Thoughtful skill-building drills lead to powerful and effective Krav Maga defenses.

It dawned on me as I wrote the article on the 10-step efficient defense drill – designed to get students more comfortable with defending a bevy of punches – that I should probably explicitly differentiate between a skill building drill and an actual defense.

While the difference may seem trivial to some, the truth is, the student doing the training must clearly understand the objective and context to properly capture the value in the training.

For our purposes here, a skill building drill is a focused effort to develop a specific skill or skill set that bolsters one or more defenses. For instance, the 10-step efficient defense drill is designed primarily to allow the student to become secure in his/her ability to defend punches. The actual punch defenses may or may not be optimized, may or may not be in defensive context, and the duration of the skill may or may not optimize tactical action. For instance, in the 10-step efficient defense drill, the student defends a series of 10 punches thrown in quick succession. But, no student should ever attempt to defend 10 punches in a violent encounter. Instead, students should counterattack as soon as possible. In this way (and other mentioned above), the 10-step efficient defense drill builds skill but is not a defense in and of itself nor is it tactically sound as extrapolated for the purposes of building skill.

As drills progress into deeper versions, the more realism and actual self-defense can be added. For instance, the 10-step efficient defense drill can move from its base level to a more advanced version, where the student defends three or four randomly selected punches by the puncher (reacting in real time). From there, the drill can be developed further to allow the student to stop the combination of punches by countering as his/her earliest opportunity. In this process, the drill creates skills at the base level but further develops into a viable self-defense tactic.

The issue here is two fold, (1) students must first build skills to thrive in a self defense context, thus the evolution from skill building drills to self defense, and (2) students must understand the difference between the skill building drill and the actual self defense application (clarifying the drill objective and the future goal of utilizing the skill in self defense). I hope this clears up any issues with drills, skills, and self-defense. The difference is substantial and misunderstandings with students can lead to utter confusion and is obviously dangerous.

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