I was a young neophyte trainee when the principle of hands / body / feet was first introduced to me.

To say I resistant to the idea is an understatement. My initial thought was – why would I ever move in way that might decrease my power? In short, this was a major issue for me.

Luckily, my mentor, US Chief Darren Levine, mentioned to me during a training session that I need to focus on hands / body / feet to enter the fight. A short conversation ensued where I respectfully questioned the wisdom of such a goal. Here’s what I learned:

Darren asked me to imagine I was on an airplane, and in this scenario, I had one chance to punch a hijacker (and stop him from taking the plane down). In this scenario, I would choose between moving within the hands / body / feet principle (landing my punch 90% of the time with 80% of my power), or I could choose to optimize my power (landing my punch 50% of the time with 100% of my power).

In this case, the choice becomes obvious – in a winner-take-all, do-or-die scenario, the defender must focus on landing a punch (therein disrupting the attackers attention and intention) with adequate power. The point was made – but not really.

I made the obvious choice, but Darren asked me to think about the scenario (and draw a broader and more enlightened conclusion).

In the coming weeks, as I considered Darren’s example, I realized an important truth: Any self defense scenario, where we simply cannot assume we are aware of the many dangers in our immediate area, requires each of us to accept that we are fighting for our lives (as violence has a way of quickly escalating). In other words, every self-defense scenario should be seen with same urgency and through the same lens as the story Darren told me about the hijacker on a plane.

In summary, move! And, when you move into the fight, use Krav Maga’s hands / body / feet principle to follow your attack in and land your punch. To do less or to choose differently is simply too dangerous.

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