Why Krav Maga is not just self-defence, but intelligent and pragmatic self-protection

Krav Maga works magnificently as an aid for women because it is an effective response to potential (or active) violence even when the attacker has physical advantage.

 |  5-minute read |   28-10-2020
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A rather ugly headline screeches back every other morning from a newspaper or a news channel, of another flagrant sexual assault in the country. For the days that follow, there is uproar and candlelight marches — trials take place at different levels. After a few days, all is quiet till the next set of ravagers stake claim.

Learning self-defence is not a skill anymore, it is a raw necessity.

Krav Maga is a self-defence and fighting system developed for the Israeli Defense Forces and used in various militaries worldwide. It is a combination of techniques sourced from wrestling, boxing, judo, karate and a dozen more. But having spent all my life learning and teaching Krav Maga, I will say that the craft teaches you spontaneity and prepares you to use your best prudence when in a tight spot.

main_women-defense-p_102820023825.jpgKrav Maga recognises that the needs, strengths and weaknesses of women are different from those of men.

More importantly, Krav Maga works magnificently as an aid for women because it is an effective response to potential (or active) violence even when the attacker has physical advantage. Krav Maga recognises that the needs, strengths and weaknesses of women are different from those of men.

What Krav Maga essentially does is:

1. Promotes physical health: Strength, endurance, improved coordination and balance

2. Teaches self-defence: Defensive tactics, hitting and kicking in case of an attack, avoiding an attack, etc., effective techniques against weapon threats, abduction, etc.

3. Ingrains psychological aspects: Effective decision-making under stress, emotional perseverance, using the power of one’s instincts, understanding the freeze-fight-flight situations.

It is important to note that a woman's goal in most given violent confrontations should be first and foremost to move from the danger zone, as opposed to neutralising or controlling her attacker. One often mistakes confrontation for courage or valour, which Krav Maga does not endorse. The mind has to quickly think of ways to escape a physically threatening situation, and that is the first thought that women are trained to think in Krav Maga.

It comes with mind conditioning and the ability to read the density of a threat in a given situation. Panic cannot and should not be the first call to action because that can numb thinking, at least for a while. Krav Maga conditions your mind to behave and think fast and appropriate in a manner that will attempt to get you away from it the fastest that you can.

If turning away is not an option, then defending oneself with tried and tested moves is the best way forward. During training, one spars with opponents and is careful not to hurt her or his partner. One learns the moves but does not use them to full potential during training. A question often asked in class is, “If we are not really fighting in class, how do we tackle real villains out there?” And the answer is that Krav Maga as a skill it not only ingrains muscle memory but also conditions the mind — both being the strongest assets in any encounter.

Muscle memory is acquired after undergoing many training sessions and after a while, muscles simply tune in to stand up in front of a predator, almost like an automatic trigger in your body.

As for the mind, I recommend that women acquire the appropriate mental capabilities to support their physical readiness to fight. This includes developing an attitude that allows aggression to become a part of a woman's natural state of mind. One needs to know how to use their strengths and weaknesses in order to protect and empower oneself.

And that is why Krav Maga can be learnt at any age and practised at any time of the day (of course, only a good two hours after a meal). Women fight men as well, and this is to prove that the strength is in the mind and learning, not always in the gender. Krav Maga teaches you practical fighting and trains you to make the soundest decision in a tight spot.

Krav Maga’s innovative techniques are not often seen in mixed martial arts. There is always an ongoing debate on which is better. Self-defence is not a competition between the different disciplines. It is the drill and restraint that helps one get out of a physically threatening situation — either by an attack, defence, or simply moving away from the scene.

Krav Maga teaches you an array of self-defence moves — be it a knife attack, a blow (which can come from any side), a verbal threat, a choke-hold (which can get you off-guard from any corner) and many more.

The art is to be prepared mentally and physically, and more than anything else, to have the tenacity that you can escape from a challenging situation. There is nothing like self-belief and confidence that can alone take you to the point of victory, and that Krav Maga ensures you build plenty of.

Also Read: Why Indian women can excel in combat roles

Writer

Rhys Vaz Rhys Vaz @rhysvaz

The writer is Trainer at Krav Maga Global India.

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