I certainly don’t intend for this blog to become me railing against martial arts. Putting down others is a sure sign that you have issues, I believe. I am railing, however, about anyone who teaches self defense and puts their ego or making money ahead of their students safety. With this in mind I do feel that the subject of tradition is worth looking at for our own safety. Please remember that I was a 4th degree black belt in a very traditional system. Notice that I say was…I still have the certificate but it’s my opinion that if you haven’t kept up on something or practiced it in years you no longer can claim the rank!

You have heard us say that Krav Maga is an open system. We don’t have a Grand Poobah to bow to, don’t have a tradition to keep up to further our cause. Israel was only worried about staying a country and knew that they had to stay cutting edge and never waste any training on tradition or fluff. It’s still this way today in the United States Krav Maga Association because we have citizens to keep safe, and they are who we answer to…not to tradition, a system or a “master”.

The following is from Bruce Siddle’s SHARPENING THE WARRIOR’S EDGE which is an exhaustive study on training methods for military and law enforcement applications;

“Instructors who teach survival skills (i.e. defensive tactics, close-quarter combat, tactical firearms, or survival strategies) are still faced with teaching students a physical skill. The author proposes the level of student proficiency is directly proportionate to the instructor’s training psychology and system design. Subsequently, instructors have a moral and legal obligation to constantly research methods to enhance training and, ultimately, to assure the survival of their students.”

“Unlike other motor skill training, survival skills will be performed in the stress of combat. As such, motor skill training inherits a fair degree of learning and performance limitations. Although the learning roadblocks are multiple, there are three constant variables which directly affect survival and combat training. First, is the development of a system of skills which are appropriate for the arena of performance. For example, skills need to be designed to control specific threat stimuli. Second, the instructional delivery system must ensure that the students can learn and develop confidence in the skill quickly. The final variable recognizes that the influence of motivational principles has a direct effect on the student’s training intensity and subsequent skill development.”

After reading this excerpt, why would you teach something that hasn’t changed in hundreds of years? The thugs have changed their tactics in that time! If you are teaching people stress relief, exercise, coordination, etc. feel guilt free to teach what you want. However, if someone is coming to you to learn self defense they are literally putting their lives in your hands. Do you understand the seriousness of this? They are relying on you to teach them to stay alive during the worst moments of their entire lives.

Knowing this;
-how can you teach a kick to the knife as a knife defense?
-how can you teach a forward roll into the person with a handgun who wants to kill you?
-how can you teach small women techniques that obviously only work for bigger, stronger students?
-how can you teach techniques that take hundreds of disciplined hours to perfect to the point they would actually work? I have heard many martial arts masters tell their students that it takes 1,000 reps to become proficient at a technique. This is ok if they are learning an art. If it is self defense training this is ridiculous! If it’s complicated, it’s not self defense!
-Why would you teach a punch defense that is a longer motion than the punch?
-Why would you teach anything in a horse stance? Unless, of course, you are teaching people to defend themselves for when they are on a horse.
-how can you teach katas for self defense? I have been told that this is practicing fighting off multi attackers. Why keep turning your back on the last person that you whacked (as most kata’s I’ve seen are in an x pattern)? Do you know how we practice fighting off multi attackers? We have multi attackers come at us…and we fight them off.
-how can you never put students under stress or talk about the effects of stress, the adrenaline dump or the fact that they will be fighting injured?
-how can you not include cardio training in your students lessons knowing that if they are ever in a self defense situation that goes past 30 seconds their techniques will severely degrade with exhaustion?
-how can you teach 65 pound kids that they can devastate an adult with a punch or kick when they obviously don’t have the strength or power?

I am not railing on martial arts at all. I just feel very passionate about pointing out the flaws in any training that claims to be “the ultimate in self defense”, that claims to make it’s practitioners safe against real world violence. It infuriates me to see instructors make these claims when it’s all about their ego or making money…not caring that they will get people hurt. Again, your students are putting their safety, their families safety and their very lives in your hands. I say to heck with tradition!! BE SAFE!


1 Comment

  1. I agree. Sticking to tradition is not a safe way to learn how to defend yourself. Even the techniques in Marital Arts must change with the times. Every system needs to grow and develop. If you can’t expand and change traditional ways then Marital Arts and Krav Maga would be a dead practice.

    Best wishes!

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