The Krav Maga System

Krav Maga has a worldwide reputation as being an ideal means of defending one’s life or the life of a third party, whether the threat involves unarmed assailants, armed assailants, or multiple assailants. The Krav Maga system has received exceptional international recognition as the leading modern-day innovative and highly practical self-defense system ideally suited for three distinct entities: law enforcement, military, and civilians.

Krav Maga is a no-nonsense, no-frills system that is designed to instill a fighting spirit and aggressive mindset in its students. Techniques, in a vacuum, are useless. Without developing aggressiveness or fighting spirit, the techniques will not matter because under duress the defender will be unable to react in a timely or effective manner. The student/defender must train in a way that will promote and enhance decisive action under extreme stress and/or fatigue.

While Krav Maga recognizes that self-defense is not punishment and that the ultimate goal is to go home safely, the tenets dictate that the best way to achieve that goal is to react aggressively and decisively. For women, this is even more important, since women generally have less muscle mass to cushion or absorb blows and are not as accustomed to the type of hard contact that comes with a violent encounter.

Perhaps the most important characteristics of the system are:

Practical Techniques

The main emphasis of the Krav Maga system is on effectiveness, simplicity, and sound, logical problem solving. This is a street-fighting system that provides realistic defenses against a variety of aggressive attacks, whether the assailant is armed or unarmed, and whether the attack is directed at you or a third party. The system is well integrated, which means techniques and principles that are taught will be applicable in more than one situation, allowing students to learn select principles dealing with reaction time, defense, and counterattacks that will apply to a multitude of different attacks.

Don’t Get Hurt

While this may seem obvious, the intent is far-reaching. This principle dictates that great lengths should be taken to avoid conflict if at all possible. Often, an improved understanding of the dynamics of violence and violent people will heighten awareness and avoidance. This “hypervigilance” may be even more important for women, since avoiding a violent encounter is the best way to ensure “success.” However, if avoidance is not possible, it’s imperative that the defender be aggressive in order to eliminate the threat as quickly as possible, thus diminishing the chances for injury.

Efficient Training Period

Students attain a high level of proficiency in a relatively short period of instruction. Krav Maga training today has been further refined to meet the needs of citizens and law-enforcement personnel tasked with other priorities, missions, endeavors, and responsibilities in daily life. ETKM’s training methodology is specifically designed to build a warrior using uniquely minimal training time. The system also allows students to achieve life-saving skills in a relatively short period of time.

Training from Positions of Disadvantage

Life, by its very nature, makes even the most vigilant trainee prone to distraction. Whether it’s a mental lapse, complacency, or, worse, apathy, lapses are natural. Krav Maga training takes such realities into consideration and forces students to train from a poor state of readiness. Understanding that it’s highly probable that a defender will be forced to take action when unprepared, training is typically conducted from a neutral position. This position forces the student to perform techniques without regard to proper footwork, hand positioning, balance, weight distribution, etc. In order for training to be the most effective for reality, the techniques and tactics must not rely on being prepared.

Retention of Training

The Krav Maga system is based on common principles and natural, instinctive reactions to danger. This means Krav Maga techniques can be retained with minimal review and practice.

Performing Techniques Under Stress and Other Conditions That Replicate Reality

Unique training methods are a key ingredient to the Krav Maga system and are specifically designed to replicate the realities that exist in a life-threatening encounter. The training is designed to improve one’s emotional and physical response to danger and is used to develop the ability to recognize danger at its earliest stages, to go from absolutely no, or a low, state of readiness to a state of action without hesitation, to develop a warrior’s mindset, to engage and overcome an adversary, and to escalate and de-escalate using appropriate levels of force.

Addressing Immediate Dangers First

Without addressing the true problem, no “technique” can be successful. Krav Maga stresses that the most imminent danger must be taken care of first, and that it should be done in the most efficient fashion. In the moment an attack happens, this approach is all that matters and not only serves to address the immediate danger, but, if done effectively, subsequent dangers.

Using What Your Body Does Naturally

Other styles or systems may teach techniques that some may deem “better” under given circumstances, most often these techniques work against the body’s natural reactions and require extensive time in training. Techniques such as these are less likely to work under the stress of a violent encounter. Many of these techniques also require the defender to be as strong if not stronger than the attacker. Since weight classes aren’t part of sexual assaults, this approach is definitely not ideal for giving women the best chance of success.

Krav Maga techniques are gross motor by design. In other words, the techniques use big movements driven by the whole body, instead of relying on fine motor skills, which fail under stress. When possible, the techniques also draw heavily from what the body would most likely do naturally. This approach increases the likelihood of performing a technique successfully during the stress of a real-life violent encounter. It also lessens the amount of training time needed in order to be effective. For the average woman, and that is the focus, many hours per week “on the mat” is not practical.

Hitting Back Early and Often A strong counterattack is vital to any realistic defense. A strong and aggressive counter is designed to disrupt the ongoing attack. It forces the attacker to react to the defender, as opposed to continuing or adjusting the attack. The sooner this attack is delivered, the quicker the defender is able to shift, at least emotionally, from “victim” to “victor.” Remember, most criminals are looking for an easy target, not someone who fights back fiercely. Therefore, an aggressive and immediate counterattack will also serve to surprise the attacker, creating openings for further counters and escape. Defensive actions alone do not “win” an altercation. You must be trained and psychologically prepared to inflict damage on your attacker.

While violent attacks rarely occur in a controlled environment, it’s more likely the case that women will be sexually assaulted in their homes, vehicles, and other places they regularly frequent. This may provide a strategic advantage for the defender, who can use her familiarity with the “lay of the land” to her advantage. It’s still important to evaluate every environment to determine the common objects present to use to defend or attack, routes of escape, and other actions to ensure your survival.

Attacking Targets That Are Most Vulnerable

Krav Maga emphasizes attacking vulnerable areas, such as the eyes, jaw, throat, liver, kidneys, groin, fingers, knees, shins, and insteps. Strikes to these areas allow defenders to do maximum damage with minimal effort and strength.
 
Using the Environment to Your Advantage...or at Least Recognizing When It’s Not

While many violent attacks don’t occur in a controlled environment, it’s more likely the case in many sexual assaults that women are attacked in their homes. While this may provide a strategic advantage for the defender, who knows the “lay of the land,” it’s still important to evaluate the area in order to choose the proper action. As an example, if defending in a heavily furnished living room, upper body strikes may be preferred over kicks.

Krav Maga training emphasizes the use of common objects found on the scene, either offensively (e.g., blunt object for striking) or defensively (e.g., chair as a shield), in order to increase the chances of surviving an attack. This is extremely important since fights are rarely “fair.” Since women are more likely to face an attacker who is larger and stronger, they’re at a greater disadvantage from the very onset of the attack. Using objects found in the environment gives the defender the opportunity to end the encounter more quickly than otherwise possible or feasible.

Knowing That Quitting Isn’t an Option

Proper Krav Maga training will go to great lengths, through specially designed drills, to develop a fighting spirit in each practitioner. In times of potential danger, many factors can affect the outcome of the altercation, and the attacker controls most of them, at least initially. That said, the fighting spirit developed through Krav Maga training may very well be the one factor under the defender’s control. Therefore, it must be nurtured and cultivated to become pervasive.
 
Krav Maga drills physically empower and, consequently, emotionally empower students. The systematic process of training under new and varied stressors serves to strengthen the skill set needed to perform in times of actual duress.

The essence of Krav Maga, and what will save the defender, is the willingness to do whatever it takes to survive. The philosophy that a “never say die” attitude can be strengthened through training is the linchpin that allows Krav Maga students to adapt under the most stressful situations and emerge successfully from violent confrontations, regardless of the dynamic.
 
Getting Away

A “win” is not recognized by way of a hand being raised or a belt being worn. The goal is to go home safely—period. Krav Maga training stresses that it’s critically important to defend aggressively to ensure that the threat is eliminated, but it’s simultaneously important to avoid remaining in harm’s way longer than is necessary. As time elapses, variables (introduction of weapons, additional attackers, fatigue, injury, etc.) increase. Therefore, the defender should look to leave the scene as soon as safely possible.

Use of Force Issues

ETKM training enables people to defend themselves and deal with the most violent armed assailants, while remaining acutely aware of reasonable use of force and civil liabilities that arise during a violent encounter.

Krav Maga emphasizes attacking vulnerable areas, such as the eyes, jaw, throat, liver, kidneys, groin, fingers, knees, shins, and insteps. Strikes to these areas allow defenders to do maximum damage with minimal effort and strength.

While many violent attacks don’t occur in a controlled environment, it’s more likely the case in many sexual assaults that women are attacked in their homes. While this may provide a strategic advantage for the defender, who knows the “lay of the land,” it’s still important to evaluate the area in order to choose the proper action. As an example, if defending in a heavily furnished living room, upper body strikes may be preferred over kicks.

Krav Maga training emphasizes the use of common objects found on the scene, either offensively (e.g., blunt object for striking) or defensively (e.g., chair as a shield), in order to increase the chances of surviving an attack. This is extremely important since fights are rarely “fair.” Since women are more likely to face an attacker who is larger and stronger, they’re at a greater disadvantage from the very onset of the attack. Using objects found in the environment gives the defender the opportunity to end the encounter more quickly than otherwise possible or feasible.

Knowing That Quitting Isn’t an Option

Proper Krav Maga training will go to great lengths, through specially designed drills, to develop a fighting spirit in each practitioner. In times of potential danger, many factors can affect the outcome of the altercation, and the attacker controls most of them, at least initially. That said, the fighting spirit developed through Krav Maga training may very well be the one factor under the defender’s control. Therefore, it must be nurtured and cultivated to become pervasive.

Krav Maga drills physically empower and, consequently, emotionally empower students. The systematic process of training under new and varied stressors serves to strengthen the skill set needed to perform in times of actual duress.

The essence of Krav Maga, and what will save the defender, is the willingness to do whatever it takes to survive. The philosophy that a “never say die” attitude can be strengthened through training is the linchpin that allows Krav Maga students to adapt under the most stressful situations and emerge successfully from violent confrontations, regardless of the dynamic.

Getting Away

A “win” is not recognized by way of a hand being raised or a belt being worn. The goal is to go home safely—period. Krav Maga training stresses that it’s critically important to defend aggressively to ensure that the threat is eliminated, but it’s simultaneously important to avoid remaining in harm’s way longer than is necessary. As time elapses, variables (introduction of weapons, additional attackers, fatigue, injury, etc.) increase. Therefore, the defender should look to leave the scene as soon as safely possible.

Use of Force Issues

ETKM training enables people to defend themselves and deal with the most violent armed assailants, while remaining acutely aware of reasonable use of force and civil liabilities that arise during a violent encounter.