What is Krav Maga?

Krav Maga Compendium from TKM on Vimeo.

Krav Maga is a fast, highly effective, reality-based self-defense and contact combat system. Krav Maga means ‘Contact Combat’.

Krav Maga is extremely easy to learn as its actions are based on the body’s natural defense instincts. Therefore, a practitioner can expect to become proficient very quickly.

The system has been adopted by the Israeli Defence and Security Forces and has been used in some of the most severe combat settings of this century amidst Nazi terrorism, the combat of World War II, and the extremely violent military confrontations of the Middle East.

Krav Maga principles and benefits

The main principle of Krav Maga is simple – SELF-DEFENSE.

Krav Maga can be seen as an essential life skill which is easy to learn, with practitioners becoming very proficient in a short space of time.

Krav Maga is NOT a Martial Art, and has none of the flowing movements that can take years to perfect and master. Instead, the techniques and principles have been developed with the body’s natural reactions with responses to threats and violence at the forefront.

The main principles of Krav Maga are:

  • If diplomacy fails, if FORCED to fight, then…no rules, no limits, no hesitation, no holding back.
  • Avoid getting hit. Techniques will always have an element that minimizes the danger of you being hit, especially in vulnerable areas.
  • Don’t be fancy. The techniques are simple and instinctive.
  • Defend yourself in the quickest, safest and most effective way. Most techniques include both defensive and offensive elements designed to protect you while inflicting maximum possible damage to your opponent to end the conflict quickly.
  • Don’t rely on strength. Techniques are designed to exploit the many “not so obvious” weak points on the human body.
  • Use available objects as defensive weapons. The system is designed to teach you to effectively use improvised and ordinary weapons.

Krav Maga teaches individuals to deal with unpleasant situations that they may find themselves in and provides them with a means to come out from such a situation intact. Krav Maga gives individuals a greater knowledge of how to neutralise a possible attack before anything happens, and how to avoid dangerous situations. 

Fitness and strength are by-products of your training, we do not train to become champions in any one area – rather a very complete and well rounded individual who can walk comfortably and confidently throughout their day [and night…]

What can I expect in a Krav Maga class?

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO A KRAV MAGA CLASS?
All you need is a T shirt, tracksuit bottoms/ training trousers and training shoes/ trainers. Hand protection (wraps or MMA gloves) is recommended.

DO I NEED ANYTHING ELSE?
Yes. For men, groin protection is mandatory. While safety is always our first priority, and accidents are rare, they can happen. Being kicked or punched in the groin is unpleasant whether intentional or not!

Any sports type groin guard will do, but the martial art type is the most suitable (covers the lower part of the groin as well).

Please bring plenty of water and a towel.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL CLASS KRAV MAGA LIKE?
The format of the class may vary depending on the material covered, but typically the format will be as follows:

Opening the class:
The instructor will ask you to form a line in front of him, will welcome you to training and ask you to bow with him saying the word ‘kida’ (Hebrew for “bow”). This is the only formal etiquette in Krav Maga.

15-25min warm up:
This includes some light cardiovascular exercise, some “oiling” of the joints, stretching, and power exercises. Even in the warm up you will be learning Krav Maga, as wherever possible we include KM in everything we do.

Introduction to an individual or a family of techniques:
The instructor will explain the theme of the class and introduce the first of the techniques to be covered. Each technique is demonstrated several times at full speed, several times in slow motion, and several times with a detailed explanation.

You will then have the opportunity to ‘dry drill’ the technique, working on developing gross motor skills. This is followed by a ‘body drill’ with a partner done very slowly at first, gradually building speed at your own pace. The next stage is the ‘summary drill’ which gives you the opportunity to practice the technique in a way that simulates reality as safely as possible.

This process may be repeated several times depending on the number of techniques being covered.

Final exercise:
This will typically be a game or exercise designed to allow you to practice your new skills in a safe, but challenging environment. We call it ‘pressure testing’ and it allows you to identify for yourself areas you may need to develop. It’s also great fun!

Stretching:
Depending on the material covered there may be some stretching at the end of the class to avoid feeling stiff and sore the next day!

Closing the class:
The same as the start, we all line up, face the instructor(s) who will ask us to bow saying ‘kida’ which is followed by a round of applause.

DO I NEED TO BE REALLY FIT?
Definitely NOT. Krav Maga is about realistic self-defence for everyone. A welcome by-product of the training is that your fitness will improve, but this is not the main objective. Everyone is encouraged to train at their own level.

I HAVE NO MARTIAL ARTS BACKGROUND. CAN I STILL DO KRAV MAGA?
Absolutely. In many cases this is actually an advantage, as you don’t have to spend time ‘unlearning’ aspects of other systems that, while excellent for sport fighting purposes, are not really effective for self-defence in realistic situations.

That said, well developed striking skills will stand you in good stead.

WILL I GET HURT?
Your safety is our first priority. The nature of the training naturally implies some risk of injury, but if you listen carefully and follow all instructions, this risk is minimal. Injuries are very, very rare.

WHAT WILL I LEARN?
Subjects you will learn while training include:

  • Prevention, avoidance, escape and evasion.
  • Dealing with throws and falls to all directions and angles.
  • Attacks and counterattacks: Performed at all targets, distances, ranges, heights, angles, directions and in all rhythms. Executed from all positions and postures. Using all sorts of common objects for defensive purposes.
  • Defending all unarmed attacks: Punches, strikes and kicks; Releases from all sorts of grabs and holds.
  • Defending all armed attacks and threats of: Knives and sharp objects; Sticks, bars and other blunt objects; All kinds of firearms.
  • Dealing with the above attacks when: Sent from all possible directions; Performed by single or multiple attackers.
  • Defending in all possible places including: Confined spaces (eg alley, staircase, car) or open areas; On all types of ground or in water.
  • Defending in all possible positions and postures, including: When free or in limited space of movement; While standing, on the move, sitting down, lying down (on the back or side) or facing down.
  • Physical and mental control and disarm.

Krav Maga prepares the trainees to function in all circumstances and scenarios, in all combat and fighting environments, according to their needs, the risks they are facing and job descriptions. The institute of Krav Maga enables and brings technical, tactical, physical and mental growth and improvements.

WHO SHOULD LEARN KRAV MAGA?
The beauty of Krav Maga is that it excludes nobody. We teach students who are both men and women aged from 13-100! Being middle aged is not a good excuse for not training. In fact, it’s the perfect reason TO learn self-defense.

The system is designed to be able to be learned quickly by anyone. We do not kick high – so you do not have to be flexible.

It was originally designed so that any member of the Israeli armed forces, whether they were a chef or a special forces soldier, could be brought up to a similar level in a short period of time.