Self Defense for us Regular Folks…

I am sent videos of other defense systems quite often by friends across the nation. They always want to know what I think of the system and of the system’s head honcho. More often than not the video is awesome. It shows an expert smashing people, flipping and throwing big guys around and whooping three knife wielding attackers at the same time as he is disarming another attacker of an M-16 or the like. Sometimes I get the feeling that the person who sent me the video is trying to tell me how much cooler they think that system is than Krav Maga. Cool ain’t all there is to it!

I’m nearly always blown away by the talented instructor. The problem is that the talented instructor is usually a physical marvel. He is six foot three, weighs a chiseled two twenty five and is super athletic. Yes, his system looks awesome when he does it but…how does that translate to the five foot, one hundred pound female in his class? Too often the techniques I see being used are based on size and strength. The throwing, putting people down with one blow, beating up three dudes at once, etc. work for him…he’s a physical marvel. To expect the 99 pound weakling in class to do the same is expecting a miracle.

The other problem is that the big ol’ muscle head instructor certainly won’t run away from danger, that would hurt his ego. I teach (in this order) to stay away from bad places, to run away, to pick up an object to use as a weapon and then, as a last resort, to use Krav Maga. People must be taught to avoid fights, to run when possible, to always be looking to escape. To teach people to fight when de escalating and running are better choices is setting people up to be hurt, maybe even killed. The macho instructor teaches his students to be macho. It ain’t macho to have a colostomy bag for the rest of your life, to be brain damaged for the rest of your life, to be disfigured for the rest of your life or to sit for kidney dialysis three times a week for the rest of your life.

In Krav Maga any technique we teach has to pass the litmus test of being able to be done by the smallest, weakest and most uncoordinated person in our gym. How can I teach a group of women techniques that work only if the attacker is smaller than them? That would be setting them up for failure and failure in self defense means they get hurt. In our classes we have people of all ages, sizes and both sexes. To teach techniques that only half of the class could defend themselves with is stroking the instructor’s ego and not keeping people safe.

Below is one of my favorite techniques for a smaller, weaker person to defend themselves with…the head butt. Watch the small female knock the bouncer out…it ain’t nothing fancy!

When people come to your gym to learn self defense they are literally putting their lives in your hands. To teach something flashy that you look awesome doing but won’t keep them safe is unforgiveable. BE SAFE.


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