Krav Maga Worldwide® self-defense & Situational Awareness Training
Krav Maga Worldwide® self-defense training empowers people with real skills to be safer and stronger. The skills that our training imparts are both physical and mental. One of the most important mental skills that people training with us develop is situational awareness. Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training is, in essence, situational awareness training coupled with the ability to take action.
This often brings up the question, just what exactly IS situational awareness training. Situational awareness training if you take it quite literally, is about the “perception of environment”.
When someone is training self-defense at a Krav Maga Worldwide® certified training center, the perception of environment broadens to include recognizing potential threats and dangers. Ultimately the student’s recognition of threats and dangers lends to their ability to take action to mitigate these threats and dangers. In terms of Krav Maga Worldwide® self-defense and situational awareness training we want our students to use this broadened scope to avoid conflict, dangers, and threats. That is the best possible use of situational awareness training. If conflict is unavoidable we equip students with he physical skills to eliminate threats and dangers.
For the most part, your brain is constantly cycling through this loop and your actions and reactions are a result of this process. Situational awareness and situational awareness training starts with the OODA Loop. If you see something falling off of a table close to you and you want to try to catch it, you first must observe the falling object, recognize where you are oriented in relation to it, decide to try to catch it, then reach out to try to do so. This all happens in a matter of fractions of a second.
When training the OODA Loop in relation to self-defense and situational awareness training, Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training varies all of the OODA elements in order to build skills that relate to potentially life-saving action…whether that be avoiding or eliminating a threat.
These two videos below offer contrasting examples of ways in which we work on situational awareness via varying observation and orientation, which in turn has an effect on the rest of the OODA Loop.
In this video you’ll notice that the participants are being completely disoriented in two different ways. They are spinning around to make themselves dizzy and their pad-holding partners are moving to varying locations around the room. The environment is changing and so is their physical condition, ie they are becoming dizzy, both of these variances effect their ability to observe and orient. On the cue to “go” they must acquire their designated target, get to it, and re-orient themselves in order to engage it (punch the pad). This drill incorporates an aggression component, which forces the participant to overcome the challenges to observation and orientation and exert maximum effort with punches. Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training isn’t about running across a room to fight someone. This particular drill is a combination of situational awareness training as well as building physical skills needed to fight back and win if attacked. Acquiring the target and orienting to be able to strike the pad is part of the physical challenge that builds physical skills. The participant achieves this with the decision and action phase of the OODA Loop.
In this second video the participant faces a different situational awareness training challenge. Observation and orientation have already been well established in relation to the threat. The defender is in range of a knife attack and now the OODA Loop is challenged in much shorter cycles as the angle of the knife attack is changed. The defender knows an attack will be coming but doesn’t know the direction, angle, or speed of the attack. This is a constantly varying challenge to observation and orientation of where the attack is coming from and orienting the defending arm to make the defense, which is achieved with decision and action.
The second video isn’t so much simulating one singe real-life attack scenario. A knife wielding attacker intent on harming someone is, most likely, going to be much more aggressive than what is going on in this particular drill. The value for situational awareness training here is that the defender deals with varying angles over and over again and has to adjust. It gives the defender a chance to practice recognizing where a knife attack might be coming from in the initial phase of an attack and what decision has to be made in order to make the correct defense.
If you extrapolate these sorts of application across all levels of Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training, the challenges to the decision making process get adjusted based on the level of training. The attacks and defenses change. The scope and number of techniques involved in training changes. Sharpening situational awareness training changes and new levels are achieved via experience.
Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training teaches people to use their body’s natural reaction to defend against an attack, and to fight back aggressively until they can neutralize the attacker and/or get away. It could be argued that even after one class, a student is going to have a increased sense of situational awareness. That’s because they have expanded or increased their level of experience and are, in general, more aware of threats and possible attacks based on what material is covered in that class.
For example, if a person attends a Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense class that teaches them to defend a choke from the front, the student is going to learn all of the factors that go in to making that defense and experience making the defense against a partner. The experience they have is going to effect their ability to make a decision and take action going forward. They have knowledge of making the defense. The student is also going to be able to better recognize the distance at which an attack like that comes on. If an attacker has to be, say, three feet away in order to grab that person’s neck, it stands to reason that being further than three feet away will prevent the person from being attacked by a choke from the front simply because they are too far away.
It’s this type of experience that leads to gains in situational awareness training. Now that the person knows where the choke from the front attack occurs from, they can avoid situations that put them within that three foot danger zone. Avoiding situations where someone is within three feet, keeps that person safe from being attacked by a choke from the front. This is not to say that every situation will be avoidable but it does make possible the thought process needed to avoid those situations.
If we again look at this in relation to different levels of Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training, each level of experience makes students more aware of different kinds of dangers, threats, and attacks. This applies to striking, grappling, weapons, etc. The student is basically always involved in situational awareness training by way of their progression through the Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense system.
Being able to recognize potential dangers is a valuable skill especially, as mentioned, when the goal is to avoid putting yourself at risk of being attacked. If an unavoidable attack occurs, Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense training gives people the ability to fight back and win. In a fight or attack the factors that go in to the OODA Loop are constantly going to be changing and because of this, Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense skills should be honed by consistent training and ultimately, repetition.
Situational awareness training is heightened and improved by repetition. The more you experience dealing with attacks at different levels of training, the more you are going to be certain of your decision and plan of action. That is to say, if you practice a choke defense one hundred times, you know what you are going to do in order to defend that choke. The decision and action develop a stronger link.
In the above video you’ll see an effective way to push situational awareness training at an advanced level with multiple repetitions and varied attacks.
Situational Awareness Training
Knowing what you are going to do in order to defend the choke and making the defense correctly each time are not the same thing, though. Repeating the defense and practicing making the defense improve your chances of making the defense correctly. Forcing yourself to make the defense under different conditions like when you are fatigued, dizzy, if you start with your eyes closed and don’t see the attack coming, etc, will all improve your chances of success.
Situational awareness training also applies to scenarios and not just single episodes or events in those scenarios. For example, a sparring session with a live opponent (or a drill such as the video above) is an ongoing scenario that changes by the second, or fraction of a second. Events in that scenario could be seen as exchanges of combatives. Repetition of scenarios like this and dealing with the events that take place in them in terms of your OODA Loop, is what develops the skill needed for you to be in the right position, move your head the correct way, throw the right combative, make the right defense, etc. all the things you need in order to gain control of and win the events in that scenario.
Training is really ongoing situational awareness training. Repetition is what helps and or forces you to learn and promotes continued development.
The consistent progress of your skills will ultimately be linked to the consistency of your training. If you train once or twice a year as compared to once or twice a week, your results will be proportional (barring outliers). Continued and consistent training in Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense builds physical skills and mindset that lend to the overall progression of situational awareness training.
In large part, we all have some sense of situational awareness. Think about the “dark alley” example. Most everyone can recognize that the proverbial “dark alley” represents danger that we don’t want to expose ourselves to by walking down it. As you train and continue to develop in Krav Maga Worldwide self-defense, your ability to perceive the “dark alley” heightens because of the experience and repetition you have. You are able to recognize where and how attacks have to happen and thus you can better mitigate your exposure to those attacks ie you are more likely to see a dark alley where others don’t.
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