Keep Your Hands Up! Keep Your Hands Up! Keep Your Hands Up!

Passive stance.jpg
Hands up in a Semi Passive Stance.

Audio by Jonathan Fader

If there’s one thing you need to learn on your first day of class when learning Krav Maga, other than avoiding the fight, it is KEEP YOUR HANDS UP!

Keeping your hands up to protect your head, face, and neck is such an important principle that it changes how we do a lot of techniques in Krav Maga, as compared to other styles.

A boxing Jab or Cross thrown from certain boxing guards may be faster or more powerful, but they leave your head exposed (such as a low guard) and, unless you are a master of head movement, it is foolish to drop your hands in this fashion.

The same principles of Cause Pain, Off-balance, and Disrupt the mental process we apply to our assailants can also be applied to us. Therefore, we must do what we can, at all times, to protect our head, face, and neck.

If we assume there are multiple assailants, this changes how cautious we need to be in keeping our hands up. Your skill as a striker may be sufficient to drop your hands against one opponent, but now, with your hands down, it is easy for their friend to sneak up and punch you in the side of the face.

The other thing is, keeping your hands up is an easy, basic defence if you do not have the skill to apply other methods or strategies; at least you can protect your head, face, and neck long enough to escape.

Note: Keeping your hands up should never obscure your vision to the point you can no longer see the threat. If you lose track of the threat your reaction time will be dramatically slower, as you must now re-identify and re-assess the threat via the mental processing model, which takes the time you do not have.

If you have never had your Krav Maga instructor tell you “Keep Your Hands Up!” then perhaps you need a new instructor.

As mentioned, this concept is so important that it changes how we train; as we willingly sacrifice speed or power in order to maintain at least one hand up at all times. If your hand is not punching, or controlling, or doing something to cause pain, off-balance, or disrupt, then it should be up protecting the vitals (as we will repeat, many times).

This idea becomes even more important when knives are involved, as that hand, up protecting your neck and face, could be the difference between life and death; as one sharp blade across your carotid artery could mean the end of everything.

So, if you haven’t gotten the point yet. KEEP YOUR HANDS UP!

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