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Situational Awareness From a Krav Maga Expert

Learn to Use What You Have to Your Advantage When Under Attack

As an Atlas Krav Maga instructor, I’m constantly reminding students to think outside the dojo, because the dojo can be misleading. The firing range can be misleading too. How so? Training centers are the only places where you’re guaranteed not to face a deadly enemy.

It’s the training center outside, the one made of alleys and asphalt, that will ultimately test you — and that training center doesn’t hand out belts (or participation ribbons, for that matter). In the real world, you’ll win or lose, and the only reward is your survival. Most survival-minded types understand this in theory, yet so many of them train as if they don’t. The average dojo or firing range is a place to practice your techniques, plain and simple. But there’s a lot more to the fight than just skills or gear.

Is the enemy armed? What kind of terrain are we on? What time of day is it? And what about me? Do I have any injuries or physical limitations? What am I wearing? There are so many things to consider when preparing for a dynamic stress situation; without a way to classify things, it’s enough to make your head spin. At Atlas Krav Maga, we’ve boiled it down to one of three convenient categories: you, them, and the environment. Beyond that, we have three subcategories: before, during, and after the fight.

So forget the dojo for a few minutes, and let’s take a closer look at the real world, starting with … you.

restaurant-escape-route car-jacking

Before the Fight: This is easily the most important phase, because it’s hard to adapt on the fly. Don’t build your plane while you’re flying it! Start building up your endurance, toughness, and skillsets today. If you don’t know where to start, drop and do 50 push-ups right now. When you’re done, look for a reputable school with experienced self-defense instructors near you. Some organizations also offer online courses so you can learn remotely.

If you have a gun, go to your local shooting range and start practicing immediately. If you don’t have a gun, that’s all right. Just do another 50 push-ups. Without that higher force option, you’ll need the extra conditioning.

Finally, learn the statutes for self-defense in your state. There’s a massive difference between California’s laws and the laws here in North Carolina. When you travel, check the .gov portal for your destination, beforehand (apps and Second Amendment sites are helpful, but citing them will not keep you out of cuffs).

That being said, here are some helpful questions to ask yourself, before the fight:
> What kind of clothing am I wearing? Clothing can draw attention or conceal you, aid your movements or complicate them.

> Do I have weapons? Choosing the right weapons (if any) takes forethought and knowledge of where you’re headed. For example, almost anyone can carry a concealed PPK in Arizona, but you can’t even bring a Swiss Army Knife with a 2-inch blade onto a commercial airliner. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can carry. But that’s for another article …

> Have I trained with the weapons I’m carrying? If you haven’t, you probably shouldn’t carry them, especially when it comes to firearms. To co-opt an analogy from George Washington, a weapon is like fire: It can heat your home or burn it down.

> Do I have hand-to-hand training? You definitely should. It’ll enhance every aspect of your fighting, including the use of weapons, even firearms. And if you’re in fighting shape, your chances of survival dramatically improve. Remember: Fit people with self-defense training are hard to kill!


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