1.1 F.B.T.A. is a modern traning concept
I said at the beginning that a modern self-defense system must remain open in order to develop and would like to explain this in more detail. In my long search for a perfect, realistic self-defense system that is effective on the one hand and is quick and easy to learn on the other, I have found that such a system does not really exist, at least not as an independent system or martial art.
There are countless martial arts and most were developed for military application purposes. Many of these combat systems either originate in Far Eastern martial arts or are at least very similar in the way certain techniques are applied. All this is also logical, because when it comes to attacking the human body, whether by using levers on joints, hurting the opponent with punches and kicks, or inflicting deadly stab and cut wounds, one can only do so in a limited variety. The differences lie primarily in the type of equipment or armor of the opponent, in the weapons that were available to you or with which the opponent was equipped.
Many martial arts have a tradition of centuries and many of the techniques have therefore been developed for attacks that were current at the time. A good example of this is Ninjutsu, a Japanese martial art that looks back on more than a thousand years of tradition. I have personally spent many years of my life learning this truly fascinating martial art. As much as I love this martial art, at some point I had to admit, that I could not really apply much of it, for example, in professional assignments in the security field. I can say that I learned to manipulate with joints excellently, but could rarely use a sword, or a long stick, not to mention shuriken or a kusarigama, and in Ninjutsu there are countless weapons. It is similar with Filipino martial arts, which are among other things, famous for their amazing knife fighting skills, but for self-defense, hardly a normal civilian or even professional user will use a knife, at least I don’t teach it and advocate it not. In other words, all these techniques are an integral part of these martial arts, they are taught and practiced and learned by many, and yet they are usually completely useless in a defensive situation on the road.
Probably the closest is the Israeli KRAV MAGA, a modern, fast-learning and easy-to-use self-defense system, originally developed for the Israeli military . Now we have already noted that most martial arts have many similarities and this is no different with Krav Maga. Not really any never-before-seen techniques were invented here, but rather from well-known techniques of different combat styles, selectively compiled a functional curriculum, which represents a good overall concept for self-defense. What really ensured the great triumph of Krav Maga worldwide is, however, the didactic methodology, such as the use of so-called stress drills, which are successfully applied for decades in the military and law enforcement field, in order to teach the application of learned techniques under stress, that simulates real life attacks. I am personally a great supporter of this approach, long before I knew Krav Maga, I got to know such drills in my military training and therefore know how effective it is when you put someone in such a simulation exercise in a reality-related stress situation. The brain must learn to truly retrieve the learned technique under the influence of adrenaline, anxiety and shock. The most important finding here, however, is that the more complex certain techniques are, or the more techniques and variations you have to choose from, the less likely you are going to be able to successfully inflict them under stress. Less is definitely more here, especially if you don’t have years to learn all that.
Why isn’t Krav Maga the ultimate SD system for me then? Admittedly, one has bothered and put together a rather good concept, most of which also works. However as an experienced martial artist, I have to say that there are also better solutions for certain situations, or there are also many techniques in the curriculum that not only, do not really work for everyone, but are also sometimes dangerous for life. I’ll cite just a knife defense here as an example of fending off the attacker’s weapon hand with a kick. This may even work from the perspective of a soldier who wears tough military boots, but if you try to do so on the street in sneakers and get a cut in the area of the artery at the ankle of the foot, such a cut injury is probably fatal. In the original text, which describes the basic principles of Krav Maga, there are many things that make perfect sense and have made this self-defense system popular for a reason. Thus, defense should build on natural human instincts and behaviors, rather than learning unnatural complex movements, and the same defense should function as much as possible against different forms of attack, rather than a multifaceted number of complex techniques. Every defense should also be a counter-attack at the same time and I have to explain that here the idea is that if we force the attacker by aggressive resistance also to have to defend himself, he cannot continue his attack, at least not in the same intensity, like when we just passively defend ourselves and just try to dodge or block. Every experienced fighter can absolutely confirm this principle, although not necessarily a Krav Maga invention of his own, but a very good implementation. There is this famous quote from Mike Tyson “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face” As already indicated, the training should definitely also include the stress experience of real attacks. Among other things, it also states in a passage that the system must evolve in order to adapt to new circumstances and to always improve.
All of which sounds pretty good, of course, and as a licensed Krav Maga instructor, I can identify with all of this here and sign it that way. Today, however, we are very far from what was originally intended by the founder. Krav Maga is now a global franchise, a brand offered by a wide variety of organizations in a variety of ways. Some offer training that still resembles military drills, others sell it as a fitness program to lose weight. Even the largest Israeli organizations that have successfully spread Krav Maga in the world, today seem to have mainly an interest in commercial success, so it is not surprising that Zumba and Krav Maga are offered in some places by the same coach. So you can say that not everywhere Krav Maga is on it, there is really Krav Maga in it, but I guess that’s the case with everything and you just have to try out for yourself what suits you best. We have taken the liberty to use the best of the Krav Maga and simply change things that we think are less meaningful or for which we know better solutions. Our concept is strongly influenced by my Ninjutsu experience, but also by Russian Systema and the Israeli Kapap. These are, for example, numerous lever techniques that find their preferred application, especially in the professional field. Krav Maga is coarse motor and relies on aggresivity and brute force, this is necessary when fighting for your life, but in many situations alternative solutions such as levers and control techniques are the better solution. We therefore complement our curriculum with these techniques in a holistic concept that complements itself excellently and is still easy to learn and apply.
The special feature of our training concept is that we offer courses that are very intensive and allow participants to become defensible in the shortest possible time. We offer a 16-hour self-defense course that covers the most common hazards and attacks and provides appropriate solutions. In 4 course modules of 4 hours each, topics such as punching and kicking attacks, blocks, choke attacks, hair pulling, head locks, escaping from bear hugs and grabs, defense on the ground, defense against several attackers and attacks with batons, Baseball bats and knives. A complete package without overloading the content for the participants. In recent years, we have successfully conveyed this course content to hundreds of participants and have consistently received positive feedback. In the meantime, our courses have also become known regional and even internationally and we are in the process of setting up an international network of locations in order to make this knowledge accessible to as many people as possible.