Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Developing a "feel" for self-defense: Surprise Assaults

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On August 16th, 2012, a woman in the east end of Toronto was assaulted.  The attacker grabbed her from behind in a headlock and threw her to the ground.  Similar assaults have occurred in the Bloor/Christie area (see article).

These horrible incidents reinforce the fact that we don't always "see it coming".  We advocate prevention strategies but assailants can be cunning and we are often distracted.  You might "feel" an attack before you see or hear it.  Some examples:
  • headlocks and chokes
  • bearhugs
  • strikes from different angles
  • knife threats and attacks 
  • being pushed into a wall, door.....

How do you train for such situations?  One way is for students to develop a feel for various attacks. This is done in a safe manner, and especially for beginners, do not match the intensity of real life situations.  So, for example, a student approaches you (sometimes your eyes will be closed) and controls your wrist, or grabs you in a bear hug.....)
Daunting?  Yes.  A sometimes uncomfortable way to become acquainted with other students? Yes. 

But such exercises help you to identify the nature of the assault by "feel".  With continued practice you develop the ability to identify the problem and act in an effective way.   In a surprisingly short period of time you improve your reaction time - your responses become reflexive.  

In situations where you are caught by surprise your ability to quickly identify and respond effectively to an assault can save your life.  Learning to "feel" an attack might be awkward but it is a necessary part of any effective self defense training.

Stay safe,

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

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