Reality Krav Maga
By Moshe Katz, Krav Maga Instructor, Israel

November 26, 2013

Stress and Krav Maga

Common misconceptions and mistakes

There are many fine instructors out there who genuinely care about their students and the general population, and they are trying to find better ways to prepare people for the reality of a violent world. We try to recreate the atmosphere of the street (or home, or park, or plane, or car), the stress, the sounds, the physical environment.

Scenario Training

One way to do this is to use scenario training; "act out" potential situations. I.e. not just doing katas or straight punches or front kicks all day but acting out an assault based on real life circumstances.  This scenario training has proven itself as being most valuable. We use it and we highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to prepare for the realities of a violent world.

Physical Environment

An additional approach is creating a physical environment to match what one might encounter in a real life violent situation. Sometimes this can be done by actually going to that environment such as training in a parking lot, in a car, or training in a park. Some schools actually recreate reality inside their school. I was at a school in Almaty that had a car and an elevator in the school. On some occasions we have been able to gain access to a bus, but it is not easy. It is rare to be able to find a plane to use. We have used a bar for training.  Of course we have access to a house, and apartment. This is all very useful to prepare us for the physical realities that one might face in a real attack.

Inside the training hall in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Recreating reality.

Oksana with IKI Instructor Igor Kudashkin, Kazakhstan, gun to the head inside a car, inside a room.

Reality Stress

Some teachers, and I used to be among those, feel that one should do a hundred push ups, climb a mountain etc. and then do the knife or gun defense. While fitness is always good and while there may be some cases where you have to perform the techniques while totally fatigued, I have come to doubt the "great truth" that this is the best way to train for reality.

Our experts tell us that the average terrorist incident lasts 7 seconds, and the average street attack lasts 3 seconds. As such, physical fitness is not the key factor. Most of us can survive 3 minutes on the treadmill. The stress we must deal with here is different. It is not only the fatigue that we experience at the end of a grueling workout, it is a different kind of stress. I write about this in my blog, "Messing with your mind". It is the stress of seeing a gun pointed at you, a knife at your throat. And doing 100 pushups will not help you at all in these circumstances.

So how do we prepare for the stress of the street? Not with 100 pushups, not with hours of stress drills, no. We prepare the way we prepare for most events in our lives; with our minds. We are intelligent creatures. We make TV shows, plays, and movies. We write novels and fiction. So that is what we must do. We must write a fictional story in our heads and make it feel so real. We must become a great writer; we must feel the pressure, the pain and the fear. When I do this my heart rate changes, my facial expressions change, I feel my body changing. Under these circumstances I understand what my body and mind can and cannot do.

We must make it real in our minds, like when a viewer cries with the actor in the play, or when we cheer when Rocky wins his boxing match. We must make it real. And then, when it is real we become the actor in the play, we become the part and that is how we prepare for reality.

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Ute from Germany, the Fortress of Mount Masada.

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