Krav Maga is an Israeli fighting system that combines multiple martial arts and fighting techniques to defend you during real-world situations.
If you want to learn a military-grade self-defense strategy, you may have considered studying some Krav Maga techniques.
Krav Maga is a hand-to-hand combat system developed for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and security personnel during the 1930s. It combines the best techniques from other fighting systems to create the most practical and efficient self-defense technique.
Krav Maga draws from aikido, boxing, judo, karate, street fighting, and wrestling. This fighting style emphasizes aggression, speed, and teachability. It requires no equipment or sport-specific dress, making it accessible for real-world situations where you need to defend yourself.
Krav Maga was created by the athlete Imi Lichtenfeld (Imi S’de-Or). He had a background in boxing, gymnastics, and wrestling, which helped him lead a group of Jewish fighters during the 1930s anti-Semitic riots in Czechoslovakia.
Switching to street fighting taught him to evolve his techniques for real-world battle, so he integrated more fighting strategies from other styles. In 1940, Lichtenfeld fled Europe and moved to Mandatory Palestine.
By 1944, he started teaching the Haganah fighting techniques. When the State of Israel and IDF formed in 1948, Lichtenfeld led the physical fitness courses. During his 20 years of service, he refined his hand-to-hand combat method.
And since 1971, civilians have been able to learn Krav Maga to use in their daily lives.
Despite its reputation as the most dangerous martial art in the world, Krav Maga teaches its practitioners to minimize confrontation.
The idea is to avoid combat when possible, or to seek to finish it quickly. These attacks can sometimes lead to severe injury and sometimes death as they hit vulnerable body parts.
Unlike some martial arts that focus on showmanship, control, or aesthetics, Krav Maga strives to save your life. Some basic principles of Krav Maga include:
Krav Maga has multiple benefits for its practitioners, even if you never encounter a real-world attack.
It works with bodies of all shapes and sizes, and anyone can take its skills into their daily lives.
To begin with, you will likely get an excellent workout with each class. You start with a warm-up, then go through drills, cardio intervals, and strength training to develop your overall fitness.
The technique is incredibly teachable, so you can gain lifelong skills by just trying out one class. One study showed that just one session could improve your impact force and kick speed.
Krav Maga can also increase your confidence. When you know you can defend yourself in any scenario, you are more likely to feel at ease and empowered in everyday situations.
If you want to become more mindful but can’t stand yoga or meditation, Krav Maga can teach you awareness of your surroundings and opponent in the present. You can also gain improvisational skills that you can utilize throughout your life.
As Krav Maga continues to grow in global popularity, many people may want to become an instructor.
Its practicality, efficiency, and success may inspire you to pursue it as a career. However, it is worth noting that not everyone may be best suited to teach Krav Maga techniques.
A good starting point can be to figure out why you want to teach. If the answer is money, well, you may struggle for a few years before you potentially find success.
In addition, you will need extensive (and most likely expensive) training from a qualified instructor. If you skimp on training, you will likely only be spreading false, quick-fix techniques to your students - not ideal.
While Krav Maga draws from multiple martial arts, you will need discipline-specific training to become an instructor. There aren’t many real shortcuts to this thorough training process.
If you have the training and are a state-of-the-art black belt in Krav Maga, you could still not be a good instructor. Why? Excellent practitioners have the fighting skills necessary to teach, but that does not necessarily mean that they also know how to convey the information well.
If you’re still set on becoming a Krav Maga instructor, then prepare to likely input your blood, sweat, tears, money, and time into the art.
You will need extensive training in Krav Maga to become an extraordinary instructor.
Many instructor training courses exist to get you certified. These will cover the physical aspects of Krav Maga to ensure you can perform the techniques. Furthermore, they can sharpen your teaching skills and knowledge of Krav Maga to foster your instructor ability.
Try to look for a course that tests you regularly. Regular examinations of your physical abilities, athleticism, teaching skills, and theoretical knowledge can be a great way to keep you motivated.
If the course lasts only a few days, and claims to teach black belts - run. It usually takes at least six weeks of training before you will likely be ready to be put in front of a class.
Anyone can learn Krav Maga.
While designed for military personnel, everybody can benefit from learning the self-defense skills that the sport teaches. There are students of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels who start with the sport. With time and training, many people can reach an expert level.
However, keep in mind that Krav Maga can be a dangerous activity. As with any sport where people have died practicing it, you may want to take extensive safety precautions during training, at least until you grow in confidence.
You can get started by taking Krav Maga classes as a student.
Once you excel in the sport, you can look into instructor training courses and get registered. The best instructors are experts in both the physical and theoretical aspects of the discipline, and will also likely know how to teach, and teach well.
If you do not want to become a full-time Krav Maga teacher but want to implement some techniques in your training, the following moves are a great place to start.
Since Krav Maga focuses on incapacitating your opponent, it can involve “dirtier” techniques than other fighting systems.
These are oriented at self-defence, rather than showmanship or respect, just self-defense.
Here are some fundamental Krav Maga techniques that you can integrate into your self-defense classes, or learn for your own practice.
The first move you will probably want to learn is the neutral stance. Keeping your legs shoulder-width apart, let your arms hang by your side. This position replicates how you would stand when you are unaware of an attack.
In the guard stance, your power leg is behind you with your hands raised to chin level. Your elbows should lie near the ribs with your palms facing out. This position helps you to counterattack your opponent while protecting your head and chest.
Make a closed fist with your thumb over your knuckles. In guard stance, you can throw out a straight punch by rotating your front foot and extending your front arm. Aim for your fist to hit your opponent horizontally, with your arm remaining aligned with your shoulder.
Once you have some basics down, you can move onto some beginner Krav Maga techniques.
This move involves getting into close contact with the attacker and kicking upward with your shin. Ideally, you want to drive with your back leg to make contact with their groin. Whether you strike them with your foot or shin, this move can temporarily paralyze your opponent.
In a palm strike, you keep your hand open and hit your opponent with the muscular part of your hand by your wrist. This portion will not get injured when striking your attacker, so you can repeat the strikes.
If someone grabs you from behind and pins your arms to your body, you can drop your weight with a fast squat. In a wide stance, shift your hips sideways to strike your opponent’s groin with your palm. Then, lunge forward and elbow the attacker’s stomach before escaping.
After mastering some beginner moves, you can try out some advanced techniques in your classes.
You can perform a knife defense by redirecting the attack with a kick or punch that slows them down. Then, quickly reach to grab the opponent’s knife or wrist. Lastly, you can damage the attacker with a combination of strikes and kicks.
If your opponent drops the knife, you should kick it as far as possible. Since knife attacks can happen in countless ways, you may want to implement multiple defense strategies for various stabbing directions and methods.
Performing an eye gouge can obscure your opponent’s vision, cause extreme pain, and give you a chance to escape. You spread and straighten your fingers to resemble four tiny spears. Then, drive them towards your attacker’s eyes by rotating your hips and shoulders.
Learning some fundamental Krav Maga techniques can aid you in many areas of life.
If you are teaching self-defense or another mixed martial arts class, you can implement some of these skills in your lessons to give your students new ways to protect themselves.