We get a lot of inquiries about private training, and while our team does offer one-on-one classes, we try to encourage students to train in a group environment.
There’s huge psychological value in being part of a community of like-minded people, but the primary reason that we suggest that students train in a group environment is that it supports better-rounded responses. As any long-term student will tell you, a few things inevitably happen if you train exclusively with the same partner:
- you become aware of his/her areas of strength and weakness, and learn to avoid the former and exploit the latter, which routinizes your own responses
- you learn how much force you need to exert to overcome that particular partner, and tend not to extend beyond that
- you are relaxed, knowing that you communicate well with your partner and have developed a comfortable relationship; this creates an artificial environment that in no way prepares you for the physiological and psychological stress of a threatening situation outside the studio
Just as it’s important to train with more than one partner, it’s critical to train with more than one type of partner. A case in point – one of our female students recently spent a period of time training almost exclusively with other women in class. Without doubt, she progressed in terms both of technique and conditioning; however, it wasn’t until she came to class one day and happened to pair up with a larger male student that she realized that she’d become reliant on working with those of roughly her own physical stature. She found that, despite knowing the techniques being used, she couldn’t perform well enough to defend herself. It took this student some time to re-calibrate, which she did by working with a variety of body types.
The key piece here is adaptation. You will adapt only to those stresses that you face. If your training does not require you to overcome new situations/challenges, you will plateau – this is true in fitness and it is true in Krav Maga. “Plateauing” for us means that you will not be able to address threatening situations as successfully as possible. The overall moral is that, in order to be truly prepared for eventualities on the street, you need to train as realistically as you can – as we’ve said before, you’ll always react in real life in the same way that you train in the studio. You can now see why working with a variety of people is so vital – you can’t predict who is going to approach you, so it’s critical that you be able to deal with as wide a range of attackers as possible.
As a side-note, it’s actually for this reason that we take a different approach than most studios and gyms to women’s-only training. Put simply, we discourage it. This may sound odd, given that women report assault in exponentially higher numbers than men. If anyone should be training, it’s women. It’s important to understand that we’re not discouraging the training itself – but we do take issue with it being divided by sex. We prefer that female students train in co-ed environments – we understand the statistics, and we can see that women are rarely attacked by other women. Krav Maga is not designed to be a sport – it’s a system meant for real application, and we would be doing women an enormous disservice by having them train in a same-sex environment that does nothing at all to mimic the conditions under which they routinely face threats. We try to build bridges to more realistic co-ed training for women who feel unsure of getting started by offering time-limited women’s-only intros, which are intended to lead participants into our regular classes upon completion.
Whether you’re a veteran student or just starting out, keep these principles of variety and adaptation in mind, and make a point next class of pairing up with someone you haven’t worked with before – it will do your training a world of good.
The Academy Team