Krav Maga gives us the tools to deal with violence. But is all violence the same? Does the violence a boxer or an MMA fighter face in the ring or the cage the same type of violence a person may face out in the street?
MMA fighters, boxers, jiu-jitsu players, wrestlers, and all other combat athletes routinely put their body on the line. They risk the chance of significant injury, and in very rare occasions even death when matched against another opponent that is trying to beat them via a knockout, submission or through accumulation of points throughout the course of the match. Although this type of violence is by no means trivial, it is far different than that a regular person may be facing when attacked in the street. First of all, the violence a combat athlete faces during his match is set by the rules of the sport. If the competing athlete breaks any rules, that may cost him points or even the whole match. Of course the competitors are usually equally matched by weight, do not worry about the element of a surprised attacks, or weapons, or multiple attackers. Street attacks are far more unpredictable, the attackers can be bigger and stronger, there can be more than one assailant, there could be weapons involved, and the element of surprise and disadvantage. These differences are quite obvious, and we discuss these routinely in our monthly articles. But there is also a subtle difference that is important to discuss in order to better understand what makes Krav Maga so effective in dealing with violence.
The most important difference between controlled violence and street violence is in the mindset of the attacker(s). Athletes competing against each other usually have no deep-rooted hatred towards each other. And although trash-talking is common prior to the match to better sell the event, during the match athletes often touch gloves or shake hands and treat the fight in a professional and strategic matter, without turning the fight into a personal affair, which can result in irrational thinking, and technical and tactical mistakes. Street attacks are far from calculated and strategic fights. These are very personal, vicious attacks where the assailant is trying to do as much harm to the victim as possible. There is no respect between the victim and the attacker, and the mindset and behavior is far from what you would see in a professional bout.
In the video we posted above, during a professional boxing match between two heavyweight boxers, David Haye and Tony Bellew, bad blood and anger got the better of David Haye, who took a wild swing at his competitor trying to catch the other off guard. The interesting part about this video, is that you can clearly see that as soon as the intent became personal and no longer professional, boxing strategy went out the window and passion took over. Mr. Haye simply tried to sucker punch the other when the other was offering to touch gloves. Although this is a trained boxer with a winning record, his punch was so wild that he forgot to bring the other hand up and ended up losing balance and nearly falling over. Is this something Krav Maga can teach you to deal with? Absolutely! Trained fighter or not, when passion takes over and intent is personal, attackers have a tendency to act irrationally and wildly, which is exactly what we train people to deal with at our school. Our classes focus on the technical, physical and mental aspects of self-defense training, including fighting, grappling and weapon training that is specifically set to improve our self-defense skills, and not to compete in the ring, where the type of violence an athlete faces is far different than that of someone being viciously attacked on the street.
Remember, our goal is not to out-box a boxer or out-grapple a grappler, but to do what is necessary to defend ourselves and loved ones when responding with violence to violence is the only alternative we have left.