Krav Maga is taught to both military units and civilians as a fighting system. At least, that’s what the mystic mantra that surrounds it sounds like.
At one point in time, Krav Maga might have been a lethal discipline. Designed to be lethal and kill someone using the most efficient techniques (a reputation that propelled Krav into popularity).
The fact of the matter is this: There is no need for such a lethal martial arts system!
People are not living in villages that are being raided by pirates, Vikings or barbarians. There is no threat of invasion wherein society will depend on your skills for survival. Krav Maga as taught now is no longer an effective fighting and killing system.
It is not meant to be. And mistaking self defense for war-time actions in civilian situations could get you arrested. Or killed.
What Krav Maga does is something else. It instills a willingness to fight in someone. It gives someone the tools to survive random, amateur, and clearly uncoordinated acts of violence like what you might expect in a street fight. This willingness is a far more effective approach than pure, distilled panic with no direction at all.
Just because something is taught to a military unit doesn’t make it an efficient, lethal fighting system. In fact, the discipline that is being branded as Krav Maga today has been specially tweaked not to be lethal. It’s nobody’s aim to teach someone how to kill with their bare hands and then let them loose into society where that type of skill isn’t even needed.
Can you learn the lethal aspects of Krav Maga? Do they even exist? Sure they do, and if you search long and hard enough, you can find them and learn them. They’re just not being taught to every fresh recruit that passes through their door and pays an entrance fee. What is being taught and passed off as Krav Maga is designed for social “dominance games” without injury. More importantly, it instills confidence and the willingness to engage.
To get to the root of this question, we have to understand a couple of key concepts. Each time you ask this question, the person you’re asking may have a different definition of “martial arts styles” than you. “Martial arts styles,” is not so simple to accurately define.
“Street fights” are unplanned, often amateur random acts of violence. Training for random violence involves randomness. In real-world fighting situations, no martial arts system is 100 percent foolproof and guaranteed to work. It’s quite literally impossible to train yourself for street fights, no matter what martial arts discipline you may choose to be trained in. There is no perfect solution. So you might say that the qualifying condition of a martial art is that violence is NOT imminent.
Overall, martial arts is about more than physical moving and fighting. It teaches and ingrains valuable attributes into the student. It provides a channel for young people to direct aggressive energy.
Pros of Krav Maga
There are many reasons to learn Krav Maga beyond self-defense. Krav Maga promotes street awareness. In fact, one of the biggest enticing attributes of Krav Maga is that you can be trained to be aware of your surroundings in a complete and unified manner.
Krav Maga institutes realistic survival skills. In a sparring session, and in a controlled environment, Krav Maga has self-imposed limitations for the safety of the opponents. However, in a real-world situation where your safety is compromised, these restrictions can be lifted, effectively enabling you to disable an opponent.
Other benefits are obvious, such as fitness benefits, it’s entertainment value and its place in the world of martial arts for sports.
Cons of Krav Maga
Many people struggle to try to find the best instructor for Krav Maga. If this is you, seek out an instructor that is KMG-certified. Short for Krav Maga Global, they are the leading authority in Krav Maga instruction.
Finding a KMG-certified school can be difficult. Krav Maga Global has had numerous licensing and political conflicts with other offshoots of Krav Maga. The best-known Krav Maga series of books is sold on Amazon by an American splinter group.
Once you are able to find a KMG-certified school, you’ll find that training might be expensive. Generally, you’ll only learn a few techniques per session. If the class is well-equipped with better equipment for good simulations, padding and drills, you will get a higher value for your money.
You must be selective when choosing a Krav Maga instructor. Many of these schools are more concerned with profit than they are quality.
The worst disservice done to the Krav Maga public image happens when the students become complacent, assuming that they’re “commando” trained. Some students adopt too much of a bad-ass bullying type attitude due to the schools’ military associations.
The implication and application of Krav Maga in realistic situations entices students all over the world. Hard-core self-defense techniques such as multiple-attacker defenses and defenses against weapons such as sticks, knives, and guns are taught and mastered. One of the core competencies of Krav Maga are the realistic situations that are emphasized in training.
Krav Maga teaches a 360° level of awareness and ability to defend against attacks using material modification and improvisation.
Krav Maga relies more heavily on strategy than it does physical strength. Training in the martial arts provides a sense of confidence and empowerment to its students.
Effective self-defense is heavily reliant upon adequate physical fitness. Students of Krav Maga are encouraged to reach their potential and are given the tools to exceed the required physical fitness necessary for self-defense.
Krav Maga Fundamentals
Adaptive and Practical
Krav Maga will not go out of style or be rendered obsolete. Individual creativity is encouraged and adaptive techniques are utilized in real-world situations.
Use in the Street
Krav Maga approaches practical situations by emphasizing training without rules. When you’re being attacked, rules don’t apply. This allows an individual to use whatever techniques are necessary to defuse a potentially dangerous situation.
A Simple Approach
Nothing about Krav Maga is unnatural. It uses the human body’s natural reflexes for both offense and defense. A trained martial artist has the ability to instinctively apply these techniques as if they were second nature.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most of the time, Krav Maga can work in a fight. However, it’s necessary to note that fighting is not self-defense. Self-defense is limited to diffusing a situation. Beyond a certain point, it no longer becomes self-defense and, instead, becomes an act of aggression.
Why Should Someone Learn Martial Arts for Self-Defense?
When you are put on the defensive, human nature puts your mind in a fight-or-flight mode. While Krav Maga can be effective in a fight, many of the techniques that are lethal are not taught to people. When you have a group of young people who are learning lethal techniques together, who are they going to take their aggression out on – even if it’s for nothing more than social prestige?
These people will take it out on each other.
Learning martial arts is about much more than gaining the upper hand in a fight. It’s about a willingness to fight. It instills a sense of confidence and empowerment whereon you could get the upper hand in a real-world situation. Ineffective and nonlethal techniques are more often taught simply because self-defense no longer becomes self-defense in a real-world situation past a certain point. It becomes an act of aggression and in some cases, attempted murder. Self-defense is about keeping yourself safe. It is not about crippling and incapacitating an opponent.
Is This the Right Martial Art for Me?
This depends. You made a step in the right direction simply by reading this article and attempting to do your research. Honestly, nobody can answer the question except for you.
Krav Maga does not generally involve sparring. It involves drills and plenty of teaching moments, but the general classes do not involve live sparring. Live sparring, under the umbrella of Krav Maga, is usually reserved for separate classes consisting of advanced graduates only.
Generally, Krav Maga is not Full Contact. Developing a will to fight in a potentially dangerous situation is more important to Krav Maga than actually fighting. Students often practice Krav Maga against each other and develop a habit of striking the opponent softly. The danger of this practice, when applied to a real-world situation, is that softstrikes become instinctive and are therefore rendered ineffective against a real opponent. Again this may be a matter of picking the right instructor.
Muay Thai Boxing may be considered more effective than Krav Maga and a real-world situation simply because it can deliver more powerful strikes. However, no martial arts system is 100 percent effective in every situation – including that of Krav Maga. For instance, Muay Thai Boxing has no focus on striking “foul” un-sporting targets or exploitations of human weakness, while Krav Maga does.
Brazilian jujitsu is about controlling an attacker through leverage. The problem with Brazilian jujitsu is that, while you may have an opponent on the ground through a series of wrestling moves, the opponent’s accomplice can simply walk up to you with a knife and incapacitate you without you even noticing. Krav Maga, on the other hand, teaches you to be aware of multiple attacker situations – with or without various weaponry.
The biggest difference between Krav Maga and Mixed Martial Arts has to do with real-world applications. Almost every drill involving Krav Maga ends with you leaving the scene of the crime, or retreating. Krav Maga is excellent for self-defense, incorporating kicks to the groin and gouges to the eye. MMA, on the other hand, is about incapacitating and overpowering your opponent. In MMA, when you have the advantage, you chase down and secure your opponent. This looks aggressively manly but can lead to a ton of legal problems on the street!