Krav Maga, Your Go To Technique

Your "Go To Technique"

I just heard this phrase from one of our instructors in Virginia, your "go to technique". Clearly this means the technique you go to when the "S…. hits the fan", when there is no time to mess around with fancy stuff.

OK, let's think about this for a minute. This really fits in with our Krav Maga philosophy. I always say, for an arm grab situation I learned 6 releases for my yellow belt test, 8 releases for my orange belt test and so on, and now I use only one technique plus a backup.

Does this situation make you nervous? Do you have time to think of a few different techniques?

Now the other techniques were worth learning as they helped me understand body mechanics and movements and they also helped me realize what works and what does not work against non cooperative assailants. (Are there any other kind?) However now I am down to very few simple techniques. Like Bruce Lee said, it is not about daily additions but about daily removal. Start with a big block of stone, chip away until you are left with a beautiful statue; that is your effective self defense technique, the one that remains after the trimmings and the cutbacks.

Now let's get back to our "go to technique". Krav Maga is about real life, so shouldn't our Go to Technique be our only technique?

Yes, and No, I would say. There might be a situation where a person grabs your shirt and won't let go but you know they mean no real harm, there is no real threat. Perhaps then you would use a minimum pain compliance technique and show them out the door. However most of the time if someone grabs you, violates your personal space, and touches your body, this will probably be accompanied by a strong squeeze on your throat or arm. As soon as you feel the pain your only instinct is "End the pain".

Now the problem I find with most martial arts that I have practiced and most schools I have visited is that the students and the teacher never feel the pain. Everyone is nice to each other; no one wants to hurt each other. When you don't feel the pain you naturally have the illusion that you have time to try this and that, to move to your left and then pivot to your right or whatever. The problem is you don't feel the burning desire to get the heck out of the pain!

When I train I say, "Don't be nice to me". Recently Fred from Holland was here and I asked him to choke me. Boy did he choke me, and it hurt! But as soon as I felt the sharp pain, the lack of ability to breath, I immediately went into my "Go to Technique". I had no time to even think of anything else. All I wanted was to stop the pain and breathe again!

That’s reality! That separates the 'martial arts' type techniques from the 'Krav Maga save your freaking life' type techniques.

As an instructor I allow people to hurt me a bit, I can handle it and I know it is an essential part of our program. Itay Gil always makes it hurt. He never causes damage, he stops short of that, but he knows that in order to believe in the technique you must feel the pain and feel how the technique works.

This is reality training, in most cases our only technique is our 'go to technique', so lets really work on that one. Lets make it work in the worst case situation, when you feel the pain, when you are in real danger. Now get back to training, break over.