All people want to be able to defend themselves. Martial artists are one step above the average person because they’ve committed themselves to learning how to do that. Unfortunately, a large part of society lacks the time and/or patience to maintain a workout regimen for the years it takes to become proficient at a traditional art.
That’s where Krav Maga comes in. The reality-based fighting system was created by Moni Aizik, a former Israeli special-forces operator, to give civilians access to the hard-core, high-intensity training the military uses to whip soldiers into shape for the battlefield. It also works wonders with practitioners of martial arts that are less combat-oriented.
During the 1970s, Israel’s military was looking to improve its close-quarters combat course for elite units. Aizik was asked to help develop a hand-to-hand system that would efficiently teach aggressive and effective tactics. He was chosen because of his background: judo and jujutsu training that started at age 8, the accumulation of seven national titles in the ensuing years and service in the Sayeret, one of the nation’s most respected counter-terrorism and intelligence-gathering units.
Because of his experience on the battlefield and behind enemy lines, Aizik quickly learned what worked and what didn’t. He adopted a scientific approach that entailed constant fine-tuning through rigorous field testing. For raw material, he drew from various Israeli self-defense systems and several Asian arts and extracted only the moves that functioned under stress. The result was Krav Maga.
Practitioners of most martial arts face two hurdles. First, if they’re under extreme stress and try to execute a move composed of more than two gross-motor skills, they’re likely to fail. Second, if they try to execute more than five or six techniques in a row, they’re likely to forget the sequence. When the panic and adrenaline take over, confusion quickly sets in. If a thug shoves a gun in your back at the ATM, Aizik teaches, the last thing you want is to have to remember the appropriate response from the 20 intricate techniques you just learned in class. That’s why Krav Maga emphasizes simplicity.
Another point it pushes is versatility. Students should practice their techniques on the left and right, as well as to the front and back. an example can be found in Krav Maga gun disarming known as the quick release. You can perform the technique when the gun is pointed at your head, chest, back or the side of your body. It doesn’t matter if he’s holding it with his left hand, right hand or both hands. Aizik reiterates that developing this ability is essential because most people can perform only simple movements under stress.
Aizik cautions martial artists not to misinterpret the simplicity of Krav Maga’s techniques. Years of bio-mechanical study went into their development to ensure that they would stand up under pressure. Additional research examined reaction time, force-velocity relationships, physical performance under stress and the psychological aspects of trauma – all of which make the system an extremely effective form of reality-based fighting.
Krav Maga focuses more on concepts than techniques. The most obvious concept is to avoid confrontation. Also important are maxims that implore students to be aware of their surroundings and possible escape routes so they can run from a threat, if possible.
When you have no choice but to fight, Krav Maga advocates the military concept of “engage and disengage.” In other words, get out of the situation as quickly as possible. The longer the battle drags on, the more dangerous it is and the higher your likelihood of getting seriously injured. Aizik teaches that you should never try to punish your attacker. Instead, do what’s necessary to immobilize him and create an avenue of escape. The winner is the person who gets home safe.
Another concept is to never show intention. Don’t adopt a fighting stance before an altercation begins. Instead, place your arms in front of you, ready for action, and back away while you assure the aggressor that you don’t want any trouble. If that doesn’t deter him, it will at least prove to witnesses that you didn’t want to fight.
The five-second rule also plays an important role in Aizik’s art. If a battle takes you to the ground, try to regain an upright posture within five seconds. Even if your grappling skills are superior, rolling around introduces too many unknowns: He may have a knife, he may have friends, or you could roll over a sharp object such as a broken bottle. If you sense that a fight is going to the ground, don’t stay there. Strive to immobilize your enemy during the struggle and free yourself from his limbs so you can escape.
The most important concept in Krav Maga is simply to survive. Do what it takes to preserve your life, even if this means gouging your attacker’s eyes, biting him or grabbing his groin. Remember that a street fight has no rules and never takes place in a controlled environment.
The follow are the methods Aizik deems most important for students of self-defense. They’re designed to mesh with Krav Maga techniques, but they’ll no doubt benefit practitioners of any reality-based art.
- Create distance and maintain it. It’s your first and best friend.
- Redirect the knife hand while you immobilize your assailant.
- Become small and mobile. Try to move to your attacker’s back or side. Retreating isn’t a solution.
- Look at the weapon, not the wielder’s eyes. They aren’t the danger; the knife is.
- Forget about punishing your attacker because it might compromise your control of the weapon. Don’t give in to ego.
- Use psychological tactics to appear submissive. Paint the picture that your attacker hopes to see.
- At the first opportunity, redirect the gun with minimal movement on your part. Always get off the line of fire in case it discharges.
- Immediately establish a grip on the weapon and the limb holding it, for only then do you have true control of it.
- Transfer the gun from his hand to yours as quickly as possible.
- Once the gun is in your hand(s), take control of the situation. shout instructions at the assailant and become the dominant person.
- Remember that escape is your No.1 priority.
- If you’re forced to fight, go for the leader of the group.
- Use your assailants as obstacles to one another. “Stack” them so you’re never surrounded.
- Stay mobile at all costs. Don’t grapple and try not to get caught up in a fight with just one attacker.
- If you can’t make an exit, protect your back. Get an obstacle, such as a wall, behind you.
- If he’s really big, stay away.
- Don’t stand in front of a charging opponent. Instead , maneuver to get behind him.
- Train to make your techniques the best they can be so you can fight size with skill.
- Use your height and weight to your advantage. Being closer to the ground means you’re closer to his groin.
- Stay fluid and mobile,. be like water and flow around your foe.