Israeli Krav-Maga, one of the most effective and recommended methods of self-defense

Updated: Feb 12

In this article, we will look at several important points related to Israeli Krav-Maga, and also ask interesting questions such as: What is Krav-Maga? How is Krav-Maga different from other martial arts? What characterizes Krav-Maga as an effective remedy of self-defense? Is Krav-Maga effective against other martial arts? Is Krav Maga updated over time? Is there a competition in Krav-Maga? Why study Krav-Maga? Why is the Krav-Maga method recommended for children and youth? Why do women study Krav-Maga? What is Tactical Krav-Maga? Why is psychological preparation for action important in tactical Krav-Maga? What do they wear in Krav-Maga? What does the training equipment of the Krav-Maga trainer include? How important is personal protective equipment when practicing Krav-Maga? With what equipment is it recommended to practice Krav-Maga at home? How important is cardiopulmonary endurance in Krav-Maga workouts?


What is Krav Maga?

Krav-Maga is a collection of effective techniques from many existing martial arts. To understand what Krav-Maga is, we will go back to the period when it was created. Even before the creation of the State of Israel, this method was developed by a man named Imi Sde-Or (1910-1998) in the 1930s. He was a boxing champion and expert in hand-to-hand combat. Over the years, he developed his Krav-Maga method and passed on its foundations to Jews who lived in European communities and had to defend themselves against the Nazis. Over time, this method was introduced into the Israel Defense Forces. Jewish fighters had to undergo training in effective combat against a larger and more powerful enemy. There was no time to waste years learning complex fighting techniques. The goal of the Israeli method was to be easy to learn on the one hand and deadly on the other.

How is Krav-Maga different from other martial arts?

While this method is good for self-defense against sudden attacks, it is not effective in Combined Martial Arts arena fights where the principle of sudden disappears. In Krav-Maga, a small number of techniques are taught. These are commonly referred to as targeted attack or defense scenarios. That is, a highly efficient solution is created for each scenario. After that, the same scenario is worked out to perfection. For example, a scenario against a sudden attack: with a knife, a stick, or a threat from close range with a revolver. The method includes all kinds of development of the situation and their lightning-fast solutions. Also, all available items are used as tools for defense and attack, such as keys, bags, mobile phones, and much more; include Muay Thai techniques, punches, and elbows, kicks, and knees... Like Russian Sambo, this method was developed primarily for military and police purposes. Particular emphasis was placed on painful and suffocating techniques for arresting and escorting a suspect. Also, the method uses many different types of locks and deadlocks to paralyze the upper body and subdue the enemy.

What characterizes Krav Maga as an effective remedy of self-defense?

Protection from a knife while delivering a neutralizing blow to the face.
Krav-Maga tactical training, knife protection

In Krav Maga, several general scenarios are created for specific, special events. As a result, Krav Maga for the needs of the army differs from the needs of the Israeli police. That is, the army is trained to attack targets versus the Israeli police, which must defend against attack. In addition, it (the Israeli police) should be more transparent in terms of law and citizens. That is, the question is introduced about the principle of a proportionate reaction, a preliminary diagnosis, a calming and adequate-correct approach in various situations to avoid the use of force as much as possible. Although the basic movements are almost identical in the basic courses taught in the Army and the Israel Police, the scripts used in the advanced courses are completely different. This is exactly what makes Krav-Maga so famous, as it creates customized scenarios for specific cases. Further, the students work them out, to the level of instincts. In fact, this is the secret of the main success of the method. Many repetitions of the same scenarios until they become instinctive.

Is Krav-Maga effective against other martial arts?

Scenarios are effective against stereotyped movements, but less effective when fighting with a Combined Martial Arts (MMA) specialist. If, the (MMA) expert did not lose the battle in the first few seconds, then usually he wins! Thanks to his versatility, years of standing and floor training, control of evasive movements of hands and feet, ability to read the enemy, and the ability to predict future movements. For example, against a Thai boxer, it will be difficult for a Krav-Maga fighter to fight for simple reasons: Thai boxers specialize in powerful and dexterous movements, defense, and throws. Strengthens bones and the ability to withstand strong impacts throughout their lives. In such difficult cases, the narrow training in Krav-Maga loses to situations in mixed battles in the arena. Also, we cannot expect the average person to be in the physical shape of an athlete in arena fights. However, this method is great for defending against street bullies. Usually, the average attacker uses the same structured attacks that are practiced in the Krav-Maga basic courses. In such an arena, in most cases, the instinctive reactions from the Krav Maga world are effective and life-saving.

Is Krav-Maga updated over time?

Israeli Krav Maga is undergoing evolutionary processes and evolving, usually taught in civilian schools of integrated martial arts. As a self-defense course, in parallel with the main specialization. As a result, this field of self-defense is very dynamic, with civil schools constantly trying to improve the method to more difficult situations, creating interesting scenarios from reality. Usually, Krav-Maga successfully combines with other martial arts schools, such as Judo, Thai Boxing, Ninjutsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Karate Kyokushin, Russian Sambo, and other methods that seek full contact during battles, training, and competitions... In fact, these combinations create a set of deadly skills for the trainees. Each method is unique, and pulls Krav-Maga towards its own side of the specialization, enriching and improving it.

Is there a competition in Krav-Maga?

There is usually no competition in Krav-Maga because it is a combat method that is mainly built from a set of realistic scenarios. Also, the scenarios are different for men, women, and children. Whereas, for men, courses are held with a special focus for Security officers and security guards; Doctors and nurses; Teachers, etc. Women's courses are radically different from men's, teaching the vulnerabilities of men, using accessible accessories such as a briefcase, keys, mobile phone, pen... That is, accessories available to every woman in everyday life. In children's sections, school bullying scenarios are taught, that is, a set of common cases of assault at this age. As can be seen, there are no definite rules in Krav-Maga, everything is allowed. For that matter, in Krav-Maga practices neutralizing the enemy by hitting the crotches, fingers in the eyes, blows to the throat, and all this is considered normal because there are no rules, these are street fights! Although, quite a few schools combine Krav-Maga with their styles and host local Combined Martial Arts (MMA) competitions. Also, recently, the army began to hold Krav-Maga competitions among members of special and elite units.

Why study Krav-Maga?

In training, rubber knife attacks are practiced until the reaction turns into a defensive instinct. Usually, at this time our brain stops thinking when such an event occurs, and the real battle ends in a matter of seconds.
Exercise to capture an attacker with a knife

Compared to other martial arts, the basics of Krav-Maga can be learned relatively quickly, and what does that mean? There are intensive courses, ranging from two to six months in duration, which provides an excellent foundation even for people who have never practiced martial arts. Beginners usually start by strengthening the muscles needed for agility, speed, and strength; Improving physical, fitness, and cardiopulmonary endurance. At the same time, appropriate scenarios are taught for suitable groups: women, men, and children. These specialized courses provide a solution for people who are unable or unwilling to make martial arts their way of life but learn the basics so they know how to defend themselves when needed. After such a course, you can continue to specialize, and there is no end to it.

Why is the Krav-Maga method recommended for children and youth?

Usually, successful combinations of Krav-Maga with martial arts schools such as Judo, Thai Boxing, Ninjutsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Kyokushin Karate, Russian Sambo, and other techniques that seek full contact during battles, training, and competition.
After the fight, hugs from friends

Especially for children and youth, when teaching Krav Maga, great attention is paid to the problem of giving self-confidence. They are given the tools to cope with various social situations, such as Bullying in schools; attacks by adults; In the face of violence on social networks, and not only... This method helps children who were depressed in the past to feel more confident in themselves, also learn to avoid unpleasant situations, Assess the situation and, if there is no choice, respond proportionally and effectively...

Why do women study Krav-Maga?

Most of the female target scripts in Krav Maga are aimed at an asymmetric response from women. Because most often the attacker is a man, and usually he is bigger, more powerful, more aggressive, and physically stronger.
The practice of fighting with a man

More and more women in Israel and around the world are learning Krav-Maga for self-defense. This method provides concrete solutions to the real problems of attacks against women that can be seen in the news, on television, in the press, or on the Internet. This method allows women to feel ready and capable of dangerous and unexpected situations in their public and private life. They are trained on an instinctive level, with a targeted attack or defense scenarios, such as attacks of various kinds and with various threatening situations, attempts to rob, or rape. Lots of repetitions in groups strengthen women's ability to defend against future attacks. Influence the emergence of such important functions as Assertiveness, self-esteem, and a sense of control. Causes a decrease in anxiety and fear of possible future attacks. Most of the female target scripts in Krav-Maga are aimed at an asymmetrical response from women. Because most often the attackers are a man, and they are usually larger, more powerful, more aggressive, and physically stronger.

What is Tactical Krav-Maga?

Just so you understand how difficult it is to deal with a person armed with weapons: cold, hot, etc. First of all, the mental aspect, when a person is not mentally prepared for the above-described situation, usually immediately puts into stress and loses to the enemy, without having a chance to escape. The Krav-Maga operational course was designed specifically to protect against armed attackers: with a knife, stick, or firearm. This course, in comparison with the usual Krav Maga course, requires the trainee to have basic knowledge and skills. That is, it is impossible to learn it without basic training, like in “classic Russian Sambo”, which consists as a basic to start training in “combat Russian Sambo”. In targeted scenarios, Krav-Maga is provided with concrete solutions from a compilation of real-world problems and attacks that we hear in the news around the world. Closest to reality, this is one of the reasons why this direction has become so famous all over the world. It is practiced in the armies of the United States, Russia, and many other countries around the world.

Why is psychological preparation for action important in tactical Krav-Maga?

It is necessary to prepare the trainee, first of all, for the psychological aspect, for stress resistance in cases of attack with the use of weapons. To do this, many exercises and repetitions are performed using rubber equipment simulating various and very common attacks, until the reaction turns into a defensive instinct. Usually, our brains stop thinking when such an event occurs, and the real battle ends in a matter of seconds. Trainees go through many repetitions to prepare for such attack scenarios. Such training greatly increases the chances of survival. In the Israeli Army and Police, tactical self-defense is a compulsory course for cadets, and different operational units receive such training at completely different levels.


What do they wear in Krav-Maga?

According to the history of the formation of the system, it was intended for the security forces of the State of Israel, so formal clothes were uniform (military uniform). Although there are schools that teach in black Ninjutsu-style pants and a black T-shirt, it is usually necessary to wear sneakers as well. Important note! Women’s and men's equipment in this method are absolutely identical. The following is a recommended list of clothing when training Krav Maga:

  • Shorts for women and men.

  • Long trousers for women and men.

  • Shirt for women and men.

  • Martial arts shoes.

  • Ankle support.

What does the training equipment of the Krav-Maga trainer include?

Following the history of the method, great importance is attached to the formation of functional muscles. On the one hand, it is necessary to work on speed and agility in movement, and on the other hand, to develop muscles to increase strength and power. To succeed in this task: Need to work with small weights, many reps in each set; Also combine with strength training, it is advisable to consult with a trainer so as not to damage the muscle ligaments; It is recommended to work with a wrist expander and rubber for dynamic loading; With heavy training rope; a lot of reps on a heavy and light boxing bag; With a punching bag, etc ... It is imperative to practice throwing, choking, blocking, kicking and punching. Punches and knees on the trainer's abdomen may only be performed with suitable and safe belly protectors! In the tactical training of Krav-Maga, rubbery equipment is used like: a knife, a stick, etc... One needs to use equipment that has passed strict safety tests. When signing up for a club, check if their floor is well protected and if there is a suitable protective pad against falls, throws, etc. In prestigious schools, there is also an Octagon. Below is a list of the recommended trainer equipment when teaching Krav Maga:

  • Padded stick.

  • Heavy rope for fitness.

  • Boxing body protector.

  • Heavy punching bag.

  • Lightweight punching bag.

  • Free-standing punching bag.

  • Solid rubber for training.

  • Carpal expander.

  • Gym flooring.

  • A pair of kick pads.

  • Kicking and boxing pads.

  • Training weights.

  • Lightweight set.

  • Jump rope.

  • Speed Bag for Boxing.

  • Boxing Equipment Spinning Bar.

  • Octagon.

How important is personal protective equipment when practicing Krav-Maga?

Good schools understand the importance of protective equipment when teaching martial arts in general and in combat in particular. Demonstrations and battles are not allowed without appropriate protective equipment! These are usually inexpensive shields compared to the physical damage they prevent. Also, there is no insurance without protective equipment! When striking a punching bag, be it a jab, cross, hook, or uppercut, boxing gloves should be used. It is recommended for full contact to use a body protector that maintains the integrity of the ribs. Also, shields for the head, teeth, groin, and legs are recommended. Below is a list of recommended personal protective equipment when training Krav Maga:

  • Hand bandages.

  • Leg protection.

  • Kappa.

  • Body shield.

  • Head shield.

  • Lightweight gloves.

  • Boxing gloves.

  • Shield for hands and forearms.

  • Groin shield.

With what equipment is it recommended to practice Krav-Maga at home?

To learn Krav-Maga, one needs to practice the same thing, many times over. This is not a theoretical area compared to other martial arts where one can learn from a trainer by watching directly through a computer. So practice and interaction are of the utmost importance. Although, it is worth it and even recommended to work at home on punches and kicks, strength training, etc. For this purpose, it is possible to purchase minimal personal equipment that does not take up much space at home. Prepares physically for classes in the section. It also improves the following parameters: Strength, flexibility, cardiopulmonary endurance, and more ... Below is a list of recommended equipment for home exercise:

  • Yoga mat.

  • Training weights.

  • Adjustable strength bench.

  • Punching bag for speed.

  • Free-standing punching bag.

  • Boxing equipment, spinning bar.

  • Lightweight set.

How important is cardiopulmonary endurance in Krav-Maga workouts?

First of all, this is health, and secondly, in a battle that does not end in a short time, the one who has cardiopulmonary endurance wins. To improve cardiopulmonary endurance, it is recommended to take brisk walks, combined with running, to increase and decrease the pace. These runs can be done outdoors, on the coast, at a running track, or on a home spinning bike. Recommended: Wear suitable shoes while running, document and monitor your calorie burn and heart rate with your smartwatch. Also, with the help of which it is very easy to see improvements in cardiopulmonary endurance, In fact, all your actions are recorded using a computer, and there is a training history. The following is a list of recommended personal equipment for home workouts, for developing cardiopulmonary endurance, and for monitoring and controlling progress:

  • Home spinning bike.

  • Running track.

  • Smartwatch.

  • Sneakers for men and women.


Summary on Krav-Maga

In this article, we have covered several important practical principles of the Krav-Maga philosophy. We saw that, in this method, they teach to avoid quarrels as much as possible, but, unfortunately, this does not always depend on us, and sometimes we are required to protect our lives or the lives of our relatives. It turned out that Krav-Maga is free, street fighting, with quick and simple techniques using natural body movements. In the classroom, target scenarios are brought to the level of instincts. That is, they teach to neutralize and capture the enemy as quickly as possible. Avoiding injury by acting most quickly and shortly. Much time is devoted to the development of cardiopulmonary endurance. That is, running, lifting weights, and building the muscles necessary for street fighting. We discussed how Krav-Maga differs from other martial arts, and why it is worth combining with other martial arts together. We saw what they wear in the section, what personal equipment is used, what is included in the trainer's outfit, what home equipment is recommended for fitness and cardiopulmonary endurance.


Author - Gil Peleg.

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