“Conditioning is your best hold” – Karl Gotch
A great quote by one of the most esteemed Catch as Catch Can wrestlers of all time and spot on for self-defense training. Anyone that has been in a self-defense or even combat based martial art, know that being in good cardio shape is mandatory. Think about the timeline of a dangerous or even a stressful situation. You get excited/fearful which causes the body to have a huge adrenaline rush to satisfy our primal “fight or flight” instinct. Your heartbeat spikes and you get a surge of energy. This energy spike can help you get out of an immediate crisis, but it doesn’t last long at all.
Adding realism to Krav Maga classes by simulating different types of attacks (punches, grabs, chokes, knives, guns etc.) can help you feel what this adrenaline spike might feel like and be better prepared to deal with it. But even with this training, if you are not in decent cardiovascular shape, you are going to hit a wall and be exhausted in as little as a few seconds. In a self-defense situation, all the Krav Maga or other combative training isn’t going to be effective if you can’t catch your breath or are too tired to move. Simply put, strive to have your endurance to be better than your potential attacker’s endurance.
Avoiding this energy crash in a crisis situation is the primary reason why we train cardio in Krav Maga classes. We all want to be in shape to feel good and look good, but surviving an attack is about as important as it gets. In addition to attending Krav Maga classes consistently, I would recommend complimentary cardio work such as running, taking a Fight Fit class, trying a Submission Wrestling class for a few weeks, etc. Your well being and safety might very well depend in being able to outlast your attacker(s).