Believing in your technique

One of the pitfalls is teaching self defense is that the students could believe us just because have wear an instructor T-shirt and not because it makes sense to them. In other words, they believe what we teach them just because of their trust in the system that we represent and because we seem convincing.

Krav Maga training of dealing with a knife threat from the side
Knife threat from the side

This is however not enough for their skills to be effective in a live situation.
The student has to be critical to what we teach!

First of all because all people are physically different. So, while Krav Maga techniques are designed to work for everybody, there are of cause techniques that may be more appropriate for smaller persons, women, bigger persons etc. Also, you as a student, might have limitations which makes a specific technique less ideal for you.

While we as instructors should of cause be aware of this, you know you best. So be critical, ask questions etc.

The other side of this which is even more interesting is however the mental aspect.

If you are confronted in a live situation you will very likely be stressed. Because you are afraid of what might happen to you. If the level of stress reaches a certain point, your reptile brain will take over and your front brain, Neo Cortex will be bypassed. The Neo Cortex is very good at analysing and making rational decisions, but it is unfortunately very slow.

So, you are left with what the reptile brain can do. You will not come up with new cleaver solutions, but default to what the reptile brain knows works. What it believes in on a deep level.

And here is my point...
If you have only reached a rather superficial level of trust in your techniques they will not be in the pool of solutions your reptile brain can choose from. If your instructor or you have only persuaded your Neo Cortex that Krav Maga works, there will be no useable skills when the reptile brain is in control.

So how do we get you to really believe in your kills?

We do two things.

We let you feel and see the impact of you action.
Take this example of dealing with a knife threat from the side.

We taught the technique of deflecting with the hand to Troels. But, unfortunately he can't hit the hand of the opponent full force in training, cause it would be very painful.
So, we added protection to his opponents hand and arm (a shin protection). Then Troels can hit full force and this will give him the belief in the technique. Now it's not just an intellectual trust but a physical one. He feels and sees the effect.

After this we move on to adding stress gradually. We let him close his eyes and let his opponent choose from a selection of problems that Troels knows how to solve. The stress comes from not knowing which. Also we add aggression, loud music and the stressor of other people screaming etc. Always on a level that is enough to make the student adapt but not break.

Through repetition we finally get the reptile brain to believe this will work. 
An now you have a usable skill.