Don’t Stop!

After the fantastic feedback from the first blog, I am keen to keep the momentum. Please let me reiterate that any of these blogs are purely my opinion alone.

One word that I would be very keen to remove from the vocabulary of any Krav Maga Instructor is the word ‘mistake’. The first online dictionary I ‘Googled’ defined the word mistake as “an error or blunder during action”.

The word mistake is often used by many Instructors to define the performance of a defensive action by a trainee, or indeed another Instructor. It is a horrible word to say the least, that suggests that the performance of the action was ‘wrong’, my belief is that there is no such thing as a ‘mistake’, or a perfect performance for that matter…there are simply RESULTS! Results that are deemed as meeting a certain standard or results that need improvement.

Therefore, when describing a performance of an action by someone, it either followed the Krav Maga principles of the action or, may have been lacking some of the principles which means they simply need to improve certain areas, but it is by no means completely wrong! If I am teaching someone a defensive action and they perform it with the opposite hand, or opposite leg to the one requested, but they still end up not getting kicked/punched/grabbed then how can that be a mistake? They still managed to defend themselves and reduce the impact of the attack. It is therefore my role as Instructor to highlight how they could improve the action through applying the principles more effectively, or doing exactly as requested, rather than saying it was ‘a mistake’.

In a situation of imminent danger, whether alone or with a loved one, when it may be cold, wet and dark – the influence of increased adrenalin in the body may encourage a less than ideal defensive action. But if that defensive action reduces the impact of the situation, prevents you from being hurt and you are able to continue to actively defend yourself or another, and head to a place of safety, how can the less than ideal defensive action be a mistake?

Which brings me (eventually!) to the point of this blog. When you are training in Krav Maga and you start to make a defensive action that, within in the first split second, you realise was not as good as it could have been…DON’T STOP! Continue on to complete the action as best possible, adjust yourself to make the best of the situation and complete the scenario. Then review your results! Go back to your training partner, say that you want to carry out the action again, slow it down, review how you performed, take it step by step and analyse it point by point. Better still, if it is not completely clear, call the Instructor over for clarification, which is what they are there for!

Stopping during mid-action, having a ‘hissy fit’, stamping the floor, looking up at the ceiling and saying “that was SH**T” is an extremely bad habit to get into, unfortunately, I see it alot.

Why does it happen? It happens for a multitude of reasons, one of which may be that the trainee is embarrassed (possibly because the Instructor was watching, as it never goes to plan when your Instructor is watching, right!) that they did not perform the action as best possible and are therefore being judged…let me tell you now, that in the Institute of Krav Maga UK, this is never the case, our Instructors are there to improve you as much as they possibly can.

In the Expert Levels of the Krav Maga system, we have a process of learning and training called ‘Warrior Capabilities’ (A warrior is defined as one who is engaged in or experienced in battle). In this method of learning, we are actively training to deal with a situation that does not go to plan. What happens if the assailant reacts quickly to your defensive action? What if they move back? What if they pull the weapon away as you try and control it?

What do we do in this situation? Say, “Excuse me; I didn’t perform my defensive action correctly, could I have another go? I would suggest that the hissy fit, stamping of the feet and looking to the ceiling may not be the best practice in a real time situation. And remember, more often than not, how we act in training is how we will act in real situation as our mind and our muscles recall a response that is carried out again and again.

(But what about during an examination for a grading I hear your ask…I will cover performance during grading in a later blog)

Training is exactly what it says; it is training, defined as the action of teaching a person a particular skill or type of behaviour. This is the time for us to practice, to test and measure our performance, to review our results and improve them. This is the time to understand what situations or defensive actions we find more difficult than others, and what we need to focus on.

Remember…in training you are never being judged, simply assisted and guided to be as good as you possibility can. So when required, ASK for more guidance.

Remember…DON’T STOP…complete the action through to the end of the scenario, then review the results of how you performed, if you believe it needs improvement (and we all do!) go back and do it again, and again, and again!

And a final point to all Instructors who may decide to read this, studies have shown that a greater level of improvement is a by-product of compliments. Therefore, consider refraining from using the word ‘mistake’, it is negative, deconstructive and demoralising and does not help your trainee improve whatsoever!

See you all soon.

Jon Bullock

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