The passive stance is how you would normally be when you wait at the bus stop or when you're wandering around on the beach. None of that fancy swirling and kicking I've learned in the past; in Krav Maga you don’t start with your feet properly apart and your guard up. When was the last time you were standing with your feet properly apart and your guard up while doing your groceries or waiting at the bus stop? Probably never, right? So why would you do that when enacting self defence situation? Nearly everything in the first levels of Krav Maga starts with the passive stance. It builds up awareness, also and most importantly trains you from a more natural posture.
You know that the scenarios are part of the training. But one thing I didn’t mention is that you have to visualize it for real. By remaining completely impassive.
The visualization isn’t just a mental exercise. You're really about to get stabbed. The exercise goes like this: you stand with your training partner in front of you, with your eyes closed in a passive stance. Then your partner will alert you with a noise or any trigger that will get you to open your eyes. He will then swing the knife at you (remember, it's an authorized training rubber knife) multiple times from different angles. You can't move and you can't dodge; you have to just stand there, observing intently, while the knife is stabbing you repeatedly.
This exercise allows you to visualize the real deal with much more accuracy. We repeated this passive exercise from a distance, from the side, all over.
After a question and answer period, we set up for the next exercise. We had just learned how the attack would happen. Now we had to react to it. We learned the block – kick (blick) – punch – and – out routine. It's amazing how efficiently we could now anticipate the attacks after the previous visualization exercise. Further along we also were introduced to the hammer punch.
The Hammer punch is basically making your hand into a fist with the thumb outside. You swing you fist down like a hammer at your assailant, as if you were banging on a table. This is interesting because it's technically easy to use without injuring yourself while striking back. For the first day we mainly learned and practised strikes to the nose or the side of the face where you don’t need much pressure to achieve great effect.
All this, by the way, happened on day one!
We started with a lot of basic stuff, but an hour flies by quickly when the instructions you get are streamlined and efficiently designed. You learn much faster. You never remember the last twenty minutes of a three hour long anthropology course, but when everything is brought to you in an intense and rhythmic manner, you don't have TIME for cerebral overload. It's Wham! Bam! Thank you Ma'm! All the way and you learn with your body without your conscious mind being really aware of it.
We said it before and we'll say it again because this is at the core of Krav Maga: the system works well and produces results quickly because it readies your body to react the same way your reflexes do. In other words, Krav Maga doesn't try to reinvent the wheel; rather, it's tweaking your natural reflexes to make them fight for you.
We also learned to mix techniques like using the block to score a hit in the face on a frontal knife attack. We practised and practised as the hits were coming at us from all over the place. After each set we would get the instructor’s analysis of our technique, along with advice on how to react faster to the threat.
One hour! That was it; I could already step outside with an additional self-confidence notch up to my belt.