An Army marches on its stomach is probably Napoleon Bonaparte’ most famous quote. It is hard to put into perspective for the average person but this is a phenomenon that I personally witness during my service in the IDF. During one particularly difficult section/battalion exercise they decided to stop supplying food. This was suppose to simulate what had happened during the second Lebonan war when the supply lines completely broke down. This was an unpleasant experience as we were expected to perform without sleep, without food and continue the same functionality. Without the basics such as sleep and food the focus of almost all the soldiers began to diminish. All thoughts were on food and sleep and without these basic it consumed everyone to the point of animalistic behavior. Lets break this down. Food is a basic aspect of life and without it we are forced to with draw to our more basic instincts in order to survive. The need for food can overwhelm even the most civilized individual. Abraham Maslow a psychologist conceptualized this in his theory of the hierarchy of needs :A Theory of Human Motivation, 1943
In his theory he suggested that in order for a person to evolve to be their most productive self they must first go through the basics of survival before they can realize their full potential. In this case, basic physiological needs are the base without them we cannot function to the point we can learn and evolve. At this point, you are probably sitting there scratching your head saying, “OK great, now what the hell does this have to do with Krav Maga! “Its simple, we crawl before we walk and we walk before we run. Like survival in order to properly learn Krav Maga or any other martial art for that matter, we must first learn and master the basics.When anyone thinks of Krav Maga they usually think Gun and Knife defense/survival. The reality is, these are not basics. Far too many schools spend more time on these aspects of self defense than the basics rather than first developing the fundamentals of Krav Maga. These schools or “McDojos” are far too common and are making people think they know how to properly defend themselves but they are more likely to get hurt than anything.Depending on where you are learning Krav Maga, the chance of you running into a knife or gun may be high or low. Schools should know what dangers are more specific to their region and focus slightly more time on those aspects as students will see greater benefit and are more likely to successfully defend themselves should they be required to.Below is a comparative pyramid to Maslow’s but with a focus on Krav Maga.
While this is not exact representation of basic to advance it is a basic representation of how I feel a Krav maga curriculum should be built. Just like a soldier needs food, water and other basic provisions to properly focus on their task at hand. A Krav Maga practioner needs to have a strong understanding of the basics before they can really deal with more complex situations.Krav Maga gives you all the tools to deal with any situations. Students ask always what if this, or what if that. The fact is so long as they have been coming fairly regularly they usually already have the answer.Knowing how to disarm a weapon means nothing if you do not know what to do afterwards, this knowledge comes from the basics. Everything you do in life starts with the basics. If you want to do advanced math but don’t have a very good understanding of order of operations then it will be all greek to you. If you do not feed your solders their focus is gone. If you do not understand your striking range, natural speed and situational awareness then knowing how to disarm a knife will mean nothing if you cannot confidently close the distance with out being severally injured.Fundamentals are key. Even though it may be “cool” to skip ahead and say you know how to disarm weapons your fate will be the same as an untrained individual if your fundamentals are not strong.This is true for Krav Maga and it is True for life. Whatever gym you train at make sure its not another Mc Dojo, if it is you are just wasting your money. Build a strong base and you will succeed in anything that builds off of it
Written By: Jonathan F