Critical Thinking – The first step to self Defense

Posted: April 24, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

What is Critical Thinking? Well according to Wikipedia it is this:

Critical thinking is the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment.[1] The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rationalskepticalunbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directedself-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposed assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command to their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism[2][3] and sociocentrism.

It could also put into different terms like this graph does:critical-thinking-worksheet

To me as it relates to our application it is probably one of the most undertaught skills not just in Krav Maga and self-defense but also in the education system in general.  The truth is about reality principle based self-defense systems like Krav Maga is that we understand we cannot actually give you all the answers. Because in that moment of violent confrontation we cannot be there to whisper in your ear to technique 1a then switch to 3 c etc…  If you as a practitioner has not learned to critically think under pressure in that moment of need to make the most correct possible decision to avoid injury or death then there are not enough techniques in the world that can save you. While we can pretend that techniques alone are infallible this would be a lie. There are simply too many factors to consider such as opponent size, speed, and skill. Other things to consider is your own body and nervous systems reaction to the stressful situation which may help or hinder your response times.

Some students come in and already know how to critically think, but most do not. Some can learn and get the idea as thing go along others need to be spoon-fed the information bit by bit. While there is nothing wrong with having a different learning style or pace you must understand that if you cannot get your head away from the what if questions then you may not truly understand how to critically think.

The What if this…line of questioning happens for two reasons. Either,

  1. You are new and are eager to learn, but fail to understand that though krav maga is easy to learn there is still a learning curve and it could take weeks, or months to get your head around the concepts or principles
  2. You simply have not for whatever reason developed critical thinking skills through training even after many years.

At Urban Tactics, if you cannot critically think there is a good chance you may be stuck at the white or yellow belt for quite some time.  This is not meant as an insult but is meant to protect you from your self. If you think you are more skilled than you are and you attempt to do things or deal with situations you may not ready for then you will most likely get hurt or worse. Again it is nothing personal but know that those who always ask what if, you cannot wait to understand the whole process, or just have difficulties with conceptual learning then you are going to have a harder time learning what Krav Maga really is in the first place.

Critical thinking, however, is not just specific to self-defense situations it can be applied to all things in life. The better you are at critical thinking the less likely you are to be scammed. Or to accept a bad deal or a myriad of other things. Critical thinking is not just the bases to self-defense, as the definition suggests it is the most complete method or strategy to quickly problem solve an issue even if it is something you have never encountered before.

Remember, while the first step of any good self defense program should be avoidance, you can only avoid situations no matter what they are by applying critical thinking based on the information you have and which is being presented to you in the moment. Failure to critically think (or to pay attention) is often the reason you failed to avoid the situation in the first place

So before you are too hard on your self as to why you just are not getting it, or your instructor is getting mad at you, know it may have less to do with your technique than you think but more to do with your lack of understanding as to your application. But the only way you will know is by critically thinking in the first place. Then you will know if its really your instructor, or if its your self that is causing the block in your progress.

Critical thinking is the key to good Krav Maga, Good Self Defense, and good problem-solving. So like everything, you must first start with your mind and work your way out.

So remember, you are not just learning a set of techniques, you are really learning to think for your self to have high-level problem solving so that you can avoid and or deal with any violent or nonviolent situation that may come your way so that you truly may walk in peace both mentally and physically.

**Topics under any principle category (EX. Krav Maga Principles) may be updated from time to time so always check in every few months to see if the posts have been updated.

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