Krav Maga, if taught correctly, builds on your body’s natural reactions to being attacked. You need to understand how the body reacts to attacks and what physiological changes occur in your body; these changes affect your response.
Let’s look at a few of the physiological changes in the body under this type of stress.
Loss of peripheral vision – This is often referred to as tunnel vision. When a firearm is pointed at you, you will most likely focus on the gun.
Loss of fine motor skills – We lose are ability to manipulate small things, even dialing a phone can be difficult.
Auditory Exclusion – Our body attempts to protect are hearing by reducing volume. You may hear pop…pop…pop, instead of POP…POP…POP, when a gun fires.
Combat Amnesia – It can take two – three sleep cycles to recall most of the attack. Even after 48-72 hours, you may only recall 80% of the event.
These are only a few of the changes that you may experience. Col. Dave Grossman has written extensively about these changes and how they may affect your performance. You have most likely experienced some or all of these changes before. Think back to a time where someone scared you; maybe it was a traffic accident or a near collision. Maybe you were attacked or in fear that you were about to be attacked.
“Hey, that guy just stole something”
In 1998, I was dispatched to a shoplifter at a local all-night grocery store. It was approximately 2:00 in morning; it had been aquite night. I arrived and met with the manager of the store. Myself and several other officers stood at the front of the store and watched as the couple walked to the cash register. They were paying for some of the items, however they had several other items concealed in their clothing.
A large man, approximately 6’5″ tall and 300 lbs. walked into the store and acknowledge our presence by saying “wow, what’s going on in here”. He waived at us, kind of chuckled and continued into the store. He walked past the cash registers, took two packages of cigarettes, concealed them in his jacket, and attempted to leave the store without paying.
The manager looked at me and said, “Hey, that guy just stole something”. I said, “I know, that is why we are here”. He pointed at the man as he walked toward the front door and said “no, him”. This guy had nothing to do with the call we were on. I looked at the man and said “STOP”. He shook his head no and started to trot toward his truck in the parking lot.
Myself and three other officers gave chase. The suspect ran around behind his truck and was heading for the driver side door. I ran around the front of the truck in attempt to cut him off. Before I knew what was happening, the man was in the drivers seat. The truck was already running; he left it running when he entered the store.
Then I heard three loud pops. POP…POP…POP.
I had my handgun out and pointing at the suspect quickly and without thought. The suspects eye’s got big as he saw the gun pointing at him. He raised his hands in surrender. Another officer approached the passenger side door and reached for the door handle.
Without warning the suspect threw the vehicle in drive, ducked down, and slammed on the gas. I pulled the trigger quickly three times without a thought. I could hear a faint and muffled pop…pop…pop. The rounds were perfectly placed in the driver’s side windshield. I had to juke right and sprint to avoid the 4200-pound weapon as it barreled toward me. As the vehicle was passing at a high rate of speed, I pressed off five more rounds. I barely heard these rounds going off.
The vehicle slowed and veered off to the right slowly, Then I heard three loud pops. POP…POP…POP. I looked right and saw another officer shooting. This officer thought the vehicle had stuck me.
So, why did I hear a pop…pop…pop when I was shooting and POP…POP…POP, when the other officer was shooting? Auditory exclusion caused me to hear a lower volume. I stopped shooting when I believed the threat was over. When the other officer started shooting, I was no longer in imminent danger. During this shooting, I experienced all of the changes listed above.
It is important that you understand these changes and how they will affect you during a lethal encounter. There is no way to simulate these changes. You can get your heart rate up and wear noise canceling headphones, but there is no way to fully experience the changes.
Krav Maga is a system based on philosophy
Krav Maga techniques will help you address the threat under these conditions. Krav Maga is a system based on philosophy of application not techniques. The techniques should be simple to learn and should build on your body’s natural reaction. If you are learning techniques that require certain stances or fine motor skills, you are setting yourself up for a really bad day if you are attacked.
Krav Maga training is designed to help you deliver techniques to your attacker’s vital areas with intensity. The best way for you to develop self-defense skills that will help you win a lethal encounter is learn correctly. You must first learn the techniques slowly, then you add speed and intensity. After you have an understanding of the techniques and can perform them with consistently, you are immersed into adrenaline drills. Adrenaline drills and reality based training are different approaches and both should be an integral part of your Krav Maga training. Adrenaline drills are designed to dis-orient you and immerse you into an all-out fight; these drills require a lot of energy and will tire you quickly. Reality based training subjects you to scenarios you might be faced with on the street.
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Grandmaster Steven Swinford started training in martial arts in 1982. He is a certified personal fitness trainer, speed/agility/quickness coach, life coach and sports pychology coach. He is the owner of Victory Martial Arts in Norman, OK and selfprotectiontv.com