To Krav private lesson, or not to Krav private lesson?

Posted: June 15, 2016 by Jonathan Fader in Krav Maga Opinions, Krav Maga Philosophy
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A lot of people think that taking private lessons will automatically help them improve more quickly. Is that true though? For some martial arts, private lessons could be the difference between gold and bronze. What about for Krav Maga, which isn’t about winning medals but about personal safety?

From my business perspective, I could make much more money teaching regular private lessons. However, from a personal perspective, private lessons can tweak and perfect your technique, and group lessons provide certain key elements that are crucial to good Krav Maga training.

Here are 3 cons and 3 pros of Krav Maga private lessons!

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Con #1

A huge part of good Krav Maga training is aggression. You must learn how to control it, develop it, and use it as needed in a survival situation. This cannot be created in a private lesson with only one or two students and the instructor. A good simulation of chaos similar to what it would be like in a real self-defense scenario usually needs several people to create. Not to mention, a full class of people will have more distractions, which will require you to focus more in order to keep your aggression on point, which is more realistic.

In a one-on-one training session, it is basically impossible to simulate atmospheric aggression and chaos simply due to lack of bodies present.

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Con #2

Training with the same person or people repeatedly can often give people a false sense of security and confidence in their abilities, reach, and power. For example, a 100lb person who only does private lessons with a similar sized partner may never know what it feels like to fight a 200lb beast. Such things happen to both men, women and children. In training, I have seen many students who have become accustomed to training partners of a specific size and strength, and when they’re presented with someone considerably larger, I see their expression of fear when they realize their overestimated their capability.

This can be very dangerous. Without experience with different sizes and strengths, it is very difficult for you to properly assess your likelihood of success.

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Con #3

Often, people think that having the instructor to train one-on-one means their focus is 100% on you. This is true.

The problem with that is the instructor is most likely also the one holding the pads, sparring with you, and generally standing close to you. They do not have the opportunity to step back and take a look at your performance from the outside. From my personal experience teaching private lessons, it is hard to see everything a student does right and wrong while I am also trying to make sure I do not get hit in the face should a punch miss the pad and go elsewhere — into my face (which has happened). This is a big reason I often allow (and prefer) 2 people in a private session. Not only can the individual train with a friend, but they can receive better training as the instructor (me) can take a step back to get a broader perspective of the performance.

If it’s always just you and your instructor, you might not see the kind of improvement you are looking for, especially with Krav Maga.

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Pro #1

This one is quite obvious. Usually, the students who are totally ready to test get nervous or anxious. Do I know everything? Am I really ready? As such, they often request a private in order to hone their technique and boost their confidence.

If you are interested in refining your skills in preparation for a specific event, in part with your regular training, then private lessons is a great way to do it.

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Pro #2

If you think it may be hard for you to keep up in your regular classes due to injury or impairment, private lessons you to operate at your own pace. If you love to train, but were recently injured and still want to train, then a private might be for you! Your body may not be functioning the way you want and may need modified techniques, drills, and/or training to keep you going. The same can be said for those with disabilities. While we always like to be as inclusive as possible, sometimes certain physical activities and especially combat sports can be very difficult. In addition, moves  may need to be heavily altered to accommodate disabilities and injuries in order to determine which of a person’s body parts are the best tools to properly defend him or herself.

If you are someone who needs significant training modifications compared to the average person, you can definitely still train and privates might be the best place to start.

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Pro #3

Whether you are an A-Lister or someone managing agoraphobia, if you wish to train without others around, private lessons are an obvious good option. Maybe you simply wish to train without the distraction of gawking fans. Maybe you have social anxiety.

Whatever your personal reason is, you can get the privacy you need through one-on-one classes.

So… to private lesson, or no to private lesson?

Which scenario best suits you? What will be the most effective learning environment to make you the best Krav practitioner you can possibly be? Regardless of your personal preference for private lessons, it is still not entirely suitable for complete Krav Maga training. I have mentioned that group lessons are important for creating a naturally chaotic atmosphere to simulate reality. From my perspective as an instructor, a 3 private lessons to 1 group lesson is a good ratio. Not only can this drastically speed up your learning curve, but it can also give you appropriate perspective of your ability in Krav Maga.

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