What do I do next?
Guest blog 
By Hal Herndon

January 15, 2018

Forward by Moshe Katz,

In Hebrew we have an expression, "The teacher is licking honey", this means the teacher feels very happy and satisfied. I am honored to have Mr. Hal Herndon, Chief instructor of Georgia Mountain Krav Maga, as a student, collegue and valued friend. 

Here are some very wise words that all I can add to is, Amen, yes, this is true. 

What Do I Do Next?
By Hal Herndon

“What do I do next?”……This question comes up from newer students from time to time. The real answer, frankly, is “I don’t know”….However, with most students that rather flippant response doesn’t fly….Below, hopefully you will see why, in spite of it’s obvious facetiousness that answer may well be the right one in many respects.

Based on our approach to IKI Krav techniques and explanation thereof this is a little surprising. However, seeing and/or hearing from the standpoint of newer students is often an illusive situation so I’ll try to deal with it more or less logically.

I spent many, many years involved in and enjoying a system that had very specific “do this next” requirements to follow up on a technique. That was fun and almost always worked well. Over time, and thanks to having a partner for much of that time who worked “hands-on” with street thugs, gangbangers, etc., I became blatantly aware that once you execute a technique, the recipient of that technique will almost never be where you think he “should” or do what you think he “will”. It is all totally circumstantial and is always different.

Think about it….In most traditional martial arts settings you work with a partner who has trained or is training the same way you are, who generally knows what you are going to do and, more often than not, complies appropriately.

On the street, in a home invasion, on a bus or plane, getting into our out of your vehicle or in an alley, if there is an aggressor it is extremely unlikely that he will be trained at all, much less the same way you are. That being said, if you do a technique (and IF it works), there is absolutely no way to be sure what will happen next or what to do next before “next” appears. Consequently, planning for a specific “finish” or “attack sequence” in advance can backfire and leave you with a ‘brain freeze’ not knowing what to do at all which, in reality, can cost you your life.

As an aside, when I first ‘stumbled across’ IKI, I ordered the then Knife Defense DVD. After viewing it several times I asked Moshe Katz (founder of IKI) about “finishes”. His answer (while polite) was rather curt….We don’t tell you how to finish…It depends on too many variables (or something of the sort). Having (then) 18 or so years of experience in martial arts I understood and totally appreciated the fact that he acknowledged the reality of a real life situation.

Sooooo…..Here is what we (at least at GMKM) do.

First, we emphasize that many of the IKI techniques are, in reality, escapes and/or “setups” for following up (or, better yet, escaping). ((Back to concept of best self defense of all….”Not be there”)). While our techniques in this area are extremely simple compared to many styles, they do take practice. They can indeed be done poorly and still work since you have the element of surprise working for you. However, in a real life bad situation, if you have to literally think through how to execute a technique you won’t likely have time to execute it, thus the need for practice. Practice (repetition) allows us

to execute these simple techniques instinctively and without forethought or preparation under stress. Once you get to this point, you will be (quite naturally) looking for targets or “opportunities” instead of thinking about how to execute the technique which allows the following attack(s) or escape to happen.

So the next natural question is “OK…but when I get to that point, what DO I do next?”…Answer: “Whatever is appropriate and whatever YOUR personal background, ability, training and mentality dictates”….Yes it IS that simple.

We (GMKM) have students and instructors with extremely varied backgrounds, from never fighting at all to high ranking black belts in other styles, to wrestling/grappling backgrounds, to hands on battle combat experience to law enforcement types who deal hands-on with drugged up rectal orifi on a daily basis. We always invite all of these to show what they would do in a given situation to “follow up” an escape or distraction. Why??? More choices of tools for the toolbox. Nobody will remember or learn all of them. However, one unexpected follow up technique from someone who has actually used it in a real conflict might, just might be an exact fit for just one of our students. If so, great….If not, it is still a learning experience.

Of course we show you a relatively large number of things you “could do” and hopefully you will try most or all of them. Of those, you will undoubtedly find a couple that seem to fit you. Once you find those that are a natural fit, work on them and develop them into instinctive tools you can use IF the situation opens up a target or opportunity allowing their use. If it doesn’t, just improvise. We also try to emphasize using your legs (knees, feet, etc, w/ kicks of various kinds). Being a close quarters defense system, your opponent will likely never see a close quarters kick coming which allows you to set him up for other strikes or techniques.

Remember also that what you see another student doing in the way of follow ups may well not be a good fit for you. Many of our students have extremely long and good backgrounds and do things which appear easy and effective but which, in reality, take years of training. Do what works for YOU first….Then work on improving and expanding same.

We know from experience that every time you strike someone they will respond physically (body mechanics) is a predetermined way to at least some extent. Once you understand this you know WHERE to go next and knowing “where”, more often than not dictates “what”. The “what” can be as simple as running in the opposite direction if you are able and so inclined.

And so it goes….Given a bit of time and focus it all becomes very natural and obvious. Best I can offer is let it happen….You really can’t force these things but I believe (now with 25 years of background) that our system and our (admittedly weird) methods of instruction will infuse almost any student who is interested with the ability to have a really good chance of surviving a conflict. Our approach to multiple attacker situations,

while overtly safety oriented, really emphasize just how difficult it is to plan anything in a chaotic, unexpected conflict. That is what they are for.

Just remember, in a real fight, nobody wins…If you are lucky, you simply survive and learn from your experience.

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