2/4/13

“My question is: is the watered down version of Krav Maga worth studying ?”(Answer by Boaz Aviram)


I got this in an email this morning:
“My question is: is the watered down version of Krav Maga worth studying ?”

My immediate suggestion was to suggest the person read my book Krav Maga – Use of the Human Body as a Weapon; Philosophy and Application of Hand to Hand Fighting Training System and conclude for himself.

But the question forced me to try and think and summarize a decisive conclusion as well.  While no two instructors are alike and many could teach you something and give you the benefits of fighting experience, the question here forces you to think to the bottom of it.

People seek knowledge to defend themselves or to calm their fears.  Many times they experienced a realistic threat and resolved it on their own to their best knowledge but yet feeling uncomfortable pt in a strange situation.  

Some got brutally attacked and suffered from mental scars.  Some learn about reality through others’ experience.  They all try to learn how to overcome the danger by exposing themselves to it moderately and incrementally by taking a Martial Art Class.  They are all looking for an environment that they will hopefully find a solution and calm to their needs and calm their fears.

Then you find that in many towns you would have various Fighting Arts available, including watered down Krav Maga.  Perhaps the other Martial Arts are watered down?  

Well, I quote the back cover of my book:


Sports Martial arts serving the purpose of gambling entertainment and fitness were bound to extract the lethal techniques from fear of court persecution. 


In the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), a superior Hand to Hand Combat Training System was developed and named Krav Maga. Its advantage was providing training methods with optimal self defense capabilities while maintaining strict safety during training. 


The key to this system is the correct hierarchy of prioritization !However, Krav Maga known to civilians around the world is not the IDF Krav Maga, but rather another form of Martial Arts marketed to civilians. 


Boaz Aviram, the 3rd in a lineage of IDF Fighting Fitness Academy Krav Maga Chief Instructors, presents in this book the most efficient and effective form of self defense and Hand to Hand Combat training method ever developed. 150 techniques presented: 1,000 film strip formatted photos in with 60,000 words of advice.

What can you get from a watered down Martial Art including these that Kind that use the name “Krav Maga?”  

You can learn techniques, training methods (Not necessarily the best, but at least something) you learn response habits, you “Develop” skills, and above all do the foot work like the Infantry that is known to “think though its feet.”


But what is a bad habit and what can it do to you in a critical split second of response?  Not good!  It could be all over in a split second.  

So is it better to learn how to handle an average opponent?  Or should you also try to train with a weaker opponent? Perhaps add to your training sparring with a stronger opponent?  

Is it about finding someone your own weight and slowly trying to train with him until you feel comfortable that you can beat him?  Another training dummy in a form of a real human with two legs and two arms and a brain?  What if someone grabs your hand? 


Do you need to learn how to get out of the hold?  What will you gain out of it?  Do you need to learn how to kick someone, or to punch him?  Do you need to learn how to block a kick or a punch? Do you need to learn how to get out of a hold?  


How to use a knife to hurt someone?  How to block a knife attack?  I am sure if you try it you will figure something out. 

If it was possible to read someone’s brain way ahead, giving you time to think what to do, and train, or just not be there, it could have been very helpful.  But the element of surprise changes the rules.  

You need to train how to deal with the element of surprise.  Since it is the Hand to Hand Combat department here, we need to concentrate on Hand to Hand Combat.  Therefore the training would deal with the critical moment of surprise.  First you need to give someone good skills. The most important is awareness. 

So you are making him aware to try to detect a surprise.  What is the best way to do it? To teach him how to surprise in the best way to start that your student will become aware of the element of surprise. 

One element alone is not enough as we are really not looking for the expression on one’s face when being surprised.  In Pure Krav Maga the element of surprise has a mathematical terminology and is called “Reaction Time.”  

This reaction time concept is being applied on more than one area of the whole complex picture that is being broken down and put together many times to simplify the learning process.

Perhaps before you teach the element of surprise you define what you are doing in the course.  

You need to teach someone where to hurt someone else in order to control him with pain and at times with no pain.  Sometimes if you want to shut another machine off so it would not destroy you the process is as quick as turning the power switch off.

Then you need to teach someone the mechanics of efficient striking and kicking.  This should be directed with the best way to stop someone with one touch (Maga in Hebrew) The way you would do it in a fight(Krav in Hebrew) would be Krav Maga. Since Krav Maga in its civilian form is watered down you would need then Pure Krav Maga.

Efficiency is the key.  Hopefully your instructor would show you the difference of racing and driving your car in a straight line then looping around the block 10 times before your you start the race while your competitors are already racing on a straight line to the finish.

So whether yourself or your child,  if you want to be cool, or you want your child to be cool, then why not do Karate, Boxing, MMA, WD Krav Maga, Tennis, Swimming, Wrestling are all good.  

Athletics is a good thing.  But beware of even large athletic associations as licensed as they are there is a tendency to get an assistant or a fitness instructor that would not supervise your child all the times.  

And at times that person does not even have the basic safety knowledge of how the human body operates and instruct your child how to properly breath during exertion creating too much pressure in the arteries which can cause a much worse result than a muscle tear an a bone break.   

Not everyone that takes Ballet will become a ballerina, and not everyone that takes wrestling will become an Olympic medalist.  Not everyone that takes boxing will become a professional boxer. 

Perhaps these fields are not geared to house so many champions and use the competitive element to drive athletes own brain and body in a competitive environment to use their physique only with very little winning edge advice.  Or perhaps each field is limited to one area, forces the perfection of certain restricted motions to get to their maximum efficiency...

None of these areas are really dealing with self defense, including WD Krav Maga, as punching alone, kicking alone, grappling alone, dancing alone would not program your mind and body how to defeat a surprised attack because doing all of these without finding the optimal balance or in other words prioritize will enable you to use it in a fight.

Ofcourse, some people have better mechanical and mental aptitude to use what they see and learn and they usually become champions in their field.  But they often do not have the chance to see the whole picture when it comes to hand to hand fighting.

Again, if you are living in one localities, and go to work and send you kids to school and need an after school activity, you probably will be inclined to use your local gym for whatever its worth.  

But you have the opportunity to read about Pure Krav Maga through the book “Krav Maga – Use of the Human Body as a Weapon; Philosophy and Application of Hand to Hand Fighting Training System.” purchase the training videos “Pure Krav Maga – Self Defense Mastery,” and control your fate.



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