Krav Maga is the official hand-to-hand, battle tested combat system of the Israeli Defense Forces used for self defense, fighting skills and defensive tactics. Krav-Maga is not just another reformatted martial art used for self defense. Actually, it has existed for some seventy years, longer than many eastern martial arts have been around in their current form in the west. It has been used by peacekeeping forces in North America and is also the preferred system for U.S. Military and law enforcement personnel.

Krav Maga

Military and special units in Europe as well as VIP protection teams all over the world also increasingly turn to Krav Maga for self defense.

Krav Maga is not a traditional martial art. Unlike in martial art sports, there are no hard-and-fast rules for Krav Maga fighting, but simple principles and instinctive movements based on real, (life) threatening scenarios one could encounter in every day life.

The idea behind Krav Maga is that many of the traditional martial art systems are too much theory based and lack testing in real life situations. Many of the traditional systems were not meant to be used for self-defense or have no real fighting applications. The Krav Maga method instead emphasizes improvised, intuitive strikes in realistic scenarios one would encounter while being attacked. One of the consequences is that there are no built-in distinctions in training between men and women, because on the street you will rarely have the possibility to choose your attacker's sex.

The Krav Maga system is designed to teach real self defense in the shortest possible time using natural, practical and easy training methods and techniques based on relatively simple movements. Students learn to defend themselves against common chokes, grabs, and bearhugs, as well as against attacks with weapons. An important aspect of the Krag Maga training is to teach students to function during the stress and shock of a sudden, violent encounter. Great emphasis is put on defense against armed attackers, especially against guns, knives, sticks and other cutting objects such as broken bottles. Typcially, a practitioner will first learn the most common ways of holding a weapon and different types of attack, until he/she can recognize them by at a glance. This is of the utmost importance in order to choose the appropriate block and defense or counterattack.

If for any reason a counterattack is not feasible students learn to move rapidly backwards while blocking the attack at the same time in order to create enough space and time to find a better position to neutralize a second attack and organize a counterattack. In Krav Maga the action of defense is not considered complete until the attacker represents no danger whatsoever. That means, either that the attacker has been physically or psychologically neutralized, or that he has given up or run away.

Krav Maga's 7 main principles:
1. Be aware of everything that is happening around you.
2. Avoid confrontation whenever possible. When not possible remain on a safe distance, forcing the attacker to make the first move in order to perform his attack.
3. Change quickly from defensive into offensive techniques (including simultaneously), or employ pre-emptive strikes if appropriate.
4. Do as much damage in as little time as possible and neutralize the attacker fast.
5. Utilize any available objects as weapons
6. Exploit the opponent's vulnerabilities
7. Never, ever give up before the attacker has been completely neutralized , and, in case of an armed attack, the weapon is safely under control.

The Krav Maga system reflects real situations and teaches how to face violence and save your (or someone else's) life. Therefore it can not afford to have rules or limits. For the same reason, being a realistic fighting system it can not promote sports competitions.

Airmen practising Krav Maga
. © 2009-2010. All rights reserved.
Photos by Gregory Brophy (hand wraps), Gerville Hall (TaeKwonDo girl), Lucian (Karate fight).
Reproduction strictly prohibited.
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How to Defend Yourself Against Armed Assault
by Imi Sde-Or, Eyal Yanilov
By the creator and chief instructor of Krav Maga
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by Rory Miller
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See also:

External links:
International Krav Maga Federation: the official International Krav Maga Federation

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