Krav Maga stands for contact combat and is the official self-defense system of the Israeli Defense Force. Many law enforcement agencies around the country also use it. It’s a system based on the reality that was developed to be effectively used on the streets by using simple and instinctive movements that could be easily learned and remembered, especially under tough stressful situations.
Krav Maga has basic principles, and these are threat neutralization, simultaneous offensive and defensive maneuvers, and finally aggression. To put in simple words: recognize the threat/danger at its earliest stage, don’t hesitate to react and with a seamless explosion of violence, and eliminate the threat as quickly as possible through a series of combative to the vulnerable parts of your attacker’s body. Krav Maga basically turns you into a walking human weapon.
The objective of Krav Maga is to survive using any means necessary and to become a master of controlled violence and chaos.
Krav Maga proposes a reality-based self-defense system, and multiple different boot camps and fitness programs that teach students how to defend themselves, using the techniques, principles and combatives of krav maga.
Its training system gives students an effective and effective way to recognize danger. Students of Krav Maga develop the necessary physical abilities to defend themselves, while also gaining an increased mental strength, self-confidence, and the necessary mindset to survive a violent attack.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 Origins of Krav Maga
- 2 How effective is Krav Maga in a real fight
- 3 How effective is Krav Maga for Street Fighting or Self Defense?
- 4 How does Krav Maga work for self defense?
- 5 How Long Would It Take To Master Krav Maga?
- 6 Fundamentals and Techniques of Krav Maga
- 7 Win the Mental Game
- 8 You will train like your life depends on it
Origins of Krav Maga
Kapap and Krav Maga are both the most well-known Israeli fighting systems. Millions are captivated by its techniques. In this article, we’ll discuss the many misconceptions about Israeli Martial Arts, as well as their origins.
We’ll take a look at the historical events that unfolded, as accurately as possible and recognize the multiple development stages that Israeli fighting systems have gone through, as well as attribute specific innovations, adjustments and changes to those responsible for the process.
Kapap is the precursor of Krav Maga. Originally, Krav Maga was just a new version of Kapap. Krav Maga has sprouted a large variety of civilian versions but you can still recognize the origins of Krav Maga as reflected in historical Kapap.
On the other hand, modern Kapap can still be recognized as remaining true to Kapap’s approach and philosophy but not based on its physical attributes.
When we take our time to reexamine and truly evaluate what is considered the story of Krav Maga and Israeli Martial Arts, we’re also able to recognize the contributions of valuable figures such as Imi Lichtenfeld, who was an important part in the development of Israeli Martial Arts.
Taken history into account, we’re able to see Imi for who he was, a central figure in the transition between Kapap and Krav Maga. The originator and founder of what we know as civilian Krav Maga.
How effective is Krav Maga in a real fight
Even those who aren’t really into martial arts at all have, at one time, consider attending some type of fight class in order to learn how to defend themselves. Krav Maga is a great system for most since it’s designed specifically for self-defense. However, is a self-defense aimed system really effective in a fight when compared to proper martial arts training?
Krav Maga is very effective since it’s a potent fighting style, it’s specifically designed to neutralize opponents in a real street fight. First by being able to avoid the threat and then through physical protection.
However, if a Krav Maga student came face to face with a well-trained martial arts student in the ring, they would probably fall short. Krav Maga really shines outside the ring, where they will encounter more variables that are in play and the fighting objectives are very different.
Also read my post on the effectiveness of Krav Maga.
How effective is Krav Maga for Street Fighting or Self Defense?
If you’re looking to have better chances on the streets then Krav Maga is most likely the best way for you to learn self-defense right now. You will learn to fight just like you would in a typical martial arts class, but you also learn to fight for different reasons and to approach the fight with a different outlook.
In martial arts, your training will usually be directed to fighting each other for as long as you can. There are usually no weapons and they have a very strict set of rules in order to keep injuries from getting out of hand.
In Krav Maga, one of the first aspects you will be taught is how to avoid a fight whenever possible. Your goal will be to subdue your attacker as soon as you can. You’ll also learn how to fight multiple attackers at once, how to disarm someone and how to arm yourself.
In street fights, there are no rules so the person who’s able to inflict more damage in the least amount of time will win. That is the mindset that Krav Maga will train you for.
How does Krav Maga work for self defense?
In our opinion, Krav Maga is the art you’ll want to get into if you’re looking to work on self-defense. You won’t need to adapt techniques in order to learn to defend yourself in dangerous situations since that’s already been done for you. Krav Maga encompasses a large variety of martial arts movies that are both useful and practical for self-defense and that are relatively simple to execute.
It’s also important to note that Krav Maga isn’t all about fighting. There’s a strong emphasis on being aware of your surroundings and learnings to identify and whenever possible, avoid a potentially dangerous situation. You will also learn techniques to de-escalate complicated situations without getting into an actual fight and how to recognize when you will need to use
How Long Would It Take To Master Krav Maga?
Almost everyone has this question cross their mind when they start to look into Krav maga.
Krav Maga is actually designed to be quicker to pick up than other martial arts, but this still means it’ll take years of regular and consistent training in order to become proficient. However, how long it actually takes you will depend on your fitness level and background. It’s obviously going to be much easier for someone who is in good shape and/or has previous martial arts training.
Krav Maga has a total of sixteen levels that are split into three categories.
The first category is Practitioner. It ranges from levels 1 to 6 and this is where you learn the basics of self-defense, as well as focus on improving the techniques. This category takes one to two years in order to move through all the levels.
The second category is Graduate. It ranges from levels 1 to 5 and this is where you learn how to handle more complicated situations. This category takes approximately two years to complete and move through all give levels of graduate training.
The third and final category is Expert. It ranges from levels 1 to 5 and this is by invitation only, when it is felt that a graduate displays exceptional skill and dedication to this discipline. Traditionally, this only happens after about nine to ten years of training and invitations to advance to the next four levels are only offered after five years at each level.
The “Master” level exists after Expert, but even now it’s only reserved for the original disciples that followed Imi Lichtenberg who have spent most of their lives dedicated to Krav Maga.
So if by “master” you’re referring to being able to understand most of the main principles and techniques in order to use them well, then you’re looking at about two to three years of regular training, at a minimum. If, on the other hand, you’re being literal about mastering Krav Maga, then you’ll need to train every day for the remainder of your life, and preferably in Israel, under guidance of one of the current masters.
Fundamentals and Techniques of Krav Maga
Situation analysis is one of the main fundamentals. Krav Maga basically aims to teach you how to stay safe under dangerous situations. The first step is learning to be aware of your surroundings, recognize threats around you and how to evade them whenever possible.
The actual fight background and fighting techniques taught in Krav Maga are taken from a large array of martial arts. This system was developed by Imi Lichtenfeld, as we mentioned previously. Lichtenfeld had organized a small group of boxers and wrestlers to defend Jewish neighborhoods against anti-Semitic violence back in the 1930s in Czechoslovakia.
He was already an accomplished wrestler and boxer, but his experience on the streets led him to realize that the controlled techniques used in martial arts needed to be adapted to the fast-paced aggression of street fighting in order to be effective in real life situations.
So he developed a system that focused on physical aggression while using the simplest and most effective moves from his fight training in order to respond in a quick and effective manner to any attack.
As the Nazi movement gained momentum, Lichtenfeld moved to Israel and started to teach Krav Maga in the Israeli Defense Force. He added more techniques to the system over time, and eventually adapted the system so it could also be taught to civilians.
The fight techniques that you learn in Krav Maga are fight combinations taken from martial arts such as Aikido, Judo, and Jiu-Jitsu. You’ll also learn a good fighting stance, different attack types, different defense types, throws, and grappling.
A good technique is definitely invaluable but it’s nothing without experience. That’s why a key aspect of Krav Maga training is sparring with a partner. This means that you need good protective gear to use what you have learned without inflicting serious damage. Most importantly, you’ll become used to the stress of high-tensions fight situations.
Krav Maga features techniques that are brutally physical since strikes, holds and throws are all meant to maximize the damage inflicted. Krav Maga learners don’t train for a sport or for points, they literally train for fights.
Unlike other training systems, there are no off-limit targets. So you can strike to the neck, eyes, and groin without problems. It’s actually encouraged since hits to these areas cause injuries and pain that make the fight end faster.
The physical training that you endure in Krav Maga is focused on preparing your body for combat and this extends beyond being able to deliver damage to mitigating and redirecting your assailant’s force. If done properly, Krav Maga attacks are designed to keep your attacker from
delivering meaningful damage.
Throughout the training, you will spar and practice with instructors and also with other students. This will give you experience fighting against real breathing opponents rather than imaginary ones. As you exchange blows, your muscles, joints, and bones will all develop greater endurance.
Your tendons and ligaments will become stronger as a response to the repeated holds and impacts. All throughout, your body will learn to better handle the rigors of a real fight using Krav Maga.
Also, most fights aren’t won by technique but actually by resilience. Krav Maga is a great way to develop and build that resilience. Stretching will prevent injuries at the gym and will also help train your muscles to be long and pliable.
As your heart starts pumping and your breathing rate increases during practice, you will acquire more stamina and better cardiovascular capacity. This will allow you to fight harder and longer, when necessary.
Win the Mental Game
You will develop situational awareness since the best and simplest way to survive an attack is to not be attacked. Krav Maga is a great way to teach your mind to identify potential dangerous situations before they happen.
By better understanding the tactical layout of your surroundings and better analyzing the potential threats, you’ll be able to avoid them more easily. On the other hand, if they can’t be avoided, you’ll be aware of them and ready to act in order to end the threat.
Krav Maga also prepares you for real fights since it has the same rules and instructions that you will encounter on the streets. There are no forbidden zones and no holds are barred. If a real fight happens you won’t hesitate to hit an “illegal target” because those don’t exist in Krav Maga.
Krav Maga also has the ability to adapt. It’s created from many effective techniques from various disciplines. This will help eliminate the confusion of dealing with unfamiliar styles since during your training you will be attacked using techniques from all around the world and not in a specific given pattern.
Rather than being trapped in a specific routine, style or kata during your training, you’ll be able to identify and respond to attacks as they are delivered, and you’ll have the freedom to react accordingly.
In a real-life fight, where your attackers might have different combat styles or different skill levels, being able to adapt is invaluable. You won’t feel trapped to a single style, trying to figure out the best move to respond with and will simply go for it.
You will train like your life depends on it
You have no guarantees when an attack occurs. However, you can increase your survival chances by making sure that your training is effective. Krav Maga is great since it’s designed for real fights with real assailants.
Whether you have experience with other martial arts or not, within as little as three months of training in Krav Maga, you’ll start to feel that you’re more capable of defending yourself thanks to it. Many have practiced various martial arts before trying out Krav Maga and the difference is incredible.
You might already know the moves since Krav Maga uses moves from multiple martial arts. But the Krav Maga mentality is the hardest to dominate for most since other martial arts train you under a specific set of rules that prohibit you from striking certain areas. And suddenly, Krav Maga actually encourages you to hit those areas. The change can be tough for some people.
You just need to remember that you’ll need to keep training so your old habits can start dying down. Krav Maga focuses 100% on instilling a life or death mentality in your mind so you will need to train hard and in a disciplined way in order to be able to identify life-threatening situations and to be able to act on those situations as quickly and effectively as possible.
That is the goal you’ll be striving for and it might take several years before you’re able to “master” the moves, mentality, techniques and the necessary physique to be able to properly handle yourself in any situation regardless the amount of pressure you’re under. Just remember that “the journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step”.
When you’re ready to start classes to learn how to better defend yourself and your loved ones from real-life threats, feel free to stop by a Krav Maga Worldwide location near you.