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Stress Management – The way of Krav Maga

By: Eyal Yanilov


This is not going to be a conventional article. Rather, it will be a certain kind of formula for the training regime.

In any confrontation you are required to have mental strength and resources in order to function, prevail, and reach your goals. Not all conflicts have physical components, but all confrontations have mental aspects.

At KMG we train our instructors, trainees, club members, officers and fighters of the various units, to function under stressful conditions and stress management. Training with KMG will improve your decision making when under stress, by making it more accurate, more efficient and faster.

You can follow some of the main training steps mentioned here below in order to promote an individual’s ability to withstand stressful events in general and violent confrontations in particular. These main steps are:

  • Receive explanations and demonstrations from the instructor: Trainee will need to understand and be clear about the nature of the specific problem; the family of related problems; the actions and the mentality of the attacker.
  • Trainee will sense the specific problem : look at the punch; feel the grab (partner is performing the roll of the attacker without causing any physical harm to the “defender’)
  • Trainee will learn and practice the suitable technique (close/defined skill) which offers the best solution for the specific problem. This should be done in a relatively calm environment, which is best suitable for the first stages of learning.
  • Learning a KMG technique is done in specific stages and in a systematical process:

Start with dry drills and move on to defined practices with a partner.

  1. Practice some variations of the technique against some basic variations of the attack, understanding the principles of actions that form the foundation to the solution.
  2. Include small angle changes of the basic attack, changes in the position, location and behavior of attacker (changes are relatively small).
  3. Trainee will practice while stress is elevated and decision making is becoming harder. While conditions are changed and uncertainty is growing, more realistic components are presented:
  4. Stronger attacks
  5. More surrounding noises (attacker may be shouting);  enhancing the physical contact (may be pushing or pulling) and the physical control.
  6. Operating under limited ability to sense (as with eyes closed).
  7. Function under limited mobility and limited space.
  8. Dealing with multiple opponents (brain is bombarded with data and information which automatically increase the  stress).
  • Same as the above but in different environments and locations (small room, staircases, corridors, open terrain, rocky or slippery surface); clothing (light/sea-side or heavy/winter); body postures and starting positions, in motion or in static conditions (running, walking, sitting in a chair, in a car, laying; back to wall; in a corner).
  • Specific mental training is introduced and  includes drills and techniques to:


  1. Increase determination, controlled aggression, persistence, perseverance, and courage.
  2. Widening the attention and the ability to sense and identify the intention of the opponent.
  3. Calming and control techniques, stress reduction techniques (involve focusing the mind, body and internal monolog/talking).
  4. Balance between arousal and calmness, relaxation and positive tension.

In different training camps, seminars and instructors training during 2012 we will be focusing on these mental skills and capabilities. We intend to teach techniques and drills that will improve all walks of life. Some of this knowledge has already been addressed in the new DVDs, the combat instructors’ course and during courses and relevant seminars.  However, this was only the tip of the iceberg and much more is still awaiting you.

Examples of training sequences

360 – Defending circular attacks

  • Stages as the above “Training steps to promote…”, against simple circular punches
  • Add a Knife in the hand on the attacker
  1.  Rubber knife
  2. Wooden knife
  3. Metal knife
  • Attacker from different sides
  • Training in confined area with limited ability to move
  • Starting with eyes closed and dealing with the second attacks after the first one have hit lightly and caused the initial response and opening of the eyes.

Releases from Chokes – Plucking

Stages as in the above “Training steps to promote…”

Add a knife in the hand of the assailant – correlate between the releases from chokes and the neutralizing of different knife threats at very close range.

By Eyal Yanilov