The Forgotten Importance of Prevention and Situational Awareness
When one thinks of Krav Maga, fighting naturally comes to mind. Perhaps the scenario you picture is one-on-one hand-to-hand combat; maybe it’s defending against a group of men with baseball bats. These would be the types of scenes included in any article about Krav Maga. What does one almost never picture when they think of Krav Maga? Not fighting. Seems illogical, right? Not engaging in a fight feels so counterintuitive to learning Krav. But what many people forget is that prevention is one of its most crucial principles, as is situational awareness. That’s why we could all use a refresher course on both.
Prevention is essentially the best defense in a fight because it means avoiding it altogether. Often times in class we’re so focused on learning the techniques correctly that we forget that they are not our first line of defense. In fact, in simulated exercises we’re all guilty of waiting for the attacker to approach in order to deliver our counter-attacks. This may be fine for the sake of class and practicing technique, but in real life, one should never wait for the confrontation to reach you. Just like 360, bucking, or any other defense or counter-attack, prevention should be ingrained into muscle memory.
But prevention isn’t possible without situational awareness, another defense that should be practised as much as anything else in Krav. Situational awareness means being alert and cautious of your surroundings at all times. It allows you to assess each situation and identify the possible dangers, be it a mob of drunk men outside a club, a crowded subway station, or an icy sidewalk. Having a full picture of the scenario will inform your brain and body how to avoid these potential pitfalls and how to react if you’re unable to prevent for some reason. For example, you’d navigate an icy road very differently from a dark alleyway in a dangerous neighborhood. Situational awareness allows you to tell these important differences and plan the best course of action.
So the next time you’re in class and you’re about to start a simulation exercise, run for the door. If your instructor asks what the hell you’re doing, say, “I was exercising situational awareness and prevention.” He or she might call you a wise-ass and tell you to proceed with the drill, but what your instructor will really be thinking is, “Wow, someone’s been paying attention.”