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 two, 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 because he’s a physical marvel. To expect the 99 pound weakling in class to do the same is expecting a miracle.
In Krav Maga any technique we teach has to pass the litmus test of being able to be done effectively 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.
As a matter of fact, if you know the history or Krav Maga you know that it was developed for the Israeli Defense Forces way back in the late 40′s and 50′s (although it wasn’t named “Krav Maga” until Imi Lichtenfeld named it that in 1971). At that time everyone in the country had to spend time in the IDF. Everyone ages 18-55, both sexes, couch potatoes as well as athletes. Techniques to save lives couldn’t be anything that relied on strength, size or athletic ability, because the majority of people they were teaching had none!!
Below is one of my favorite techniques for a smaller, weaker person to defend themselves with. Watch the small female knock the bouncer out…and 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.