In New Zealand according to the statistics released by the Women’s Refuge one third of the women live in fear of violence. World Health Organization study in Auckland and Waikato has concluded that one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence. Without fear mongering I have to say that continuous physical and sexual abuse suffered by women in this country has to be psychologically most damaging because it goes contrary to the natural instincts of self protection for the victim who is stuck in such a relationship. The victim gets to a point where they believe they are not worth protecting.

No logic can persuade a woman to leave a violent relationship; that can only be achieved through emotional leverage and establishing in oneself a sense of self-worth. Where do you draw the line, the slap, the escalation to choking, being slammed into a wall or being threatened with a knife? I tell the women, who come to me to learn combatives, choke and weapon defences that there is no need to be a victim ever again with Krav Maga. Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it. It may be easy for me to say but I think that the first time a woman experiences violence she is a victim, the second time she is a volunteer. It is important to have the assertiveness to leave the violent partner.

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As I am in the process of organizing another defence seminar I notice some people hamper their self defence ability by focussing on the size and strength of the assailant. How we feel has much to do with what we focus on. One of the biggest differences between a beginner and an expert is the way the experts consistently utilize their mind and body with power. I would focus on the vulnerable areas that I could attack and the defence that I could use to incapacitate or facilitate my escape rather than focus on how I can get hurt.

Imagine if soldiers focused on size of the enemy’s bayonets rather than focusing on seeing the whites of the enemy’s eyes before letting off a volley. It’s like the camera in the movie of your life which can also zoom in and make your fears appear larger and more compelling. The feeling of being able to take control of a violent affray or a sudden threat has a huge impact on the quality of my life. This has a lot to do with how I focus my mind to control my state.

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Less is More

A distinct aspect of Krav Maga in comparison to many systems is the conditioned response built upon the body’s natural reflex. In Krav Maga we develop a conditioned response; thus if one was getting choked from the front the hands would instinctively come to the source of the pain and pluck. This simple choke defence technique is an apt example of the system’s philosophy. Keeping the technique simple and based on the body’s natural response makes it easy to apply under pressure. Krav Maga’s axiom is less is more. We live in a stimulus response world, every second counts, it is very important to have an instinctive conditioned response to an attack.


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Last night in training we were doing the zombie drill which is a tactical game to prepare the Kravist for multiple attacker situations. Being aggressive and taking the initiative cannot ring more true than in a situation when faced by multiple opponents. If you do not attack first than you will certainly be overwhelmed as the attackers blind side you and attack all at once. It is important to have situational awareness of the range and position of the assailants.

If possible my advice would be evasion. It is very unlikely that even a skilled fighter will prevail in a situation where he faces multiple opponents. I have seen a few clips on YouTube where one man manages to fend off several attackers. I am a little suspicious of the authenticity of a lot of the material, it shows the guy taking the initiative and attacking aggressively mostly using boxing skills. In making the decision on whom to attack first you have to analyse who is at closest range and presents most danger. Obviously the one moving to your blind side would be the one you should be wary of.

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 I try to imagine what it would have been like for Imi Lichtenfeld when rioting and looting was breaking out and his friends and neighbours were getting beaten with staves and stabbed with knives by rioting fascists who in their disappointment and fear at the economic and national aspirations wished to be part of Nazi Germany. Police response no doubt would have been given grudgingly, slow and ineffective and undoubtedly there may have been a substantial minority of officers sympathetic to the Nazi movement. Urban street violence is what gave birth to Krav Maga as Jews increasingly began to rely on their own cells to police their neighbourhoods.


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