Krav Maga: The Importance of Pain

Most people spend their life trying to avoid pain, by nature we are comfort seekers, like all creatures. An animal will always look for the most comfortable place to lie down; a dog will always choose a grassy spot over a stony or sandy spot. We are no different. Being able to handle pain is an important part of conditioning for any fighter, martial artist or law enforcement personal. It is also crucial we understand the role of pain in self defense.
Many non-contact or light contact martial arts assume that as soon as you hit a person and ‘score’ a point, it will all be over. He will buckle over in pain and that is it. Reality teaches us otherwise. You cannot assume a person will give up, ever, until you control him. Some assailants are high on drugs or alcohol and feel less pain. Again, make no assumptions about pain compliance. We have to know how others react to pain and how we react; we need to have a backup plan. You can never assume pain will end an encounter. Blocking a strike and hurting the assailant may not stop him. The traditionalists speak of “one punch one kill” but no one I know will rely on that. It might happen sometimes, but then again, it might not.
In Krav Maga training in the Israeli army great emphasis is put on pain; inflicting it and absorbing it. Soldiers can’t afford to go into shock the first time they get hit. Pain is a part of life, we can learn to use it to our favor, or it can work against us, but we can not ignore it. That is the purpose of pain, to wake us up and tell us to notice something. Wake up and be prepared.