Defending a punch with an outside defence while being grabbed by your jacket

Limitation Training: The one thing missing from most Krav Maga sessions

What is limitation training and why it’s an essential part of Krav Maga training

Krav Maga training has levels, and like anything else you move up the levels to test your abilities, and give you the skills to cope with ever more challenging situations.

You now think I am talking about grading, but I’m not.

Let me explain.  Here is how levels of training work.

Level 1: Static Training – practicing techniques/situations with a compliant assailant.

Level 2: Dynamic Training – practicing techniques/situations with an assailant who is more ‘alive’, offers resistance.

Level 3: Scenario Training – practicing techniques/situations that build up, that require decision making, prevention, earlier responses, multiple attackers.

Level 4: Limitation and/or Environmental Training.

Everything, and I mean everything, you learn must be developed at all four stages of learning.  The most challenging being Level 4.

So let’s explore limitation training.  This is what I believe is the closest to training your brain about how to deal with a real situation.  As my good friend Rory Miler says, there is a small part of your brain that doesn’t differentiate between what you practice in training and what is real. So let’s always practice to be as close to real as possible.

Limitation training can involve anything from having to think about another person who is with you, confined spaces, sitting down, whilst on moving transport, the list is endless.  One of the most important types of limitation is being grabbed or held by clothing, whilst somebody is attacking you.

Being grabbed by the collar while on the ground

You can do your own simple research on YouTube to see how common this is. Most situations, if not managed at the distance of around 18 inches, will almost always end up in standing grapple/grab situations, and progress to the ground.

So your first stage of learning is always prevention, Anti-Grab training and practicing managing the distance.  As Rener Gracie from the famous Gracie family says, ‘whoever manages the distance, manages the damage’.   In order to practice Anti-Grab training, you need to ensure you are wearing clothing that can actually be grabbed, so the true risk is there.

In Krav Maga we practice ‘releasing from a shirt grab’. To me that is a translation issue from Hebrew, what it actually means is grab to the jacket or an item of heavy clothing that can be held and manipulated.  Let’s be honest, if you grab someone by the t-shirt, it is very challenging to hold, the material will rip.

There are two stages to limitation training. The first being to learn how to deal with all kinds of assaults when grabbed, and therefore you lose the one key thing that helps you deal with it fast, that element of being stable.  Without stability it is very challenging to strike back, you are too busy trying to stay on your feet.

Being grabbed and held in Krav Maga trainingThe second stage is using somebody else’s clothing against them.  If they grab you, the chance is that you will grab them, too.  What is the most efficient way to grab, to stay on balance and then take them off balance effectively?

The moment you train all of your techniques with the limitation of being grabbed, held and moved around by the jacket, it changes everything. Your body reverts to maintaining balance over dealing with the attack and focuses on you not having a very heavy meeting with the cold, hard concrete.

You need to experience this, and balance it with a pro-active response.

To continue to train static techniques with the belief that when a situation of limitation happens, you will just deal with it.  Think again.  It changes the game, and unless you have practiced, worked through the challenges and understand the difference it makes, it will make for a very very bad day.

Practice techniques and situations but make sure you progress through the stages.  It may be uncomfortable, it may be harder work… but that’s progress.

Challenge yourself, and challenge your instructor to provide all four levels for you.

I’ll be covering this in much more detail at the KMG (UK) Summer Camp.

See you there.

Jon