Don’t Seek a Target
By Moshe Katz
Krav Maga Instructor


Going through the traditional martial arts systems I had to memorize many sequences; Block, step to the side, hit the ribs, etc. and so forth. These drills have their place in our training. Some schools call them 'one steps', other places use elaborate patterns or kata, poomse, forms, or kan toh.

It is important to learn about angles, position, where to be in order to strike a certain target, but, as Bruce Lee wrote, after a while we become prisoners of these patterns. After a while we depend on these patterns, we cannot live without them. We forget that they are only drills, to be discarded in a moment of truth. We must be free of these inherent limitations.

In a real-life situation, we cannot be 'looking' for a certain technique, we cannot be trying to remember what to do next. We have to just be, without thought. The Japanese call it Mushin. Martial arts teach that there are three stages in self-defense: seeing the situation, making a plan, responding. Bruce Lee writes that we must eliminate the middle part, we must just see and respond, "Be like an echo''. Everything else is a waste of time.

The problem is that most martial arts train for the dojo and will never be able to deal with anything else. Who knows how often these techniques and approaches failed in real life, we will never know. No one keeps statistics on "Martial arts techniques that failed on the street", or in the house, or in a plane, or on a boat. There is life, and death, beyond the dojo, in Krav Maga we recognize this reality.

We drill and train ourselves to see opportunities as they arise. We never seek a certain situation. In a tournament you can 'set up' a situation, like in a chess match. On the street that is nearly always impossible. Yet, too many schools still train for the street as if it were a tournament.

We never look for a target, we take whatever target circumstances present us with, and then we respond with 'nearest weapon nearest target'; whatever is closest - our knee, our elbow, our open hand - will strike the target that is most available.

Bruce Lee wrote that it is a mistake to anticipate the outcome of any engagement. I live my life this way. When you anticipate a certain outcome, you are prepared only for that outcome. In a fight, anticipating a certain specific response or outcome would be a deadly mistake. We must remain open to all possibilities, flow with the moment, and respond like an echo.

Krav Maga takes these principles and uses them as part of all we do.

Causal conversations with real warriors, always a great deal to learn from those who have been there and done that.