Updated: Sep 23
I was recently invited to be on a podcast about self defense and martial arts. The podcast host had one question for me: Is Krav Maga Bullshit?
My honest answer: There is a lot of bullshit Krav Maga out there, but not all of it.
So lets dig into the question is Krav Maga bullshit and some misconceptions
about Krav Maga.
"IS Krav Maga BS"
Krav Maga was started by Imi Lichtenfeld as a mix of Boxing, Wrestling and gymnastics.
Today Krav Maga is simply a compilation of Aikido, BJJ, Boxing, Judo, Wrestling and other disciplines. Logically Krav Maga as a whole can only be BS if it's components are.
There are great Aikido, BJJ, Boxing, Judo, Wrestling schools as well as terrible ones...
The same is true for Krav Maga. There are some great schools and unfortunately some terrible ones.
"Krav Maga is Too Deadly for Competition"
Well thats a dumb argument without context. Competitions has rules to be safe and protect the fighters, I get it.
Not to sound like I'm quoting the movie fight club but, what is the first rule of Krav Maga? There are no rules, meaning when defending yourself from an attack there are no rules, you do what you need to do to stop the attack and get away. Use of improvised weapons, and striking vulnerable targets on the human body may be valid (eyes, throat, kick your attackers knee or in the groin, etc.)
These are all things that are not allowed in competitive fighting. So in short by creating a Krav Maga competition fight, with rules, to keep the fighters safe, you effectively negate everything Krav Maga students have learned by applying rules.
"Krav Maga is easy to learn" and "They don't spar"
As KM has grown in popularity, unfortunately, a lot of people have been, and are trying to cash in by promising big things for low effort.
Watered down classes, low impact techniques, non resistant opponents, no sparring, no ground defense/ fighting -the list goes on.
The truth will probably make you mad, but honestly you will only become as good as the effort you put in! -RJ
Lets expand on that last statement...
In my opinion, there are truly very few students that stay long enough in Krav Maga to actually experience the whole system.
The vast majority of students only stay for the first or second level. Then move on to something different. Why? After level one things start to change and get hard, mentally and physically. Classes include sparring and resisting opponents, more advanced stress drills together with higher demands on personal fitness and proficiency, which unfortunately has a lot of people "give up".
Krav Maga will keep you "safe"
Yes and no... Krav Maga can keep you safer but not necessarily keep you from getting hurt! In fact, when it comes to self defense, any physical altercation (attacks, rapes, etc) is likely to cause some kind of injury, from mild to severe. No self defense training, martial art or system out there will keep you from getting hurt in a physical altercation. You train to mitigate the damage.
"Krav Maga Teaches You to Fight Multiple Opponents"
No not really. Again the truth will make you mad.... Defending against one committed attacker is hard, two attackers would be almost impossible and three... well you get the picture.
Krav Maga has a certain training methodology, stress drills that utilizes multiple attackers, trains you to be more aware of your surroundings, and how to switch into an aggressive mindset. Two skills the vast majority of the general public does not have and that are critical for efficient self defense. Krav Maga does not give you some super powers to "fight" multiple attackers
"XYZ is Better than Krav Maga"
Better than what? For what situation? What are we comparing? Its ignorant statements like this that are completely meaningless and makes it hard for new people to get started. Too many keyboard warriors with opinions, eating Cheetos and playing with their bellybutton in their moms basement... talking s#it about things they have no experience in.
Krav Maga is not "it" for every one. If someone wants to train BJJ, they will go to a BJJ place. Same with Muay Thai etc., and thats ok!
I think Krav Maga caters to a specific demographic, and our students come to us for specific reasons: Self Defense, fitness, a non- threatening environment, school community etc. We have students coming from MMA, BJJ, and other fighting systems, to learn how to use their skills outside of a ring and competition.
At Krav Maga Kentucky we periodically offer a fit to fight class (striking and fitness class) and a ground lab class. The goal with the additional classes is for our KM students is to train specific additional tools but we always maintain the same approach to teaching, training and community.
"The truth about self defense"
Too many discussions are about the specific style thats "best" for self defense.
The hard truth is that there is no specific "end all be all" style for self defense... Sorry to bust your bubble.
Training for self defense is not only about the physical techniques. Self defense is not a consensual fight with rules, like you see on TV. When you get attacked, you get ambushed, a surprise attack by a person or people who wish you harm, your attacker or attackers control the where, when, and by what level of violence/ how you get attacked. You train to avoid or mitigate those situations, by using awareness, enforcing boundaries, concise communication and physical skills/ tools you carry...
To be continued...
Krav Maga Instructor
IKMF. KMG. KMW. FTFKM.