Never Ready, just better, October 29th, 2022
Just last week I had an honor to be graduated to 5 th Dan, Expert 5 in Krav Maga. I was asked what it means to me? It means that I’m on a right path of learning. Never ready, just better.
Another question I got was that: “Do you need to be tested; you’re mastering all this already? Of course not, I don’t need to be tested, I don’t need the 5 th dan or any other award to keep on training, but for me to be evaluated by people who have been doing, training, and teaching self-defense for decades, helps me to focus my training, teaching and if need be, doing self-defense. Never Ready, just better.
I was starting my krav maga training when Imi Lichtenfeld, the founder of Krav Maga was already in his late 80’s. Sadly I never got a chance to meet with him but fortunately we have a lot of videos of Imi teaching. I’m listening to these very carefully and comparing everything we do to these words of wisdom. Never Ready, just better.
Few takeaways from my 5th Dan test
At the level of 5 th Dan one is expected to show deep understanding of the system and self-defense in general. Not only perform techniques but have the ability to adapt and adjust them in changing situations and perform the key principles of krav maga:
Don’t get hurt; move out of the line of fire, use the necessary force, engage and disengage in the best possible way.
Do what you need you to do (and do it right); reacting to the attack (the problem at hand) and use the necessary force to end the attack.
Simultaneous attack and defense; now this is the core of krav maga. “Move and Fire” as we in Finland call it. With every move there is an attack motion involved. If you flinch backwards, use a kick and continue, If you flinch forward, use a punch and continue. If you need to get close, use a fake to startle your opponent(s) and finish the problem.
Control and use your body power forcefully; in an ambush situation, we really don’t control the situation in the start, the attacker(s) do. We will end up in bad balance and we must have the control of the body and ability to regain balance. This is also the matter of motion control and ability to continue the attack/defense.
Similar type of problem, similar type of solution; one key element of krav maga is to enforce the principles and use the same sort of solutions regardless of the method of an attack. For instance, is a punch comes from a certain direction and now there is a kick coming the same way or a blade etc. Your reaction will determine the solution but in the end of the day, that solution is the same in all these. That’s why it is very important to train in such a way that what you do is realistic and considers both physiological, psychological aspects of the situation.
Tutorials and thoughts – Never ready, just better
We are all the time creating tutorials to help everyone train accordingly. Here are few links and ideas for you to go throuhg
#Lesson 1 – “Fighting stance, your everyday stance”
(Originated from Miamoto Mushashi, the book of five rings)
We brought this principle alive in all training sessions. The transfer between not ready and ready isn’t very big but it is groundbreaking – integrating the startle -flinch to everything you do is a powerful tool.
What’s the usual problem?
If your ”ready” stance and your natural behavior are in conflict, the natural behavior wins.
- To find out about your natural behavior, do the following:
- Pay attention to your ”ready” position. Now let someone spook you and see where you end
- Compare the difference
- Make the result your every day stance. Not a single exercise from the relaxed position again.
#Lesson 2- “No option, just reaction”
”There are few options you can do in a situation line this”…this phrase hurts my ears!
Another one: ”I just love to do this kick in this kind of situation”..really? How many times you
have found yourself in such ”self-defense” situation that you can do the ”kick you like”
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that these phrases paint a picture like you’d have a choice or time to think and decide in an ambush-type of self-defense situation what to do. You don’t!
- That kind of phrases lead us to think too relaxed.
- Thinking too relaxed make our postures relaxed.
- In relaxed postures there is nothing similar to the situation we’re preparing for: Once we end up being ambushed, there is nothing relaxed.
- Now all the techniques you trained were done in relaxed mode. Do you have them operating the same now? Hardly.
It is not a rational choice, ”an option” if you like, but rather an emotional choice, ”a
reaction”, that our body does for us.
Now if you combine the ready stance that isn’t your natural response to this ”you have
options” thinking, the only thing you have is a catastrophe should you ever need to actually
defend yourself or your close ones.
We made a youtube short on the subject to explain a bit more.
- Determine your true fighting stance
- Start shooting kicks and punches from that position
- You will get your core (abs) activated easily and soon notice how fast you will actually be
- Now go to defenses
- Add releasing techniques
Now we are conditioning our neural system to act in a natural way in any given circumstance.
Now the technical training starts to make sense.
Integrating the startle-flinch reaction to the defensive and attack-patterns gives you an edge in learning faster. Since it will happen anyway, why not do train like it all the time!
By the way this applies to any performance whether it’s about playing an instrument or a game of hockey or basketball.
Want to try these with me for free?
I really want to help people to learn fast and pass by some of the biggest obstacles there are (the two mentioned above) in getting really good at self-defense.
We have a free 45 min training/ masterclass on Wednesdays at 18.00 (6 p.m) EET (Helsinki). Just click the link to join our free training masterclass!
For more dedicated and target focused trainees, we have also the kravmagacoach.com portal in which one can get instant feedback from the AI coach and direct coaching from our KMC and Krav Maga Finland team. Try our free Krav Maga course or subscribe to our Yearly Krav Maga Course for a big discount.
Stay safe, train smart and become good at right things!