Admittedly, this is a voluminous subject, and my condensed summary in the video below (along with an elementary demonstration), simply begin to scratch the surface of the concepts introduced herein.
In short, how do we know, when we see a defense labeled “Krav Maga” that it is actually top shelf, authentic Krav Maga? There are a multitude of answers, and at a deep level, it is very difficult to determine without the substantial knowledge of the entire system (and how the system fits together).
One might suggest that a defense that follows the core principles of Krav Maga (address the danger / counterattack / control / finish) should be considered Krav Maga. Others might go deeper, citing tactical principles – such as, “hands / body / feet” or “closest weapon / nearest target”.
However, few know the real truth of it. The truth is…Krav Maga isn’t a set of unrelated defenses. Krav Maga is a self-defense system – emphasis on the word “system”. Without deep knowledge of the system and how each defense was formed in light of the other defenses (and the associated dangers), one simply cannot discern between top shelf, authentic Krav Maga and the imposters.
Sadly, I’ve seen video of many “instructors” demonstrating Krav Maga defenses (videos that have millions of clicks) that are either (1) flashy non-sense that excites uneducated viewer or (2) poorly crafted, dangerous versions of the real thing.
Here’s the deep magic (that’s fun to say) of Krav Maga – (1) the system, not any one defense, takes precedence to ensure (2) that every movement (instinctive or other) within the system can leveraged effectively across a system of individual defenses (3) without compromising any other defense through the over-engineering of a single defense in the name of “making it better.”
The trade- off between making a specific defense “better” and (in the process) making 8-10 other defenses unsafe is a level of thinking most pretenders have never considered.
I’ve found (in explaining this to my students) that this “effect” is best understood by considering the term, “position of familiarity.” This term encompasses several concepts that tie together how human beings might interpret (in the pre-frontal cortex, mid-brain, and/or low brain) the nescient subtleties of an attack that inform the defense utilized to address the perceived danger.
These subtleties (such as angle, distance, platform movement, attacking line and many others) form the basis of the defenses utilized by the Kravist (inspired or instinctive) to address the perceived danger across all “similar” looking attacks. However, the initial addressing of the danger must adequately address each danger presented across a host of similar looking attacks – even though the attacks that initially appear to be similar ultimately present vastly different danger.
Therefore, when we take one of the defenses to one of these familiar looking attacks in an effort to “make it better”…we often create significant danger in using that “new and improved” movement when deployed against other similar looking attacks (with vastly different dangers) – failing to adequately address the danger. This produces failure.
The lack of this powerful understanding is the downfall of many self-defense brands and is the central issue in the over expansion of systems that are ultimately thousands of disparate defenses formed around each attack (as opposed to danger) and the many versions of the same attack that each require an additional defense. This is a recipe for disaster.
To be clear, the genius of Krav Maga is the forethought and understanding that the system must be built and maintained in a way that optimizes systemic performance – not based on any single defense that ultimately compromises several other defenses made to similar looking but vastly different attacks and the diverse dangers that emerge.
In the video below, I’m illustrating and highlighting a simple example of this concept utilizing the motor skills leveraged in the defense to right straight punch and straight stab defense (right handed attack).
The example is obvious and again somewhat elementary, but the larger point is highlighted and accessible to nearly everyone. Only a “system view” can produce the defenses (and performance) necessary to address the myriad of dangers that can emerge in a violent encounter, and this view must be earned through decades of study and training.
Don’t trust your self-defense and self-protection training to just anyone with a diploma. Look deeper – you might just save your life.