The following is a comment I read in the Krav Maga section of Reddit recently. It was posted by one m1foley.
After 5 years, I’ve been through the stages of a Krav practitioner:
- Beginner: “Why are these people wearing groin protectors? Oh. Oh my god…”
- False sense of mastery: “I hope someone tries to mug me in the street!”
- Wisdom: “I’m no idiot. I know some stuff, but will never use it unless my life is in danger. If Stephen Hawking threatens me, I’ll throw him my wallet and run away.”
All too often people get caught up in the aggressiveness of Krav Maga and lose sight of the big picture outlined above. I think it’s understandable and I am guilty of it as much as the next guy. We are pushing ourselves in class in an environment designed for intensity. We are barked at to “GO! GO! GO!” and trained to go full bore. We are always pushing forward, never retreating. We are driving through drills, smashing through our walls. This is pure, adrenaline-fueled intensity.
What I am trying to keep in mind, and I think I have arrived at stage three above, is to keep Krav Maga in context. Out in the real world it is possible that these techniques might be needed, especially if your safety or that of a loved one is threatened. In cases of more minor confrontations, which I would hope would be the vast majority, we should remember that disengaging and retreating are the way to go. In many classes this option isn’t — in my opinion — given much credence. It all comes down to destroying anyone who messes with you, becoming the “second attacker” as it were. This is all well and good I think but there should be some mental judgement going on at the same time. Yes, I need to disable my attacker but above all, I need to get my ass outta here safely ASAP.
There’s a book by Rory Miller called “Facing Violence” that talks about the consequences of street fighting. We can imagine punching, kneeing, and kicking someone into a pulp with our skills and aggressiveness and, if faced in real life, can probably pull it off but there’s a line that can be crossed where self-defense becomes assault. There’s an art of “not-fighting” to be learned that deals with deescalating the situation and avoiding the brawl.