Firstly, Happy New Year!
I am not sure when it starts to become ‘weird’ to say this after the 1st January, so let’s just roll with it.
Promise I won’t do it again.
I started 2020 with my usual ritual, a trip to Israel for some Krav Maga training and to get my head in the game for this year.
During this trip, I was fortunate to meet a VERY important person in the Krav Maga world…
The Head Instructor of Krav Maga in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
If you’ve done your research, you’ll know that this is where Krav Maga originated from and was then adapted for the needs of civilians.
I’d met the former head of IDF Krav Maga in the past, but he has long since retired and there was a new Sheriff in town.
I managed to pull some strings and get a meeting with him. You may ask why?
The answer is simple.
I KNOW that from a simple conversation with somebody in his position, I am going to learn something. Guaranteed.
I think he was a little wary at first. He’d agreed to the meeting, but seemed guarded as we sat down.
(I immediately noticed a plaque on the wall as he’d been inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame in the USA, very cool!),
I made it clear that I was addicted to learning. I love the roots of Krav Maga and always want to ensure that how and what my team and I teach is as close to what is currently taught, with of course the adaptations for civilian life.
When he realised I was there simply to further my knowledge, he relaxed.
He asked how he could help me, so we started discussing Krav Maga training, teaching methods, drills and much more.
I said to him one of my biggest issues in the civilian Krav Maga world is how ‘technique’ focused it has become from the many videos I see all over the internet. It seems that it’s become almost like Karate in some places, where the instructor has to correct every intricate detail to the nearest millimetre.
Don’t get me wrong, learning the techniques, and practicing them improves not only effectiveness in self-defence but also efficiency. Being able to defend yourself as quickly as possible, whilst escaping but without sustaining damage.
He agreed with me, and he said a phrase that summarised it so well…
“The defensive techniques are tools, but they are not the goal”
If somebody grabs you around the throat, the goal is to get them to release that grab, whilst making them unable or unwilling to try again.
The technique forms part of achieving that goal, but in the heat of the moment, if you don’t get the technique absolutely perfect, it doesn’t mean it’s going to fail.
There are many other factors at play, from your mental resilience, your overall physicality and your ability to make decisions in a difficult situation.
Krav Maga is a problem-solving system, not a technique based system.
What is learnt in class must be able to work for most people, most of the time.
That doesn’t mean that practice isn’t required, quite the contrary.
But the focus remains on learning to be a fitter, safer, and a smarter decision-maker with a special set of skills. 🙂