Techniques alone are not the answer

by Tamir Gilad


Over the past 32 years, I have worked with many students from the world of Krav Maga and other martial arts. Their reasons for training were very diverse… some had experienced previous trauma, others training out of curiosity and many seeking to enrich their skills by experiencing violence through controlled environments.

If you also find yourself on a similar journey to understanding how to deal with violence, then you must establish two very important principles. One, recognise as many violent situations as possible. Two, develop the ability to prevent as much as you can. To do this, you have to appreciate the difference between techniques and the application of techniques through training.

Understand this… a techniques is not a defensive response to an attack, it is a response to a violent situation. As such, the response must be effective enough to deliver the best possible outcome. There are so many variables to consider when training for violent scenarios. The more you train them, the better the chances of preserving them in your subconscious.

Here is an example…

If an assailant threatens you with a gun from a close range, you can strike their face with one hand whilst deflecting the gun with the other. That’s a good response.

If the assailant keeps a straight steady range and is generally static, then you can grab the gun with two hands and kick (or reduce the range.)

If the assailant is constantly moving, then it’s definitely hard to grab the gun. A better option would be to grab the arm and immediately counter attack. Only then can you consider grabbing the gun.

If your physical status is poor due to injury or exhaustion, then resort to using deception as a tactic. Note, it requires a high degree of skill to trick an attacker under pressure.

When the scenarios involve loved ones you need to protect, then the rules change completely. In order to prevail, you must be willing to take greater risks. For example, you may not perform a body defence to save yourself as your priority is to save the ones you love.

If the environment featured a staircase where the attacker is higher than you, then it might be possible to disrupt their balance by pulling the barrel of the gun. If reversed, then defend with both hands only.

Do you see the point I am trying to make?

There are endless variables for each scenarios: physical characteristics of the attacker/defender, different environments, defender readiness, physical/mental status, weapons types, etc… That’s why there can’t be a single technique for solving essentially different problems. Our training has to equip us with the ability to chose the right response. This can only happen if we enrich our tool box, broaden our skills, deepen our drills, examine scenarios and train endlessly.

A technique is not a total solution for a scenario!

When practicing Krav Maga we must take into consideration the endless variables. This is why I love Krav Maga. It is what fuels my training, seeking to experience as many scenarios as possible. Only by preparing myself can I prepare my students when times call for their skills to be put to the test.

The internet is full of instructors arguing why their techniques are better than others. Demonstrating them with low-level opponents who are coached to respond accordingly for the sake of the demos.

The more you train yourself, the more you learn from instructors with depth of knowledge, the better prepared you will be if the time came.

This is what I demand of myself, and what I expect from students and instructors in our organisation. Respect, values, and endless training is IKMF Krav Maga.