Your goal in any violent encounter should be to shut your opponent down in the shortest possible time. This is accomplished by using a continuous unbroken assault on your assailant and by attacking soft targets. The Hebrew word “Retzef”, means continuous; literally, one thing after another. The idea of Retzef, is to lay down a continual barrage of attacks that basically alternate between high and low targets on the body. The aim is to so overwhelm the assailant to the point that they literally become “short-circuited” and unable to both resist your assault and make any further attacks of their own. If you give a person space and time they will have an opportunity to continue with their assault: take both away and they are forced to become purely defensive. Turning your predator into prey, both emotionally and physically is fundamental to surviving a real-life assault.
Becoming the attacker, rather than being the attacked, is the only way to deal with real world violence; the idea is to avoid falling into this role all together by acting preemptively and not ever assuming the role of “the attacked”. In my experience the person who makes the initial attack is 8 times out of 10, the one who comes out of the situation in the best condition. Most people mentally crumble when assaulted and take themselves out of the fight, even if they could physically continue. If you’ve ever been hit hard in a real life scenario you will know of the shock that this causes and how it can cause you to hesitate long enough for the other person to make a 2nd and even 3rd attack. This might be all it takes
In your initial assault, in the first cluster of attacks, you need to be attempting to hit soft/vital targets that will have the effect of shutting the person down e.g. eyes, throat or groin etc. A street fight is not a prolonged affair where you have time to feel an aggressor out like you would in a sparring match or competitive fight. If you’ve ever seen a ring fight or sparring in your training studio you’ll have witnessed that there is a lot of time spent with each party looking for an opening and trying to formulate an attack plan. None of this time is available on the street; you need to finish the fight as soon as possible – to prolong it could result in a knife or third parties getting involved. This is why soft targets need to be attacked – attacks to the eyes, throat and groin have an effect that overwhelms most people’s pain tolerance.
Imi Lichtenfeld once said (I paraphrase), “Muhammed Ali’s balls are as weak as a newborn baby.” People may laugh and joke that Krav Maga focuses so heavily on groin strikes however there is a reason it does so. Not only is an attack to this area painful it will also cause a person to pull their hips back, a position from which they cannot generate any power. This disruption to their assault is a good opening in which to continue and press home your attack to end the fight as quickly as possible and thereby increase your odds of success. Let me know if you have any questions and we’ll see you in class.
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