Going further with the 360

360 is a well-known concept in Krav Maga and it has been a part of the system from the beginning. In the early days of Krav Maga, Imi (the founder of Krav Maga) used this term to describe outside defences and it is in the language of Krav Maga till today.

Now, I want to show you how we can go deeper into this idea of 360 and take it beyond the basic drills and techniques of the famous outside defences.

In the early days, people used to stand in front of each other and perform outside defences against indirect attacks towards the head and the body. That was the basic concept and the basic drill to practice not getting hurt from indirect frontal attacks, using natural instinct and movements.  We use it today and it is a very good tool for the beginners.

Now, let’s expand our way of training and our understanding.

I will refer to the above as Vertical. Let’s talk now about Horizontal. When you master the frontal stage, you can go to the next level. Now start to protect yourself from all directions – front, side and back – all angles. And against direct and indirect attacks. Here you are using the 360 concept to perform outside and inside defences.

The next level is then Horizontal and Vertical 3D. This means actually a ball 3D / 360, all directions, all heights. Now 360 has really become 360 and you protect yourself from all angles and heights.

We can also go further and use the 360 concept to protect against the choke from all directions, not just the three main directions of front (0°), side (90°) and back (180°). For 360, I mean all directions, 10°, 45°, 60°, 55°…  This drill will expand your technical abilities solving choke problems. And to push it further again, think about this drill as a circle, and all those angles are from the same distance. Now, make the circle smaller or bigger, and start to solve the choke problem from different ranges.

We can also use the 360 concept for attacks, not just defences. Put yourself or your students inside an imaginary hollow ball and start to hit the surface of this ball from the inside out. Imagine each time you attack the surface from the inside, the ball expands and gets bigger. Start with close attacks to all heights and all directions, then as the ball expands change your attacks to medium range and then eventually long range attacks. This drill means you can use all the attacks in your arsenal, short to long distance using hands and legs. This tool will help you to initiate the correct attack using the correct limb concerning distance and angle. For you as an instructor, you will be able to see how your student is solving these matters.

Have you ever thought about your scanning? How can you be sure that you performed the correct scan? Very simply, look back to the concept of 360. Is there is a dead angle that you missed? Meaning, if your moving and scanning doesn’t complete the full 360, including the areas that you see in the beginning, during and after the event, it is not a complete scan. Full scan means 360 scan.

To sum up all the above and more, we go to the 360 all directions all heights and multiple attackers, which leads to Zombie drills. For a moment, let’s take a detour to the history of zombie drills…

Dealing with multiple attackers has always been one of the most important purposes in many martial arts. And we see in numerous katas (forms) of many arts, the kata/form refers also to the problem of someone being attacked by multiple attackers. But, every time you look at traditional solutions you see an innocent/naive approach. Attackers don’t attack at the same time, in a pre-arranged order, and from set directions. Well, when this happens… it is a kata. Also when it’s becoming an open drill, meaning, not according to what happens in the form, attackers still attack one at a time, one after the other. In the early days we trained in Krav Maga quite similar, eyes open, eyes closed, attackers from all directions, but something was missing.

A piece of history… When Grand Master Jim Keenan joined the Krav Maga, he was already a well-known martial artist with many black belts in various martial arts. Jim came up with a new concept, “conflict awareness”. In this concept, you build up the practitioner to deal with multiple attackers from all directions attacking in the same time. But in order to have a correct way of training, the first drills start very slow in a way that the beginners can handle the situation. So it looks for the person from the outside like mummies/zombies attacking. Now you know why it’s called zombie drill. As the practitioner understands better and reacts better to the easy slow mode, the drills start to be more fast, aggressive and with weapons and full protection gear. Krav Maga embraced this concept immediately and it is from that period of time in the system, and all kravers practice this till today. Not everybody fully understands how to deliver/teach/train this in the correct way, but thanks to Grand Master Jim Keenan we all benefit from it. So, to conclude this chapter, we have another way to refer to 360 in the Krav Maga system. (There is a lot more to say about Zombie drills, next blog will be devoted to this).

And finally, two more ideas for 360 to incorporate conditioning:

Put yourself in a push-up position. Your partner will hold a pad and start to circle around you holding the pad low. From the front you will deliver straight punches or open palm strikes. As your partner moves the pad to the side you can hit with a horizontal hammer or an elbow, depending on distance. And as your partner moves the pad further around you, you can perform a knee, then a kick with the full foot, and finally a back defensive kick. All the time you maintain the push-up position, while your partner does a full circle around you holding the pad. This is a great drill for students.

And all of us know the squats drill with kicking after each squat. To combine with the 360 concept, perform a kick to a different direction after each squat, such as squat and front kick, squat and side kick, squat and back kick… Working like this, cover all 360 angles, all directions, different heights, using the correct leg. To take it even further, incorporate different distances with knees and all ranges of all kicks.

In conclusion, next time you train or teach Krav Maga, try to think about the 360 concept as much more than outside defences. It will help you develop a better and more effective Krav Maga.

Haim Sasson

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