Grabbing or Not In Self Defense
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

July 14, 2019, Alice Springs, Australia

The rabbis said 2,000 years ago, one who has grabbed too much has grabbed nothing. Today in our full impact Krav Maga training this ancient rabbinical point was fully proven. 

In many styles of Krav Maga students are taught that instead of really blocking a knife attack or a stick attack they are to run in, loop their hand around the attackers arm, and "control" the opponent. This is pretty much the standard.

I disagree, strongly.

I am totally opposed to the method taught by the standardized Krav Maga curriculum. 

I believe one should block. A strong solid block is our only viable option, it is faster, it is more instinctive, it is more natural, it is more effective. Once one has blocked effectively there is the option of moving forward with a series of strikes, (not random but specifically designed for this situation), or disengage. Either way I always stress - we do not want to spend too much time with this person. We are not looking for a long-term relationship. We hit and get out. If we have disabled him, great, if not - get out. There may be other assailants, this guy may still come back at you. He is dangerous. We must be realistic, we must get out. 

Today after three days of training, our instructor in Alice Springs, Australia, put the students do the test. We want to an old unused warehouse. It was dark and dusty. Several men, including a very large man and a veteran police officer and a martial artist, would attack each student. Gang attack. 

Each student would face a rifle, a knife, a handgun, and punches. The stress level was extremely high. The students indeed performed remarkable well, considering the difficult circumstances. Some complained of not being able to clearly see the weapons in the dark, others naturally reverted back to outdated methods they learned before joining IKI.

When it was all over Pat asked the attackers for their feedback and comments. One observation came through loud and clear above all others:

Too often, under the extreme stress, students reverted to the habit of grabbing, which some had been taught in other Krav Maga systems. Wanting to grab your attacker is a natural response, but it is not effective, in fact it is counter productive.

The attackers all noted that this was the one major flaw. They said, "the guy stuck to me too much" and this enabled the attacker to hit and stab him more.  In a case of multiple attackers, as this was, some students "over committed" to one attacker. While grabbing the attacker, holding on to him, may feel right, it is not. When you are holding on to him you are in fact staying too close to a dangerous man. You need distance.

We need to work on Letting Go. 

In life this is often the case, there is a time to let go of the past, there is a time to let go of old habits or old relationships in order to move on. In self defense this is crucial.

Some of the members of IKI Australia under the direction of Patrick Honan, Black Belt instructor

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