Krav Maga practitioners love talking about pressure tests, and it is a staple of most self defence systems. We take a set of techniques or scenarios, and pressure test them to see if things really work. They are also an important part of regular training, whereas you are supposed to be put under a lot of pressure and perform when you are not in your optimum.
This is, without a doubt, very important in self-defence training. But it’s just as important in other martial arts training. A common thing to hear at CAIA during BJJ and Striking sessions is the instructors saying ‘pressure!’ over and over and over again.
But what does ‘pressure’ actually mean? Are there different ways of applying pressure? How much is too much or not enough?
There has been a lot of discussion recently on the effectiveness of and need for situational awareness. I believe that simply put, environmental and situational awareness are probably the most effective tools that we, as individuals, have for predicting violent attacks and keeping ourselves safe.
Yet this is not always a popular view. Here is an interesting article on this topic.
In this piece we’ll explore some of the common mistakes people make with regards to situational awareness, as well as why they make them. Before I go on, I’d like to ask you sit down and take 10 minutes and read this all the way through. If nothing else, there’s a cool story at the end.
A couple of weeks ago a young comedian by the name of Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered walking home from a gig. The man who raped and murdered her followed her for nearly 7 kms from the gig until he found an opportunity to strike in a soccer field only several hundred meters from her home.
Police later issued a statement saying people should be aware of their surroundings.
This statement sparked a massive outcry from people labelling this statement as victim blaming.
Let’s talk about this a little bit. If you are on the overly sensitive side, you may not like what I have to say, so I advise you to close this web page and go look at pictures of fluffy bunnies or read some fairy tales about a perfect world. If, on the other hand, you are an open-minded adult and posses some common sense, read on.
Are your beliefs holding you back from achieving your goals in Business, Family, or Relationships? What if you could change those beliefs and achieve a different result?
Fighters and martial artists always talk about ‘heart’, or warrior spirit.
It is an unquantifiable quality. Natural for some people, and not natural for others.
It is the ability to keep fighting - to even fight more fiercely - even though you know the battle may have been lost. The ability to stare pain, or defeat, or fear right in the eye – which really means staring into the proverbial mirror – and say, sometimes quietly and sometimes in a loud voice, that you will not stop fighting.
Simply put, it is the strength of character to not give up even though you may want to.
This is a short, true story about heart. I hope it brings you some hope.
Sensei Gershon Ben Keren recently released this excellent blog on what Krav Maga can adopt from combat sports. I thought this was a particularly important piece (amongst his many excellent writings) as it highlights something that is often sorely lacking in Krav Maga, which I touched on here.
Too often martial arts and combat sports are dismissed in the purist self-defence circles (and no, those three things are not the same – more on this here). These criticisms range from painfully accurate to wildly fantastical, but at their core they are mostly the same: ‘that won’t work in the street’.
But there are many things that can be learned from martial arts and combat sports and applied in self defence. I’ve written about this extensively in the blogs above. This is what Sensei Ben Keren highlighted in the piece above as well.
But let’s look at the specifics. What specifically can we learn from combat and martial sports that can be applied in self defence?
In this article (and this video) I discussed some of the things that are important to include and consider when training for self defence. These are principles that are generally agreed upon by most self defence experts. In the previous blog I discussed the concept of no rules (and also my obsession with 80s action movies). In this blog we’ll look at one of the most significant factors that differentiate martial arts and combat sports from self defence – multiple attackers.
I vaguely remember my first time doing two-on-one sparring. The reason I remember it vaguely is not because I don’t remember what happened, but because it happened so quickly. I was trying to think about what to do, threw a few punches and next thing you know I’m on the ground with one guy hugging my legs and the other one wailing on me.
I also remember the first time it happened in real life. It ended much better (for me, at least…).
What is it about multiple attackers that makes things so hard? Why is it so often left out when people teach and train for self defence? What thing should you consider? What are common mistakes when training for multiple attackers?
So I’m watching Bloodsport 4 the other day (don’t judge me) and a fantastic quote pops up. The prison warden is organising underground fights. To the death, of course, or what would be the point. Right before each fight starts he proclaims:
“We have only one rule… there are no rules!”
The crowd goes bonkers, and a barrage of flying kicks that would never work on anything other than a pad commences. Ironically, there are very strict rules in those fight scenes.
My unfortunate taste in movies aside, it got me thinking (well, and this blog here too).
This is a line I’ve heard in every single self-defence and Krav Maga seminar I’ve ever attended – and rightly so.
Just thinking about it the cheesiness of it makes me want to put my aviators and ninja headband on, rip the sleeves off my gi and start playing 80s synth rock while hitting the air with hilarious facial expressions.
But what does it actually mean? Why is it so popular?
The internet has been abuzz the last week or so over a supposed feud between Krav Maga expert Ryan Hoover and the famous BJJ Gracie family. The keyboard warriors are out in force over who’s technique is better, who said what and who would beat whom in a fight.
As my friend, Guru Heikki Martikainen says - “want to talk politics? First we train. Then we talk”. In other words, let’s remember what’s important, and that’s training. Let’s do that first. So I listened to Guru Heikki. I just finished an hour of BJJ, then some boxing, and about to go do some Krav Maga. I’m now feeling like I can talk about this.
I’m not going to get involved in the politics of who’s right or wrong with this stuff. What I am going to talk about is why they can both be right, and why they can both be wrong.
If I’m lucky, I might even answer one of the most hated questions on the Internet… What’s the best self defence system in the world?
Belt tests and gradings are a source of much fear and anxiety, as they are for anticipation, excitement and joy.
Having to perform in front of a panel of experts can be daunting. Having people watch you and scrutinise your performance is intimidating and can be frustrating, as is not getting the results you want.
At the same time, passing a grading successfully is an incredibly rewarding and empowering experience. Personally, my black belt grading in Krav Maga is by far the most powerful, positive, empowering and memorable experience in my life so far.
Gradings also build a strong team bond. Having to go through something tough (and a grading should be tough!) together with others builds a strong and lasting connection, and memories that will be shared for a lifetime.
If you are anything like me, then chances are you stress over these for months, and I wouldn't stretch to say 'year's in my case, in advance. So how do you prepare for a grading? What do you need to work on? What should you remember while you are doing the grading?
The Eisenhower's Matrix is a great tool for time management, used by successful businesspeople around the world.
The beauty of the matrix is that it can be expanded to many other applications.
I'd like to share one of my favortie ones. It's a great tool for helping you understand what kind of threat you might be dealing with, and how the situation might develop.
You are at home, asleep. Your partner is sleeping next to you, and your child is sleeping in the next room.
You wake up to the sound of breaking glass, and as you step out of your room to inspect, you see a knife-wielding assailant about to enter your child's room.
What do you do? If you had to fight, could you?
There are many wonderful lessons to learn from the martial arts. Not just about how to move your body through space, but rather about who you are, who you can be and how to interact with others.
But is there one style that teaches this better than others?
I recall the following experience from the time I was studying music at university;
I was experimenting, before class, with a particular effects pedal for my guitar that I absolutely loved. The lecturer walked in 5 minutes late, while I was still playing around. He didn’t say ‘hi’ or ‘good morning’. What he did say was “yeah, cause that’s the sound we all want… turn that shit off and let’s do something useful. Start with this tune – 1, 2, 3, 4…”
In one short sentence, he managed to embarrass me in front of the class, mock my creativity and hurt my confidence. He moved on to the tune instantaneously and thereby eliminated any chance I had to reply or comment.
The rest of that rehearsal was torture. This was over ten years ago, and it still stings when I think about it! So why bring it up now?