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The Four Pillars of Krav Maga Training: Part 2 - Tactical

In this installment of our blog series, we'll discuss the second pillar of Krav Maga training: the tactical element. As Sun Tzu stated in the Art of War, "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory." Here, strategy defines the overall objective, while tactics delineate the specific actions taken along the path to success.

Developing tactical behaviour is an essential aspect of Krav Maga training that yields benefits that reach far beyond the studio walls. It serves as the bridge that connects technical proficiency with real-world effectiveness. Just as a skilled chess player strategically maneuvers pieces on the board, a Krav Maga practitioner must apply their technical skills with precision and foresight. This aspect of practitioner training encompasses elements of situational awareness, avoidance, prevention, and the ability to rapidly execute self-defense solutions.

Consider this scenario: You are at a sold out concert at a large sporting venue when chaos suddenly breaks out. A strategic mind would declare, "Get out fast!" Yet, the path from where you are to the exits is far from clear-cut. This is where tactical behavior comes into play.

A rapid assessment of the situation is required: What is the nature of the trouble? It could range from a medical emergency to a fire, or in more dire circumstances, an active shooter. Where are the exits? Are alternative routes available? Are the people panicking, or worse, becoming hostile? This swift evaluation determines the course(s) of action to be taken.

Situational awareness is the bedrock of effective tactical training. Krav Maga practitioners are taught to assess their surroundings, identifying potential threats and escape routes. This heightened awareness allows for proactive decision-making, enabling practitioners to avoid dangerous situations altogether. Developing this skill goes beyond the technical techniques learned in the studio, emphasizing a keen understanding of the environment and potential risks.

Going back to the scenario, consider that the situation is dire — you NEED to reach the exit immediately, but a number of hostiles obstruct the way. How does one navigate through or around them? This is where tactics come to the forefront. A tactic, in essence, serves a clear purpose that aligns with the overall strategy. It operates within a finite timeline during which specific actions are executed, and their impacts are measured. These actions often draw upon the technical aspect of one's training – the mechanics of movement, striking, defense, and attack.

As I have previously mentioned during class, "When the sh!t hits the fan, you'll have enough considerations on your plate. Where are the exits? What's the quickest way to get there? Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? What objects or tools can I use to help me reach my objective?" These questions are basic tactical considerations. What you don't need to think about in those critical moments are the fundamentals — how do I address the threat, how do I deal with this attack, what strike do I use, or even, do I take him down or work around him? These need to be instinctive.

However, the application of tactics in any scenario doesn't always need to entail force or violence. Krav Maga places a strong emphasis on avoiding conflict whenever possible. Often, evasion, avoidance, and verbal de-escalation suffice — prime examples of tactical behavior. Nevertheless, all of these considerations are products of awareness. Yet, if force becomes necessary, reliance on the key principles of speed, surprise, and violence of action is imperative.

In essence, the technical leg of the Krav Maga stool distinctly supports its tactical counterpart. The mastery of technical skills ensures that practitioners can execute tactical maneuvers seamlessly, without cognitive overload. It's not just about throwing punches and kicks; it's about knowing when, where, and how to apply those techniques judiciously. The synergy between technical proficiency and tactical acumen allows practitioners to navigate complex scenarios with clarity and efficiency.

In the next installment of our series, we'll explore the third pillar of Krav Maga training: the physical aspect. Building a strong and resilient body is essential for executing techniques effectively and enduring the physical demands of self-defense. Stay tuned for insights into the importance of physical conditioning in Krav Maga training!


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