Why is Firearms Training Essential for Krav Maga Practitioners?

Why is Firearms Training Essential for Krav Maga Practitioners?

When it comes to real world self-defense techniques and tactics, knowledge is power. If you understand the nature of the threat you’re facing you can formulate a practical defense — whether that’s compliance, fleeing or attacking. People who know little to nothing about firearms are at a severe disadvantage. If they’re assaulted by someone with a gun, they may well be too frightened or too ignorant to react properly.

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The Different "Accents" of Fighting

The Different "Accents" of Fighting

Over the past decade of teaching Krav Maga I have taught thousands of students, young, old, fit, out of shape, police, military, and civilian. Unfortunately, my most frustrating students have always been the ones coming with previous martial arts experience. This is not because of their inability to learn techniques, but their almost complete inability to change the way they move.  The reason stems from the little differences that are apparent between different fighting systems or martial arts - one system may call it a good technique and the other a bad habit. I call it having a martial arts “accent.” Much like when learning a new language after the age of 12 and most likely having an accent in the new language you learn.

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Fist or palm, which is the better strike for self-defense?

Fist or palm, which is the better strike for self-defense?

When making the distinction between recreational martial arts and self-defense, one must also make the distinction between what strikes to use at the gym versus the street. The world outside of the gym has many variables to take into account; lack of equipment (gloves/wraps), weather, light, skill, and safety.

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Your Body Knows

How many times have you messed up a technique even when you knew it perfectly?  

As almost all of Krav Maga’s self-defense techniques rely on reflexes, there is typically no need to recognize the coming attack as the body will react for us. (This does not mean that we do not preempt!) So why do we botch our defense? Simple-- thinking instead of acting.

In a real-life self-defense situation, there is almost no way to predict what will be the attack and from which direction the attacker will try to engage us. Therefore, we rely on our reflexes, our natural defense mechanisms. Here’s the physiological definition:

noting or pertaining to an involuntary response to a stimulus, the nerve impulse from a receptor being transmitted inward to a nerve center that in turn transmits it outward to an effector.
— http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reflex?s=t

How do we translate this to our training? Instead of trying to anticipate an attack, look straight ahead and try clearing your brain of thoughts. If trained right, your body's reflexes will take over and the defense will be performed better than when trying to think about them.

The main concept is to take your mind off the incoming attack. Here are a few drill ideas, assuming that you are already moderately comfortable with the technique:

Distraction/diversion drill:

  • Defender performs a very short set of exercises (2 push ups, 1 push up, 1 sit up, etc.)

  • The attacker attacks as the defender finishes the exercise

  • Result: the defender does not have time to look for the attack or anticipate

Constant rotation (ping pong):

  • The students constantly switch between being attacks and defenders

  • The idea here is for the defender to become the attacker as soon as they complete the defense

  • In essence, not giving the attacker time to think

Multiple attackers:

  • The defender is constantly attacked without giving him/her time to completely finish the technique

  • This drill will exhaust the defender to the extent that he or she will neither have time nor mental capacity (from lack of oxygen) to think

*Note that the above drills can be performed defending one type of attack or different types. Additionally, they can be combined into simple or complex drills.

Oftentimes we get so focused in our training that we forget the bigger picture. We are training for the unforeseeable.  Even the most complex defense in Krav Maga is part of a whole system. 

Let your body work for you!

Thank you for reading,

Ron G.

Owner | Instructor

Tactical Fitness Austin

Krav Maga | Fitness | Firearms