Body Reactions Expectation

January 23, 2024, Miracle Lounge, Bangkok airport, Thailand

On my way home after a peaceful trip to India and as top in Thailand, eager to get home. When I was in India I was asked to stay longer, away from the trouble, but my life is Israel. We are surrounded by Chaos. When little children are in lockdown in their kindergarten because a terrorist is on the loose stabbing everyone he can, when children are not safe walking to school, when the elderly are being stabbed just because they are Jewish, we need a simple and effective self-defense system. 

We all try our best to come up with the most effective methods to protect ourselves and others. It would be surprising if everyone came up with the same exact system, thus, differences of opinion are to be expected. There are some instructors out there, whom I have great respect for as individuals, but I cannot agree with some of what they teach. I do not attempt to invalidate what they are teaching but it does not work for me. 

One of those concepts is the idea of Body Reactions. Basically, the idea is as follows - I hit him over here, that causes him to bend over as such, or move backwards, therefore I follow up with a kick to his ribs etc. The idea is that for a technique to work I have precise expectations of body reactions, of how the body will react to specific strikes. Each strike has an exact and knowable reaction, and based on this I can pre-plan the following strikes. These make for wonderful lesson plans. 

Now I too believe in striking drills: jab cross jab. Jab-forearm-Knee kick and so forth. Sure, but that is not a self-defense move, it is a drill to develop striking skills. What I have a problem with is when a self-defense technique depends on the body reacting in a specific way, forming an expected sequence of body movements, in order for the technique to work. I simply find this unreliable. I have kicked guys who did not react, why? because they were mountain climbers who had unusually powerful legs. I once tried to choke out a Russian guy who had a neck like steel. He was a construction worker. There are all kinds of people out there and we cannot rely upon their bodies reacting to our strikes in a predictable way. Some people develop incredibly strong specific body parts due to the nature of their work or their training. Others are on drugs that make them impervious to pain. Therefore, I find it highly problematic to rely upon the expectation of a specific reaction. So, if a technique begins with, I kick him, now he bends over, and now I strike him in the back. Well, what happens if you kick him, and he does not react this way? Now what? oh no!

I begin with no expectations. I do not rely upon the attacker reacting this way or that way. I prefer a technique that takes control of the situation without any specific expectations. I believe one should never try and predict the outcome of any interaction.

The tragedy of life is that it can only be understood backwards, but yet it must be lived forwards. Søren Kierkegaard 

”Great intellects are skeptical.”  Friedrich Nietzsche


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

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