Acting and Krav Maga
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

September 24, 2017, Israel

When facing the blade, with death imminent, are you going to rely upon your acting skills?

I have some acting experience. In the first grade play I had one line and in sixth grade I had two words. I have not been nominated yet for any acting awards.

Now the question is, is your acting good enough to bet your life on it? If your life depended on it would your acting save the day? Are you that good of an actor?

Personally I would say no.

When facing a violent criminal I would not depend upon my acting "skills". And yet I see some styles that actually seem to believe that anyone can fool a criminal with some poor acting. They feel they have to totally re-position their body to get to the desired starting point. It is like saying, give me a moment I need to get to the correct stance. 

So they "act" for a while, move around, get their arms where they want them to be and then "surprise" their opponent by grabbing him.

When I teach a technique I try to think like the attacker/assailant. This man is not a fool. He is armed and dangerous. His finger is on the trigger, or his hand is gripping the knife. As soon as he sees a false move, as soon as he sees that you are trying to pull off some trick, he reacts. He will shoot, he will slice. Your acting career is now over.

Now there are times when we also do a little bit of acting. Why and how? We keep our acting (distraction) to a bare minimum and only use it in very few situations. But even in those few situations the acting is minimal, simply moving our hands a little, in a very natural way. There are never any movements that are other than what the criminal is expecting.

Our movements are not out of the ordinary, they are expected and natural, and most importantly, minimal. I have seen styles where the number of moves and steps taken during the acting part is simply unbelievable, and the criminal will not believe this, will not allow it and will take action.

I find it disturbing that some martial arts instructors think criminals are so stupid, so lame, that you can fake, feint, a look of a pathetic coward and then totally surprise the street thug/terrorist.

Most people get stage fright. Jerry Seinfeld says people fear public speaking more than they fear death. So what makes you think when you are in fact facing death you will pull off the performance of your life?

Our way is to assume the worse. Assume that the assailant is trigger happy and ready to strike. Our first goal is to clear the line of fire, get out of the line of fire/attack. First things first: Get out! Grabbing the attacker etc comes after that initial move. We assume that as you try and grab him he will try and pull away. If you are still in the line of fire at this time you will get shot/stabbed. If you have cleared the line of fire at least you have a fighting chance. That first split second is critical.

This is easier to show in person than in words but I hope the idea is coming across somewhat clearly.

Here are key points to remember:

  • That very first move must get you out of the line of attack/line of fire. You cannot be playing around as the gun or knife is facing you.
  • You cannot rely upon acting: You cannot assume that with a few lame words you can buy yourself the time you need to adjust your position. The criminal has more experience than you do.
  • Your movements must be natural and expected. Any unusual movements, any "funny stuff" will cause him to pull the trigger or slash your throat.

Our system is logical. We are not asking you to take anything on faith. Always ask yourself, does this make sense to me?

Conclusion: Very few of us are actors. Do not bet your life on your acting skills. Do not fall for cool looking videos. Question everything!

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