In our most recent blog, we outlined “What is a Reflex Defense” and explained how our natural responses take over, especially when we are surprised by an assault. Now, we are going to consider some examples of how our reflexes or natural reactions serve as the starting point for many of our self-defense techniques.
Whenever feasible, we want our techniques to evolve from our natural reflexes. Why? Whether we are ready or not we react in certain ways to protect ourselves. Acting against these reactions, particularly when stress compromises our cognitive and motor skills, is very difficult. Accordingly, Krav Maga techniques modify our natural reactions, refining into more effective movements.
Let’s look at two examples.
360 Defense Against Knife. When we see footage of knife assaults (e.g. the downward/icepick attack), the victim puts up their arms to shield themselves against the stabs. This natural reaction can slow down the assault but is not an effective way to stop the attacker. We modify this reaction by refining the block, adding a body defense (leaning forward or away) and striking as soon as possible. Through repeated practice with an instructor who can refine your technique, these defenses become automatic. Stress training then helps you to perform under the duress of an attack.
Escaping Chokes. When being choked people often claw or pull at the attacker’s hands to try and get air. Against a stronger attacker, these motions are ineffective. However, if you refine this reflex into a pluck – using five digits in a hook-like motion to rapidly pull – focused on the weak part of the grip (the thumbs) then your chances drastically increase. Add a knee or slap to the groin with follow up strikes and you have some effective self-defense techniques.
There are innumerable examples of techniques we use in Krav Maga that are modifications of our reflexes or automatic responses to assaults. These modifications improve upon your responses and greatly increase your chances of protecting yourself.
As always feel free to contact us with comments or suggestions for blog topics. We are always looking for ideas.
Christopher Gagne, Owner, Toronto Krav Maga Academy (proud member of Kravolution)