I’m not going to lie and tell you this article is about being nice and dandy. It’s not! I know you want to be the best you can be and you want to be able to kick anyone's ass in any situation, you want to be untouchable (though you don’t admit it freely). It’s natural, we’ve all watched too much television and grown up in a world where violence has been glorified. We want to see ourselves as the hero who can function effectively in the face of adversity and stick-it to the villains of the world.
Reality is never that perfectly written, and without trying to get to the root causes of such desires, I’m just going to offer some pathways for you to get yourself closer to that destination. If you really want it, you need consistency, dedication and clear focus. On top of that, having, passion to fuel you is important.
First of all, I do not condone inappropriate use of force and actions in violent situations and conflict. Imi, the Founder of Krav Maga was a big advocate of his students being ‘good citizens’, and we hold that core value very close to our hearts.
Never-the-less, here’s an overview of my tips to becoming the Krav Maga weapon you've always wanted to be…
Please note that what I’m listing below isn’t for everyone! If you’re willing to go the extra mile, then you’re in for a good shot.
Train In Your Krav Maga Gym for a Minimum 5 Hours a Week. Whether you do a few classes back to back, or spread it over a few sessions, it’s important that you’re getting good exposure to training. If you see the opportunity to do more, then do more!
Get Super Fit. Sure you don’t need to be an athlete to defend yourself, but if you want to be a WOMD then I suggest you get super fit and agile. Do lots of running, skipping, ladder drills, pad rounds, HIIT, strength work, etc. Do as much as you can so that you have the ability to defend and attack from any position effortlessly. Make sure whatever you do is functional so that it transfers to your Krav Maga.
Acclimatisation Drilling. I first learned about this topic from Deane Lawler. The most basic way for me to explain is that it teaches you to ignore the shock of an attack and go on the offensive as quickly as possible (if not simultaneously in the worst case situation).
How does it work? The attacker will aim to stun you to simulate the shock of being hit, and you’re job is to disregard the shock and strike back. The aim is to create a pattern of instinctive countering. It becomes subconscious and really, REALLY, REALLY works magic! If there was just one idea you’d take out of this out of this whole article, it’s acclimatization.
How to drill it: Have your partner hold two focus mitts in their hands. They will attack you to the head with circular hand strikes. You must do a head cover/gunt and an immediate, powerful counter to focus mitts (remember, power is derived from speed, mass and distribution/technique; you can modify this to suit your needs, and we'll release videos to show variations).
It resonates with me and the focus I put on teaching and training. It’s inline with Krav Maga principles and with my personal experiences in the real world. As someone who has been in many real violent situations, I can say that this form of training really gets you conditioned to the reality of these situations and to the reality of what it takes to survive.
Get The Killer Instinct. If you don’t develop this, you’ll likely be in shit. You need to have a real brutal and vicious machine inside you, ready to switch into a bloodthirsty, cannibalistic animal that refuses to be taken down. You have to be badder than the bad. You need to get in touch with your dark side, and really embrace it to help you fight for the forces of light. If you’re too nice, you might need to work on this!
To survive real conflict, you need to be able to lift your game to a whole new intensity and you need aggression, determination, courage and a fair bit of ‘crazy’ to get through it.
Work on developing strong intentions and actions to what you need to do. Meaning paint in your mind and in your training all the tools to be brutally effective. While doing this always aim to create a mind that cannot be distracted from the task and that will do whatever it takes.
Do 30-60 minutes of Shadow Krav Maga Daily. You can call this whatever you want. Just ensure you’re working on your Krav Maga in a way where you’re practising your striking, footwork, and defences in the air. Focus on good form, having flow, and on working from natural positions/points in time. You want to give yourself a good contextual understanding of Krav Maga and doing it like this will help you make it all natural. You may feel awkward doing it initially, but that’s part of the process when integrating your movements so they become like second-nature to you. Remember that perfect practice makes perfect, so go in with the right attitude, energy and focus so that you have good awareness of yourself.
Repetition is only good if your technique is good. If you do it wrong, you just drilled a bad habit, so stay aware.
Ensure You’re Pressure Testing And Scenario Drilling. You need to be running live testing drills that simulate reality as close as possible. You’ll hopefully get lots of drills in class, but if not, just organise a little group and do it somewhere on the side. I’d be looking at doing this at least 1-2 hours a week and doing as many multiple attacker rounds as possible. *Remember to always put safety first. Do it realistically, but do it responsibly.*
Do Pad Rounds. If you don’t do enough in class, consider doing them elsewhere. You should do at least 18 x 1-2 minute rounds a week. Mix it up so that the intensity is always changing.
Spar More Than A Few Rounds A Weeks. If you’re not sparring and trying your skills against other resisting opponents, then good luck when you deal with it for the first (and possibly last) time on the street. You can extend this to all pressure drills, multiple attackers and so on with full safety gear on.
Condition your mind. Visualise and practice concepts like NLP (Neural Linguistic Programming; a mental patterning tool) to condition yourself for the success you’re after. Visualise all aspects of any situation, any attribute and so on to improve your mental comprehension. It has been proven that athletes who visualise and work on their mindset learn faster and perform better than those that do not.
Get A Full Contact Job. Go be a bouncer, or take up a job as a hired hand with the Mafia. Just kidding! Working in a situation where you’re practising all your skills, including de-escalation and conflict resolution will help you. Just don’t get killed and don’t break the law! For most people this will be unreasonable, and I understand, but some of you will feel that you need to take this step, especially if you’ve never been in a real fight in your life. The alternative is to go start some fights, but we don’t advocate that at all, so don’t!
Practice 1 or 2 Showstopper Techniques. Have 1 or 2 techniques you can use to preemptively strike and take out a threat. Something simple and direct, aimed at vital points to neutralise the threat quickly and with maximum efficiency, with minimum time and energy. Practice these techniques from positions where you look non-threatening and non-telegraphic.
Learn How To Retzev. You need to have a good compound attack (a sequence of attacks that do not stop). The only thing with this one is that you want to keep it very simple and, like the show stopper techniques, you need to be able to drill it and rely on it. Start with a good sequence of powerful hand attacks, that goes forward relentlessly, viciously and with the prime objection to overwhelm and destroy the opponent.
Toughen Up Your Tools. Most people will probably disagree with me, but who cares! Toughen up your shins, knuckles, forearms and body through conditioning work and hitting things. You know how it feels when you collide with someone’s shin, or their forearm on outside defences right? Well imagine it barely hurt you. I can’t tell you how many times people have wacked into my shins, and it hasn’t even fazed me, while they’re walking off to the side with regret on their faces. (All because I spent my teenage years kicking poles).
Record Yourself. Use your camera phone, or your camera and record yourself doing different types of training. Refer to it often and use it to fix areas of concern, and/or refine upon something.
Be Open To Learning From Others. I think to really get a holistic understanding of any topic that we need to have an open mind and not just conform and keep a status quo. Yes, if you’re really passionate about Krav Maga, increase your world-view on the topic. Learning from more than one source is not a bad thing. It can help validate things, expand knowledge and so much more. We do our best in Krav Maga Systems to give as much of a holistic approach as possible, but still, if you really want to understand the world of Krav Maga, you need to do some research and ask lots of questions.
Mirror, Mirror On The Wall. Yeah, I say it all the time and I’ll say it again. Train in front of a mirror! You will see what you do and be able to correct it there are then. Every exceptional Kravist, fighters or martial artists I know does this!
Watch Lots Of Real Life CCTV & Combat Sports. Balance these out. Look at how real life conflict starts and escalates and what it looks like. Establish a good grounds for reality, even if you’ve been there and done that. Train with those situations in mind, and feel free to recreate them in a scenario. Learn from them to understand the mind of you potential enemy.
Practice De-escalation In Training. Probably the most important thing one needs is a good skills in de-escalation. Think of it as your own personal Iron Dome. The Iron Dome intercepts and destroys missiles that are aimed at targets within Israel. Your Iron Dome is constantly looking for threats in the awareness stages, but if something gets into its path it intercepts it without fail.
Look at this intercept as a pattern interrupt or a pattern change instead and make sure you’re training in how to talk down a potential threat first where it is possible. This is very important in your training and sits in the realm of knowing your stages of conflict, force continuum, and a whole lot of other things.
If you’re a bit shy in training, practice it solo (in the mirror is a good place to start). Having more than just physical skills is important. I often think about how I could talk my way out of a lot of situations because I understand what’s happening and where I am in the stages of conflict. Having such knowledge and being to apply it is really important!
Anyway, I could just keep on going, but I’ll leave it at that. These are some tips for you and I hope they help you greatly. May you walk in peace dear friend!