Many people come to UTKM because they are interested in learning practical self-defense skills. One of the most important aspects of understanding self-defense is to know, first and foremost, that size matters, and, consequently, how your size and strength compare to others.
Except for a brief, glorious period during kindergarten where I was the tallest kid in the class, I have always been short compared to my peers. Most of my friends and acquaintances are near or over 6ft tall. Meanwhile, I am 5ft 5.5in tall and currently weigh in at 167lbs.
(Yes, perhaps that BMI could come down a bit, but I’m over 40 and I’ve learned that enjoying life is just as important as longevity.)
In competitive combative sports they use weight classes. The collective wisdom of professional fighting, survival of the fittest, and the history of humanity in general have decided that unless you square off against someone who is generally similar to you in the various dimensions, it won’t be a fair fight.
Unfortunately, on the street there are no weight classes. It’s one person’s malevolence/anger/malcontent/mental health issue/self-preservation against another’s.
Now, forget technique for a second and let’s take a super simplified approach of just “heavy things vs. not heavy things” (aka physics).
Let’s say you are 120lbs. In the broad survey of adult humans, you are not a heavy thing. You will not be able to physically stop a 200lb heavy thing. You won’t even be able to stop a 150lb heavy thing. If the 120lb person is skating directly into a 150lb person on an ice rink, the lighter person will literally bounce off or deflect away from the heavier person.
Think about that for a second. If a 200lb man is simply walking towards you, with no intention of stopping, most likely you are not going to stop that man. The best you will be able to do is push off of him. If he tries to lift you up and you are doing everything you can to be dead weight, you will only feel like 120lbs no matter how hard you try to base down. You will not be able to root into the ground and anchor yourself, no matter what Shaolin Kung Fu tries to tell you. You are not Groot.
If that 200lb man has an outstretched fist and is running toward you, and you start running toward him, you will experience almost twice the amount of impact as he will. That is without any actual wind-up or using any muscle power. That 80lb difference is basically two LARGE sacks of rice. If I “gently” toss 80lbs in your direction, consider how easy or hard it will be for you to catch it.
Not to belabour the point, but if 120lb you and 200lb “bad guy” both wind-up for a punch to the other person’s chest with perfect technique, you will go flying. You *might* hurt the other guy but you won’t lift him off his feet.
I believe most women have had that moment of realization when they suddenly felt very overpowered. This applies to men as well of course, but perhaps, speaking empirically, to a lesser degree. That realization is a key starting point in self-defense, as it informs us immediately of the level of skill, force, and ferocity required in a self-defense situation.
For smaller people, this means you have to be more aggressive, if not outright violent, and you must learn to apply techniques with greater efficiency than someone even just 20lbs heavier than yourself. If you are female, typically you are at even more of a disadvantage. In which case techniques may not be enough and you will have to rely on other aspects of self-defense to escape. Size matters, and learning what that difference feels like will save your life.
UTKM (and Krav Maga) in general is about YOU learning to use techniques properly and effectively, and to overwhelm your opponent(s) if you find yourself unable to avoid the confrontation. If nothing else, attending classes will help you develop an appreciation for the range of scenarios you may find yourself in and opponents that you might face. Learning to take a punch, feeling the unstoppable weight of an attacker, or experiencing waves of panic as you are pressed in from every side, can prepare you so much more for that unwanted encounter in the real world.
This is was Imi Lichtenfeld’s intended goal of Krav Maga: “So that one may walk in peace.”
Written by Danny Y. – UTKM Yellow Belt
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