When invested in personal fitness, people often find themselves steered towards the different kinds of martial arts and self defense techniques to train themselves with. Regardless of whether you’re already knee-deep in the Krav Maga world or are merely curious to know what makes the art stick to people’s lives, read on below to know more about the fascinating art practice. Be prepared though, it is intense!
While Krav Maga might sound incredibly tough, it is actually a system of self-defense that almost anyone can use, regardless of strength, size, or fitness.
It can be a great way to gain discipline in training while emphasizing simple moves that can save you in the moment of need. The best part? You don’t need any prior martial arts experience to start training in Krav Maga.
Krav Maga originated in the mid-1930s with the practice of a young Hebrew-Jewish athlete, Imi Lichtenfeld, who was a famous boxer, wrestler, and gymnast.
He created and laid the foundations of Krav Maga as a means to protect the Jewish community in Slovakia from the threats posed by the anti-semitic groups growing in popularity in the region before World War II.
Having transferred his skills and training to other young men, the group was able to divert and neutralize several violent attempts of attacks in the area.
This practice eventually developed into a simple and easy-to-understand system of self-defense that could be taught quickly and effectively and stood strong in combat situations.
It was in 1973 that Litchenfield started his own non-profit foundation, the Krav Maga Association, which led to the art and system’s rising civilian popularity.
Even though the system aligns itself with those otherwise identified as martial arts, Krav Maga has several different principles that influence the training style and usage.
The first aim, and at the core of the self-defense system, lies in the principle of neutralizing the threat.
The intention of escalating a fight — whether for violence, pleasure, or entertainment — cannot be advocated for within this system. The aim is to avoid injury and harm to your body by any means possible. Because Krav Maga is not a sport, it has little to no rules of what is and isn’t acceptable in a fight.
Without the guidelines, rules, and laws applied to fouls and moves, the Krav Maga system acts just as it is, and not as a competitive sport.
It focuses only on three key and simple moves based on strikes, holds, and blocks, and encourages use based on instinct rather than a predetermined method of teaching. The intention is to neutralize the threat as soon as possible and to keep yourself safe.
Most martial arts view defense and offense as separate actions and strategies, but not Krav Maga. This system requires a combination of steady defensive and offensive attacks to neutralize any violence faster and more efficiently.
The self-defense system focuses heavily on identifying and attacking the opponent’s vulnerable body points, usually located in the pressure points as well as the soft tissue.
Striking these points accurately can leave the attacker incapable of effective attack and movement. Krav Maga emphasizes that there is no etiquette or gentleness when it comes to a threat against your life — and moves that attack the groin, eyes, and throat are all acceptable in this system.
Since the key use of the system is self-defense and survival, it is key that all practitioners are quick on their feet and resourceful enough to view the objects around them as weapons or safety devices. This can range from guns and other weapons to keys, sticks, wires, and any other household item.
The primary ethics of the system disallow the use of violence and moves learned for anything apart from self-defense, so the followers of true Krav Maga are not dangerous and aim to diffuse the tension in a potentially violent situation.
Apart from being an incredibly accessible defense system for those with no prior martial arts experience, the Krav Maga system can provide many benefits to those who practice it.
With the entire body being used for strength and protection, the self-defense techniques taught can be counted as a warm-up, workout, and cool down, with a splash of cardio and strength training too! The power drills can be intense and amped up as needed.
The world can often be an unsafe place regardless of who you are and what you do, and with self-defense training and skills in your toolkit, you may be able to feel more confident and safe in your abilities to protect yourself and those you love.
The techniques of Krav Maga training emphasize the need to utilize the things around you — including your body — to the best of your abilities to de-escalate any violent situation. This training can make you far more critically aware of your surroundings as well as how you perceive opportunities and objects. Krav Maga can teach you how to read situations and act fast, ultimately helping you to develop deeper self-awareness.
There are plenty of books and trainers that exist to get you to the next level of your Krav Maga journey, but motivation and getting started can sometimes be overwhelming. Here are some tips for getting started:
Read and watch!
Catching up on the history and origin of the art as well as its core philosophies can be key in helping you understand whether Krav Maga is a good fit for you and your needs. This can also help you to gain a fair idea of the kind of techniques that govern the movement for this type of self-defense.
Sign up for classes
One great way to avoid learning things incorrectly — therefore minimize the risk of injury — is to seek out a trained professional. Whether this is via a group class, one-on-one, or even virtually, the right training can help you to effectively build your strength, form, and agility.
Before training and attacking an attacker, it can be useful to identify the possible vulnerable spots that exist on the human body.
These usually include the eyes, nose, ears, jaw, throat, groin, knees, and ankles. They are typically identified as weak spots because they cannot be strengthened or trained to be stronger no matter how strong and well-built your attacker is. Read on to know some of the easiest moves to learn.
While being under attack can be overwhelming, Krav Maga teaches you to be quick on your feet and spot vulnerabilities.
Most of the time, the most accessible spot is the groin. Facing your attacker, use your dominant leg behind you, and kick it forward and upwards close enough to make an impact. Aim to make contact with your shin, not your foot; the larger surface area it provides gives a higher chance of impact.
Defend - Outside Strike
Often, an attacker will approach you from the front.
When this happens, it is far better to be ready with a defense position. Getting hit in the arm is often far better in the long run for movement than getting hit in the face, so aim to protect your face and eyes. Deflect the attacker's incoming arm with your forearm and elbow to hinder their access to your upper body. Simultaneously, pack a punch into their throat or jaw to destabilize them.
Escape a backwards hug
If your attacker approaches you from behind, their intention is most likely to stop your mouth from screaming and locking your arms by squeezing your torso tight.
Your best move to escape this hold is to quickly duck and squat while the attacker is not expecting it. This changes the balance of the attacker and you, making it near impossible for their plan to go accordingly. Pack a punch into the groin or eyes, throw an elbow into the jaw or stomach, and run.
Escape a choke hold
Any situation in which your oxygen might be cut off is one in which you must think and act fast.
If you find yourself in a choke hold, quickly raise your arms and bring your biceps to your ears. Turn your body swiftly by pivoting on one foot aggressively and put as much body weight as possible onto the attacker’s wrists by leaning your upper body lower. Once out of the choke hold, attack the vulnerable spots available and move away from the location of the assault.
Krav Maga is a unique self-defense system that can not only improve your physical wellbeing and mental self-awareness but could even save your life.
To get started on your Krav Maga journey, or to find out more about martial arts and their benefits, check out Wodify today.