Posts Tagged ‘Teaching’

Parachute.jpgWhen I first started Krav Maga I did so because I wanted to get ahead of my training prior to joining the IDF. Little did I know I would barely be trained during my time in the Infantry. Either way, it was clear to me and apparently others I took to it like a fish in water and it was something I really understood. Its simplicity and its purpose where why I loved it in the first place. I am not a natural athlete and I always struggle to keep up physically with some of my more athletic friends so Krav for many reasons seemed like a right fit. Early on I was asked by some people to teach, back then I did not think I had what it took to be a teacher as I was too fresh. Eventually, I caved and started to teach and once again I found that I seemed to understand it better than I thought.

Inevitably in Krav, you start to get exposed to different organizations and the different ways they approach it. You also find that sometimes if an instructor had a background in another martial arts style for years prior to Krav they inevitably tried to incorporate it into there teaching. Some do this masterfully and some do not.

You see, Krav Maga is based on principles, and if you deviate too far from them are you even teaching Krav Maga anymore? It must be remembered, Krav Maga is meant to be simple and easy to learn. It is meant for the street and is meant for as many people as possible that can learn it.

What I noticed was that many Organizations had overcomplicated ranking, overcomplicated their technique lists or just didn’t get it. It wasn’t until I trained with Nir Maman of CT 707 that I realized that Krav Maga should be simple and the curriculum should not be too complicated.

So like many at the time, I simplified my curriculum and went back to the basics. This was the beginning of the UTKM curriculum. My self, other instructors and students really paired down just the basics. For a while, I was very rigid in sticking to teaching things simply and purely in a manner that was self-defense oriented.

Once I worked out the kinks in that aspect I really started to pay attention to how students were progressing. How students were learning and how students of all sizes were managing all the techniques.

A few things I noticed right away is that while you definitely need a core curriculum, there really is not one size fits all. In the end, everyone finds there style best suited for their capabilities. And so long as students stick to the principles I am never too strict if they start to fill in their own gaps.

This also shows that my emphasis on critical thinking really does matter.

However, there were certain areas I noticed my students were struggling in. Primarily developing their fluid striking skills and basic grappling skills. These two areas on their own can take years to master, so the problem was how do I train the students in these without straying too far from the Krav Maga principles.

Grappling can be difficult to incorporate into Krav Maga especially if the instructor has no background in grappling. Grappling is complicated and hard and has so many details it boggles the mind. Not to mention Krav Maga avoidance of the ground means many people dont see the need to learn it. The truth is you do because you never know when you might be overwhelmed and end up on the ground. While our goal on the ground is to get up as fast as possible it is a myth that this can always happen without some kind of real fight or struggle. Thus the better you are at grappling the better you are at getting up when you fall or get knocked down.

So we problem solved this in 2 ways:

  1. We introduced the fundamentals of grappling early on in our program yellow belt and up. However, it is a simple program talking about things like Base, posture, and structure. The different positions and basic ways to get out of them. We then add in strikes when needed and tell people to fight there way out. Keeping to the Krav Maga tradition we are keeping it simple at UTKM.
  2. For most this may be enough. But with the rise of grappling globally no matter the style you never know when you might run into someone really capable. Then you really need to know how to move. So how do you get good at grappling? Well, you train with grapplers of course. To get a UTKM black belt, which will take you a long time anyways you also need to get a BJJ blue belt or equivalent. For example, if you did high school wrestling competitively then that’s also fine. We essentially split it so as not to confuse the mentality. In our Krav groundwork it is simple and lots of repetition. Then you can also go train the sports variation separately so you can condition your brain to really know the difference and when to apply separately.

The other issue was the issue of fluid striking. This one is a little easier to solve in Krav Maga. Again, at the yellow belt and up the level we start to explore sports styles of striking and training. We separate it out of the white belt classes so as not to confuse new students. Once they get their heads around Krav Maga, then we introduce other aspects of combat.

I noticed that the students who also did kickboxing or Muay Thai in conjunction to their Krav Training rapidly improved in their striking skills in all aspect. Unfortunately for many people, they do not have the time to train multiple disciplines.

Now when we come to the stand-up modules we will both practice Krav striking combinations, ones that employ Retzef, explosive movements and closing the distance to control. And more traditional sports style combinations with retracting roundhouse kicks, and combinations that have a lot of head movement and footwork.

Since introducing this there has been even more improvement in students striking skills. I have found that the two in conjunction really improve people rapidly. I think this is because being able to do rapid fire Muay Thai style roundhouse kicks improves balance, speed, endurance and power which means their bodies are more capable of throwing more devastating Krav style kicks.

I do, however,  always make the extra effort to verbal make the distinction in the type of combo we are training. I also ask the students to verbally explain the difference and when the appropriate application might be for either.

As UTKM grows, our curriculum which is based on principles more than techniques will also heavily be focused around teaching methodology to get the best results.

In Krav Maga is super important to stick to the principles. Otherwise, you are no longer teaching Krav Maga and maybe starting the slippery slide to the path of McDojo. However, if you care about your students progress you also need to keep an open mind and teach enough to develop your students as much as you can. The real trick is not to overcomplicate things.

Finally, if you as the instructor are not also diversifying your training outside of Krav Maga is will be difficult to prepare your students for potential conflicts with individuals in styles you are not familiar with.

So keep on training, always be adaptable and keep an open mind and of course, learn to walk in peace both mentally and physically even if its only day by day.

 

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Assuming you watched the video and have trained or taught this scenario may be all too familiar.

For some, it is a very easy thing to understand and for other very difficult, in Krav Maga it is even more so problematic than in other styles due to its inherent aggressive nature.

When someone is looking for a new style often people will look for the best person with the most championships, most titles or medals. In some cases, this is certainly warranted as they may very well be the best not only in practice but also in teaching. But the truth is sometimes the best instructors are not at all the most winningest of all.

In boxing, for example, Freddie Roach, widely regarded as one of the best boxing coaches was actually a mediocre boxer (though still a very impressive record). Mike Tyson was one of the best, if not the best, boxers of all time. One of these individuals produced many great boxers and one was just a great boxer. It is likely that in any style you can find examples of both types of individuals.

If I was a student wanting to learn, while it can be tempting to search out for the winningest person the reality is I would much rather find someone that I connect with and whom weather is better than me or not can help me be the best version of myself that I can be. In Jiu Jitsu, for example, I have trained with many champions but there are many that I don’t really want to learn from because I just don’t click with them. There are of course other that even if I don’t connect with personally still are incredibly beneficial to my development. Then, there are those whom with I both connect with and can learn from. The latter is, of course, the ones who I will train with more often when time and other factors permit.

Enter Krav Maga. There are no competitions. Not only this Krav Maga is known to be an aggressive style that beats the crap out of people and can be very intimidating to start for some. So how do you know who is good to train with or not? Do you simply challenge them to a fight? The answer is NO!

Trust me, if you do this, even if you can beat the instructor in a fight it will not impress them. Personally, I have had many students walk in the door that it is likely they could beat me in a fight. They are faster than me, fitter than me, more athletic than me and may have more training years in another style than me. Yet the good ones stay and learn because I have something to teach them just as it is likely they have something to teach me.

As the video points out, in the event of someone really resisting the truth is as the instructor you can simply go passive, you can hurt them, or worse both individuals get hurt. If a student who is 200+lbs 6 foot plus wants to challenge me for real as an example I am in big trouble. I am only 5 foot 6 and about 160lbs so I would be on the losing end of physics. If I cant quickly stop them with a strike that would be considered illegal in most sports fighting the outcome of such a fight is not very hard to predict.

So why learn from someone who you can beat? Simple. If it wasn’t already clear, they may be the person who can make you not only better in your style but also a better person. In the end, shouldn’t that be the main goal of any form of training?

I think so.

If you think always going balls to the walls crazy because that’s what you like, or that’s what you think Krav Maga is then you won’t have to wait long until no one wants to play with you. Either because you have injured all your training partners or you simply have an over-aggressive, overcompensating shitty attitude.

FACT: Nobody likes such a person.

Then there is the simple thing that one of the founding principles of Krav Maga is to Avoid Injury. Which applies both to yourself, your instructor, your training partners and using only the required force to stop any given threat.

So how do you know who to train under, and how to behave when you are training with your partners? For the former its a simple matter of trying different places out and seeing what you like. For the latter, if the environment of the gym is good your training partners will be open and communicative and will always let you know if there is an issue.

No matter what the case is for you, please leave your ego at the door. As Bruce Lee famously said:

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Why AM I harder on some people more than others?

Let’s be honest here, first off, I am not a patient person. I have worked hard to become more patient so just imagine me 10 years ago and feel lucky you get the version of me today… so it could be worse.

The short answer is…..Because you NEED IT MORE!

Ok, end of the article. Just kidding

now-you-know.jpgObviously, I could be more patient but you do have to remember I have a lot of students and I can’t give special treatment or time in a group class when everyone else is also needing my attention.

The truth is if its been months and months and you are still struggling to pick something up and I have tried my best to explain it in different ways over and over, and everyone else seems to be getting it but you…TRUST ME, I am just as frustrated as you.

Now before you go blaming me because you aren’t getting it, can you attempt to be honest with yourself for a minute and ask is it actually the instructors or is it a you thing?

I know being honest with your self is very hard. And if you think I am not honest with my self then that’s nonsense because clearly, I started this with saying I am not a patient person so I do acknowledge this about my self so yes I am honest with my self, but are you really?

For example, if you only ever trained under me, and you are not getting something have you tried training with another instructor? If you have and you start to get it then yes you can say Jon may not be the instructor for me and that is ok.

But if you have tried another instructor (we have many fine instructors to choose from) and you still are not getting it then the answer is maybe yes, it is a YOU thing!

The first part of any battle is accepting the objective truth first, and then finding a solution from there.

Perhaps you are simply the type of person that needs to think less and drill more and you only come once a week. Then the answer to getting better is to train more.

Perhaps the answer is you train too much without thinking and you need to slow down and think about what you are doing?

Perhaps you genuinely have a difficult time learning physical things and that is ok, but you must first accept that before any instructor can really help you. If this is the case you will take a lot longer than other people to learn and progress and you really need to come to terms with this. I know it will be frustrating for you but as I said it is frustrating for me to, but as long as you keep showing up I will do my best to help you.

Another reason I am hard on people, especially in Vancouver is that people here are genuinely less willing to be pushed physically and mentally and Krav, self-defense or combative’s require you to be uncomfortable and push through things. So if you are constantly fighting me about not wanting to do things I am either going to push you harder on purpose or quite frankly focus on the people who are serious about training.

I have mentioned before that if our class cannot help you break through to push your comfort zones then perhaps counseling may be an option for you because the truth is I can only teach people properly who are willing to learn and let the process happen.

If you push against me I will push back, or I will simply not push back at all and let you do your own thing in which case you are wasting your own time more than anyone.

Now, I fully accept that I cannot get along with everyone and I don’t expect everyone to like me or my opinions. But I do know I can teach you to be a better version of yourself if you let me. I am going to approach things aggressively because in part that is Krav, In part that is my military training and in part that’s well…that’s just me.

So if that’s not for you that’s ok. You can train with another instructor. You can simply say Jon is an asshole but he can teach me what I want and let me. Or you can fight me during the whole process until one of us gets tired of it.

Remember, even though I am not patient I am still trying to teach more than one person. You, however, can learn from multiple instructors and other students so tell me who has less patience, me or you?

So if you are having a hard time with me giving you a hard time just know that I genuinely want you to learn, and no I don’t think I always have to be nice about it. But if you are willing to learn I am willing to teach. But trust me, I am not just being hard on you because I like it. I don’t, I would much rather be avoiding people than trying to manage them.

So again, if you want to learn do so. Just know if you resist the process you will get challenged.

 

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Saying you don’t want to learn to fight to a self Defense instructor is like saying you don’t want to learn at all. Empty your mind, then you will be ready to learn.

I know I have definitely talked about this before, so I don’t know why I am surprised this statement keeps coming up:

 

I want to learn self defense but I am not interested in fighting or learning to fight

Meteor hitting earth.jpgEvery time I hear this statement from a new student or someone eager to learn to defend themselves I want to smash my face against the desk so hard it causes a meteor to be knocked out of orbit and smash me and the surrounding area into nothingness because I’ve died a little more inside and lost even more faith in the human race.

Ok, enough of the melodramatic truth…

One of the biggest uphill battles faced by any legitimate Krav Maga instructor who is actually interested in teaching people to defend themselves is to ride their students and the public of all of their blatant misconceptions when it comes to violence, Use of Force, and Self Defense.

No, I am not here to teach you to be a ring fighter. No, I don’t want to you be a fighter for the sake of fighting. Yes, I am here to teach you to learn to defend your self. and YES!, I am going to teach you how to fight.

The worst is when people actually think they can learn to defend themselves without hurting other people. Or as I have been told by another instructor once in a while, when law enforcement or security agencies ask to learn defence techniques with no physical contact. Thankfully the later of the two never occurred to me otherwise the original melodramatic statement could have the meteor replaced by a black hole so large it could destroy the universe.

Can you tell when presented with the ideology that somehow fighting and self-defence are separate from each other is extremely frustrating to a legitimate Krav Maga Instructor?

Essentially a big part of Krav Maga is Aggression (though it is often wrongfully no thanks to Israeli attitude perceived as the only part) which is really about teaching you how to turn on the internal “fight” switch. Because the reality is, under stress, pressure, fatigue etc… techniques begin to fail and it is through aggression and your pure will to fight that will save you. And you cannot ever forget that.

Yet in many more “peaceful” cities like Vancouver were relative to other big cities there is very low rate of violence out in the open, people tend to get sheltered from the realities of violence. The people I have met from countries where violence is much more open or a day to day thing are far more ok with, and understanding with using violence to fight violence.

Truly, most normally wired human beings when put under duress will fight flight or freeze, and it is our goal to teach you to control and use the fight or flight mechanisms without activating the freeze. The reality is though the best self defence is to run, it is not always an option which leaves the Fight option.

So if you “don’t want to learn to fight” then you are going to have a very hard time learning to defend yourself. Because that fight mixed with training, skill and aggression is the only way you will every overwhelm a larger stronger opponent long enough to actually find your escape to live to survive another day. And in some more extreme violent cases, you might have to Fight so hard to overcome the attacker that you have to incapacitate or use lethal force because that is the only way to stop the threat.

So do you really think if you don’t want to fight you are going to defend yourself against a serious threat? I think you need to take your head out of the clouds or as the saying goes in Hebrew, Ata Chai B’Seret or you are living in a movie.

If you cannot overcome this belief of not wanting to learn to fight then perhaps you simply aren’t ready to actually learn to defend yourself by learning Krav Maga.

 

 

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Download on iTunes Today!
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Greg Fuentes

Greg Fuentes started at UTKM over a year and a half ago. He originally found us through the program we offer at Kwantlen Polytechnic University for students and was immediately interested. It became apparent to us that he not only had the physical skill to be a great practitioner but he also had the right skills we were looking for in an instructor. It took him a while but he is officially one of our assistant instructors and it is well deserved.

Download on iTunes Today! https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Download on iTunes Today!
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/urban-tactics-krav-maga-warriors/id969549693?mt=2

Jonathan Fader and Stephan Kesting    Stephan Kesting is a BJJ Black Belt under Marcus Soares. He is also the founder of www.grapplearts.com  and has been  offering free online content since the early 2000s before most other people had even really gotten into the internet. Because  of his head start Stephan has one of the largest followings on YouTube for any BJJ related channel. Currently he sits at about  145,000 subscribers and another 30,000 followers on Facebook.His technical break down of BJJ moves from all aspects have  people from all over the world using his channel and DVD’s to learn BJJ. Stephan is also a full time firefighter at one of the  local metro Vancouver detachments and has a degree in Biology. He has also trained in various other styles of martial arts as  he has been practicing martial arts for over 30 years. We talked mostly about Martial arts and Self defense as well as the  learning and teaching process but we also discussed other things like global climate change.

You can find his YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/user/StephanKesting

Here are a few videos to give you an idea about what he has to offer:

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I recently sat down with the editor of the local Jewish Newspaper. I may be biased but I rather enjoyed the results of the interview.

Here is an excerpt:

When Jonathan Fader copied the Jewish Independent on an open letter that he posted online in mid-August, Operation Protective Edge was winding down. Noting the sometimes violent antisemitism that it had evoked in places around the world – including in some protests that took place in Canada – he stressed the need for members of the Jewish community to know self-defence. Since then, there have been two terrorist attacks on Canadian soil.” -Nov 7th Jewish Indepence written by Cynthia Ramsay

For the full Interview click the link below.

http://www.jewishindependent.ca/teaching-self-defence/

Teaching something arbitrarily is not only one of my pet peeves in martial arts but can also be extremely problematic to the learning process of your students or their personal safety.

This came up recently when working on a program for kids. The topic of the ground techniques came up.

Now of course in Krav maga we never intentionally go to the ground but we do understand it can happen. And our rule for the ground is get up as fast as you can using as much aggression and technique to achieve this goal.

In addition, we always encourage our students to supplement  their KM training with wrestling or BJJ just in case.

In our regular KM program we don’t even really look at take downs and techniques until orange belt.

This is because:

  1. We do Not want our students building the habit of thinking its ok to go to the ground. (This has happened for students who are shown ground stuff prematurely.) Holding it off allows us to drill into their heads do NOT go to the ground.
  2. It allows them to focus on their standing techniques prior to adding in the complexities of the ground which will reduce how much they learn and how proficient they can be with their standing techniques

But I digress, so back to the kids program. The other instructors were discussing ground techniques and saying hey this works or that works let me show you.

My response was, while it may work for you or me if we are teaching to kids who have not even gone through puberty and weigh from 60-100lbs they will not work for them if their attacked is a large adult male.

It actually made me quite annoyed that they continued to insist the techniques would work for kids but in reality if a 200lbs plus man takes down a child who is 60 lbs with the intent of harming them there really is little they can do. It is harsh but it is the reality of the ground and quite frankly physics.

To me it does far more harm to show a move and say this will work all the time than telling them the truth.

If you go down you must kick, scream, bite scratch and do everything in your power to create distance and draw attention to the situation so the child can escape plain and simple.

That to me is the reality of the ground for a child.

Perhaps it is because I also practice BJJ and simply have a better idea of ground fighting or maybe its something else.

I have personally sparred with much larger men in BJJ and let me tell you, even if I have more skill, the moment they get on top there is little I can do but defend my neck and limbs.  (I cannot bite, scratch or strike in BJJ). Even if you say, oh but in Krav Maga you can hit and strike, well guess what in real life so can they. So if a bigger stronger person with a little skill gets on top of even me and starts hitting me as well, it will be a very problematic situation. The ground and pound strategy can be extremely devastating.

In addition, I have also rolled with BJJ black belts and world champions and if someone who knows what to do get you on the ground you may feel like a fish out of water.

Reality often only comes from experience in the real world. As such teaching a technique because you were told, this is the technique for this, without testing it under various circumstances, body types and people is ridiculous and results in teaching your students something that give a false sense of security.

If you are teaching something simply because you feel you need to teach it then please stop, especially if you are teaching KM or self defense.

Example: A student or group wants to learn ground fighting for self defense but cannot even punch, move, stay balance or anything required for realistic defense against a violent and aggressive opponent. (I have taught to these kinds of groups, and my initial advice is run. because for them it is the most realistic option.)

For them, if they insist, the correct answer should be, “I am sorry but, if I cannot develop you properly then I am not interested in teaching you.” This is not only the correct response but also the responsible one

Saying, “ok I will teach you ground techniques for self defense because you are paying me and it is expected I teach you something,” is in my opinion, the wrong attitude to have. Because really, you are not teaching them reality based self defense you are teaching them to have a false sense of security which could result in a deadly encounter. Really and truly, for people who are not ready to deal with violent attacks, the best self defense advice you can give is, do not be in the situation in the first place and remain observant and vigilant. This is not victim blaming, this is simply reality!

It is also, a well known fact that I am not a fan of one time self defense seminars, as to me this is teaching arbitrarily. There is no realistic way a person can learn to defend themselves in a one hour session.

I have only been teaching for a few years and I cannot even count the amount of times a 100lb girl showed me a technique they learned in a “self defense” seminar only resulting with me wanting to face palm myself and taking time  to show them why that technique is quite frankly bullshit, or why it may have a low success rate.

If you are teaching techniques in the name of self defense with no sense of reality then in my mind you may be a causing more harm then good.

Imagine, teaching a technique to someone and telling them this will work every time.

Next week you hear they were in the hospital because their attacker was too big, too strong and the technique did not work.

How would that make you feel?

If you feel nothing then you are perhaps a sociopath.

For me if I find a better technique for a situation with a higher success rate then I immediately switch. I do not stick with a technique because that’s what my instructor told me or that’s what I have been doing for years or that’s what my affiliate organization is telling me to do.

In addition to this I recognize that some techniques work differently for different people as we are of all different shapes, sizes and athletic ability.

Sometimes a technique, while may work for 9 out of 10 people just doesn’t work for one person.

And of course while I strive to find the perfect techniques that work for everyone I know that this isn’t a reality. For those students who the move doesn’t work for we work together to find them one that does.

So if you are teaching any system or any move for arbitrary reasons it is fine by me so long as you are telling your students your style is artistic. However if you are teaching arbitrary techniques and calling it self defense or Krav Maga, I definitely have a problem and so should your students.

Jonathan Fader

Fyi…in the end for that specific program we decided not to teach ground techniques to kids who are not in high school with regards to self defense.

We would however verbally inform them the dangers and tell them to bite, scratch and hit while attempting to escape and calling for help.
Also I still encourage all parents out there to enroll their kids into BJJ programs as early as you can as it is an excellent style which I love and only increases the chances of your child survival if attacked. It does however take lots of practice and body awareness and not one or two self defense seminars that teach ground techniques that may or may not work.

The Brain The Great Equalizer

One of the great things about being an instructor of any kind is that you will be exposed to a wide variety of people, with different backgrounds and education levels. This exposure, with an open mind, can only make you better.

Some of you may know that I am currently in the process of getting my BA in Psychology. Part of the reason I am doing this is to better understand the people I am teaching. The other part is to better understand the brain, which is the great equalizer. More or less, no matter of your skill level our experiences our brains are fundamentally the same and operate in the same manner. One of these great equalizers is the Fight or Flight response, which as it happens is a big factor in decision making in Krav Maga.

During the last shotgun course, and during the long drive out to the appropriate shooting area I had the pleasure of discovering that one of my students also shares my interest in Psychology. She has a Bsc in Psychology with a focus on the biological aspects of the brain. She obtained her degree from Lewis-Clark State College.

As we always do at UTKM we encourage our students to share their knowledge and help contribute to our blog. I asked her to discuss the Fight or Flight mechanism from a biopsych point of view. Below is what she sent me.

“The fight or flight response refers to physiological reaction that occurs when a person is placed in a threatening situation. Fight or flight simply describes the two basic decisions that are instantaneously made to resolve the dangerous situation, which is the decision to either quickly escape or to stay and fight.

The physiological effects of this response begins with one or several of the five senses, typically vision. A person will see threatening stimili, such a person or animal. The stimili is then sent as a signal via the optic nerve to be processed by the brain, generally in the amygdala, known as the ‘fear center’ which sends signals to the hypothalamus, which activates the nervous system. A signal then stimulates the sympathetic nervous system which sends impulses down the spinal column to the adrenal gland, which releases epinephrine, also known as adrenaline. This hormone will cause the heart rate to increase and is sent throughout the body as the heart beats faster. Epinephrine will signal the liver to release glucose, which will then be converted into ATP, which is used to activate muscles. This heightened level of epinephrine in the body will also activate the lungs, causing the breathing rate to increase in order for the body take in and utilize more oxygen through dilated blood vessels. The pupils in the eyes will also dilate to facilitate better lighting and vision as blood vessels in the ears dilate for increased auditory perception. In order to efficiently escape an attack or to fight, this response also subdues bodily processes which are unnecessary during a dangerous situation, such as digestion. The elevated levels of this hormone and increased activation of these bodily processes will increase body heat, which is also useful as it allows your muscles to ‘warm up’ in seconds as the mind registers the threat.

Psychologically, the combination of the increased heart rate, sweating, and the explosion of energy in the muscles, create a sense of acute awareness of the current situation and the ability to act quickly. While this illustrates a case in which the entire process runs smoothly, you must also be aware of the case in which it fails, known as condition black. Condition black is also known as ‘freezing’ during a dangerous situation, preventing the individual from fleeing or fighting. Cognitively, a sense of increased aggression will be associated with the ‘fight’ response and a combination of fear and anxiety for ‘flight’, while freezing is associated with fear and anxiety, but also a feeling of physical stiffness. During this freeze response, the parasympathetic nervous system dumps large amounts of hormones into the body, the same hormones that return the body to its relaxed state after a fight. The sudden increase of these hormones during a dangerous situation have the opposite effect of the fight or flight response, mixing panic with an inability to act quickly. Although freezing can be useful in situations in which a person must remain still in order to hide from an attacker, it can be detrimental when faced with an attacker head on.”

It is amazing to me that so much goes on in the brain in such a short amount of time, and for an untrained individual the Fight or Flight mechanism will operate in just that manner.

“I need to run, or quick throw a punch”

The great advantage of being a  properly trained individual is that this one will not be easily governed by their immediate biological responses. They will instead do their best to diffuse and continually assess the situation. Only then, will they make the decision to run (Flight) or to Fight with the purpose of escaping danger.

Of course, we are all human and there are times when we can be overwhelmed and thus enter condition black. You will never know if you are the kind of person who will enter condition black and freeze or will allow with correct decision making, the fight or flight mechanism, to work effectively. The only way to know, is during a period of extreme stress where an immediate and correct response is required, which will ultimately test your ability to react appropriately.

In the end, the only way to really reduce the chance of entering condition black is to train and become better at reacting under pressure. Which is something of course, any good Krav Maga training must include.

Written by: Annie Faulkner & Jonathan Fader