ARTICLE | THE 3 R’s - HOW TO ACCELERATE YOUR SELF DEFENCE TRAINING | by Orjan Pettersen
Do you want to progress faster? Learn more quickly? Speed up your path to self defence competency?
Learning Krav Maga is no different to acquiring other life skills. Although instinctive and based on natural movements, your development will be directly proportional to the effort and thought you put into it.
There are no short cuts. There are, however, some clever methods and smart routes to achieving the goals available to you.
These do not require substantial demands on your already busy life, so why not try them out as a dedicated Krav Maga student?
Whether you’re training for a specific grading in mind, or more importantly, want to feel more safe and secure with your tactics and techniques, these provide you with a sure-fire direction to both goals.
Interested? Just like the three R’s of basic schooling, let’s check out the fundamentals to start progressing your Krav Maga advancement straight away.
No student of any subject will progress, slowly or quickly, without first recognising their shortcomings and fixing their errors. Krav Maga is not different. The initial R of Recognition happens whenever you’re being taught, in classes, seminars or private lessons.
What does this mean for you? This R means evaluating every single execution of an action you do - in real time, immediately after conducting it.
When learning a new technique or perfecting an existing one, conducting the action no faster than you can retain full control, meaning you can both see and feel the movement, is key.
When you find your execution not good enough, stop, then self correct in real time and only then should your continue. After conducting each action, identify and recall the self-correction, then proceed with another repetition, building up your brain’s instinctive reaction to the visual picture you’re defending against.
It’s a harder way to train, often because it challenges balance, proprioception and ‘mistakes’ are transparently obvious due to the lower speed. Fast speeds disguise your mistakes, but they do not remove them - only embed them more strongly in your motor skills. Slow speeds demand real focus during the practice, but your advancement will benefit immensely.
Recognise your improvement in real-time. Then fix them. ‘Slow means Fast’, ‘Slow with Flow’ are your mottos to support this method of training.
There’s truth in the saying that you should fear the person who’s practiced one kick 10’000 times rather than the person who have practiced 10’000 kicks once.
In a stressful, shock-inducing violent encounter, where fast-moving events prevents reflective decision-making, your brain is not likely to be afforded the luxury of making considered choices.
What does this mean?
Your instinctive responses - in a scenario where your brain is caught in freeze, flight or fight response management, you do not need the added problem of making decisions between different technique choices, nor recalling the actions of the technique you’ve worked on in class.
This is called Hick’s Law in psychology. Multiple choice options slows decline-making. Time is your enemy in self defence. Speed is king.
Beyond having a range of very simplified techniques, applicable to multiple scenarios, you need to repeat your basic strikes and kicks and weekly class learning in your own environment.
This could mean 30 minutes or an hour once or twice a week, or even more if you can, practicing your skills, at home, in the garden, at the gym or anywhere allowing you the opportunity.
Slowly again does it and the mirror can be your best friend. Train, watch, self-correct. You’ll be surprised how quickly you progress and build instinctive movements, reactions and responses, even if you can’t go to multiple weekly classes.
Repeat your action to embed it. Then repeat again.
A key difference between self defence and sports is that in the former we must deliver our skills in any environment, with any physical restrictions, in any light conditions, with any number of aggressors and without any physiological preparations.
This means we must be creative and adaptable in how we fight and defend ourselves and others. Using the environment to our advantage, and not be restricted by it. Applying everyday items as improvised weapons and knowing how and where to move in and out of the situation we’re in.
How can you improve the skills you recognised and repeated to a higher level in ‘laboratory conditions’ in or out of class in the reality of your everyday world; your home, the office, your favourite restaurant, your car - or indeed, anywhere?
This is where the recon of your mind comes in. You should in any new environment you’re in, seek out and play Krav Maga recon games in your head.
If this person attacks me, what would I do? What about those two? How would I tactically respond if I had to defend against that group over there? How and where would I move? What are my improvised weapons? Where are my points of exit or barriers I can use? What are the words I would use? What about my body language? What kind of presence do I adapt?
The opportunities to recon are endless and only restricted by your imagination. These are not pointless daydreaming exercises. They not only familiarise yourself with the environment you encounter daily, but trains your Krav Maga mind to facilitate the thinking you need to optimise your survival or damage limitation in real-world scenarios.
Recon in your mind to prepare it. Then you act without hesitation.
The three R’s work on building your skills up quickly, embed them in your automatic responses and prepare your mind to execute them in reality. If you perfect the basic R’s, you progress and prepare yourself in the fastest possible way.
Isn’t that what Krav Maga is all about - and what you want from your training?