While there are many skills and intentions that can save your life in a violent encounter or scenario, these five skills reign supreme.

  1. Situational Awareness: Training your mind to observe your environment, the context of the world around you at any one time, and what seems out of place can save your life. Knowing how many and where the exits are in any given facility, and understanding how to extricate yourself (meaning via route) from any location you occupy up to several miles can save lives. What improvised weapons are around you, and how can you solve almost any problem as it arises? Learn to become more situational aware.
  2. Body Coordination: The ability to move the body in a coordinated fashion to achieve any number of movements in response to the environment is critical. For overall body coordination, train using complex and compound movements such as a burpee, bear crawl, crab walk, inchworm, etc. And to achieve proficiency in specific defensive movements, train those movements slowly until you can confirm the proper order of muscle sync – then speed up.
  3. Learn Hands / Body / Feet: Want to land a defensive punch, defend a knife threat, and move out of the line of fire from a handgun or rifle? Your only hope is to utilize the Hands / Body / Feet movement principle. Do something different, and you’re telegraphing your movement. This is a foundational principle of self-defense – period. Learn to move this way.
  4. Vision: Improving your vision via training to see the movements that telegraph an attack, as well as, training your mind as to what must be seen during stress (stress management) are vital aspects of accessing and optimizing your vision to support yourself-defense. Start very slow and try to pick-up on the initiating movements of common attacks. Then move faster until the speed of your drill is a proxy for reality (and creates stress).
  5. Aggression: If I could teach only one skill or intention, it would be aggression. Learning to flip the switch and move from passive to ultra aggressive is, arguably, the most important skill you can master in self-defense. Aggression, often any kind of aggression, is enough to solve the problem. Krav Maga is essentially a vessel to channel your aggression into a much more optimal method of solving self-defense issues.

There are several more skills that could be discussed in securing your safety, but for now – focus on these. They just might save your life.

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1 comment

  1. Van Neely

    Chief Kirk,

    Van Neely here. Thank you for answering my Super S retention question some time ago. Quick question. The situation is one is in the mount or punching down/bent over and a soccer kick comes from the side. Would you slip away or use one of the round house defenses – reactionary, 2 point, 3 point? Or do you have any other recommendations?

    I value your sage advice.


    Van Neely