What does Maslow say about Safety and Krav Maga Training?

During the height of WWII, Abraham Maslow, a psychiatrist, proposed a “hierarchy of human needs” (now often depicted in a pyramid) in his paper A Theory of Motivation where it is necessary for one need to be fulfilled in order to meet the next.

Maslow’s theory was fully expressed in his 1954 book Motivation and Personality which popularized the idea that “lower” more fundamental needs like food and shelter, capture our attention until they are met. Thereafter, “higher” needs—referred to as “self-actualization” (or being your fullest, productive self)—can be attained.

For the purposes of this article, I will focus solely on the safety and security element of the pyramid. Once our physical needs are met, an individual’s safety needs—personal safety, financial security, health and freedom from fear—will take precedence and drive all behavior. According to the theory, in the absence of physical safety, individuals experience stress, anxiety, fear and shock. When our ‘sense of safety’ is shattered, as Maslow observed in WWII, some people are then unable to move on through the stages of self-actualization.

We certainly see the effects a shattered sense of safety has on both veterans and victims of violent crime. People will often describe themselves as feeling ‘stuck’—which is exactly what Maslow’s theory claims. One is not able to move on to the more fulfilling aspects of life when the foundational needs remain unmet.

Which brings me back to the ‘sense of safety’. Are we safe? I suspect most of us would say we are relatively safe. Is that enough?

The FBI just released their annual statistics on U.S. violent crime for 2014. In the U.S. a violent crime occurs every 26.3 seconds.* A more detailed breakdown of the crime clocks looks like this:

One murder every 36.9 minutes
One rape every 4.5 minutes
One robbery every 1.6 minutes
One aggravated assault every 42.5 seconds

If being the victim of a violent crime would impede your ability to ‘self-actualize’ does that knowledge, combined with the crime statistics, impact your behavior? Would you seek out a system that teaches would-be victims how to fend off an attack in order to secure your most fundamental life needs?

If you are a Kravology reader, it is likely you already view personal safety as an imperative. Perhaps this article can serve as a platform for you to discuss these views with your friends and loved ones. I often hear Chief Kirk talk about his students as “like minded people” that share a perspective on personal safety either through experience or caution. Chief Kirk also talks about training to safeguard your “quality of life.” It seems Maslow would agree.

Wherever you are, commit to inviting a friend to Krav Maga class with you. It might just be one of the best decisions he/she will ever make.

*The FBI compiles an overall rate of violent crime but does not provide underlying data on the category of assault & battery – which dramatically impacts the crime clock.

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