I hope everyone is getting some socially distant outside time. The weather is beautiful, and the sunshine is great for getting some Vitamin D. Also, the 21 class challenge is still going, and I’m excited to add more names to the list of winners.
Unfortunately, the topic of the week is a lot sadder. We are continuing with the theme of domestic abuse. It is a topic that no one wants to talk about, but silence allows for it to continue. We need to look at the problem square in the face and talk about it to start finding solutions.
The truth is that violence against women is a pandemic in American society. I did some research for a podcast I did, and the statistics are staggering. Around 18% of women have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime (Centers for Disease Control), which speaks for itself.
Such violence often doesn’t start with physical threats, but invasions of the defender’s boundaries. As the aggressor continues, they escalate the violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control
- 76% of women murdered by an intimate partner were stalked first.
- 85% of women who survived any kind of murder attempt were first stalked.
- 89% of women who were physically assaulted before being murdered were stalked.
Krav Maga doesn’t just focus on helping women get away from attackers, but starting the prevention from the earliest possible moment, because we know, the longer the situation continues, the worse it will be.
Setting boundaries is one of the most important skills that people can learn. Even if someone says that they are doing something for your own good, remember that you and you alone are in charge of your life and your body. People who love you and respect you will respect when you say no.
If you don’t set the boundary, you are inviting them to continue violating your wishes. This is often how abuse starts, with disregarding the person’s wishes and then that grows to violence.
Therefore, we need to cut off the violence from the start. One KME student was walking home at night when she started observing signs that she was being followed. She stayed aware, ready to act. When she went to open the door of her apartment building, an attacker who was following her grabbed her. Because she was trained and alert, she got the attacker off her and saved herself.
That’s a much more dramatic example of a violation of boundaries, but often that violation can be a lot more subtle.
Here’s another example. Many times, people are socialized to be nice and they don’t set firm boundaries. They don’t want to seem crazy, so they don’t use their voice. This human behavior has to be studied to be unlearned, so people can assert themselves.
For example, a woman is at a party when a man approaches her with a drink she didn’t want. Often, women are socialized to be polite and not hurt the guy’s feelings. But this strategy fails once you understand human behavior. Instead of being polite, she needs to assert her boundaries and make it clear; she isn’t interested. She can do it politely, but she needs to be firm and assertive about it. Anything less than that can be understood as an invitation to increase the pressure because she seems more “hard to get.”
Either a guy is a decent person, and he’ll go away, which solves the problem, or the guy isn’t trustworthy, and she’s just asserted her boundaries and made it clear, do not mess with her. In both cases, she’s safer for using psychology and Krav Maga awareness together. Either way, she’s cut off the interaction before it gets worse.
Moving on to the video, we continue with chokes.
- Continue to work on having a strong foundation. You don’t want to be knocked to the ground, where you will be in a far worse position. The stability of your stance relies on having a balance to all sides and being rooted to the ground.
- Work on your fight stance. When you are in a fight stance, check to see if you can perform every strike efficiently and comfortably. If you need to modify your stance to kick or punch, you need to alter your stance overall. The reason you are in a fight stance is that you feel that you were in a situation where you might need to fight. In that situation, time is one of your most valuable resources, so you want to make sure that you have the least amount of movement required to perform those strikes efficiently. Remember, the element of surprise comes from moving quickly. If you telegraph your movements by having to shift, you lose that element and advantage.
- Make sure there is zero space between the hand of the attacker and your upper arm and head. I like to say, don’t let bacteria grow. This is the most critical movement of the defense, and it is something that requires a lot of practice in order to get right. A good idea to work in front of the mirror and check to see if you have left any room for an attacker to choke you or the bacteria to grow. If you see any space, fix it by bringing the arm close to your ear.
- As always, when you are under attack, you need to look for weak points that are available. Hit to the face or hit the groin, and don’t stop smashing until you have got into a safe position. Moving to the dead side is one of the best ways to do so.
- I’ll make that clearer. After striking, make sure you get out of the line of fire. I want to talk about a habit I see a lot. People are not moving out of the line of fire when doing defenses and not moving towards the exit while scanning the surroundings. Remember, your goal is to get home safely, and that means getting away from what can hurt you. When shadow boxing or practicing releases, make sure you are taking the time to make that transition out of the channel of danger and to plan your exit. See that as part of the entire technique.
Remember the three Es.
Don’t leave out the final step! When you do, you get the knockout.
During quarantine is the perfect time to work on these skills, because it’s just you in the room so you don’t have to worry about falling behind the class. Take the time to work on your skills slowly and precisely.
I’m looking forward to finishing the topic of chokes next week with one of my favorites, the rear-naked choke, and seeing how far you’ve progressed in the challenge.