re saying, hey, fuck you, I hate you. They’re pushing you. They’re slapping you there. They’re talking bad about you. They’re looking at you weird. That’s social. They’re trying to be above you right now. They’re trying to be the king. They’re trying to be the top dog. Um, they’re trying to prove something to themselves and to everybody else around them. I would argue that 99% of those situations you can probably get out of by talking out of it, making jokes. This is the guy that does something called verbal Jujitsu. It’s really hilarious. I think you sent me.

Sean Tierney – 16:07 – Yeah. I have a link to that in the show notes.

Joey Karam – 16:51 – It’s awesome. I mean, it, it completely makes sense. Basically when someone’s verbally assaulting you, you can just make a joke out of it and kind of deescalates the situation, walk away, avoided altogether. Sometimes you’re not going to look very cool and that’s okay. You know, like if someone comes up to you and assaults you verbally and you’re like, hey, you know what man, it’s cool. You just walk away. That’s not the cool thing to do sometimes, but I promise you it’s made better than standing up puffing your chest and punching it out. So, um, that’s kind of how we teach it. Then there’s a asocial violence. This is when there’s no talking evolve and they come in and they have a knife there, their eyes are watering with blood and they’re getting ready to kill you. Then obviously that is what we’re screening for, for fighting because that’s when it’s, there’s no talking involved. It’s already started. We’re going to take them out.

Sean Tierney – 17:35 – Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And so the distinction there, you said social is one, it’s basically you can wiggle your way out and it’s not like a life or death truly life or death situation, but a asocial is where it’s life or death.

Joey Karam – 17:49 – Yeah. Okay. And that’s the worst case.

Sean Tierney – 17:52 – Yeah. So leading up to that, so let’s talk about situational awareness because I think this is important. So just on average like take walking down the street, I’m trying to envision the scenarios that are most likely for folks who are listening to this where they’re in a new place. Maybe it’s a slightly sketchy, like we were in Morocco, in South Africa, in robot, and it just a great place overall. But there were some sketchy areas and I know they’re sketchy areas in every city, you know, if you look for them, but you know, finding yourself in a sketchy area, what are the things that you can do to improve your odds?

Joey Karam – 18:25 – Yeah. So it’s really simple. Don’t go to a sketchy area. I’m joking, but I’m serious. So, uh, when I, I mean Brent and I and my girlfriend and I, we always try to go on little vacations and I literally find a place I want to go. I go check out this crime stats and their current active violent activity levels because there’s websites for that. And then at the time we don’t go. It’s like, it’s that simple. Like, I know it sounds kind of cheesy, but we literally avoid those as much as I can. And um, if you do go to a place that is kind of sketchy, then you have to have your, your code red radar on. And that’s important. So what I mean by that is you can’t be unaware. So let me tell you, I think a man, I can’t, I don’t remember it, but there’s a stat somewhere, have a website that talks about all the people that have died from texting, like they’re on the phone and they get hit by a car. They’re on a phone, they step off a cliff or they’re on a phone and they get attacked. You have to be aware of that. You have to be.

Joey Karam – 19:24 – If you’re walking around a sketchy place and you’re constantly on Facebook texting or on the phone, you’re, that’s bad. You need to be aware of who’s around you. So you have to start thinking about that stuff. Okay? Am I the person that’s going to be standing there on my phone while someone comes up and robs me? Or Am I the person that’s completely aware of my surroundings not getting robbed? So it’s one of the other, uh, I promise you the people that are aware or not the ones getting robbed, it’s the people that aren’t aware. Like we said earlier, the ones those people are smart, they’re not dumb. So, um, so number one, get off your phone. Don’t, don’t look at the map. Don’t read while you’re walking. You need to be 100 percent aware of where you’re at. If you need to go on their phone, what we do is we actually pull over on the sidewalk almost and kind of put our backs were to the wall and we will look at something really quick stop. It’s not like being super paranoid, like we’re like, oh my God, it’s just more of being aware of that. I’m not walking in walking into a bad situation because a lot of times you’ll see a group of people that look thuggish and you walk right in to them because you’re not even looking at them. So why not stop and walk around them?

Joey Karam – 20:23 – Um, if you do see a weird, sketchy area, there’s nothing wrong with going across the street and going into the store and walking around them and making it um not so obvious because you don’t want to. You don’t want to instigate something by you kind of avoiding them obviously, but you can and obviously do things by doing that type of stuff. Sometimes what I do, if I’m in a weird situation is I’ll pretend like someone’s me. I’ll pick up my phone and that makes me do a rapid change where I’ll walk a different direction or whatever. But as long as it’s your, you’re making sure that

Sean Tierney – 20:56 – the situation without telegraphing weakness.

Joey Karam – 20:59 – Yeah. Yeah. It’s not like you walk up to a group of guys, you open your eyes and you start looking around and then you slowly creep left and kind of circle them because that’s just an, a piss them off. So it’s more about how do you make it not obvious that you’re trying to avoid them and avoid them, you know? Um, second thing is to do our third, I would say always have a fake wallet with you. Um, I travel everywhere. I think I have it. I don’t want to ruffle, do things, but I have a little clip wallet that I have three expired debit cards on their expired. I haven’t expired license on it and I have some euros in there, some cash and I just keep that in my back pocket. And so if someone comes up to rob me, I am no longer in the mindset of, no, no, no, you can’t have my wallet because it’s got my passport. My IDs going to credit cards and cash. I can’t give it to you. And then you kind of freak out and then maybe you jump into a situation you shouldn’t jump into instead, pull out your fake wallet. It looks pretty damn real. Toss it to them backup. Walk away, get out of there. There’s no reason to jump into a knife.

Joey Karam – 21:59 – You know, you don’t, you most likely they’re poly packing some sort of weapon. So there’s no reason to fight over something so stupid. So I always carry a fake wallet with me. Every time we go on vacation, every single time you can’t really bring weapons. You know,

Sean Tierney – 22:16 – there’s places I’ve actually researched his rules. I was going to ask you about like things like pepper spray tasers and what not. At least here in Portugal. Maces illegal. You’re not allowed to carry pepper spray.

Joey Karam – 22:26 – Dude, I brought a knife to Israel. I got taken down. We are going to the law, the Wailing Wall. And I was with my buddy and I had a knife in my pocket and I pulled it out and the army guys just grabbed me and threw me to the side and started searching me. And they’re like, you can’t have this here, dude, I’m just A. I’m sorry, I’m a tourist. And for America we do whatever we want, so I’m just not used to this whole thing. And so, um, that was a lesson like, so every country is different in Argentina when I was there, they’re talking about how you can’t shoot somebody even in self defense with a larger caliber bullet. That blew my mind. Like, yeah, the guy comes in with a nine millimeter and getting ready to kill your family and you shoot them with a 40 caliber, you go to jail. So it was just a countries. It’s all. Everybody has different lots. I mean the US has some really weird laws too. You can’t hit people in, they’re running away from you. Like it’s just really odd.

Joey Karam – 23:19 – But um, yeah, you have to research your local laws if you’re going to do anything like pepper spray or knives or guns or sticks or whatever. I mean, there’s some countries that it’s illegal to fight back. It’s actually illegal to defend yourself that you’re not supposed to. So you really want to figure it out. Obviously. That’s bullshit law, like if you say, I’m going to be a lawbreaker today, so, uh, but I’m just telling you that there are weird laws out there, so you definitely want to research them as much as possible.

Sean Tierney – 23:47 – Yes, I know the local laws

Joey Karam – 23:49 – or somebody can create a cool database with all the laws.

Sean Tierney – 23:53 – True. This idea. Um, okay. So avoidance. So a distance, um, deescalation. This idea of verbal Jujitsu, and I’ll link to that video that you mentioned because that’s a good one, but now let’s assume that it’s, it’s approached the level you’ve tried. All those things in combat at this point is inevitable there. There, there is no fleeing. You’re backed in a corner, there’s no exits. What is, can you talk about first off, like the physiological response. So people know what to expect in that scenario because your body does weird things in that scenario.

Joey Karam – 24:28 – Yeah. So most people freeze. We have all these different kinds of different types of phrases and I, and we won’t go into all like the description of volumes. I’ll take like an hour. But, um, one of the biggest freezes is that your body has this innate sense of, Holy Shit, this never happened to me before and I don’t know how to navigate it. And so you have this weird freezing moment and it happens all the time, even in driving and arguments and stuff like that. But one of the ways to get out of freezes is just to do something. It’s usually one or two actions that the action doesn’t have to be fighting. The action can be anything. It could be taking a step left and take a step back. Boom, you just your body just recalibrated itself a little bit. And now you can probably get out of your freezes. Obviously the more you train, the more easy it is to get out of your freezer. I always tell people training not so you don’t freeze, so you have less freezing time.

Joey Karam – 25:22 – So if you’re, if you use a freeze for a good five seconds, now you’re freezing for one second because it’s just, it’s just natural to freeze. When something happens that’s unexpected that you’re not aware of and you’re not prepared for, you’re going to react, you’re going to freeze a little bit and that’s okay as long as you freeze and then you can get out of the freeze. That’s what’s important. Um, another thing that’s really important to understand is that most people that I train, all people have drinks, actually kicked people out that I don’t like when I say don’t like what I mean is, uh, they aren’t a right fit for learning this type of system because they’re just not nice people for some reason, and I’m assuming your clientele is the same way, but we’re all nice people so we don’t naturally want to hurt somebody. And what happens is when you’re attacked, that comes out a little bit because we’re so socially adapted to that.

Joey Karam – 26:17 – When we’re in school, we’re not allowed to pinch or hit kids because we get in trouble. We’re not a lot of push. We get really reprimanded when we have any type of violence or action like that. And especially in our culture nowadays, there’s zero violence in anything. Even they’re pretty much don’t even give you aggressiveness in sports anymore. So what that does is that when you get into a fight, when someone attacks you, that training that you’ve had your whole life not hurt somebody comes out. Yeah, you don’t want to hurt them, even if they’re a bad guy is. So we’re just saying it’s happened to me. It’s happening to people I know where all of a sudden you’re like, no, don’t you keep trying to push it away. Like don’t like don’t let it happen to let it happen, but it’s already happened. You got to get over that. Um, it’s called a social freeze and we have to figure out, as long as you’re aware of that, you’re better off. Um, so most of the time people’s first punch is 50% power and there’s a pause behind it.

Joey Karam – 27:11 – Kind of like when people shoot. So they’ll punch them at home and then they’ll kind of freeze and look like, what did I just do? What are you okay, did something just happened. Like and the power of the punch is usually a lot less because of that social freeze that I don’t really want to hurt them, so I’m just kind of like plugging a hole a little bit. When in reality if you went 100 percent on that response, you’ve probably solved the whole problem right there, but a lot of people don’t do that, so a training helps you get out of that as much as possible and also just mindset, just knowing that it’s going to happen may if someone’s approaching you and go, okay, you know what? I know that I shouldn’t hurt them but I’m going to do it. If you just kind of make that distinction in your head, that’s better. Now that’s physiological. The answer to the question of what happens when someone actually does approach you and what do you do with an obviously without training from me for a year or two. It’s super simple. Catastrophic damage. That’s it. That’s the answer. That’s the magic sauce.

Joey Karam – 28:08 – If you can hurt them to a point to where you break a system in their body, they’ll shut down. What I mean by this is sometimes punching somebody in the face isn’t the answer because that’s going to be hurt, but the adrenaline maybe not hurt. I’ve been punched in the face before. I didn’t. I didn’t even feel it until the next day. The point is is that if you can break somebody, break something, break a knee cap, break an elbow, break a trachea, break a nose, break, a ball, pop, one of them, the one who knows if you can hurt them, that research gets their brain to deal with the catastrophic damage. That makes sense.

Sean Tierney – 28:44 – Yep. I think you called it. Take out the computer, right? Like,

Joey Karam – 28:48 – yeah, it’s the same. Same concept. If you can take all the computers 100% correct. That’s kind of like the mind. This is kind of a tertiary, like a different. It’s the same concept, but it can happen other places too. So if I break the elbow, it’s obviously not the brain, but the brain is linked to the nerves and the elbow and when I break the nerve that’s in the elbow because I broke it, then the brain shuts down.

Sean Tierney – 29:11 – So they’re, they’re, they’re, they’re inherent like you’re saying the body is wired to like preserve itself, and so at that point, whatever aggressiveness they intend to do you harm, but you’ve now just basically reprogrammed and prioritized. Oh Shit, I’m in trouble. Takes priority over me trying to do you harm

Joey Karam – 29:31 – 100%. Yes. Yeah. So if you can hurt them to the point to where you damage them, you’re, you’re funding win that fight. I mean, think about it. If someone’s getting ready to choke you or rape you or, and you just kick out their knee cap and break it and then he turns the opposite way. It’s not supposed to. They’re not chasing you, they’re not trying to fight you anymore. They’re on their knees crying and yelling for help. So the goal is to turn it around on them and the be unrelenting and we’re talking about, don’t forget, we’re talking about pure self life or death situations right now. We’re talking about asocial violence. It’s not refining. We’re talking about this person is going to kill you. You have to be unrelentless to them. Just nonstop, unstoppable force of pain and damage to them and that will get them to retreat.

Sean Tierney – 30:16 – How does one know when it crosses that threshold? I mean, I guess is this something that it becomes obviously clear when it. It moves from A. I can give them our wallet. I can get outta here. Oh crap. I’ve given him my wallet and they’re still coming after me. There’s like a switch that flips right where it goes to.

Joey Karam – 30:32 – I would hope so. I mean, the thing is with asocial violence is a lot of times you don’t even know what’s coming. I mean this person’s already raged in blood in the eyes and getting ready to come after you. Uh, sometimes the scariest people are the quiet ones, the ones you don’t even notice are there and all of a sudden it’s too late and they’re already stabbing you three times in the stomach. And then you got to turn on and start fighting them. As long as your computer still works, computer your brain. I’m there. But then there are also stages too. So we’re talking about maybe social violence turning into asocial violence. So maybe someone asking for your wallet then wanting to kill you and that is going to be. I was, I would say it’s going to be everybody’s gonna be a little different on their boundaries. So what I teach people is to create boundaries is as soon as possible. For example, let’s talk about the. Give me your wallet situation. I’ve already gone through this 100 times in my head. Okay. We get approached. Someone wants my wallet. My first response is no, but if they’re like, no, give me a fucking wallet to pull out a night that we’re at a good distance.

Joey Karam – 31:30 – Okay, okay. This guy’s gonna want something so I got to do something. Otherwise we’re gonna go hand in hand and I might get sad. I might kill him. He might kill my girlfriend. You know, who knows what’s gonna happen. So I prefer not to fight like we talked about earlier. So I’ll pull out my wallet and I’m talking about. I’m in the home right now, so I’m not at. I’m not in a different country with my fake wallet. I’ll pull out the cash and I’ll give it to them. It’s like, no, fuck you. I want to have. Give me your. Give me your wallet. Okay, I’ll pull up my credit cards. I’ll give it to them. Why also do you want the leather on my wallet? If he’s still says I want your wallet. Okay, I’ll pull up my ID card and I’ll give it to them. Now if he wants my ID card, now we have a different issue. So my id is my personal trigger. If everything else is failing because my id has my address on it. So if he likes what’s in my wallet, my credit cards, he likes to the limit on my credit card. He likes to cash. I just gave him. He may know now if he wants my debit card, my ID card. He now knows where I live and where he can find more of what was in my wallet so to.

Joey Karam – 32:28 – And I have people at my house that I love so I don’t want him to be there. So that’s kind of my tipping point. Now if you almost my id card, now I’m going to have to talk them out like, hey man, you don’t need it. It’s, I need this to do something, blah, blah blah. And if he really gets persistence and it starts to approach me, now we know, okay, this is now turning into a violent, asocial situation because obviously he wants more than just money. Um, then you need to start thinking about attack mode. Now, other types of barriers and boundaries are good to have distance. So what I like to teach equal is like, hey, when I do sometimes if someone’s new is that a walk up to them and I get really close and I just talked to him just casually not being threatening and he could see they get a little uncomfortable and then I point out, hey, you’re uncomfortable. You just, that’s your boundary right now. You know, that’s your boundary now. How far away do you need to get from me? So you don’t really know to feel comfortable and they kind of back up and there are good, like a little bit more than an arm’s distance away. I’m like, great, there’s your boundary.

Joey Karam – 33:27 – If someone crosses that boundary, you turn onto attack mode. No matter what, if even if it’s social aggression, if they cross that boundary, you no longer have the safety in your head that you’re going to survive. You may need to turn on attack mode, attack mode, meaning maybe not kill them, but maybe throw that first big kick to the groin and back away, maybe do some sort of a push and back away. The goal is to establish something to where if you establish ahead of time when it happens, you can trigger and go rather than in the moment someone’s approaching you and you don’t know what your boundary is, and then your brain starts going, what’s my bow like? Oh my God, they’re going to close to me and then you don’t really know what to do and then it’s too late because you’re. You’re trying to problem solve in your head when you should just already have these preset boundaries and that’s going to help a lot too.

Sean Tierney – 34:17 – Yeah, well there’s a phrase I’ve heard it says you’re not going to rise to the level of your most sophisticated training. You’re going to fall to the level of, like your most basic training that you’ve just internalized from doing over and over again. Totally. Yup. Okay. Well, so assuming that, that whoever’s listening right now is into this and they recognize the importance of this stuff and they want to start learning some of this and do what they can. What’s the best way for someone to get started? Is it like, look up their local Krav Maga?

Joey Karam – 34:50 – They’re looking for self defense and then to get some confidence and learn some of the separate talking about, I would say first thing, look up a Krav Maga school, see where there are certified, you know, make sure they’re not just some bogus place and that’s hard to do sometimes too, but look up some common Krav Maga schools if there’s none around. The next best thing is some combative type of schools, combatives our punches and kicks and elbows. So joining a boxing club is great. Um, kickboxing, like, I mean, like real kickboxing, cardio, kickboxing is great. Uh, Muay Thai is better because it’s the art of eight limbs, his elbows and knees and it’s, it’s pretty gnarly. Um, if you can’t find any of that combative systems, then maybe the next best thing will be some like Jujitsu, like Gracie Jujitsu, which is a very good system. I like it a lot. It’s not self defense base though, like their first thing is take someone to the ground and lock them up. Our first thing is to not take an image of the ground, put them on the ground and get away from them.

Joey Karam – 35:43 – So it’s very conflicting theories in ideology, but it’s still a hands on system and hands on sport that can get you some confidence. Um, but that’s why to me that’s fourth down the line. Um, and then while doing that, supplementing some self defense mindset training. So I’m going to seminars. If you can find some seminars at a local, uh, reading some books or uh, take some online courses like the Max Karma got probably a global one. I have a podcast that we talked about this mental stuff all the time. You can listen, that’s free. You can kind of get your head in the game around that too, because if you can get the toolsets tools of fighting and marry that to the mindset, then you’re going to be okay. You know, like you’re going to be okay. Obviously you won’t know how to defend a gun to your head. You need to actual hands on training for that, but for the most part you’re probably going to be okay.

Sean Tierney – 36:32 – Cool. Well, and the other thing is like, to me it’s also a heck of a workout if you want to just view it purely from the like I could go do crossfit or I could go do Krav. Krav is in my opinion, even harder than crossfit, like from having done both because you’re just going, going, going for an hour just all out. But if you just look at it purely from a. This is exercise with this beneficial byproduct of, Oh yeah. It also teaches you this skill that might someday save your life to whatever it takes to. To motivate you to go there.

Joey Karam – 37:01 – Yeah. I would say like 80% of people that come in or that they’re like, I’m bored at the gym. This is really good exercise. And also I learned self defense for me, it kind of pisses me off a little bit because I’m like, dude, you should be here to learn self defense and as a bonus you’re getting exercise, but it’s just not that case. Unfortunately. Uh, the way we are around here and people just want exercise look better, but that’s okay. I’m glad to train them because once they, the best part is. I love it when people come in. Like I guess some people just came in recently that were, didn’t really want to be there. They’re just kind of there to be there. They want to work out, do something fun and all of a sudden it just turned like you can see their brain like, Ooh, I want more. I want more of this. Like how do I get more in? So now I’m like, okay, good. Like if you drink the, you know, you’re in now, you get.

Sean Tierney – 37:44 – It was the exercise I just got. Yeah, totally. Where can people find your podcast, Joey?

Joey Karam – 37:52 – Just type in Krav Maga podcast anywhere, a iTunes, Soundcloud. um any podcast stream podcasts.

Sean Tierney – 38:01 – Krav Maga podcast. First thing that comes up,

Joey Karam – 38:02 – Yeah. it comes up on top. We’re number one, so for the Krav Maga stuff, so, um, you’ll find it, it’s easy to find.

Sean Tierney – 38:08 – Cool. And if you are listening and you happen to be in the Newport beach area, go to Joey’s studio for Heaven Sake. That’s, he’s got the best Krav studio in California.

Joey Karam – 38:18 – I heard an nomads, nomads, loved Newport beach. It’s just being a nomad.

Sean Tierney – 38:26 – No. Well, hopefully there’s some perspective nomads. Maybe there’s one who knows, maybe we’ll get one person who’s

Joey Karam – 38:31 – as long as I mean the goal, like we talked about earlier, the whole of this podcast. So it wasn’t to get me members, it was to hopefully put it in the minds of people and plant a seed that you don’t have to be big or small or strong or weak. It doesn’t matter. As long as you understand self defense in your awareness goes up and you can learn how to get your confidence to go up. And if worst case scenario happens, you can learn how to do some catastrophic damage, you know, you’re good, you’re set, you don’t need that much more than that. Okay? That’s what we teach. That’s all we do is we teach people how to get out of these shitty situations, how to deliver damage to the person and how to avoid things. Um, obviously we have a big curriculum that we teach gun to the head and five different options and kidnappings and car jacking seminar. Like I get it. And that’s all fun and it’s important, but you don’t have to have that to at least stand taller, you know, and just by standing taller, you don’t get attacked. We already did our jobs, we already saved someone’s life. So that’s the whole point of this.

Sean Tierney – 39:33 – Awesome. I’m going to give you just a couple more questions. These are questions I ask every guest. Uh, and I know you’re like a Tim Ferriss’s fan. What are, uh, you know, any resources that you read regularly. You mentioned a couple of books on violence and whatnot. Like what are, do you have any like sites or podcasts or anything that you listen to or read on a regular basis?

Joey Karam – 39:53 – Uh, I do. But are you talking about pertaining to self defense?

Sean Tierney – 39:56 – Actually, no. Anything business or just personal, whatever source that you happen to read on a regular basis?

Joey Karam – 40:02 – Yeah. Um, so I’m a big fan of books. Sean and I exchange book recommendations all the time. Um, right now I would say my biggest thing is I’m trying to learn more about the connection between your body and your physicality to your business, to your mindset, into your relationships. So I’m starting to get into more. There’s this guy named Garrett J. White. He does this thing called the warrior movement or wake up warrior and they, they dive really deep into these things. So every day I’d been learning some stuff from them, different stuff, different stuff about the mind if stuff about the physical aspect of it and relationships and how once you master each, each section of these things, your overall game elevates naturally. So that’s kind of in my daily thing right now. So if you’re a guy, it’s not as pertaining to women, it’s more of a, you know what, I take that back. They just, they just developed a women’s program. But uh, if you’re a guy out there that’s kind of looking for that type of idea, I definitely check it out. It’s called the warrior book.

Sean Tierney – 41:04 – Cool. And I will again, I’ll link to that in the show notes you were before we were chatting about the Seth Godin book. You want to mention what you took from that one?

Joey Karam – 41:13 – Yeah. Tribes just read that a couple of days ago. Basically this book is about, it’s actually an older book and here’s a way ahead of his time. But uh, now when I rewrite it, I was like, oh my God, I get what he’s saying. Basically he’s talking about not building a product or service, but turning that into a movement and he calls it tribe, will try was a movement, a group of people that are all going to one common area. And so I’ve been loving that book because he talks about creating a mission of where you are currently and where you want to bring in, where you want everybody to go and how you can bring people onto that movement and so for Krav are trying to create a movement of self defense and confidence. Like how do we get people that aren’t confident to become confident even at a larger scale just in the school. So that’s what we’ve been working on this this last month and a half, two months.

Sean Tierney – 42:04 – Yeah. It sounds like. I definitely need to pick that up. Like you said, for this podcast and for the whole movement around the nomadic stuff.

Joey Karam – 42:10 – Well, I mean the whole nomad experience is a movement. I mean people are. There’s a reason why the people are joining nomad prep. There’s a reason why people are joining. What’s the one that you went on for the year,

Sean Tierney – 42:21 – the remote remote year.

Joey Karam – 42:23 – They’re joining it to be in a movement with people. Otherwise it just fucking be nomadic by themselves. So of course you have those people that know now by the. Sounds like you’re a nomadic by yourself, but yet you’re still very driven and very connected to the community of remote year, so, um, that, that’s a movement there, created a movement of people that want to, that are set entry, that want to become more out there and experience more of life. So that’s a whole movement in itself. So just by taking the concepts and tribes and putting it into nomad prep, I think you’d. I mean, you already have a movement, so why not just put fire on that thing?

Sean Tierney – 42:58 – Yeah. Awesome. Alright. Well Joey, we’ve taken up enough of your time, man. I can’t say thanks enough Joey Karam. It’s nomad podcast. They’ve never dropped. Sorry. Krav Maga pod podcast, Krav Maga podcast on iTunes or any of the major sites to find his podcast.

Joey Karam – 43:18 – Excellent. No problem man. Thanks for having me.

Sean Tierney – 43:21 – All right, cheers. Okay. That was my conversation with Joey. I hope you found it useful. As you can see, Joey is very knowledgeable on the subject of violence and conflict and yet he’s also very down to earth and very approachable. So if you have a question for Joey or you need clarification on something, you can leave a written comment under his episode on nomad podcast. You can also leave a video comment and he can respond to you. So we’re now syndicated via most major plot a podcasting platforms. It’s exciting, uh, so we’re now carried by Apple and Google and a number of others. So you can get downloadable audio for the latest episodes purely by subscribing via your favorite platform. I just go to nomad, and you’ll see in the header link there, there’s a subscribe button, or you can also add your email in the footer and get a, it’d be the first to know about new episodes by getting an email from us.

Sean Tierney – 44:14 – So if you’re considering doing a nomadic travel program, you can save up to $300 off select programs simply by applying via our discounts page. You’ll find that link in the footer of our site under program discounts, or simply go to to apply for any of the available note. If you do apply directly to the program itself, it does invalidate your opportunity to get this discount. Uh, so make sure you apply via the form on our site. Nomad podcast is supported in part by nomad prep and online academy for aspiring digital nomads to help you put your preparation efforts on rails. Get the first four days of this two week program completely free in this program is by yours truly, uh, by going to, nomad prep. Take your job on the road and take on the world.

Sean Tierney – 45:03 – Lastly, I would love to know what topics you want to hear about in what guests you want to see me bring on future episodes. You can send me an email to That will go to me. I’m up. Next on the next episode, we’re going to be talking with one of the cofounders of WiFi tribe as a travel program. That is an ala cart style. It caters to folks who want to be able to bounce around and not commit to a full year of travel. Um, so we’ll be talking to Diego of WiFi Tribe next and other interviews coming down the pipe. We’re talking to more domain experts like Joey, uh, so in areas that I think they’re important, uh, I’m going to drive this, but, um, things to me, things like maintaining your health and wellness on the road. So exercise experts and nutrition experts, um, best way to find high quality remote friendly work, whether you are freelance or if you’re looking for full time employment while on the road that will be talking to some experts in that regard.

Sean Tierney – 46:03 – Um also sleep hacks you can use to ensure that you’re able to sleep when your bed is constantly changing every week. Uh, I personally have grappled with sleep, so that is a topic that is near and dear to me and we’re going to be talking to some experts on that. So for these tips and more tuned into the next episode of nomad podcasts. Until next time, thank you for listening. It’s a big world out there. Get out there and explore it and I will see you on the road.

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Sean is host of Nomad Podcast, author of the Nomad Prep eCourse to help others successfully transition to the nomadic lifestyle. Sean is also founder of Problemattic, a global movement to mobilize knowledge workers for good. Read more from Sean on his personal blog or his business blog.

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Nomad Podcast is a series of conversations with nomads, founders and domain experts to help get more people unstuck through transitioning to a nomadic lifestyle. Add your email to get special access to private AMA sessions, pre-release products and other VIP shiz.