by Swen Körner
We regularly work with people in fields of action in which violence is part of everyday life – we work with policemen, rescue workers, teachers. Recently we´ve worked with teachers. Towards the end of the training, one client reported that she recently had to apply what she had learned in our course.
In the previous session, the teachers reported the case of one student who spontaneously and aggressively beats around in the classroom almost every day. And pretty much takes everything that comes in the way. The student is tall, strong an couldn’t´t be controlled so far. After that we had readjusted the situation, included as much information from the criterion environment and stresstested different solutions. As the teacher reported yesterday, it worked, which had previously been neither imaginable nor practicable. The student could be kept in check and the situation was effectively defused. After only one-time of about 20-minute of a training? How is that possible?
Answer: With simple physical means, with tactics and above all: with mindset. Self protection and sel defense in response to violent attacks are goal-oriented: they must work, so be effective.
This is the central orientation for the teaching at our academy. Good self defence instruction revolves around (1) hard skills strong>. Hard skills include everything you can do with the given means of your own body, e.g. kicking, beating, biting, running, screaming. Applying these remedies is as easy, as natural and as rough as possible. Because only that works under stress. So forget about the movie version of the cool fighter for the self defence domain! Incidentally, you can also forget all those beautiful fight choreographies with partners, which you can learn by heart in many martial arts schools up to the championship. They fail in cases of emergency. Targeted action under stress is crude and simple – and therefore successful.
However, the best (rough and simple) combat skills are useless if you missed to spot an approaching threat in time. In a determined and highly aggressive assault from behind, even the most daring Wing Tsun masters and hardcore Krav-Maga specialists go out on all the lights from now on.
For this reason, good self defence and self protection instruction (2) is about training attention and situational awareness strong>, ie soft skills. Violence does not just happen. Every act of violence is regularly preceded by pre threat cues. Violence announces itself, either by words, gestures, shift of weight or within the “chosen” target by a queasy gut feeling that is just a bit wrong here, by shaky legs, raging pulse etc. Who recognizes that in time and takes it for serious, can make tactical decisions and take preventive action (eg run away, change the side of the road). Those who actively decide and take the first step, dominate the course of action!
Incidentally, the stress reactions mentioned are extremely positive, because they are meaningful mechanisms. Since the Stone Age, they have pretty reliably ensured our survival. The emotional response of fear within a situation of potential violence is good! strong> It is important to listen to and act on this fear, ie a) by running away strong> (“flight”) when possible, or b) your by turning fear in controlled aggressiveness < when running away is not an option. On the edge: Who becomes aggressive out of fear, is not or no longer in freeze. The "freeze" is next to "fight & flight", the third evolutionarily tested survival strategy, based on the principle of hope: If I simulate death the saber tooth tiger leaves from me - true? Let's take stock: Hard skills and em> soft skills, that’s what matters!
However, even the best perceptual skills (soft!), the thickest triceps and the hardest punching (hard!) are of no use if, thirdly, the inner attitude strong> (“mindset”) is lacking, that of self protection and self defence requires a necessary degree of purposeful and determined counter-violence. You have to understand that and accept it for yourself. To think so, is incidentally analogous to the “mindset” of the perpetrator. “Successful” criminals know what they want. And they get that against any resistance with high aggressiveness.
Over the last few years, we have come up with pretty good meaning about what matters in our education. Questions of self protection and self defence are in focus. Our curriculum includes Krav Maga, Wing Chun and Urban Combatives, which we teach in separate courses. Crucial is that Wing Chun, Krav Maga and Urban Combatives are there for our participants – not the other way around.
In many places, discussions focus on the system, the lineage, the family tree, the tradition, the place of origin, the sifu, the master, the head instructor, and so on. Not infrequently, this serves the purpose of proving one’s own superiority over others. The efforts of thinking are sometimes enormous – just as if the crucial questions were solved by talking. They will not. Not even by the often observable behavioral and dress codes, which (in camouflage trousers or so) serve the purpose of feeling a “really really important” part of a bigger whole.
We teach Wing Chun, Krav Maga and Urban Combatives because they provide effective principles and attributes for self protection. For the psychological, biological and social chaos that arises when you need to protect yourself, only simple means and the right mindset help. Urban Combatives, Wing Chun and Krav Maga carry these offer. Cross-system, we speak of 360 ° self-defense. Strong>