Krav Maga allows fast competency
Let me begin by stating that any martial art training is a good training. However, some martial arts take many years or repeating the same form until the repetition is perfect. And sparring in many (not all) martial arts is frequently with someone of the same size and power level with many rules to keep it a fair fight.
Krav Maga was originally developed by Imi Lichtenfeld for the Israeli military. to quickly train their new military. Imi Lichenfeld initially based the training on his experiences fighting fascist groups prior to WW2. Krav Maga is constantly evolving. It is now based loosely on many martial arts, boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, Akido, and Ju Jitsu/BJJ. Krav Maga uses the most efficient aspects of other martial arts as well as training for new types of emerging threats. It is a martial art that is very heavy on the martial and light on the art! One portion of this efficiency is to quickly train you how to deal with a threat. As you advance through the training, you obtain more and more tools to deal with threats on many levels.
“Don’t expect your enemies to ever love you, or even like you, only respect you.” -Imi Lichtenfeld
Fitness and Flexibility
First thing I noticed having gone to many kids’ birthday parties at different dojos is the level of fitness of Krav Maga verses other martial art practitioners. No matter the age from 20-80 or older, Krav Maga black belts are in good physical shape! Compare that to the overweight to borderline obese black belts who can go through the forms and kick high in other martial arts. Krav generally is working general forms with many different sized opponents at different levels of training. To me this is a very useful aspect. Someone who is much bigger and stronger may attack you. Likewise, someone much smaller and faster may also attack you. You must adjust the same movement to meet the new threat.
Krav Maga class is one-half cardio with limited weight training and one-half forms/techniques. This stems from the military roots. You must be in shape to fight and get back up when knocked down. If you are starting with a bunch of green trainees they need to get into shape before they are any use in the battlefield. Self defense uses the same concept. If you train on the technique at your weakest after a good workout it will emulate an enemy attacking when you are at your weakest.
Krav Maga belt testing can be multiple hours long to test your endurance first and then see if you can still fight after that! The cardio/warm up portion can consist of pushups, situps, weight ball training, running, ladder drills, bear crawls, side-to-side runs in a fighting stance, squats, jump squats, high knees, butt kickers, burpees, and other fun drills. The fight practice begins when you are tired and weak.
Protecting Yourself in Training
I have one note on Krav Maga. Guys, I would strongly recommend wearing a good athletic cup and having a second one in your training bag as a backup if you forgot it! All training involves contact in the most efficient take down possible. This means groin strikes! Usually this is a light contact or slap. However, in a tired state, people often misjudge. I have taken quite a few good hits. Some will make you sick, even with a cup! If you forget your cup, at the very least, your class will be done for the day. You will also never forget your cup again. Protection for women is also recommended for the accidental full force blow to the groin. Furthermore, there is no “sorry” said during Krav Maga training!
If you accidentally strike your opponent full force or catch them in the head on an elbow strike, you both keep going. Say you are sorry after. Recovering and continuing after an accidental strike is the most real-life training you can get. In training you will get hurt to some level, generally either because of your own tired state or an error you make. If a mistake is made during a strike set, you keep going. Do not stop and try again, as that will not happen in real life. Note you made a mistake and correct it next time. Train yourself to not stop. When you see an error, them them know after they are finished.
“The best fighter in not a boxer, karate or Judo man. The best fighter is someone who can adapt on any style. He kicks too good for a boxer, throws too good for a karate man, and punches too good for a judo man.” -Bruce Lee
The fight training will go through several scenarios. It will focus how to most efficiently stop the attack by disabling your opponent as brutally and fast as possible. The thought is that there will be another attacker coming fast behind the first one. It does not go into kicking someone in the face while standing or other impressive but inefficient moves. Generally, boxing throws punches, Muay Thai kicks low, Judo throws and Akido blocks. Krav Maga has its own spin on each.
Low kicks are faster and more efficient then high kicks. If you want to kick someone in the face, use low kicks to get them to the ground. You cannot defend yourself effectively from the ground. You are more vulnerable even when you are on top of someone because you are more vulnerable to everyone else around you! Many training forms allow your own finishing move. This allows women who have much more hip strength for kicks and knees to use those. Men with a greater upper body strength are able to use elbows, hammerfists, and throws.
“If you find yourself in a fair fight your tactics suck.” -Unknown
Krav Maga is not a competition fighting style, like MMA. It is a self-defense martial art. Many Krav Maga movements are not acceptable in a competition style fight. In training I often face multiple opponents. In many competition events, it is one-on-one with someone of the same size and power unlike what you will encounter in real life. Some moves would not apply in competitions, such as gun defense, breaking chokes, abduction training, knife, bat and home invasion training. The training is high stress training. In this training, you are attacked by multiple attackers in mutliple directions with your eyes closed. This provides real reaction to a surprise attack. No one will tell you that they are going to throw a punch or attack from behind.
“Krav Maga heightens perception and transforms fear into something more productive.” Imi Lichtenfeld
Many of my fellow students are police officers with other martial arts training. Many instructors are also police officers. This often leads to training based on the types of threats they either encounter or hear about at work. Most of my instructors are also trained in BJJ, Mauy Thai, and various forms of Karate. Krav Maga training also includes all other options, such as “Nike defense”. (In other words, this means run.)
Remove the Threat
It is better to remove the threat of harm than to lower the odds of being seriously hurt. Even if you are well trained in dealing with a knife attack, you are likely to get a cut or two while disarming. If you are faced with a highly trained opponent (or opponents) and cannot run, then use a gun if you have one and have the time to. One example is if your family is with you and running is not an option.
If you can not use a gun, then hopefully your training to use what are considered “low blows” or unfair moves will win over someone who is not trained to use those same moves. This goes along with the idea that “you fight as good and as intense as you train.” Part of the gun and knife defense training is do not hand the weapon back to your training partner after disarming them. If you hand the weapon back in training, you will do it in a fight as well. YouTube videos show that concept well.
From my experience, classes with a certified trained instructor are by far the best. They have been practicing Krav Maga and other martial arts for years. Feedback from these instructors improves the level of traiing and reduces your risk of injury.
If you cannot find a dojo, this book is great: Complete Krav Maga: The Ultimate Guide to Over 250 Self-Defense and Combative Techniques by Darren Levine and John Whitmen. This book is the basis for our training. However, having someone who is trained to correct mistakes you do not know you are making and to give additional pointers is invaluable.
Even with a dojo, I still jog, cut down trees, shoot, garden, and train with bags to help round out my physical and mental conditioning and training. I do not consider Krav Maga better then any other martial art. Each type has its own benefits and training requirements. I went with Krav Maga for its efficiency and self-defense use.
Survival Blog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 70 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. The barrel assembles in less than one minute without the use of any tools. You also get compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
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- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
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- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
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- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
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Round 70 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.