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Is Krav Maga Suitable for Police Work | these 4 countries say yes

Cops, as a consequence of the profession that they chose, are often burdened to deal with violence, although not all the time, of course.

Criminals and citizens who break the law – whether willingly or are forced to do it due to their unfortunate circumstances – could pop up anywhere unnoticed and take police officers by surprise.

When they do, the police needs to be prepared to take them down with as little force as necessary or as needed depending on the situation and, especially, on how they handle the situation.

In this post, I’ll explore the use of Krav Maga for the police force, as several countries already have their police men and women train in this form of self-defense.

krav maga law enforcement

Although police officers are tasked to do whatever is necessary within the rule of law to use the maximum amount of force needed to enforce the law and subdue the bad people (even the lethality of a hand gun or an urban assault weapon), it is legally and morally unjust to just shoot and kill a citizen without justification.

Moreover, if there was an opportunity for them to use minimal amount of force that doesn’t require the use of firearms that could have subdued the criminal, but they failed to follow that option, then that is even worse as it is a dishonorable thing to do.

The Use of Martial Arts as an Alternative to Firearms in Order to Serve and Protect

There are dozens and dozens of martial arts techniques and fighting styles available anywhere which is suitable for law enforcement and the police can benefit a lot from it as long as they receive proper training.

There have been countless situations where the use of martial arts not only pacified criminals and saved the lives of the victims, but also saved the lives of the very criminals that cops have successfully taken down themselves.

Even more important is that it saved the lives of the police officers also. Cops are irreplaceable considering their experience serving the community where they are assigned to, so losing them is also a big loss to the community.

Here are some examples of YouTube videos about cops using martial arts skills to subdue the suspects and saved many lives as a direct result of it.

A Tulsa, Oklahoma cop used Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to take down a suspect even as he reached for his gun:

A Chinese police officer takes down a man holding a knife and has a hostage by using Judo grab and throw technique:

From what you’ve witnessed it is clear that using martial arts is critical for police work and, in some cases, some situations will prevent the police to use his firearm in order to subdue the criminal as the collateral damage would be too risky.

Therefore a martial arts technique for close combat battle (CQB) is needed to effectively take down the suspect and save civilian lives directly affected by the confrontation.

Krav Maga vs. Other Martial Arts: How Do They Measure Up in Terms of Effectiveness and Efficiency?

Before Krav Maga became a world wide phenomenon law enforcement agencies would train in Aikido, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Filipino Martial Arts (FMA i.e. arnis/eskrima/kali), Karate, Judo and other fighting techniques that’s useful in street fights and urban settings.

However, these fighting styles is at a disadvantage compared to Krav Maga for one reason only – they teach spirituality and kindness to all whereas Krav Maga emphasizes on self-preservation by all means necessary.

This is the crucial philosophy that will make a cop trained in Krav Maga outsmart and overpower crooks on the streets or in urban neighborhoods.

Criminals tend to use urban areas to run and hide from the police, while in the streets they’ll either attack the cops or surrender.

Real fight scenarios are completely different from sparrings in the dojo, no, the criminal will NOT give you a chance to subdue him and if you’re not careful, you could end up in a hospital or the morgue.

Let us look at how these 5 martial arts techniques fare in real fight situations:

FMA (Filipino Martial Arts)

Filipino martial arts derived from their ancient indegenous Indianized fighting methods of multiple Philippine island folks and has been further developed by incorporating newer techniques that made FMA a very useful skill in armed and unarmed combat.

FMA is a core martial arts teaching in the Indian Army Special Forces, Russian Special Forces (Spetsnaz), Indian Navy Seals (MARCOS) and Commandos, Central Armed Police Forces of India, and the U.S. Army’s Modern Army Combatives Program besides the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police).

Filipino martial arts (FMA) are also considered as the most advanced practical modern blade system in the world.

FMA is also good versus multiple attackers which is a key aspect in police training as they will face multiple threats in the line of duty and they have to be prepared for it.

Even Krav Maga employs some of the basic moves of FMA and as an example of the efficiency of FMA is that they teach you that sticks (or any object that could be used as a weapon) are an extension of the hands.

It is therefore important to realize that fact in order to fight in any combat situation that you and the weapon are one. However, this YouTuber who is a US Army veteran says that FMA has some flaws when it comes to real fights.

Take a look at his video below as he explains it and how to get around this disadvantage.

Some disadvantages FMA has and how to adjust your moves in a real knife fight:

Note: the US Army vet is probably skilled in Krav Maga and other martial arts techniques.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The practicality of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu cannot be denied. In almost any situation you and your opponent will eventually get down and dirty with your backs on the ground and that’s where BJJ is most useful.

BJJ allows a smaller, weaker person to successfully defend themselves or another against a bigger, stronger and heavier assailant with the use of proper techniques, leverage, and then applying joint locks and chokeholds to defeat the opponent.

Unfortunately, BJJ is not suited for multiple attackers which is why law enforcement agencies train their police officers with FMA and/or other martial arts besides BJJ to compensate for its disadvantages in the streets.


Speaking of multiple attackers Aikido is the one of the best forms of martial arts to deal with such threats. But some people don’t think that Aikido is practical and even new generation Aikido masters who had a dojo (they closed it down because they want to try other martial arts) have abandoned their training and schools. If you look at this video below, you might have second thoughts about not taking Aikido seriously:

An Aikido master and Japanese Jujitsu master spar in the dojo, but with hyper reflexes in performing their styles, which if applied in a real street fight would really hurt.

As you can see Aikido is good for law enforcement and I could go as far as to say that Jujitsu as well, because the other master was as mean as the Aikido master in delivering his punches, counter attacks, grabs and throws.

It may be best to not assume that Aikido is not effective for police training as even Krav Maga (which most law enforcement agencies prefer nowadays) had its roots in Aikido too!


Karete is also a fundamental move in Krav Maga and like other martial arts mentioned here, it is also good for law enforcement.

In mixed martial arts, unless the fight isn’t on the ground yet most MMA fighters knowingly or unknowingly use karate for attack and defense.

However, beating an opponent by knocking him down or out from an upright position is difficult and time consuming, which is why they employ Brazilian Jiu Jitsu locks and chokeholds to make the opponent submit.

The same is true in street fights and cops either face one or more criminals, unarmed and sometimes armed, and they’ll either take them out from the onset or chase them down in case they’ll run.

Here is a video showing how shotokan karateka can defend against multiple attackers:

This demonstration is slowly done for the benefit of the camera. I think that they’re shooting it for a DVD martial arts demo class or a documentary.

In a real fight situation the moves are performed a lot faster so that the defender could take down the 3 (or more) attackers simultaneously.

In all attack scenarios you can see that the karateka always puts his opponents to the ground and giving them a final blow which could knock them out or even kill them depending on how powerful the attack was delivered.

Jeet Kune Do

If you’ve seen Bruce Lee’s fighting styles in the movies, then you know that his Jeet Kune Do signature martial arts technique is as lethal as can be.

Bruce Lee may have been the first mixed martial artist and is familiar with at least half a dozen martial arts techniques including karate, jiu jitsu, judo, wing chun, FMA (filipino martial arts), western boxing, fencing and tae kwon do.

Bruce lee incorporated the most useful moves into the martial arts he developed known as Jeet Kune Do.

Footwork, body angles, circling, maneuvering, counters, attacks, withdrawing, speed, power,energy, proper stances, proper ethics and morals are all a part of the JKD format.

But the one thing that makes JKD stand out from other martial arts is that JKD is a form of Chinese Kung Fu, yet without form, it has no fixed or patterns, and is a philosophy with guiding thoughts or a philosophy-based martial arts.

Bruce Lee recommends that each of his students or the future students of JKD evolve and develop their own fighting technique and he’s even okay with the idea of any one of his students surpassing him in the arts.

Indeed JKD is not just a form of self-defense, but is a very effective one nonetheless! One could say that JKD is as lethal as Krav Maga in executing the basic techniques of it.

Here’s a video showing a Jeet Kune Do master fighting multiple attackers at once:

The Takeaway

If you look at this website Krav Maga Global, then you’ll see that there are a lot of law enforcement agencies who train under them and for a good reason too!

It’s because as a cop and multi-disciplined martial arts expert and coach, Freddy Camacho, puts it,

“the thing we do the most – hands on in a use of force situation – is the thing we train the least.”

Krav Maga addresses all sorts of on-the-spot surprise street violence issues and as such is the best martial arts technique to deal with such issues.

There is no doubt that any one of these martial arts mentioned above has the capacity to pacify violent law breakers and criminals that the police have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

In fact, most law enforcement agencies and individual police officers train with more than just one martial arts technique; however, Krav Maga stands out among the rest, which is why it is a key martial arts that law enforcement agencies train with most of the time.

Bonus Info

Did you know that these actors trained with Krav Maga schools in order to prepare for their film roles?

Let’s see who are the A-list Hollywood actors that’s in this list:

  1. Daniel Craig
  2. Tom Cruise
  3. Jason Statham
  4. Leonardo DiCaprio
  5. Ashton Kutcher
  6. Maria Menounos
  7. Hilary Swank
  8. John Mayer
  9. Jessica Alba
  10. Liam Neeson
  11. Jennifer Lopez
  12. Brad Pitt
  13. Angelina Jolie
  14. Brendan Fraser
  15. Kristianna Loken
  16. Lucy Liu
  17. Jennifer Garner
  18. Dennis Haysbert
  19. Carlos Bernard
  20. Geena Davis
  21. Christian Slater
  22. Michelle Ryan
  23. James Gandolfini
  24. Shannon Elizabeth
  25. Britney Spears
  26. Cam Gigandet
  27. Matt Damon
  28. Elisabetta Canalis