First, I hope everyone is almost done with the 21 Krav Day Challenge. I know a few people who have already finished, and I can’t wait to announce the award.
We are starting to begin the process of slowly returning to lives to normal. It’s a very stressful time for many of us, who might be wondering how to live a normal life with the constant threat of the Coronavirus.
I don’t have easy answers, but I do know that stressing out is the worst thing to do in a time where you need your immune system to be healthy. By exercising, eating well, resting enough, practicing good-self care, and using basic sanitary standards, you are doing everything you can to avoid the threat.
I thought about how this entire Corona episode felt like getting kneed in the groin. In January, we all had these plans for how this year would go, and then this happened. It was a lot of pain and it doubled us over and incapacitated us. However, we can use the pain to train us to react faster in the future to an attack and be better prepared to deal with it.
So, let’s move on to what everyone thinks is the signature move of Krav Maga, the groin kick.
In this example, it starts with a push. While I didn’t do it for this example, ideally I would prevent and redirect the push and move to the back (dead side) in order to attack. Remember, a push, a grab, a straight punch, a choke and a stab all look very similar and all can be defended in the same way. This would be a good week to practice the inside defense. And by the inside defense, I don’t just mean ending with the redirect. Practice moving to improve your position since you don’t want to remain in the line of fire and following up that redirection with a strike to the weak point. When you’re practicing strikes, try and adding in variations of redirection, counter-strikes, and movements. Pay attention to your footwork and accuracy.
But let’s say you didn’t have enough time to redirect and are still facing your opponent head-on. Now is the time for fight stance. You should practice immediately being able to transition to fight stance when you feel danger and are unable to run away. A good and stable fight stance shows you are not going to be an easy victim, and you will defend yourself. As you transition, the attacker is going for a groin strike.
Krav Maga techniques are based on natural responses. Think what would be your natural reflex when someone kicks you towards the groin by surprise. Either, you’ll drop your hands to block or you’ll close your groin area by moving your leg in.
The most simple and efficient technique is when you need to redirect with your front leg. This means bringing it in as a redirect with your leg in a windshield wiper motion. Your front knee and ankle create a vertical shin that will redirect the kick as close as possible to the opponent’s ankle using the center of your shin bone. Remember, the toes are in dorsal flexion leading the deflection movement. Your front leg is the shield that redirects either of the attacker’s kick. That defense works if the kick comes from the front or back leg.
This is where a good fight stance becomes the most important. Practice your fight stance. Here’s a checklist of some of the common mistakes. You can write to the teachers for personal feedback on your own fight stance, but here’s what I can see from my side of the Kida.
- Is your fight stance stable to all sides? An unstable fight stance makes you look weak and ineffective.
- Are your hands at eye-level? Remember, attackers will be going for your head as well, and you want to protect those weak points as well. A good hit to any of your facial weak points can be a knockout.
- Are your fingers open and separated or cupped? Openness is surrender and weakness. Cupped means strength, ability, and focus.
- How are you distributing your weight? Check your mobility in your fight stance. Can you comfortably and effectively perform all the strikes and blocks taught in the curriculum? Are you leaning too hard on one foot, making it too heavy to effectively block or to move?
After you perform the redirect, you need to immediately move off the channel. I want people to remember, real-life fighting is awkward. It’s not like fighting in the movies. The groin is one of the best places to attack because it’s very painful. However, it’s not a knock-out. Hitting the groin will not incapacitate most people, especially if they are high on adrenaline or drugs. However, it will cause a lot of pain, which is enough to give you the second you need to improve position.
Now is the time to start trying to get to their back, and hit to their weak points. There are many variations of what to do afterward. In this version, I began with attacks to the face and then switched levels to grab with the knee, followed by a take-down.
You should practice this technique and plan out different attacks you might use and the movement required. I advise calling out the weak points that you are aiming at, so you make sure your strikes are effective and be constantly moving to improve your position.
Another thing to consider is how your attacker might move. If you attack their face, they will duck and cover, leaving their groin open. If you are attacking straight attacks, you can confuse them with a side attack. If you have a stable fight stance and can land an effective leg strike to the knee and groin, you can do a lot of damage which will give you the time to improve your position and get to safety.
In the end, this is not an easy technique. There is a reason why it is P4 in the curriculum, it takes a lot of practice and timing to gain the muscle memory to do this, especially when you don’t know which strike the aggressor will choose to shoot at you. So now is the time to practice, both step by step and then moving to make it one fluid technique. Just to make the techniques flow together, and work on your timing to get the ability to block-strike, instead of having a pause between them. Yes, it is hard, but it is also possible. Remember, neurons that fire together, wire together. You just have to start the process and you’ll see improvement.
Actually, that’s a great way to end this article. Even though things are hard, there is so much we can do for improvement.
It is my hope that everyone ends this year, better than they began it. It may not be the year we planned, we may have dealt with a lot of problems we never could imagine, but I truly believe that it is within our power to make this year a life-changing and productive one.
Next week, we’ll be continuing with leg defenses, moving on to the roundhouse kick defense. Keep warming up those legs.