Pure Krav Maga Sparring / Boaz Aviram

Sparring in Pure Krav Maga is not Fighting!

If you are used to action films with camera action where the hero prevails and floors down multiple opponents you need to reset your mind before you take a look at pure Krav Maga sparring!  If Krav Maga sparring would looked like that, its possible that its another one of those choreographed violence where you have a leading attacker and a follower victim.

But when you try to learn out of a three minute intensive high rate pulse sparring drill, both training partners take the opportunity to try a comprehensive myriad of options that can happen in reality. As an instructor and perhaps as a training partner, one knows that he can floor down his training partner in a matter of few split seconds and game would be over. Instead however both training partners try to stretch the limits of the element of surprise and execute variety of attacks and blocks trying to reach their training partner's pressure points and at the same time block their training partner's attempts to reach their owns.

Life is simple with sparring. You attack trying to reach your training partner's pressure points, and you either reach or being blocked and countered. You might be able to counter the counter but that's it! Your training partner could move to three directions: backward or move forward to your left or to your right! You need to follow up and keep attacking or blocking the counter and countering it to either of these directions.

Real sparring training for self defense is not about choreographed violence. You have a training partner and both of you are aware to each other's limits and try to train each other to the max honing your skills. You need to stretch your training partner's skills to the limits instead of taking advantage of them and beating them!

When you are out of the hotzone you are out of reach.  When you enter the hotzone to reach the opponent pressure point not to wait for him. So when you enter you already examined all the possibilities of counters before under the constraint of the reaction time. And while in the hotzone you can only fit split seconds one to 3 motions. Anything after is if you bought time forcing your opponent to slow down in pain or move backward.

If he moves to the side you have to be ready for that too. Then the way you position yourself might let you block and counter the counter!  You know all the angles of attack coming from and the directions your opponent is moving to or from. The methods are impact and push and pull. Impact could be applied on your pressure point or on your body to make your body hit the ground like a vice.

You can use push and pull to have his head or shoulder hit the floor or just to control him so he needs the other arm and legs for balance and he cannot attack. Finally, everything is under the limits of the element of surprise / reaction time.   So sparring is trying to use what you've learnt and teaching the use of judgment.  Its also getting to train as close as possible to reality without getting hurt and discouraging the good challenge your training partner is trained to bring you realistic distance realistic speed but not a full extension of the arm or foot.

Other safety and control in grappling keeping in mind constantly your training partner's safely of articles and limbs. Maintain full speed, but less penetration or push and pull with limited force.

When I spar, I wait after each move to see what happens to the training partner, because they block and counter attack.  I try few combinations, but I let them try too.  However, my combinations would be two moves until they know they got hit. I don't keep beating them up after that.   

I attack their bodies but sometimes their limbs or a little in front of their bodies to lure them to execute a blank defense to test their timing and judgement.  I change the rhythm as well to test their judgement of defense and counter attack according to the Pure Krav Maga principles.

Its best to let students spar with their training partners, but in a small group at the beginning if they don't get enough challenge from each other I try to help. And of course there is no point to try anything crazy just a little bit more.

You enter the hotzone to reach the opponent pressure point not to wait for him. So when you enter you examine all the possibilities of counter before under the constraint of the reaction time.  And while in the hotzone you can only fit split second one to 3 motions. Anything after is if you bought time forcing your opponent to slow down in pain or move backward .  If he moves to the side you have to be ready for that too.

You can see I have combinations all the way through but I build the speed slowly until the point I want to finish the sparring. That way they can learn to see. otherwise they will get hit and will see nothing.  With combinations of switching kicks kicks and punches etc.,

I use incremental penetration in the last finishing punches to the point they stop and drop their arms down knowing they got hit and distracted.

Every time you get into the hotzone - the distance where you can lunge once with a hit or a kick, its a separate fight in reality!  In reality it would amount to an average of three tenths of a second of a block and counter attack.

Here are the Pure Krav Maga Guidelines for Sparring:

Both training partners try to give a chance to their training partner and increase the difficulty and resistance gradually.  Also they try to give their training partner a broad base collection of scenarios.

Many times, once they have a good defense and counter they are happy and don't bother to do the required combination to confuse the attacker enough to facilitate exiting the hotzone safely without interruption.

Finally, since both training partners are doing Pure Krav Maga its not easy to just attack.  You need a combination and you need to lure the training partner to move to where you know they will move.  Well its just the training.

The reality would be faster.  One kick to the balls or one kick to the body balls or stomach followed up with hammer strike to the back of the head or punch to the face.

If you don't want to kill him you might gradually increase the strength of your punches, until its enough to stop him.  As
long as you hit somewhere painful you can distract and cover up with quantity.  But if he has a knife or a friend attacking you you don't have the time to cover up.

You have people saying you need to cover your face when sparring or defending yourself - I say to them imagine people would be covering their faces when driving a car or flying an airplane... You need to see to navigate to reach and protect all pressure points...

Finally, how are you going to practice the transition from neutral peaceful position to attack or defense by surprise if you keep your hands up throughout the sparring?  Forget about fighting sports mentality!  Its about not being ready and practicing the attack or defense, not the waiting for it. 

You do not have time to wait for it as in reality you have few splits seconds to react before you could be dead. So you need to mimic that in your sparring training as each time you get into the hotzone is another fight. Therefore you do not want to cover yourself in a defensive mode but rather give yourself a natural practice of learning the limits of the reaction time and distance knowing when you can still block or attack. And when you block or attack you are not waiting for it with your hands up. You are just passing through the lines in the  desired direction within a split second!

I just love those imbeciles that say you must protect your face with your hands...If this is how you train you are not doing Krav Maga!
Krav Maga training is about the economy of motion to save your live. Within a split second you need to block and move to counter attack. 

So you need to emphasize your training on being relaxed and not expecting an attack and moving to a block and counter attack. At the same time you do not want to project your attacks or blocks as projecting them, might give time to an experienced opponent to counter either or both!

Watch the following Sparring Clips on Youtube to be analysed here!

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