6/24/10

Safety in Pure Krav Maga Training / Boaz Aviram

Safety in Training – Soft Pressure Points and Hard Pressure Points:

Instead of striking soft pressure points, students should be told to look and attempt to hit the chin or forehead for practice, and never just send their hands without looking at their target especially in drills that involve eye striking backwards. Instructors should check for fingernails as well, and in some scenarios this portion of the technique should be forbidden for example with small kids, inattentive students etc.

Protective goggles could be used, but I think for such a small technique the investment in goggles would be too much for the small benefit which is practicing one technique. 


The instructor should emphasize that while the training partner in the role of the defender needs to try and reach to see that he can reach the opponent's face, avoid scratching the eyes, look backwards before and try first slowly and with very controlled move.

Any eye gouging technique should be done as a light touch with the thumb giving the training partner the opportunity to close his eyes before and respond to a light pressure if needed.

Careful instructions should be given also regarding light kicking or punching of the groin area.

Obviously defenses are taught before the sparing, and there is an option to wear a protective cap. Personally I've tried wearing a cap, and found that I am better off without it. It was so uncomfortable, and lowered my sparring performance, so I took the chance without it.

While there is risk in Krav Maga training, it should be minimized and any soft pressure points should be used carefully with control.

As for sparring punches and kicks, Protective gloves are used traditionally, and sneakers are used to protect the feet. It is important to use boxing gloves for sparring to protect the training partners but impractical to use padding for kicks because in Pure Krav Maga you only kick with the ball of the foot or the heel. If you find a shoe with padding on its bottom, it will hinder your motion and balance.

Defenses are learned prior to the sparing and it is and hands are much faster to use in the short range. The protective gloves also ensure training partner would not tear each other faces off with a swift motion scraping the skin.

However students should be taught to control their kicks and punches before the sparing by controlling their penetration sensing the reach of the bone after passing the skin and retracting immediately after. 

While getting into a training habit that kicks and punches including the respective lunge to close the gap should always be executed in maximum speed and weight shift to facilitate maximum force and reality based worse scenario, the controls done with the depth of penetration only.

This facilitate a stopping power by the shock it generates to the tissue and nerves but yet prevents serious injury.

Remember: An eye for an eye! This could happen to anyone. When sparing with gloves the eyes are protected, but stress should be put on the punching method to the face. While Krav Maga front punch is a full knockout capability punch comparing to the Boxing Jab, when sparing you should be responsible for your training partner.

You should reach his face in full force and speed and in the correct distance. As in real life where you have the opportunity to pass his face in about three inches, however, limit the extension of your hand to his skin, or an additional half an inch.

Just tapping his face buys you another second, so if he is not bobbing his head down, you have a chance to tap him again with a little more force.

Few taps where his head is bobbing and his hands are down are sufficient to stop the fight and declare advantage. Since it is not a sport, you want to train close as possible to reality but at the same time avoid injury.

The instructor must teach the training partners that part of their safety is in their hands. But he should be there to notice any problem and correct it, since it is his responsibility.

Once in a while, when you are tested for your black belt or to get an instructor certificate and you deal with someone you dislike or they dislike you, there is a chance that they will try to knock you out.

This should be discouraged, but I've seen some instructors that would tell another student to teach them a lesson and knock them out as a remedy. I would not recommend that. Politics should be left out.

So this method might be reserved for annoying disrespectful outsiders, but if you are good you can slap them around. However if you have an opponent you never trained with before and you are in a full contact fight in a sports competition, the rules are knockout is permitted, so as much as barbarian as it is it is the custom, and it better be him than you if you are already in the fight.

Remember that specific warm up is very important prior to the training session. Requiring students to have minimum core muscles abs and lower back fitness by lets say the ability to do 30 sit ups non stop is a good idea before any attempt to free style grappling to prevent hernia to soft tissue or a disk by lifting incorrectly.

Doing at least 10 push ups as a general arms warm up is recommended before attempting to punch a training mitt or a punching bag. Doing 20 squats is a good general warm up before attempting any kick. Of course, stretching of the joints is needed as well. Pay attention to stretching of the lumbar vertebrae as you can easily pull a skeletal muscle or slip a disk when blocking a hard kick. Although you would be trained to position your arm in an optimal form to block the kick with no damage to your arm, the impact could shake your whole body and affect your skeletal connections.

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