I suppose this post could also be called Augmenting Krav Maga Training, Part III: Mental Preparedness. It’s one thing to have your body trained to fight or flight, but what about your mind? When do we know we are in a bad situation? At what point do we act on instinct? How does our training in the school compare to the reality of self-defense on the street?
There are 2 books that, I believe, answer these questions and so many more. If you’re serious about self-defense, then you should read these.
The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence, by Gavin de Becker
The Gift of Fear could be considered a classic as far as self-defense literature goes. I’ve heard many people recommend this book, from Brian to social workers to domestic violence advocates to security officers to LEOs. Gavin de Beck owns a company that specializes in advising “clients on the assessment and management of situations that might escalate to violence, and develops systems and strategies for improving high-stakes predictions.” He knows what he is talking about.
The premise of de Becker’s book boils down to trusting one’s instinct. Too many people end up in violent situations by not listening to their own instinct and their own body’s natural reaction to a situation. They rationalize their fear away and end up assaulted or worse. We know when we are in the wrong situation. We know when something just doesn’t feel right. And yet, we dismiss those feelings because we simply can’t prove that something might be wrong, until it’s too late.
Making sure we listen to our own human instincts can save us from many violent situations. De Becker does a great job of giving real-life stories and how to use our natural reactions to get us out of bad situations.
Rory Miller’s book focuses on how training in traditional martial arts is very different from being in a fight. However, he doesn’t discount the training in martial arts; he simply points out some of the weakness in training and how to improve the training in order for it to apply to real conflict.
I’ve very much appreciated this book. Although Miller’s focus is on traditional martial arts (Krav is anything but), I do see many parallels in our Krav training. Although we attempt to be as realistic as possible in our Krav training, due to safety purposes, we lack some realism. Let’s face it—would you come back to class if you were punched in the face with a bare hand?? Miller makes a point that when training isn’t as realistic as possible, we are training flaws. And by training flaws, we train flawed techniques. Now, since we to have to remember safety in training, it’s important for instructors to point out the flaws in a drill or training exercise to the students. We need to explain those flaws and why we are training with the flaw.
In conclusion, although we certainly need to train our bodies to respond to an attack, we need to train our minds as well. Mentally, we must know where we are capable of going in terms of violence and defending ourselves. How do we know if a situation is going to turn from bad to worse? What is our best response? How do we avoid those situations in the first place?
I highly suggest picking up these 2 books (they should run you under $25) and reading them. Highlight them. Re-read them. You’ll not only learn about human behavior, but about yourself as well. In future posts I’ll explore some of the topics Miller and de Becker offer and how we should consider them in our training and in our lives.