Krav Maga is a hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel that involves wrestling, grappling and striking techniques, mostly known for its extremely efficient, effective and brutal counter-attacks, as it is mostly taught to elite special forces around the world. It was derived from street-fighting skills created by Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler, as a means of protecting the Jewish quarter against fascist groups in Bratislava in the mid- to late-1930s. In the late-1940s, after his immigration to Israel, he started to provide hand-to-hand combat training to what was to become the IDF, developing the techniques that became known as Krav Maga. It has been refined for both civilian and military applications.
Krav Maga has a philosophy which has a serious emphasis on threat neutralization, a mixture of defensive and offensive maneuvers, and aggression. Krav Maga is used by the IDF Special Forces units and several closely related variations have been developed and adopted by law enforcement and intelligence organizations, Mossad, Shin Bet, FBI, ATF, DEA, ICE, SWAT units of the NYPD, French Army Special Forces and United States Special Operations Forces.
As all, there are no rules in Krav Maga, as it is a defense fighting technique which is not regulated making it the ideal choice for personal defense! It is utilized to keep the user safe and incapacitate the opponent by any means necessary. Men and women generally undergo similar drills. It has no sporting federation as it is not regulated, and there are no official uniforms or attire, although some organizations do recognize growth through training with rank badges, different levels, and belts.
General principles include:
- Counter attacking as soon as possible (or attacking preemptively).
- Targeting attacks to the body's most vulnerable points such as the eyes, jaw, throat, groin, knee etc.
- Neutralizing the opponent as quickly as possible by responding with an unbroken stream of counter attacks and if necessary a take down/joint break/concussion.
- Maintaining awareness of surroundings while dealing with the threat in order to look for escape routes, further attackers, objects that could be used to defend or help attack and so on.
Training also include situational awareness to develop an understanding of one's surroundings and potentially threatening situations before an attack occurs sometimes. It also cover ways to deal with potentially violent situations, and the best part is that it emphasizes on physical and verbal methods to avoid violence whenever possible.
Krav Maga techniques
Krav Maga incorporates techniques from traditional Eastern European streetfighting, military combat, Boxing, Muay Thai, Western Wrestling, and Ju-Jitsu.
- Arm techniques
Punches are highly emphasized in Krav Maga as main basic strikes which are useful in almost any situation. Training in boxing is highly prized in Krav Maga (Lichtenfeld was himself a boxer at national-level). Among some of the punches taught are the straight punch, palm heel strike, low punch, hammer-fist, hook, uppercut, chop, overhand, as well as a variety of elbow strikes.
- Leg techniques
While Krav Maga does use kicks, it focuses on efficient, low-risk kicks. The actual focus is on low kicks. More advanced and risk prone kicks are taught at high levels, but use of them is discouraged. They are mainly taught so that practitioners are able to recognize them in case they are facing an experienced opponent with a background in kick-heavy martial arts, such as taekwondo. Some of the leg techniques that are taught include the front kick, round kick, side kick, back kick, heel kick, slap kicks, axe kicks, various knee strikes, and sweeping.
- Defense techniques
Krav Maga practitioners are taught to go from defending to attacking as quickly as possible as the best defense is a good offense. Most blocking techniques are designed to facilitate the conversion from defense to attacking. Students are taught how to defend against kicks and punches, as well as learning how to defend against attacks from any angle
While Krav Maga stresses staying off the ground at all costs, it is accepted that you may eventually have no choice but to fight there. Students are taught how to get into the best positions while on the ground, how to throw certain kicks while on the ground, arm bars, triangle choke, and guillotine. They're also taught how to defend against punches while mounted, chokes, headlocks, and what to do if their wrists are pinned.
- Throws and takedowns
Not a lot of throws are covered in Krav Maga, because the system emphasizes staying off of the ground. Some techniques that are taught include the wristlock, one and two leg takedowns, the hip throw, and the one arm shoulder throw.
- Gun, knife and stick defenses