Training Into the Unthinkable

“Breaking News: Mass Shooting.” It’s becoming an all too familiar headline. Whether it’s at a school, an office building, or a mall, it can feel like nowhere is safe. In addition to the obvious and immediate fear of personal safety, there’s a deeper fear that stays with you beyond the headline… the fear of the unknown. “What if” it happens when I’m at the movies with my family? “What if” that happened at my child’s school? “What if” that happened at my workplace? But when you’ve trained for the unthinkable, you will worry about the “what if’s” a little bit less.

You’ll just take action.

Overcoming fear takes training. But to start training, one must overcome some fear to even start. It’s a bit of a paradox. Overcoming fear of the unknown can be one of the hardest fears to tackle because it just feels too close to the “unthinkable.” It’s a barrier we see all the time at Krav Maga MD. Whether you have the “it’ll never happen to me” attitude or you’d “rather not think about it,” the bottom line is many would rather avoid the topic entirely than prepare themselves just in case. But what’s scarier? Confronting the situation now with trained instructors or living with high-tension unresolved “what if’s”?

Here’s the thing: We aren’t going to throw you to the wolves.

Yes, we teach techniques for situations that might be uncomfortable to think about at first, but we are right there with our students, helping them move through those barriers, push back against those uncomfortable feelings and, in the end, helping them view the situation clearly so they feel confident enough to take action when needed. And to live everyday life.

Think about it: What would you do if you found yourself in an active shooter situation? It’s easy to say you’d call 911, run, or do a number of other things that seem obvious to you now. But what many don’t realize is that people often freeze in life and death scenarios. They don’t move. They can’t process what’s happening. Everything’s in slow motion. They don’t do what we as observers watching a security camera might think is so obvious – which is why so often we’ve watched these videos and thought to ourselves, “Why didn’t they _________ ?”

People are often so frozen that they can’t even dial 911 correctly the first time.

Krav Maga trains you to act on habit. That’s the heart and soul of preparing for the unthinkable. It’s about taking the “think” out of it so you can jump into action when you need to. So if your mind freezes, you can rely on muscle memory to ensure you take the action that seemed so obvious before. Case in point: Read these two stories from some of our students about how their Krav Maga training helps them be radically more prepared for unexpected situations.

Following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, high school teacher and Krav Maga student Kate M. decided to do something about it. “I needed to take action to protect myself and to protect those around me,” she said. “That’s when the Active Shooter Seminar hosted by Krav Maga Capitol Hill came up on my Facebook feed. I signed up immediately…I returned to work on Monday [and]…I felt (more) prepared, empowered, and a bit safer as the bell rang and thirty kids streamed into my classroom for yet another day at school.”

For Krav Maga Maryland student Taka H., all it took was a big life moment for him to realize he could benefit from Krav Maga. “What drew me back to the arts of ‘fighting’ was the birth of my first daughter in 2014,” he said. “Holding my little baby girl in my arms, I felt a strong urge and a sense of responsibility to learn how to protect her. I researched all the popular martial arts until I found Krav Maga. I was attracted by its real life, scenario-based training approach, which made sense to me if I were to have to protect my wife and daughter from someone who may try to hurt them…Even though I am still level one, Krav Maga helped me build a sense of confidence that I will be able to protect my family.”

Whether you think it’ll never happen to you or you’re too uncomfortable to even consider it, just remember that knowing how to face and respond to that fear is half the battle. Krav Maga is here to help you take down that barrier and ultimately be prepared for anything. Even if the unthinkable happens.

Rachel Parker