Don’t get stabbed.

Its been ages since I blogged. Mostly because I’ve had a book to finish but also because I like napping, and there’s rarely time to write and blog before the urge to nap gets the better of me. The book’s now finished. As are a bunch of other writing projects, but I’ll talk about those next week. Deadlines and sleeping patterns allowing, of course.

Yesterday, I took my Krav Maga Practitioner Level One test. I passed, which is to say I didn’t get stabbed, and will shortly be the proud owner of a certificate to that effect. I didn’t however, receive a belt, coloured or otherwise.  Interestingly though, my trousers are managing to stay up just fine.

I’ve trained in a lot of different martial arts over the last twelve years or so – kickboxing, boxing, tae kwon-do, escrima, muay thai, jkd, and silat. I even took a judo class, once. I’ve fought semi-contact bouts and full contact ones too. I’ve fought against groups of attackers in the training hall and on the street. But it wasn’t until I started Krav Maga that I realised I knew only the basics when it came to effectively dealing with violence.

If you’re interested, you can read all about Krav Maga and its history here. But in summary, it’s a pragmatic and practical combative system that requires neither the agility of a prima ballerina nor the endurance of a marathon runner.  Training covers three areas – technique, organic ways to attack and defend; tactics, everything from avoiding fights to ensuring you walk away from them; and mindset, because it’s not easy bashing someone’s face in, even if your trousers are tied securely with a belt that’s ninja-black.

Krav Maga isn’t really concerned where one foot should go and at what angle, and there’s no pressure point wizardry or complex kata. Krav Maga’s effective because it’s simple – hit your attacker’s head until his brain turns off. You can hit it with whatever you like and in any way you can, as long as you hit it. The throat, genitalia and eyes are also acceptable targets. The mantra, ‘My go, my go, my go’ (The attacker doesn’t get a go) is one the Krav Maga practitioner lives by. The other is – don’t get stabbed.

Krav Maga was designed to work in the real world.  Here in Nottingham, knife crime is rife. So in training, we spend a large portion of time dealing with knife threats and attacks. Seems obvious, right? Yet in every other martial art I’ve studied, the knife is introduced much later on, if at all. The same goes for multiple attackers. Most street fights involve more than one assailant (usually three or four), but in general, martial arts don’t expose you to multiple attackers until after a year or so of training. In Krav Maga you learn to deal with multiple attackers from your first lesson. Now, I’m not saying that turning up to a single Krav Maga class will unleash the hidden warrior within. Neither will it enable you to whip up a spandex costume, and patrol the night giving crime a good shoeing. But you will leave understanding how to apply this principle:

Hit first and hit often.

Also this one – don’t get stabbed.

I’ve only just stepped onto the first rung of Krav, and I’ve a long, long way to go before I’d consider myself proficient. Watching Dave and the other instructors, the guys who really know their stuff, switch from Captain Friendly to Brutal Death-Machine, to dispatch multiple, armed, motivated assailants, has made me realise that pitting any other martial art against Krav Maga would be like bringing a knife to a gun fight.

And, as I mentioned earlier, Krav Maga practitioners are more than adept at dealing with knives.

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