Self Defense Missing Link
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

November 26, 2019, Israel

There is something missing. Something is simply not working. 

Imagine language classes. Students sign up to prepare for a vacation in Italy or Germany. Now picture those language students in Italy or Germany, they are at a "loss for words". They have studied for months to prepare for their vacation, but now that they are "in the field", they are speechless.

Now imagine the same thing with self defense. Call it Krav Maga, whatever. You trained for years, and now, in the moment of truth, you freeze, and is all over. If you are lucky you wake up in the hospital. 

What went wrong, and how can we fix this?

There is a missing link between self defense training and actual self defense. This is something being ignored by most instructors.

They begin their class with a warm up. No talking. They demonstrate a technique, explain the technique. The students are told to copy this technique. The entire topic of the psychology of crime is usually ignored. I have trained with many great instructors, very few of them ever dealt with the issue of fear, of confronting an actually attacker, of coping with shock.

In my opinion this is a huge oversight.  A huge mistake of life and death proportions.

Let us take another example. There was a civil war film, I believe it was called "Glory". A bunch of southern guys showed up for military training, with their rifles. They felt they were ready for combat as they were all quite handy with a rifle. And then the commander showed them otherwise.

At first they shot with great precision, but then he created combat conditions and started yelling at them, creating noise and confusion. Now they were no longer hitting their targets, now they had been humbled and were ready to begin their combat training.

Do you see the analogy?

Learning self defense techniques is not enough, not even close to enough. And yes, all that "talking" (Gee, we are not sweating or doing push-ups or "real" Krav Maga training) is actually what the real self defense is all about. 

Here is the missing link: We have training, good, We have real life violent confrontations. How do we connect the two?

The connection is neither obvious nor automatic, but most instructors treat it as if it were. Learning some words in a classroom does not mean you will be able to respond real time to a conversation on the streets of Rome. Odds are you will be flustered, confused, not "ready". You will walk away feeling that all those Italian lessons were a total waste of time. I have heard this story many times.

It is exactly the same with self defense. 

Something is missing. 

It is the ability when suddenly confronted with a life threatening situation; a gun at your head, a knife at your back, a sudden punch to your face, a baseball bat swinging at your head,  to employ your self defense techniques that you learned in the dojo. You are in shock, your entire world is in confusion, your sense of reality has changed. You are simply not processing what is going on.

Are you aware of this? Or has your instructor not prepared you for this?

Here is the technique - Let's practice! No, that is not enough. We need to deal with the "lack of processing" period, that is the link between being attacked and the ability to respond. 

This is the key to self defense, the ability to access your tools real-time, the ability to use what you have learned in your martial arts class. Most cannot do this. 

If you are a gang member, have been in prison fights, i.e. a life long criminal, you have this missing link, in fact it is a short fuse, you are ready to fight at the drop of a hat. But if you are a regular Krav Maga student, you are missing that link, the link between being attacked and being able to respond. Knowing a technique is not enough for it is unlikely you will have the presence of mind to use it. 

A professional comedian or speaker will hear a comment and immediately come up with a cleaver, witty response. Most of us will be numb and dumb and only later come up with a good response. Back at home, in the comfort of our shower, we will think ...I should have said....

The ability to respond when suddenly confronted, is the missing link in our training. 

At IKI we focus on this missing link. It is an integral part of our training from day one.  

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