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What’s our purpose? Krav Maga and women’s self defence.

Posted March 5, 2020 4:06 am

What is our purpose?

Is it to train women to simply fight off an assailant or is there more to it?

The short answer is there’s a whole lot more to it!

Our purpose, while delivering an easy system of solutions to learn and use for dealing with the physical side of things should be first and foremost, to encourage a change of mentality on the part of the participant.

It’s our responsibility as self defence instructors to convey the message that while we give you the skills to deal with a violent encounter they should be the skills of last resort, not the first or only response.

We use the acronym AOI when talking about what creates the environment that allows a perpetrator to carry out their desired goal.

What does that mean?

  • AOI:- Ability, Opportunity, Intent!
    3 words of major importance,

    A. The attacker has the Ability to overwhelm, control, subdue or simply beat the victim.
    O. The attacker has the Opportunity to do so.
    I. The attacker has Intent to carry out an act of one form or another of assault, could be Social violence, Domestic violence, Sexual assault or Robbery.

  • The most important word here from the perspective of self defence / personal security is:- Opportunity!

    Without all 3 of those things being in place the chances of something bad happening are slim, however when all 3 come together at the same point in time the probability of something happening is high.

    Whilst we can’t really do anything about the Intent side of things we can certainly address the Ability and Opportunity aspects.

    Risk Mitigation.
    It’s all about Risk Mitigation.

    So how do we achieve that?

  • Situational awareness.
    We need to create a really good understanding of Situational Awareness and what that means to us as individuals, at this point it should be made clear that we approach self defence for males and females in exactly the same manner.
    We’re not suggesting that females need to behave any differently to males, violence is violence regardless of gender or nature ( meaning social violence, domestic violence, violence for gain or violence for pleasure ).
  • So what is Situational Awareness?

    Situational awareness is without a doubt the best tool you can learn to use, it’s about being aware of your surroundings and your condition both mentally and physically. With the aim of taking away the Opportunity for a potential attack.
    It’s about using your environment to your advantage, it starts the moment you leave the comfort of your own home, sometimes just letting the bad guys know you know they’re there and are observing them will be enough.
    It’s also something you should be aware of in your own home, in case of domestic violence or violent home invasion etc.
    You should be aware of common objects that you can use in a defensive manner, objects that you can use to create obstacles between yourself and a potential attacker to inhibit their Ability to carry out their Intent.

  • Ability is not necessarily down to who’s strongest!
  • So when we talk about risk mitigation and situational awareness we’re really trying to limit the opportunity for all 3 aspects of the AOI situation coming together at one point in time.

    Violence as mentioned above comes in many different forms, but there are some things that occur with reasonable frequency prior to or leading up to the actual act.

    There is frequently what we call an interview stage, where the perpetrator will size up his / her target. How they do this varies enormously depending on the goals of the perpetrator and or the constraints of the environment.

    It may be they brush forcefully past you in the street / night club etc, to gauge your reaction, it may be they try to stop you and ask for money, maybe they try to chat you up so to speak ( it should be said not all members of the opposite sex have bad intentions but! ), or it could be they just check you out from a distance, all of which will be to gauge whether you’re strong and confident or appear weak and vulnerable (an easy target).

    Basically it’s an assessment period, the intent is already there, they are working out whether they have the Ability to act, next or simultaneously they will look for the Opportunity.

    We need to recognize this and make sure we don’t create any unnecessary Opportunities for them to exploit.

  • Domestic Violence
    In the case of ongoing domestic violence the upper hand has usually been established already or if it’s the first occasion all 3 things are already in place, you’re at home hidden from societies prying eyes, or in an environment the perpetrator feels comfortable in when acting out.
    There will be many recognizable signals prior to the violence stage, generally a build up of aggressive behavior and there may be some very recognizable triggers to that aggressive behavior.
  • With domestic violence we can teach self defence and it may save you but the most important thing we can do is to build the ability to recognize the precursor or symptoms prior to the event, they will vary dramatically from one relationship to another, the most consistent would be a build up of aggressive behavior sometimes very rapidly other times over a period of time, never the less the outcome will likely be the same.
    The safest solution ( but the hardest ) is to leave the relationship, this can also dramatically increase the aggression from the other party and you should be sure you have a safe place to go and that the police have been informed.
    The bare minimum should be to seek some kind of counseling as early as possible, for both parties if the aggressor is amenable to the option.

  • Sexual Assault.

    Risk Mitigation, is your best option, Situational Awareness being the best tool you have available.

  • It is of course impossible to prevent any Risk of assault, but limiting the Opportunities by being aware of your environment, alcohol or inebriate consumption both your own and that of others around you and planning your movements if you are out and about consuming alcohol etc, are all essential parts of your survival plan, being able bodied enough and delivering a strong physical response will stop many sexually driven assailants. Your self defence skills should however be the last thing you need to rely on.
    Having said that when dealing with extreme predatory behavior things can happen without any warning at all and self defence or submission will be your only options.
    Self defence may be more than enough to stop an attacker, however if they are a violent attacker it sadly may be a better option to submit so as to survive.

  • Social Violence / Violence for Pleasure.
    While there are some factors that differentiate the two it should be noted that they often both take place in the same sorts of environments and that there is a marked rise in women being involved in both aspects.
  • Social violence can be completely accidental in nature, eg:- spilled someones drink in a bar, bumped into someone accidentally and things get out of hand etc.
    Violence for Pleasure meaning that the perpetrator is acting out to fulfill their own needs for entertainment or to make themselves feel better about themselves to make up for feelings of being socially inadequate in some way, both these forms of violence will have an interview stage that you will be apart of.

    The trick is to recognize it as it’s happening and remove yourself from the situation as fast as possible ( de-escalate and disengage ). It’s not always that easy to do, but having good situational awareness skills will make the job easier. Positioning yourself tactically to prevent the assailant from getting to you easily whilst verbally and with body language de-escalating the situation, is a good start. Again it’s your mentality that will control your responses, so we need to build the ability in you to stay calm under pressure and when needed spring in to action.

  • Violence for Gain
    Robbery of one form or another involving violence, eg:- mugging or violent home invasion.
    Both are extremely predatory in nature, mugging will generally include an interview stage all be it a very short one at times and other times a more protracted calculated approach of a stalking type of nature and also of the ambush type.
    The home invasion is almost the same, where there may have been some stalking or observing of habits whilst finding the right target, other times it can be totally random and include violence for pleasure as a byproduct result or indeed be the whole purpose of the act.
  • In regards mugging, Situational Awareness is essential and as stated previously just letting the potential perpetrator know that you know he / she’s there may be enough of a deterrent to prevent an incident. If push comes to shove you should be mentally prepared when weapons are involved to simply comply and hand over your goods.
    If there’s no weapons involved, know your limits and decide quickly whether it’s compliance or aggression that will solve the problem and never under estimate your attacker they are a different person to the sexual predator and often violence will be factored in.

  • Conclusion.
    In all of the above types of violence understanding Situational Awareness and good confident body language are essential factors in your survival kit.

    Having the ability to recognize a potentially bad situation before it unfolds is a skill in itself, and requires time to train oneself to be observant, it’s not necessarily something we do naturally.It’s something that we need to embrace on a daily basis in every aspect of life.

  • Be alert not alarmed!
  • Blog post by Dave Sargent, Senior Instructor and school owner at Krav Maga Canberra
    Join us at Krav Maga Canberra