I'm the founder and chief instructor of Krav Maga Academy in New York City. My team of instructors and I have trained Navy SEALs, army rangers, and most notably, Rupert Friend, of Homeland fame.
Krav Maga is an Israeli military self defense system which was originally designed to help save the lives of young soldiers in battle. It has gained tremendous popularity among fitness enthusiasts because of its simplicity, effectiveness, and explosiveness, not to mention the added benefit of teaching you to protect yourself from harm.
Since the moves revolve around leveraging your entire body to achieve a certain result (an injury against another person), there are fantastic fitness benefits that come from this use of force, and natural movements of the body. Krav Maga is a natural form of movement, built into our fight versus flight instincts. These instincts are within us, we just need to know how to activate them, and act with confidence in order to elicit the most accurate results against our attacker.
Training in Krav Maga will give you strength, confidence, and help you to increase your endurance. With so much violence in the world today however, it is increasingly important to know how to protect yourself no matter what situation you are in. Here are the five most important things to remember if you find yourself in a violent situation:
1. If you can – run!
There is no shame in escaping violent situations. This should always be your first choice.
2. Aim low.
If running is not an option it’s time to hit back. Hitting the groin (on a man) is a great way to drop an attacker quickly. Use everything in your arsenal — kicks, knees, strikes, and even bite! A man’s privates are so sensitive that hitting it with moderate strength could cause complete incapacitation, enabling you to flee the scene after a single blow.
3. Aim to inflect damage, not pain.
Since individuals’ pain tolerance varies, don’t attempt to cause “pain” to an attacker. Instead, strike parts of the body that will easily break with intent to cause damage and restrict movement. Pain is subjective while damage is objective. The easiest soft spots to strike are: Eyes, nose, jaw, ears, throat, groin, knees, and the Achilles tendon. Aim for the targets you can see and easily reach.
4. Don’t stop until they drop.
One of the most important concepts of Krav Maga is “Retzef.” Retzef is the Hebrew word for “combination of strikes.” It means that you should keep on attacking soft spots continuously and aggressively until your attacker cannot hurt you anymore. Do not trust one punch or one kick to magically solve the problem.
5. Train, train, and train more.
Everything is easy in theory, but being able to execute effectively under pressure and fear requires training. There are many training programs out there, but when shopping for one, make sure it mimics real-life situations, pushes you to your physical limits, and that your body understands the movements. A strong mindset and a well-trained body are very hard to stop once activated.
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