Home » Training » The Function of Slow Fighting in Krav Maga

‘Slow fighting’ is a term used in Krav Maga to generally describe a controlled match between two exponents. Throughout my time in Krav Maga I have heard many of my teachers advocate slow fighting. Some people are really for the idea, while on the other hand others think that it is unrealistic and silly.

If there are any issues with slow fighting then, in my opinion, it isn’t with the concept. It’s with the understanding and the context, as usual. Some instructors of Krav Maga may find that they don’t feel confident in teaching more advanced fighting methods, so they may focus too greatly on slow fighting. Some people may never have questioned the purpose of slow fighting, so they just do it, with no thought or idea as to what purpose it really serves. If that’s the case, then it’s not done in the right context and just slow fighting in this way will not greatly improve anyones fighting ability.

You should be learning to fight in your Krav Maga facility, not at a third party location – Krav Maga is a complete system. As I’ve said in other posts a good plan will always include a well tailored and balanced approach by combining tactics, sparring, pressure testing and other components including slow fighting.

Slow fighting is designed as a concept (a tool) to help you learn to fight in a slow and safe way. It will help you to learn how to see things; to learn how people move and behave as they fight. In this way you learn to see movements start, which is critical as you progress to faster fighting. If you haven’t learned how to read an opponent to a basic level, then how can you expect to confidently defend fast attacks?

Slow fighting helps teach you how to read an opponent’s movements and understand what basic attacks look like from start to end. If you don’t know how to do this, then you’re not going to be able to tell the difference between a straight punch and a hook, or a kick; so it’s very important.

Through slow fighting you’ll learn to read body cues and movements and learn defences to combat them. In this slow environment you can practice your techniques and principles, and build the momentum as your feel more confident. And slowly you will learn how to attack, defend and counter using all of Krav Maga’s tools.

As you learn to slow fight let your mind flow and go to where it needs to go. There will be a thinking process that is more definite in the beginning as you learn to apply your Krav Maga in the slow fight. As you think and learn you should be encouraged to start to let it flow, to a point where you are simply defending and attacking with not a lot of conscious thought. During this part of the process you learn many of the tenants of fighting in a safe way.

It’s also worth mentioning that everyone can benefit from slow fighting throughout their training. It’s not that once you learn, that’s it. If you are well experienced you should still keep slow fighting as a tool, perhaps just as a warm-up to more serious fighting.

There is a Zen expression called Mushin that translates to ‘no mindness’. This a mind that is not fixed or occupied by thought or emotion and thus open to everything. I feel this a very instinctive and intuitive place and you could liken this to a sixth sense. Bruce Lee said that he believed the sixth sense was just a strengthening of all five senses, and I tend to agree.

If you start fighting slowly you will build a little bit of a base before you go all out. You’ll sharpen all your senses to the fight and then grow your ability. In time the goal is to fight with ‘no mindedness’, where you are purely reacting and acting and processing things so fast that linear conscious thought is difficult to find. It’s a very alive moment when you’re in this state, and I hope you find it.

Please share your thoughts and comments. Thank you 🙂

Written by Kurt Colpan
Your Krav Maga Expert.com
Copyright © 2014
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  1. Billy the Kid says:

    Kurt, great stuff love what your doing
    as an Instructor I think slow fighting
    is a great tool but how can we train
    someone who is afraid to hurt anyone
    I asked this question to IKMF Master
    Avi Moyal once How can some defend
    them selfs if they are afraid to hit
    someone ?
    Thank you
    Billy the Kid

  2. Briel says:

    Great article Kurt! I love slow fighting to help learn the techniques without having a pre set on what I’m about to do. I really enjoy doing it with a third attacker that comes in with a weapon and you switch to beast mode!

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