As Krav Maga instructors we strive to educate students about how real assaults can take place. This includes:
• Describing situations, e.g. when and how assaults take place.
• The psychology and tactics of the attacker – What is he trying to achieve? Why/How is he trying to do this?
• Simulating what assaults look, feel, and sound like.
During partner training, students naturally focus on their defensive role. After all, you are here to learn how to protect yourself not to attack others! What is often overlooked, however, is the important role of the training partner(s) playing the role of aggressor. This role, and how you perform it, is vital to the development of your self-defense skills. You are giving your partner opportunities to refine the skills that can save their life while learning how assailants actually attack.
Here are (4) general ways you and your partner can improve as aggressors, and by extension, as defenders.
Offer a Realistic Striking Distance. Defenders need to understand distance. If your kicks, punches, stabs, are more than 6 inches from the target then you are deceiving your partner. There are many creative and safe ways to strike within close distance.
On Target Strikes. Similarly, students often veer their strikes to the right or left, not giving their partner a sense of the actual trajectory of the punch, kick, stab, etc… Aim for where a real attacker would strike.
Please Recoil!: Punching, kicking, stabbing, without recoiling, does not make for a realistic scenario. For beginners, we minimize recoil but as you progress you need to account for it.
Pad Work and Kicking
Students, beginners and advanced, tend to stop when their partner is performing a defensive or side kick- kicks intended to stop the attacker’s advance. This habit can come from being timid or not wanting to bowl over the defender. Stopping, however, can give the defender an inflated sense of their kicking power. A determined attacker, after all, is not going to stop dead in his tracks to accommodate you. Talk with your instructor and your partner about how to offer a realistic approach while ensuring the safety of you and your partner.
Skip the Massage. Choke Please
You can safely mimic (to a degree) a choke without cutting off air and/or blood flow. The point is to give your partner a sense of how a person would actually choke rather than tending to sore shoulder muscles. Relaxing? Maybe. Creepy? Probably. Helping your partner prepare for real-life assaults? Nope. Ask your instructor how to challenge your partner in a safe way.
Hang on Tight
Bear hugs, in real life, are usually difficult to escape. For beginners, of course, we make it easier. As you progress, however, the holds need to be more resistant and more difficult.
To better prepare you for real life situations we have to give you an accurate and realistic sense of how assaults occur. Playing the aggressor role during training exercises is not a passive one. You need to present your fellow students with the opportunity to learn according to their ability and experience.
Of course, various safety measures must be in place at all times.