In violence, fear is the first enemy. It can cripple you. Paralyse you. It can shut down decades of training in a moment. It can regress you to the level of a child and leave you helpless in the face of danger. Or it can be managed. It can be faced and understood. It can be the catalyst that pushes you to fight harder, to be stronger, to overcome pain and damage, to get home safe. This post is about fear. Every now and again, it’s good to look into the darkness.


In our culture it’s spat at. It’s shameful. Only cowards fear. Strong people, the people we want to be, they don’t fear anything.

But this is nonsense. Show me a human being and I show you someone who feels fear. Show me a successful person and I show you a person who is better at facing and handling fear. All the good things in life, they come through change and change is a great source of fear. To grow we have to feel fear, and do it anyway.


“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” –Nelson Mandela

Why should a person interested in self defence be interested in fear? Because it is your first enemy. The animal in front of you shouting and swearing and posturing, he’s your second enemy. And he’s often relying on your first enemy to do his work for him.

Why do we experience fear? What is fear?

When met with a perceived danger, the brain dumps stress hormones into your bloodstream in sudden and large doses. The dose will depend upon the nature of the threat and how sustained it is. How it affects you and your performance will depend upon how much of a surprise the threat is.

In situations where the threat comes as a complete surprise, your glands will dump a large kick of adrenaline and you will go from relaxed to panicking in a heartbeat. In situations where you see the threat coming some moments or minutes before (why aren’t you running away?) the adrenaline build-up may be slower and more steady, and you may be more likely to handle it without the dreaded freeze. This suggests that awareness is your greatest asset pre-conflict. Not just to see the danger and avoid it, the best of all self-defence strategies, but to prepare for danger you have to fight or have made a decision to fight.

Violence is simple. Not easy, but simple. Someone, one or many, will come to do you harm. This harm will consist of striking you in the head and body to cause damage, humiliation and pain. To prevent this, you can either run or fight. If you choose to, or are forced to fight, you must do so with violence. This seems obvious, but in the world of martial arts training, it is often overlooked. Fancy techniques will not serve you. The dance will not serve you. You must, very simply, strike the aggressor in the head and body with enough force and repetition to cause enough damage to take him down, before he can do the same to you.That’s it. The reality of violence is this simple. The overwhelming majority of assaults begin with an overhand right punch. A simple 360 block and simultaneous cross to the throat or face will end the threat in a moment. The jab and cross from good stance will stand you in very good stead against multiple opponents. Advanced technique is for the movies. All you need are the basics and the will to use them.

Give it your all in training and it will be there when you need it.

Technique is not your problem. In a few Krav Maga lessons, you will already have the tools to do the job, a good stance and a solid left right.

Your problem is overcoming fear to use these simple tools. Your problem is that, in most cases, the victim of violent assault does not act to defend themselves. They may have years of training, but they fail to act in the critical moment and are quickly beaten. Why? Fear, of course. An inability to manage the pre-conflict fear and stress hormones that are dumped into the system.

Krav Maga training excels at preparing people for this challenge. Never forget that facing violence requires two things:

1. A repetoir of simple striking techniques delivered from good stance.

2. The strength of mind to deliver.

One of these is useless without the other.

To train to face violence, you must condition yourself to handle stress and fear.

In Krav Maga, we use two processes to do this job. First, we apply graduated pressure to your techniques, requiring you to carry out the basic movements of Krav Maga while under stress, in chaos and from physical disadvantage such as from hard exercise and disorientation. Second, we use role-play and assault drills to desensitise you to pre-conflict stress and the fear of being hit. This means time in the Fence, dealing with bad language and aggression, and getting the gloves on against multiple opponents.

Lastly, remember that fear happens to everyone. Rory Miller, in his book Meditations on Violence, states that when violence professionals, such as prison staff and Special Weapons and Tactics teams are taught, they are taught that the Freeze will come each and every time they do battle. They are taught to process this freeze through the OODA loop.

Observation: I have frozen. I am experiencing adrenal freeze.

Orientation: I need to fix this, or I will get hurt.

Decision: I will move my left foot forward. I will take a step.

Action: Take the step. Break the freeze.

Fear happens to everyone. The difference between winning and losing is how you process the fear. The animal in front of you on the street has fought every weekend for most of his adult life. He has probably served time and has a sting of convictions. He comes from a broken home where emotional and physical violence was the norm. He is conditioned to handle the fear and stress of combat. More, he won’t feel it like you do because he is expecting to fight and he is expecting to win. The overwhelming majority of his opponents break down and never even throw a punch back. To stand a chance, you will need to act. You will need a set of basic, instinctive strikes and the will to use them. You will need to break through your fear and let the training carry you through. And you can do this. Krav training is the best training in the world. It is simple, proven and effective. It is yours. A good Krav instructor will not just arm you with techniques, but will push you with hard training until you are confident in the face of fear. Until fighting is familiar to you. Until you are strong enough to do the job and come home safe.

And the bonus is that, if your confidence shines through you, the likelihood of being chosen as a victim is reduced to vanishingly small odds.

Train hard, fight easy.

How hard is it to start Krav Maga in North Bristol? Not as hard as you might think!

Krav Maga has a reputation for being tough. It deserves that reputation. Toughness in training is necessary to produce real skill and confidence in a person. But toughness doesn’t mean that beginners can’t take it up. Starting Krav Maga is easy. You start slow and work up to it. You don’t need to have previous training, experience or even great fitness. It is your instructor’s job to teach you skill and work with you to build fitness. Your first sessions you will be encouraged to take it slowly and build up in speed and confidence, as your skill and fitness improve. No matter where you’re at when you come to us, if you bring effort and drive you will get where you want to go.

Here’s the lowdown on what to expect when you go to your first Krav Maga class in Bristol:

  • Aim to arrive ten minutes early. You’ll be able to meet your instructor before you train. No matter what level you’re at when you go to your first class at Krav Maga North Bristol, it’s our job to ingrain in you the world-class skills of Krav Maga in the most effective and efficient manner possible, and we have the expertise and experience to achieve this.
  • You can count on a warm welcome, not just from your instructor but from our other students. Everyone knows what it is like to be a beginner – they’ve all done it. And they’ll help coach you too. We count on our more experienced students to help you learn the basics and get a good start in the class. We promise that you’ll find a friendly and ego-free environment. We are pro-active in weeding out people who do not fit with our warm atmosphere and training ethos.
  • You will get a good bit of exercise, and the general feedback is that it’s easier to push yourself that little bit further because you’re in a group and focused on learning rather than in a gym on your own focused only on the exercise. We make a real difference to many people wanting to shed weight or make serious lifestyle changes for the better. We’re also happy to help with advice on exercise plans and diet, so just ask.

Why choose Krav Maga North Bristol over any other club?

There’s a big difference between an instructor who teaches as a hobby a couple of evenings a week and a professional instructor who does it hours a day, day in, day out, as a vocation. A hobby instructor teaching two one hour classes a week will rack up around 100 hours a year in teaching experience. A professional instructor will average over 10 times this, year in, year out. The lead instructor at Krav Maga North Bristol is Will Bayley. He’s got around 5000 hours experience teaching Krav Maga to people from all walks of life, whether they have experience in combative training or not. Over the last five years, he has taught veterans of armed conflict, police officers, close protection officers, other Krav Maga instructors and civilians. He has a proven background and reputation and is held in high regard by other professionals, including high ranking officers in the British Armed Forces. In January of 2017 the Army paid for Will to fly to Brunei to deliver Krav training to our troops, testament to the demand his skills enjoy. Being a great instructor is about more than simply being good at Krav. It’s the years of experience in teaching that matter, as an experienced instructor will know the shortest way to get you doing what you need to do, both in skill and fitness.

What kit you need to take

  • Just loose, comfy clothing such as tracksuit bottoms and t-shirt, or leggings and t-shirt, a pair of trainers.
  • A bottle of water.
  • If you keep training long term, you’ll need to buy a pair of 16oz gloves and a gumshield.
  • Nothing else. No expensive lists of kit.

Krav Maga SwindonWhat you’ll learn

Krav Maga North Bristol  teaches using a rotating curriculum. This means that we rotate around areas of our syllabus periodically. So it doesn’t matter where you jump in, you’ll soon catch up with everyone else and each time you rotate through the syllabus you’ll attain a higher level of advancement, confidence and skill. There’ll be a subject change every few weeks, so the focus will be anything from edged weapons defences to ground survival, and even things like third party protection or anti-carjacking drills. Additionally, every class you’ll practice the core skills, striking and movement, that underpin all other areas of the syllabus.

Will it hurt?

Professional instruction means getting people to competence without injuring them. You can expect light bruising on your forearms as you learn to block and counter common street attacks, but that’s it. As you progress, training will intensify at times, and there is a weekly adrenalised and fight skills session you may attend once you have a couple of months under your belt.

Times and Details

In North Bristol we train Mondays and Thursdays, both evenings. Your first session with us is free. If you decide you’d like to train with us regularly, we offer two levels of monthly membership and signing up is easy and commitment free. We don’t believe in long contracts – as a member you can freeze or cancel your membership at any time simply by giving us 30 days notice.

Booking a Class

Krav Maga Bristol offers a free Krav Maga class for beginners. One free session to try out Krav Maga for yourself. Contact us today to book your place, by phone or email, or by hooking up via our Facebook page.

Phone: 07866417618

Email: kravmaganorthbristol at gmail dot com

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