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Would like to learn Krav Maga but have injuries that mean I would only be able to learn it in a limited fashion. I would want to learn it for self defense purposes after being accosted by a male in broad daylight.

After the incident - although it did not end in a bad way, I did start thinking about owning a gun and getting a license to carry a concealed weapon after that. I really don't like the idea of having a deadly weapon on me though.

Problem is-with cervical injuries- I can't afford to seriously learn Krav Maga as someone who would for the Police Force etc or for competition.

How can I possibly learn any of the self defense moves if I can't afford to get hit?

Is there a way to teach this to a person with injuries so they learn defensive moves without further injury?

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2 Answers

There's a few things here that I want to address:

I did start thinking about owning a gun and getting a license to carry a concealed weapon after that

I feel for you; no one should have to go through what you went through. Let me say this first off: I am 100% for responsible firearms ownership. That said, many people become victims of crimes and immediately respond to it by arming themselves without properly learning how to use the weapon – After all, it's "point-and-click", so how hard could it be? Unfortunately, this attitude often leads to the gun owner bringing their own murder weapon to the crime scene.

Those that do learn, often only go to the range. Like training in a dojo, a range is a controlled environment. You have a target within a defined minimum and maximum range, and you have all the time in the world (in fact, my local range requires a minimum of 1 second [counting "one-one-thousand"] between shots – no rapid-fire, no double-tap. Like the controlled circumstances of a dojo, this can lead to a false sense of security about your ability to shoot.

Training to shoot needs to be treated as one would train in martial arts for self-defense, with as much aliveness as possible. The most difficult aspect is conditioning yourself to look at another human being and pull the trigger. In the Civil War, bodies were found with barrel-loaded weapons loaded 8 or more shots deep as soldiers couldn't bring themselves to pull the trigger. If you can not mentally prepare yourself to kill another human being, you have no business owning a firearm for personal defense.

The military has had a long history of researching more effective ways to encourage soldiers to kill, many facets of which have made it into civilian training to improve the handling skills of firearms owners. I highly advise any program use simunition (non-lethal simulated ammunition in real weapons) to teach the student to draw down and pull the trigger on a live human being. The opponent should attempt to disarm you, to take away your weapons, and train you to keep moving.

How can I possibly learn any of the self defense moves if I can't afford to get hit?

If your injuries are never going to heal, then the key here is finding the right instructor. A good instructor will help you to discover ways to overcome your limitations without further injury, and will patiently work with you to find ways to give your training the aliveness it needs to be effective.

Being injured doesn't mean that you can't train. It does however add a new complication to locating a quality instructor. If the instructor is too blasé about your injury, then no matter how good of an instructor he may be in other situations, he is not the right instructor for you. He should never put you into a situation that you're uncomfortable with until you're confident in your ability to defend yourself.

Taking the time to locate a quality instructor is key to any martial arts training. Respect for you and your needs is a must, and it's through delivering this respect that a good instructor earns the respect he receives.

Is there a way to teach this to a person with injuries so they learn defensive moves without further injury?

Yes. Without getting too specific, options may include:

  • Modified drills.
  • Protective equipment.
  • Specialized training.
  • Conditioned defensive training.

Without being fully aware of your condition, however, you can not expect an instructor to work with you to learn to defend yourself. Education of any sort is teamwork: both teacher and student need to be willing to work together to train in an art.

The Goal Of Training

I want to add a final note on training – your goal needs to be realistic, and the most realistic goal is to learn to avoid putting yourself into harm's way. Avoiding high-crime areas, recognizing safe areas vs. non-safe areas, situational awareness, and, always, to escape. Your training, more than anything else, needs to focus on you escaping from situations in which you are in danger, and ultimately learning to avoid danger at all.

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Normally I would advocate against someone carrying a weapon (usually a gun or knife) - not because I don't believe in weapons, but because it tends to induce a false sense of security which can get you into serious trouble if the weapon fails when you go to use it (i.e. you drop your knife, the gun misfires, you get disarmed, or you simply can't get to your weapon).

While you do mention Krav Maga, a lot of what you ask is not applicable just to that specific art - the same could be asked about just about every other art. All is not lost though - you can still train, but concentrate on and perfect the things that you can do. With any martial art you should be able to selectively choose bits from it that suit you, and most martial arts can be adapted to a certain degree to accomodate disabilities (or persistent injuries). It may be harder to attain grades if you use this approach, but that is not your primary objective. You may also have to shop round to find a school and instructor that is willing to work within your parameters. You might consider that you would get the most immediate bang for your buck by learning Krav Maga, but do look further than that as the other arts can be just as devastating.

So if you do get a gun remember that it is just one option in your arsenal, don't use it or rely on it as your only option.

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