As most of you know, for the first time in Krav Maga UK history we have been able to arrange to hold our next Masterclass in Regents Park. This is looking to be a fantastic event for which most of you have already booked, so thank you for supporting this opportunity and investing the time to better your Krav Maga skills.
The title of this next MasterClass is ‘The Last Place You Want To Be’ which was also the title of a blog that I wrote in 2011, which explained my opinion about Krav Maga Self Defence training for situations that end up on the ground.
I thought it might be interesting for you all if we re-posted this blog so those of you who read it before can remind yourselves of the Krav Maga concepts for ground defence, and for those of you are new to the system, hopefully it will give you a further in-sight into the ‘thinking’ behind Krav Maga and get you ready for the MasterClass
So, here it is….I hope you enjoy it and we will see you all in Regents Park on the 19th August 2012 for what is going to be the best MasterClass yet! If you have yet to book your place, please click HERE and book online!
THE LAST PLACE YOU WANT TO BE – By Jon Bullock (Expert Level 2)
My aim in this blog is to highlight the Krav Maga principles for conflict situations that may end up on the ground, from both an instructor and trainee perspective, in the hope that that this will help you to excel in your Krav Maga training by ultimately, inspiring you to train in a manner, that should you ever be required to use your skills, you ensure that they are as efficient and effective as possible. ….as always, these are purely my views!
Before I continue, I believe it is important to highlight how I define different types of methods for training for the ground.
Defence on the ground – a conflict situation that develops to a point whereby one or both of the involved parties have involuntarily ended up on the ground, where they must continue to defend themselves appropriately.
Ground Fighting – A series of technical physical skills derived from traditional martial arts or sporting systems used in competitions that are governed by rules, whereby one opponent deliberately takes the other to the ground in their attempt to score points to or win the competition immediately through their opponent submitting.
(Please note that in the above definitions, I do not include the potential actions of a trained Police Officer or Security Operative who is upholding the law, whereby they may use specific restraint methods to detain an offender, this blog is written from purely a civilian self defence perspective where the aim is to disengage from a situation as soon as possible)
Krav Maga self defence on the ground should always be trained with the mindset of not wanting to be there but, if we do end up on the ground , we must engage in the scenario with one task in mind – when safe to do so, return to our feet as soon as possible and take further action! However, due to the growing awareness of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ), it is common in Krav Maga training for the ground, that we often find ourselves remaining on the ground whilst trying to arm lock, leg lock or choke our partner to give up/submit (or tap out as it is known), rather than attempting to stand up as soon as possible. We also find ourselves ‘playing by rules’ and not using any means necessary to make the other person unwilling or unable to continue, which is the entire basis on which Krav Maga is based!)
So why does this happen? It happens for one simple reason, it is fun! And it gives us a chance to feel the sensation of winning, or success by dominating our training partner. Due to that fact that by design Krav Maga has no competitive elements, this is ever more appealing when the opportunity arises, as this is simply human nature. I for one am guilty of this practice from time to time when my competitive emotions get the better of me. I must point out at this stage that I am in actual fact a huge fan of MMA and I believe to be a fascinating system, and I absolutely believe that any one training in Krav Maga MUST still be familiar with the basics of ground fighting (in fact they are included in some of the Krav Maga Graduate & Expert Level syllabus) but from two very distinct perspectives:
1) As ‘tools in your box’ – Regardless of how often you may use them, any tool could come in useful in an appropriate situation, better to have them than not – for example, having to control someone in a confined environment when there is no means of escape.
2) Understanding your enemy – realising that with the growth of MMA and BJJ, knowledge can be gained quickly by others by watching TV and using the internet.
An Instructors Perspective….
When teaching Krav Maga defence on the ground, it is imperative that we first analyse the varying reasons why we may end up on the ground (for example, loss of balance, collision with inanimate objects or having been struck/pulled to the ground). To put a trainee on the ground without introducing their mind as to how they may end up there is, in my view, not preparing them to cope with this potentially extremely complicated situation, and is already putting them at a huge disadvantage. We should be educating what being on the ground represents…it represents limitation, vulnerability, the unknown, lack of mobility and a severely increased chance of serious injury. Ideally, self defence on the ground in Krav Maga should ways be trained with the most amount of incentive to stand up as possible. Adding a 2nd attacker who approaches quickly, or by introducing a concealed weapon to the scenarios are both good examples of training methods of keeping the trainee in the correct mindset, as they will immediately go to the mindset of survival, with the burning urge to stand u and get away to a feeling of safety.
The Trainee Mindset….
For all those training in Krav Maga, if you do end up on the ground, do ALL THAT IS NECESSARY to return to your feet as soon as possible and when safe to do so. Adapt the mindset of wanting to be there as least time as possible and ALWAYS, ALWAYS finish each repetition of a technique with standing up. DO NOT be lazy and stay on the ground and say to yourself ‘in a real situation I would stand up’, ensure you complete the entire scenario, which includes standing up and TAKING SOME FURTHER ACTION. This further action should be in the form of either running off, creating distance, or, where necessary, continuing to defend yourself. This could also include equipping yourself with an appropriate common object when necessary. At NO POINT should you stand up from the ground and be INACTIVE…DO NOT DO NOTHING, DO SOMETHING!…train the mindset to be ACTIVE at all times, scanning for other potential dangers or seeking the best exit strategy and physically go through the motions of running off or continuing to engage with another problem. If we practice being INACTIVE, when it matters, we will become INACTIVE, as our mind is not trained to mentally make an IMMEDIATE post-conflict decision and physically carry out the ACTION associated with that decision (also known as ‘finishing mode’) and therefore we may end up stopping (see previous blog DON’T STOP!).
To put it in perspective, a few weeks ago I was teaching at one of classes within the Institute and we were covering a range of self defence scenarios on the ground. I emphasised that during all training scenarios the main principle was to deal with the immediate problem and to get to your feet as soon as possible. The majority of the class carried out these instructions however, sometimes the self defence scenarios migrated to a MMA style fight with the trainees trying their best to manoeuvre into a ground fighting style joint locks and of course having fun whilst doing so. During this period I also noticed knees, elbows and heads making contact with the nice soft mats that we were training on and it was at this point I realised that the mind-set of the trainees had not remained focused on the task. With this in mind I (and with their agreement of course) suggested that we head outside to the concrete area and practice the situations in a more ‘real environment’. The immediately interesting thing was the reaction of the trainees as they realised they were leaving the soft confines of the training hall to the hard reality of the real world. As we began to practice outside (relatively slowly I might add due to safety), the mindset of the trainees drastically shifted from ‘Round 3 in the cage’ to that of severe self preservation. Elbows were no longer knocking the ground, the slight scuff of the knee caused concern and heads were being kept as far away as possible from the concrete surface. Even more interesting was that when each trainee was practicing their scenario, they could not stand up quick enough! As being on the ground in ‘the real world’ was not a nice experience (even though we were still in a controlled training environment) as it felt uncomfortable with a sense of vulnerability. There was not scenario where they actively chose to remain on the ground, to attempt a joint lock or choke hold; they wanted to stand up as soon as they could, so the situation would be over. It was fascinating to watch. Naturally it is not always practical (or wise) to train outside all the time, therefore every effort should be made to remain in the correct mindset regardless of where you are training, unless directed otherwise!
To conclude, those Instructing Krav Maga, ensure you introduce training on the ground by setting the scene and explaining the correct mindset. By all means introduce ground fighting for fun, knowledge and understanding, but be clear on how remaining on the ground unnecessarily, attempting to restrain or disable an opponent through join manipulation or restriction of breathing could, in at a real life situation, lead to a longer than necessary period of time in an vulnerable position and a more problematic situation.
For those training in the Krav Maga system…keep in the correct mindset, do whatever is necessary to return to your feet as soon as possible, and ensure you take some further ACTION! NEVER BE INACTIVE. But ultimately always treat the ground, in any situation, as the last place you want to be!
See you all soon.
(NOTE: Any outdoor training carried out by the Institute of Krav Maga is done so with a full assessment of risk, with the consent of the trainees and is conducted in a safe manner at all times).