Archive for the ‘Krav Maga Principles’ Category

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.


Recognizing the attack type of your opponent and understanding how to react appropriately will greatly increase your ability to defend your self. Generally, we don’t have to much time in a split second attack to identify if there is a weapon or if its an unarmed attack but what we can quickly identify what kind of attack is it generally.

To keep it simple and practical we have two general attack type. Straight Line attacks and Circular or peripheral attacks.

  • Eye Flick

    Example of a straight line attack. Eye Flick

    Straight Line Attacks – Straight line attacks are exactly as they sound. Any attack that is a straight line from the attacker to you. If telegraphed these are the lunge type attacks, though they don’t have to be telegraphed.  These attacks are often quite fast as they have little time to travel as it is well, a straight line.

    • Solution – With all straight line attacks you must re-direct, and get off the centerline if possible. With these attacks, we have 300% option. 100% re-direct the attack with, for example, a vertical sweep. 200% Move your body at an angle to get off the centre line. 300% burst at a 45-degree angle to the side of the attacker. Each one of these in the moment will avoid the attack but it is best to do them all, as you just never know.
    • Examples: Straights, and Jabs, Straight knife attacks or lunges, straight kicks, like push kicks or groin kicks.


  • Roundhouse Kick No Pad 4.jpg

    Example of a circular attack. Roundhouse kick

    Circular Attacks – These attacks come from an outward angle towards the centre of the body. These are often, but not always considered power shots with the intent of generating as much power as possible.

    • Solution – With all circular attacks you must block first, especially if there is a knife. While you can just move out of the way, blocking directly stops the initial attack pattern. After which we usually must burst into the opponent attempting to apply Retsef and off balance cause pain and disrupt. How we block is also important as we must yous the biomechanical strength of our body by creating angles with the bone structure to deal with the amount of power that is generated by circular attacks.
    • Examples: Haymakers, Hooks, Roundhouse kicks, knees

Training & Muscle Memory

Posted: March 27, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
Tags: , , ,

Muscle memory.jpgHow you train in the gym is how you will react in the street. The more you repeat a movement, the more your body will know how to do it. The more you practice, the faster you will react. There is a saying; a true master forgets all he knows. This is due to muscle memory. (It should be noted that it is actually your neurons, and nervous system getting trained how to fire and when, which intern activates the muscles) The more time you take to think on how to move or react, the more likely a situation can go from bad to worse.

Bruce Lee famously said,

I fear not the man who has practised 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practised one kick 10,000 times. [yes, this quote again]

By continuing to practice the basics over and over your body reaches a point that you will act without fear, instantly dealing with a situation to which you hope never happens but for which you have practised over and over.

Of course, there is some negative aspects to muscle memory. If you practice incorrectly for too long this also will become your muscle memory. Because of this, it is better to practice slowly but correctly than fast and incorrectly. As well, muscle memory may cause you to act in a way that can be inappropriate. The reason we always say to look first prior to attacking is so that you do not just react arbitrarily. You must always identify if something is a threat or not prior to acting. Failing to assess properly and relying solely on muscle memory could result in you injuring your friends or family as they attempt to simply hug you.

We also tell the famous story of the police officer who got himself killed due to muscle memory. He taught how to disarm guns and knives regularly. After every drill, however, they would pass the gun or knife to their partner without even thinking about it. This action was repeated over many years of training. One day an individual pulled a gun on the officer, he disarmed the individual and then without even thinking passed the gun back. The officer was shot and killed. (This story, or versions of the story have been repeated by different agencies all over the world. So it happens.)

Muscle memory is how we get good at the movements but we must always remain conscious of all our actions. Be alert, be observant and always take that split second to decide if an action is appropriate.

For Kravists, a big part of training muscle memory isn’t about just drilling the techniques but training the mind to function under stress. While it is important to first learn the technique and how it works, you must also train the environment that you expect to practice it in as well. Most self defense scenarios are stressful, you may be tired, you may be sore, you may be drunk but you will most likely not be expecting it, and will probably be stressed or have a rush of adrenaline. This is something we must also train into muscle memory.

If your Krav Gym looks more like a Karate class, with Katas all the time, no active sparring and very little stress testing you need to look elsewhere. Good Krav Maga is not just technique, but also strategy and mental training. As our motto says, we Turn Lambs into lions. So know, that to properly train your muscle memory we WILL push you to your limits and expect you to function. Because failing to be able to do so, may mean the difference between life and death.

So train hard, train properly, and train yourself to the point when you can act without thinking and still make the right choice.



You have probably heard the expressionno groin, no Krav Maga”. Of all of the vulnerable points on the body, this is one of the easiest to access and is one of the more sensitive areas, especially for men. One quick kick, knee, punch or anything to the groin can possibly stop your opponent outright. It can also be reached from all ranges: long, medium and short.

Pros Cons
§  Highly sensitive for both men and women

§  Relatively exposed to a leg kick

§  People are more aware of this vulnerable point

§  Attacks are more likely to be blocked

§  Some may be desensitized to groin strikes

Suggested moves against groin: Groin Flip Kick, Straight Groin Kick, Push Kick, Knees, Palm Strikes, Punches


A well placed shot to the abdomen can potentially drop your opponent, especially to the liver or solar plexus. However, it is not always a guarantee as many people can condition themselves to take hits to this region.

Pros Cons
§  Many vulnerable parts: liver, solar plexus, stomach, floating ribs, etc.

§  Well-placed shots can cause severe pain

§  High damage to opponents

§  Strike must be strong and well-placed

§  Pro fighters usually train their abs to take hits

Suggested moves against abdomen: Knee, Front Kick, Straight Punch, Uppercut


The throat is another major target that can stop anyone in their tracks. However, it can be a dangerous target if you do not know what you are doing. Seven lbs of force on the throat can cause windpipe collapse and ultimately kill a person. Be careful with this one.

Pros Cons
§  Easy to access

§  Highly effective

§  You might accidentally kill your opponent

Suggested moves against throat: Straight Punches, Elbows, Strike with the webbing between your thumb and index finger.


The neck contains the spinal column, the carotid artery which supplies blood to the brain, and the jugular vein which takes blood from the brain. If anyone of these were severed a person could die anywhere from rapidly to instantly. Restricting blood to the brain with a technique like a choke hold can take only 6 seconds for a person to pass out. Also, the back of the neck is extremely sensitive to impacts, and strikes to this region can be very effective and possibly deadly.

Pros Cons
§ Attacks on C3-C7 could paralyze a human

§ Attacks on C3-C5 could disrupt nerves signals to the diaphragm, necessary for breathing

§ Neck contains the brain’s major blood supply, the carotid artery and jugular vein run along the sternocleidomastoid muscle (from the clavicle to behind the ear)

§ Difficult to access unless opponent is bent over, or already softened up


Suggested moves against neck: Downward Elbow, Downward Hammer Punch, Guillotine Choke, Rear Naked Choke


One solid strike to the chin can be the end for many, but not all. This is a target for more experienced confident strikers, and one can, at any time, knock someone out with a well-placed shot.

Pros Cons
§  Vulnerable against forces from the side

§  Shockwave will cause concussion

§  Ineffective if opponent tucks their chin and has hands up

Suggested moves against chin: Hammer Punch, Elbow, Hook Punch


The nose is one of the easiest targets on the face to strike and it can be very effective. As well, the nose is very close to the eyes and the tear ducts. A solid strike can often cause a person to cry in response. In addition, the nose can be broken or caused to bleed fairly easily which may stop your opponent for both pain and psychological reasons.

Pros Cons
§  Highly sensitive area

§  Could stop opponent’s movement

§  Could gain control of their head

§  Difficult to access if opponent’s hands are up

Suggested moves against nose: Straight Punches, Forward Elbow, Grab, Palm Strikes


The eyes are, without a doubt, the single best target to strike on a person. Any person who has even accidentally flicked themselves in the eye knows how unnerving this can be. In addition, if you take out a person’s sight, if only temporarily, you can put them at a severe disadvantage as sight is considered our most important sense.

Pros Cons
§  Most sensitive sensory organs on body

§  Even light touches will stop one’s movement

§  With enough pressure, you can control the opponent’s head movement

§  Difficult to access

§  People would naturally protect this area

Suggested moves against eyes: Eye Gouges, Straight Punches, Finger Flicks


For those who have long enough hair to grab, it can unfortunately be used against you by assailants. However, this also means you can use it against others. Hair can be used to control a person’s head movement and thus their body using pain compliance. This is the reason many martial artists choose to have short or no hair.

Pros Cons
§   Allows you to control opponent’s head and subsequently the whole body §   Some people may have short or no hair

Suggested moves against hair: Grab or Pull


The ears are often an overlooked target. But like the eyes, if you strike just right it could end the fight on the spot. But as it is on the head, an opponent that is actively defending themselves may make it difficult to strike these small targets.

Pros Cons
§  Can stop the threat quickly as it attacks not just hearing but balance and coordination §   Might be hard to hit in a manner that disrupts the senses

§   May cause permanent damage, so you must be able to articulate why you did it.

Suggested moves against hair: Hook punch, Ear smash/pop


Knees are one of the most important joints on the body for mobility, but because they are a hinge joint and only like to move in a specific way can be injured easily. But, they are excellent targets especially on larger opponents as if you take out their base effectively the fight is ended. Remember, the bigger they are the harder they fall.

Pros Cons
§  Easy to target on an unsuspecting opponent

§  A well-placed shot can be extremely effective at reducing the opponent’s mobility

§   Requires considerable skill with well-placed kicks and timing to hit accurately

§   May cause permanent damage, so you must be able to articulate why you did it.

Suggested moves against hair: Round House, Oblique Kick


Though not as effective a target as the knees, feet can be the best choice when there is no other option. These targets often present themselves in grabs and holds where your options are limited

Pros Cons
§  Easy to target on an unsuspecting opponent

§  Low risk to you, as your heel is unlikely to get damaged even in bare feet

§   Shoes may restrict damage

§   Not always a realistic target unless you already screwed up.

Suggested moves against hair: Foot Stop

Do not forget about these vulnerabilities. While they are the areas we target in Krav Maga, never forget that attackers can use these same points on you. There is a reason why in class we keep telling you to keep your hands up, chin tucked and to be aware. Preventing your opponent from accessing any of these points on you before you access them on your opponent can make the difference between having a good or bad day.

**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.

The Body: Weapons & Ranges

Posted: March 13, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
Tags: , , ,

If you seriously intend on learning to defend yourself you must understand range. Range means how close you have to be to another person in order to use your body’s weapons.

  • Long range (LR) – Kicks etc..



Groin Flick Kick 3

Example: Groin Flick Kick/Groin jab. All kicks are long range.



  • Medium Range (MR) – Punches etc…


Eye Flick

Example: Eye Flick. All punch or attacks with extended but not completely locked out arms are medium range attacks.


  • Short Range (SR) – Elbows, Knees, Grabbing etc…


Krav Maga Knee 4

Example: Knee Any attack that can be done from a clinch or control point is a close range attack


  • Control point (CP) – Reference point 1, Reference point 2, Point of Dominance etc..


Reference point 1 takedown grip 1

Example: Reference point 1 control, or live side control. Controls are positions in which you have broken down the opponent and are controlling their body in some way.


As much as you can you should keep your distance in the long range region prior to conflict. This allows you to assess the overall situation while still being able to attack your opponent if you need to.  If you need to pre-emptivley (PE) Strike, you should usually start from your long range as you properly assessed and kept your distance. If you decide you need to fight instead of run, attack in whatever range you are in and begin closing the distance. Once you have done this, you can control, and disengage or control and take down, depending on your skill, objective and what will most effectively stop the threat for the situation.

One of the best ways to become effective at closing the distance and learning your ranges is to spar. While learning self defense techniques does not require sparring, it is a MUST if you are serious about your training.

**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.

Avoid Injury

Posted: March 6, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles
Tags: , ,

Another important founding idea of Krav Maga is to avoid injury.


Avoid Injury.jpg

This is of course in jest, but no seriously…


It is both a fundamental principle and expectation that you will do your best to avoid injury in both training and in real life. In the gym, we train hard. We kick, punch and spar, but at no point in training is it permitted to intentionally hurt your training partners or instructors.

On the street, hopefully, all the knowledge you gain in the gym will help you avoid outright fights. However, should you find your self in such a situation you must remember, you probably have a day job. Unlike professional fights who make tens of thousands and sometimes millions to fight. They can afford to take months off to heal, you cannot. If you throw a punch in self defense and break your hand, but you require it to do your job, you may have survived the conflict, but you affected your self negatively because of it.

It is because of this Krav Maga prefers techniques that minimize (but not eliminate) the risk of injury during the conflict.

The most common example of this is how we punch. Kravists should be punching with 45 Degree Knuckle.jpgtheir first 45 degrees in relation to the ground, not overextending their elbows and using their bodies to generate the power. Unlike boxing where there is gloves and which it is acceptable to over rotate the fist for more range and arguably more power. Or wing Chung which uses vertical fists to increase the speed. Kravists choose the middle ground between power and speed so that our punches are more likely to land with the larger two knuckles.

Another example is the concept of soft on hard, hard on soft in which we use hard parts of our bodies on the soft parts of the attacker’s body and soft parts of our bodies on the hard parts of their bodies. An example of this would be switching to a palm strike if we are fast enough to notice they have lowered their head exposing the hard part of the skull. Punch this with bare knuckles and you may break your hand, but a palm strike will deliver the same effective force with limited damage to yourself.

So remember, both in training and practical application a Kravist will always take the past with the least chance of injury to themselves.

Note: Of course it must be remembered, that Krav Maga literally means contact combat of close combat, and accidents do happen. As such it is unrealistic to expect through years of training you will never get hurt. Choosing not to practice or train because of fear of injury is not good at all. This is a common thing as people accidentally get injured and then create a mental block from training. Just remember, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the faster you bounce back the happier and healthier you will be.

**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.


Keep It Simple, Keep it Linear

Posted: February 27, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

One of the founding principles of Krav Maga was to keep it simple, easy to learn and base it off of natural body reactions and movements. This is the principle that makes Krav Maga so easy to learn as you practice regularly unlike other styles that have a steep and long learning curve.

By keeping it simple, it is far easier to train the nervous system to respond appropriately under duress. If you have trained for a limited time but have learned a 1000 techniques it is unlikely under stress you will be able to function in a realistic manner.

As Bruce lee famously said

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

This is because practising the same simple movements over and over again means proficiency. Drilling the techniques slowly and then faster under stress trains and refines your reaction to being faster and faster.

Another analogy of more modern times is the toolbox. If you have more tools in the toolbox it is likely it will be messy and harder to find the tool you need. But if you only have a few tools, the ones that are only required for the job it will be far easier to pick it and do the job right.

In the Krav Maga world, some organizations adhere to this still, and some do not. Its ok, to learn tones of techniques if you are planning on training for the long term, but like all martial arts most people tap out after 1-2 years. Which means if you really want to defend yourself you must have practices 10000 times the same techniques for them to be effective.

Keeping it linear is more in line with keeping to natural body motions and logical attack patterns. Why add fancy circular motions that while looking nice take longer than a straight line approach would have taken. Remember, the faster you off balance, disrupt or cause pain that faster you can stop the threat. But if you add beautiful yet complicated movements it is possible for the attacker to turn the tables on you.

So keep it simple stupid, and lather, rinse and repeat what you need to know for your basics. If of course, you decide to train for the long haul then you can start exploring more complicated techniques.

If you have trained with various Krav Maga schools and organizations you may understand, but if you have trained only with one school or style you will probably say, “Isn’t all Krav Maga the same?” The reality is, each organization takes a slightly different approach to Krav Maga. If they maintain the core principles of Krav Maga then it is still Krav Maga, but if they stray too far and integrate too much of another style from traditional martial arts, forgetting the principles of Krav Maga then they are not teaching Krav Maga. We have noticed that there are two trends in the Krav Maga world that are mildly conflicting, and they are:

  • Keep it as simple as possible – This actually falls in line well with basic Krav Maga original philosophies. In reality, when you are stressed, you are going to react with your instinctual or highly trained response. Which means the simpler you keep it, the easier the system is to use in real life.


Pros Cons
§   React with ease without thinking

§  Overwhelm your opponent quickly

§  One size doesn’t fit all

§  People come in different shapes, sizes, and strengths 

  • Have an answer for everything –
    This makes sense because in real life you have no idea what is going to come at you. What if your attacker’s style is something you are not familiar with and have no idea what to do. Understanding every possible scenario and having an answer for it can be beneficial, if you have memorized everything and have trained sufficiently to be able to act appropriately.
Pros Cons
§  There won’t be a scenario in which you don’t know what to do in theory §  Learning a move that simply works is pointless to an overall strategy

§  You won’t know what to do unless you learn the application of self-defense

§  You are probably closer to the one who learned 10000 kicks than practice one 10000 times.


  • Our solution – We recognize that it is a balance of the two, though we learn more to the original philosophy of keeping it simple. Our curriculum and teaching style is one in which it forces the student to think. We cannot always be there to guide you so instead we give you a basic framework and strategy with which to work. Remember, asking us “What if this or that?” will always result in the same answer, “It depends”, as everything is based on the situation and your assessment of it.

While we teach you basic moves and ideas it is possible you will encounter something you have not seen before, in which case it is up to you to adapt and plug in a move that fits the strategy. In the early stages, we may teach a few options on how to deal with a specific situation. As you develop your skills we simply ask that you pick the one that works best for you and get good at it, but still, remember the other options just in case. We also often add in new moves as Krav Maga is meant to adapt. However, if a move does not fit into our strategy and is just another move we scrap it. Remember, “Keep it simple stupid”, but what works for me may not work for you, but follow the Krav Maga strategy and principles and you will be just fine.

**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.

Avoid the Ground

Posted: February 20, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles


Attacker has knife

you want to arm bar me? Heres a knife.

The ground and Krav Maga have a love-hate relationship. As a General rule, we avoid it. We never intentionally go to the ground. The only reason we should be on the ground is that we tripped, slipped, fell or were forced by an attacker. Our goal, when it comes to ground fighting is a simple one. GET UP!, no really, GET UP AS FAST AS YOU CAN and back to your feet.


Whenever we do end up in a grappling entanglement on the ground the goal is to go from a worse position to any better position, to a neutral position, whereas no one person has an advantage and back to the feet again. Even in that short description of our strategy, it can actually be quite complicated. Add in the fact they could have weapons or friends, the ground becomes an exponentially dangerous place no matter your skill.


Attacker has friends.jpg

On the Ground, it can be easy for other people to join in. The head kick is a common attack.

Another reason we must avoid the ground is that despite things that are commonly believed in Krav Maga like, “I can just punch them in the groin, or Poke them in the eye” it must be remembered that your attacker can do the same thing to you. If you are not proficient on the ground or have never trained with a high-level grappler than you may be completely overestimating your ability to get up as many of our students find out regularly.


Lastly, Size matters, no matter what anyone says. If a larger opponent can knock you out easily standing up they will have a far easier time pinning you to the ground as they have now taken away your only major advantage. Speed and skill and the ability to be explosive. Granted a proficient small attacker can outclass a larger opponent but there is a point of diminishing returns.

The ground and fighting on the ground is complicated and dangerous period.

This is one of the reasons at UTKM for a Black belt you are required to supplement your Krav Maga training with Grappling and a blue belt in BJJ or equivalent is mandatory. Why, because it takes that long to be proficient on the ground and must be taken seriously.

So long story short, stay off the ground and don’t ever let your opponent put you there in a self-defence scenario. Because it quite possibly could be the end of the fight for one or both of you.

**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.

They say in life that if you assume, you just make an ASS out of U and ME. The problem is, sometimes assuming could save your life. Just like in life, we have to make certain assumptions in Krav Maga to ensure our maximum survival in any situations.

Assume they have a weapon

Assuming that your attacker has a weapon even if it is not readily identifiable could save your life. This is because, when weapons are involved it changes what should or should not do with regards to controlling a person or your tactics. Obviously, if you know there is a weapon you will not fall into such traps but if you don’t see one, but assume they have one then you can also avoid such mistakes.

An example would be controlling the arm. In wrestling, it is totally acceptable to under hook the opponents arm above the elbow near the shoulder. This is often called a Whizzer. Unfortunately, while such a control may be great at controlling their body, it does not, however, control their arms ability to bend at the elbow. A motion, perfect for stabbing and slashing. You may get your Whizzer control, but maybe it was dark, and maybe you didn’t see the weapon, now you assumed incorrectly and your control is no longer sufficient for weapon control. In this particular case, a better control must immobilize their arms ability to stab or slash. Just like in splinting for first aid always isolated the joints below and one above. If a person has a knife, they are holding the knife which essentially eliminates those from moving, so you should do your best to control near the wrist and prevent the elbow from moving easily.

This is just one example, however, assuming they have a weapon drastically changes your acceptable control mechanism and your tactics.

Another example would be if you are a sports striker, say Muay Thai or kickboxing. You decide you want to “dance” with your attacker because you recognize your skillset to be far greater. However, you failed to assume they had a weapon and you go for a clinch controlling their head and neck. They’ve had enough, they pull a weapon and next thing you know your guts are all over the floor.

Most styles, fail to assume this and train for it appropriately. Your style may be perfect for unarmed, but if you have little to no experiences with knives or guns you may have a problem. See the example in this tragic story here. In this case, the weapon was identifiable, but it still wasn’t enough.

Weapons change everything.

Assume they have friends

Another thing we need to assume is that the attacker travels in groups. Remember, in the real world there is no ref, there is no cage and any person even not their friend can jump in. You could agree, to a fair fight for example, and you start to win, but their friends think its unfair and jump in and you went from winning to losing.

Or you got away from the initial attack but forgot to scan and look around and didn’t see the other attacker 20 feet away who now lays you out because you mistakenly thought you were already safe.

Forget Honor, forget rules of engagement and just assume that their friend is ready to cold-cock you in the back of the head. Because failing to constantly check for more than one attacker, could turn a “good” encounter with violence into the one we all fear. Worse yet, if one person has attacked you and there is a group it is easy for mob mentality to kick in and normally peaceful “friends” now become bloodthirsty goons.

So remember, until you are truly away to safety, assume there is another attacker

Assume it didn’t work

While we try to use the most efficient reliable techniques, in the end of the day you need to remember. Techniques can fail, or you could miss, or they could be better. It’s because of this, we have strategies like Retzef and Cause pain, Off Balance and Disrupt. If I assume that what I did for whatever reason was not sufficient to stop the threat then I must always Continue constantly, while maximizing my effectiveness until the threat is in fact stop. Words do not always work, no matter how much we would like, so then we must continue our strategy. The same however can be said for violence, if it doesn’t initially work, we either need to escalate or escape to fight another day. The truth is, that in the moment we don’t really know until the dust has settled. So, it is a safe thing to assume that would you did, didn’t work so that you don’t prematurely stop and end up the losing end of the fight.

**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.

Retzef – Constant, Continous Attack

Posted: January 30, 2018 by urbantacticskravmaga in Krav Maga Principles

Retsef is an offensive strategy that when choosing to fight we must implement in any self-defence scenario.

Retzef means: a constant continuous attack in which the intention is to overwhelm your attacker with constant pressure.



Street Fight E Honda applying his Hundred hand slap. Littler did he know, it s a form of Retzef


Essentially crazy beats big. The more ferocious, more relentless and the more aggressive your attack, the more likely you are to overcome even larger opponents even if for just a moment. That moment, however, may be just the time you need to escape and evade to safety.

When following the stages of self-defence, we may find our selfs unable to apply the first two stages and end up in either, A Pre-Emptive first Strike (PE) or if we are caught off guard reactive situation (RA).

Retzef works because of the principles as laid out Action vs Reaction: The Stages of mental processing. By applying constant Continous pressure, while causing pain, Off Balancing or disrupting, you will constantly recent their mental processing to stage one or 2 of the 4 allowing you to overwhelm your opponent if only for a short time. You Should also be bursting in from Longer ranges to closer ranges to gain control of your attacker. At this point, you can either disengage and run or take down for a detain or arrest.

This strategy not only works in the micro but can work in the macro. Consider war. Retzef is a strategy applied by the IDF. Any engagement should be swift, and with such force that the enemy has little time to recuperate in the immediate. This crazy beats big strategy is one of the reasons the IDF has been so successful over the years. Or consider guerrilla warfare, it is a strategy that applies in a different sense. While constantly attacking a larger force, and then disappearing just to do it again, it puts immense strain on the larger forces resources and moral.

In The micro, of course, it is simply to overwhelm the senses of the attacker long enough to apply our strategy whether it be to run or to detain. If we fail to apply retzef any break in pressure could be the second our attacker need to recover to apply their strategy. And in the case they are much bigger, they may only need to hit us once to win their fight.

One of the deciding factors in whether a move or decision is appropriate when applying retzef consider if it is a passive movement or an active movement.

Passive Movement: An intentional or unintentional movement that does not cause pain, Disrupt or off balances

Active Movement: An intentional or unintentional movement that causes pain, disrupts or off balances

When applying Retzef, each motion will be an active moment with a limited delay in between each successive attack.

So remember, if you are going to attack in the name of self-defence it must with constant continuous and aggressive pressure.

**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.