Friday, July 20, 2012

Are You "Directionally-Challenged"?

"Directionally-challenged" usually refers to someone who has difficulty finding their way to a desired destination.  I know someone, for instance, who cannot navigate shopping malls(especially the Yorkdale Mall) and ends up wandering lost, confused, and without direction.  At least, he says, he blends in.  

Being "directionally-challenged" has a different, more positive meaning from our perspective as self defense instructors.  For us, it means training our students to defend from assaults that come from all directions - front, back, sides......
After all, many, if not most, assailants avoid attacking from the front.  They want the advantage of surprise, to catch you in a position where you are "off guard".  Despite this reality, many martial arts schools continue to focus exclusively, or almost exclusively, on face to face confrontations.  This makes sense for competition fighters but not for those who claim to teach self defense.

Here are some topics that need to be included in a self defense training program:

  • defending against punches and other strikes from various directions
  • escaping chokes and grabs from all directions (often one will feel, or hear the assault before they see it - e.g a bear hug or arm bar from behind)
  • weapon attacks and threats from various directions
  • locating and assessing attacks and threats via sound and feel 
  • becoming proficient defending with left and right side arms and legs etc.. (we all have a favourite "side" but sudden attacks don't allow us the luxury of choice)
  • recovering from an unseen strikes, grabs etc....we need to manage our stress/shock to successfully deal with assaults

There are many creative ways to develop and refine students' abilities to defend themselves from different directions.  Being "directionally-challenged" should be a consistent part of any self defense training.

Stay safe and feel welcome to visit us for a free class.

Christopher Gagne
Lead Instructor and Owner
International Krav Maga Federation(IKMF), Toronto

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