LEVEL 4 OVERVIEW
This class was designed specifically for Green Belt students interested in more advanced training with emphasis on Blue Belt techniques. The curriculum includes additional punches and kicks, more defenses against punches and kicks, defenses against sticks, knives and handguns, as well as advanced ground fighting techniques. Students who train two to three times per week should expect to be ready to test for Blue Belt in nine months.
We consider Blue Belt (sometimes called “Level 4”) to be the first advanced belt in our system. At this level, your training moves beyond basic fighting skills and self-defense – you now learn to defend against threats and attacks with weapons such as guns and sticks, and you are introduced to the principles of defenses against a knife. In addition, since a Blue Belt practitioner should have solid, practical experience in fighting, fighting becomes a significant factor during the Blue Belt test.
Although we consider Blue Belt to be “advanced” training, you should keep one thing in mind: Even at high levels, our Krav Maga techniques are simple. They do, however, require aggressive and decisive action, which is why we save them for students who have learned the basic techniques and are accustomed to aggressive training. The techniques you will learn here are the same ones we teach law enforcement and military personnel around the world. The average training time for this level (assuming at least two training sessions per week) is nine months.
This level introduces the following material:
The combative techniques described in the Blue Belt curriculum include more-advanced techniques, especially kicks that move beyond the basics Krav Maga emphasizes. The reasons for including these “fancy” techniques are:
- Because other systems use them, we must be proficient enough to train how to defend them.
2. Increased ability to perform these techniques tends to improve the basic techniques as well.
Sweeps are a method of taking the attacker to the ground by kicking or “sweeping” his legs out from under him.
Defenses and Self-Defense
This section features more defenses against kicks, and introduces defenses against three types of weapons: sticks, knives and guns.
A “stick” is the most obvious member of a family of weapons known as blunt objects. These can include not only baseball bats, pool cues, tire irons and “Club” car security devices, but also handheld rocks, hammers, and any other striking instrument that does not possess a long, sharp edge or point. Although some of these weapons (such as a rock) do not create the distance-related dangers of a stick, the defense remains the same for all of these weapons.Of all the standard blunt objects, the stick (and its obvious synonyms, such as a baseball bat) offers the attacker one significant advantage: reach. A logical approach to stick defense must include a movement (i.e., bursting in) to eliminate this advantage. This idea of bursting forward should be strongly emphasized in any stick defense. However, you cannot assume you will always have time to burst in. Your defense must also work if you are late and must deal with the stick itself. Therefore, the following principles also apply:
- Against an overhead attack, the defense must create no angle against the stick. This is done by keeping elbows in tight and stabbing toward the inside of the wrist.
2. Against a baseball bat swing, the defending straight arm must be held so that the meaty part of the arm, not the elbow, is facing the stick, and the opposite hand must be up to protect the face.
It’s important to know how to take the away the stick, but only for tactical reasons. In other words, you might want the stick as a weapon against additional attackers. But as long as you stay close to your attacker, the stick in his hand represents little or no danger to you. Therefore, don’t worry about the takeaway until you’ve perfected the defense.
Of the three basic weapons (gun, edged weapon, blunt object), the edged weapon or knife represents the most difficult to defend (assuming, of course, that all three are within reach). Small changes in the attack require relatively large changes in the necessary defense.
Unlike a gun, a knife cannot be grabbed. Unlike a stick, a knife still represents a significant danger even when you move in close. If you have enough distance, kicking is preferred, allowing you to keep distance from the knife. Techniques in this level will deal with kicks against the knife. The general rule for kick defenses against the knife is that when the knife is low, kick high; when the knife is high, kick low.
One prerequisite for understanding knife defenses is a basic understanding of common ways to hold the knife. The three basic holds are regular (overhead) stab, underhand stab, and straight stab.
A handgun clearly represents a dangerous threat. In any situation in which you feel that compliance will result in your safety, you should comply. No possession is worth your life. However, it’s possible that you may comply with every order and still get kidnapped or killed. In these circumstances, you must know an effective defense against threats with a handgun.
It’s important to understand that most crimes in which a gun is involved take place within three to five feet of the defender. Gunmen come close either to terrorize, to intimidate, or to hide their actions from bystanders. This statistic indicates that the average gun-related crime offers the possibility for defensive tactics.
The over-arching principle in Krav Maga’s defenses against handgun threats is this: Once you are out of the line of fire, do not go back in. Every technique prescribes to this basic principle. In addition, all Krav Maga techniques adhere to the following four stages:
- Redirect the Line of Fire
2. Control the Weapon
Often, two of these elements (usually, Control and Counterattack) overlap. As with all Krav Maga techniques, these defenses must work under stress. They must also work if simple variations are presented so that the smallest number of techniques work against the largest number of possibilities.
Mentality of the Attacker
Gun threats are not made in a vacuum. A gunman who sticks a gun in your face wants something. It may be your possessions, the satisfaction of humiliating you, or the thrill of terrorizing another human being. Whatever the particular motivation, the gunman who threatens you generally does so to elicit some desired response, not simply to execute you. This affords us the opportunity to make a defense. In advanced training, you may deal with situations in which the gunman may indeed be drawing a weapon simply to fire. But this belt level deals with basic gun threats in a robbery/takeover scenario.
If you ask people what the defender is “racing” against when trying to make a defense, most people will answer, “The act of the gunman pulling the trigger.” That is incorrect. The defender is not racing against the trigger pull. If that were true, every gun defense would fail. The defender is, in fact racing against the gunman’s overall response time: the recognition that he should pull the trigger plus the trigger pull. Therefore, gun defenses, especially the initial redirections, must involve the least detectable motions possible. The techniques that follow adhere to these principles, yet offer defenses against every common type of gun threat.
“Cavaliers” are wrist locks. Why do we call them cavaliers? This was Imi Lichtenfeld’s (the founder of Krav Maga) word for them. He thought they were fancy moves, and the word “cavalier” sounded fancy to him!
More-advanced techniques are covered to improve your position while on the ground.
Takedowns (*moved to Level 3)
Krav Maga, as a system, doesn’t teach many takedowns and, admittedly, some other systems teach takedown much more thoroughly than we do. There are any number of takedown possibilites, including single-leg, double-leg, and trip takedowns. Since Krav Maga’s mandate is to keep the system simple, we present only three basic takedowns here.
Before continuing, it’s important to discuss context: Why train to take someone down in the first place? One important reason is to learn to defend against takedowns. Even if you don’t want to take the bad guy to the floor, he might want to take you there. In order to defend effectively, your training partner has to make an adequate realistic attack.
Another reason is control. You may want to subdue someone (a drunk friend, an emotionally disturbed acquaintance) without hurting them. Taking them to the ground and holding them there is one possible way.
Finally, you may find yourself in a fight with someone who is better than you at standup fighting. If you’re unable to run away, a takedown may be a way to neutralize his standup skills.
The downside to takedowns is, of course, that you will often end up on the ground yourself. Once you’re on the ground, you become vulnerable to secondary attackers, and it takes just a little longer to disengage, get up, and run away.