Home » Training » When In Doubt, Knock Em’ Out!

Years ago, back when I was still a teenager, I heard this quote. Immediately I loved it and took it on as one of my own. I’d been involved in a fair amount of fighting by that point in my life, and had made many mistakes which started from hesitation, getting hit, or just from freezing up totally.

The meaning of it is quite simple and obvious: If you’re in some type of physical conflict, rather than trying to work it all out and ‘do the right thing’ and risk getting hurt, you take the initiate to make the first attack. You attack fast, fierce and deliberately in order to hurt the threat (neutralise). You attack with more than one attack if required,, assuming that ‘one may not be enough’. You use the right level of intensity for the situation and quickly do your best to end it and get to safe ground asap. This option is executed when you ‘know’ that the threat is severe and if you do nothing, you will be the one who suffers.

From a teacher’s perspective, it’s important to teach your students when it is clearly acceptable to ‘destroy’ the threat. To do this they need to understand how the threat can escalate and what the signs of a true problem is. They also need to understand legal implications and what they can do to limit the amount of damage that is done to the other person, if that duty of care will apply. I also believe that you need to show your students what can happen to them if they do not act, things like Youtube videos and pictures of real life victims of crime. Give them real life accounts, news and information to help them really understand the problem. 

As a student, train to have a good pre-emptive attack. Pick some very simple combinations of attacks and practice them to be first, fast and fierce. Train them from a variety of positions and situations and learn to deliver your attacks without telegraphing and from the fence where you’re going through options like ‘de-escalate’, ‘posturing’, etc. Basically just act it all out, pushing and shoving, practising all other elements of your training but never discounting pre-emptive striking as a major requirement for your arsenal.

When in doubt, knock em out! Alter that however you like: ‘when in doubt, kick em’ in the balls’ is one of my students saying. To me, it’s all the same thing! Neutralise the threat.

Written by Kurt Colpan
Your Krav Maga Expert.com
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