Civilian Krav Maga is Not Krav Maga!

For the last few generations even in the Krav Maga world which is fairly new among the martial arts many businessmen used their subconscious understanding of applied street business to market Krav Maga. In reality it was not so intentionally planned but unfortunately turned out to be that way. 

For millions youngsters fans of Bruce Lee’s movies that sought to learn martial arts and counter class bullying Krav Maga became the new promise.

Unfortunately starting with the founder of Krav Maga differentiating the civilian training methods of Krav Maga with the IDF training methods of Krav Maga making the civilian ones more “Dojan” based systems while the IDF system was maintained more structured intensive programming system, few generations of students turning into instructors and a short cut of IDF Krav Maga lineage, had caused an epidemic of watered down Krav Maga” to flood the market.

This fame created a market for many books that were written in the past 20 years and many instructional videos are currently in the market and any kid on the block might be using his cell phone camera to post “Krap Maga” videos on utube calling himself an expert.

While youngsters are still growing enjoying internet socializing, those who invested in marketing professional videos but lack the professional skills to teach Krav Maga can cause even more confusion.

For those that were bullied at one point of their lives, fought back and spent the time finding calm in training to handle the extreme violent scenarios and sought to share their knowledge and came across the original Israeli Defense Forces Krav Maga, the watered down Krav Maga became a source of evil.

While Krav Maga is a science of unarmed fighting dealing with varieties of topics, it is a very complex training method.

The training method however simplifies the mastery of the Training System in a very short amount of time.  About 14 hours are required to have a solid self defense capabilities, and 21 hours to gain a good grasp of the system. 

If you have 10 more hours of drilling it becomes a second nature to your body.  
If you do not, It will become a second nature to your body when you put the thinking and training time in the future at your own pace.

Of course it is not only the hours spend but the good instruction to instill the good awareness, judgment, reaction and conflict resolution.

If you do watered down Krav Maga, not only you waste these 14-21 hours, you also get bad habits, and any continuous training will perfect your bad habits.

In the old Dojan System, Masters will demonstrate a technique, and students would watch and try to implement it with many repetitions. In fact to really understand and be able to succeed with complex techniques students have to experience that it works.

Sometimes they are smart enough to conclude on their own. Sometimes the Master will show them the essence of it. But to keep membership of students one of the ways to do it is to demonstrate capabilities with a show or show of force and instead of “teaching” it make the students do something close to it and demand hard fitness techniques.

Demonstrating techniques with great speed without ever breaking them down to components, or with breaking them down to not enough components often make even the instructor not seeing his own errors.

The impressive action of an aggressive armed attacker and the quick staged up fight back of an acrobatically skilled defender is a good motivator for children to stay in the classroom.

But for Krav Maga, the intensive cure for unarmed combat it is immoral to instill bad habits in students. Just for the sake of the name of Krav Maga…

So if you want to keep students for five years, first get rid of your bad demonstration habits by learning Krav Maga from a good source.

Second, teach one technique at a time or few techniques at a time, but when you teach one technique or few techniques, teach them all. The right way to do every aspect of it: why, why not, and how and how not.

You can then change to exercise mode for the rest of the class and do fitness. Conduct weekend seminars that concentrate in Pure Krav Maga – self Defense Mastery™.

But, please do not demonstrate or associate Pure Krav Maga with boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, Jujistu, crowd control or shooting. Yes the name Krav Maga means in Hebrew Hand to Hand Fighting. But why not use your own country’s language to indicate what you are teaching?

Even in Israel there are many names for Martial Arts, including Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, American, French, Filipino, etc. Even in Israel there is more than one name for Hand to Hand Fighting.

There is Krav Panim el Panim, (KAPAP) etc. But the name Krav Maga was the only name used while Immi Lictenfeld or Immi Sde Or the Hebrew name was alive to designate two separate training systems.

The Israel Defense Force Krav Maga, and the Civilian Association Krav Maga. Unfortunately the name was adopted by many other martial arts and fitness schools in the world without ever learning what it really is. It was done on many levels.

The real problem was that after few generations the Civilian Krav Maga and the IDF Krav Maga and perhaps Other Martial Arts and other fitness based lookalike martial arts were intermingled and infiltrated back into the IDF.

So why not train in any local school of martial art or fighting sports. They all claim to give you the best self defense capabilities, print yourself a black belt in Krav Maga, and go to sleep happy.

Below are samples of what to look for when viewing demonstrations. As for how to teach Krav Maga, you need little more structure, but paying attention to details and ensuring your students pay attention to these in detail on all the levels of the matrix will minimize developing bad habits.

Blade Defense:
Straight Stab knife defense starting when both attacker and defender stand in a defensive position it does not facilitate quick straight stab to the attacker and causes the defender to project his intention to defend himself.

Lunging using your rear leg for the pushing force from 90 degrees will give you less force than you could have gotten if it was perpendicular. If the attacker is hesitating all through his attack, it looks like a poor staged attack from a professional Technical Krav Maga.

Many times during a demo, training partners could get overwhelmed with too much of a concern about the success of the demo. They are worried that if they attack too quickly they will make the defender look bad.  Well they need to get sufficient training and confidence in attacking efficiently with realistic speed. 

Then both instructors and students and all demo partners need to get enough training of all the invisible elements of navigating around a dangerous opponent.  They all need also to bring up to their conscience the implications of realistic limits of attack and defense and how misrepresenting them would impact on their organization somewhere in the future. 

While their demo might conform to the standard of entertaining Martial Art movie, in Krav Maga I would like to see the true reality of the limits of self defense demonstrated. Otherwise it is no difference than any other martial art...  A kick is a kick, a punch is a punch, getting beat up is getting beat up. 

The difference between Pure Krav Maga and the other martial arts is in its ability to stretch out the limits of defense under the constraint of the element of surprise and end the fight quickly.  Demonstrating muscle memory or fitness drills that are designed for training only, as the ultimate end of realistic fighting, is very much misleading.  

It reflects that whoever organization is putting it together has no clue what Krav Maga is, where to start and where to finish good self defense training for its students!

Straight Stab Knife defense with hands: Too big of a TaeSabaki could take you out of balance for the counter attack and opens you up for repeated attack with no defense from a skilled attacker.

Knife slash: Do not stand close to the opponent in starting position in a defensive mode.

The attacker starting position should not be close as well and then he starts to slash you should lean back with hands down.

If you keep them up, the attacker will change his target and make it your forearms and wrists. If he cuts you there your nerves will deliver a command to your brain to slow down immediately. You will not be able to continue to fight like in the movies.

In this close position if the attacker starts to cut your wrists you have no defense! This is the magic power of Reaction Time!

Defending a knife threat Top Down Hold:If the attacker is holding a knife top down with elbow locked and is doing a windmill in a very slow motion, you can touch it in any angle you want and then do your favorite dance! Make sure you do not block on the biceps giving the elbow the opportunity to bend!

Using Distraction: Defense vs. under hold/straight stab throwing the bag at the attacker’s face do not start with distraction move when standing too close to the opponent.

You are distracting yourself more and the knife might instinctively stab you. Last resort, you need to concentrate on not getting the knife.

If the attack was not staged at this distance the blade was already in your stomach – distraction of no distraction! Same principle when someone is trying to choke you and break your windpipe.

If you do not release the pressure but think about striking first, your windpipe could be broken.

Knife to the throat against the wall: The punch deflection should not be executed! It is good for a straight punch not a knife. I rather pluck it and attach it to my body to prevent repeated stabbing/slashing attack!

Top Down knife from the side defense to the live side. Not letting the attacker complete his stab away from your body subjects you to a second torso stab!

Do not move to a dangerous armbar that works only in a staged up attack, but rather use a punch and a kick if needed before you pluck the knife with a peeling motion out of the palm if it is still there.

Defense vs. slash: keeping your arms in front of your face to ensure you get cut while defending yourself is not a good idea.… and grabbing the arm with both hands is bad if he continue to struggle.

Straight Stab Defense with kicks: With Round House Kick followed with a Side Kick. Do not hover to the side with already twisted body.

It negates the force of the kick and therefore it is not a kick, but just a touch to the stomach and cannot even be aimed…

If you think that you might have to resort to a follow up armbar if you messed your technique you are deadly wrong. If he did not get kicked in the groin, he will retract and stab you again and you will have no defense because you are too close to have enough time for brain reaction and hand execution.

Side kick vs. Stabber: Well the idea is to kick to the knee to minimize knife injury, but if someone is jay walking with a knife you can dance around it… When the attacker attempts to stab again but he is stabbing the location where his opponent was standing long time ago. you do not get the proper training.

Defense from the side vs. Knife stab: Do not kick to the body. A skilled knife user could stab your leg! Need to kick to the knee!

Follow up arm bar is dangerous as the attacker can pull his arm and cut your hand. If he is not moving he probably dropped the knife so it is unnecessary dangerous garbage to teach…

Defense vs. Knife to the throat form the rear: Maintain his head on your elbows until you replace it with your hand. Otherwise you lose control and if your opponent is skilled he will escape and attack you again with a greater caution.

Blunt Object Defense:
Defense vs. Blunt Object: If you start the demo at a close distance when the weapon is almost touching your ribs or kidneys and you lift one arm to protect your head and the other in a threatening mark of attack it looks like you do not pay attention to your opponent.

Technique based system does not consider a live opponent. Hollywood style movies can make you believe anything with the right lighting and music.

Demonstrating Stick techniques if you try to use timing and block the stick with your shin standing on one leg and follow with a series of attacks think of a small female that would break her shin. If it is not suitable to a small female, it is not Krav Maga!

Long Stick Defense: If you are waiting for the attacker to step forward projecting your defense with arms over the head it could make the attacker hit his legs instead or even try to break your arms if he has a strong stick. 

You do not want the attacker’s stick passed the back of your head over 20 inches – Inefficient attack and use of the length of the stick on the attacker’s side does not make the defense realistic. You need to keep in mind the elements of reaction time and efficiency. Study them thoroughly in depth on all levels of the matrix.

If you try to apply a defensive kick with two punches technique (which is designed for hasty natural motion against one or two bare hands attackers) against a stick, if someone knows how to use a stick it would not work!

The reason is, the stick is swinging fast with the extension of the wrist, and if you try to bring your arm to protect your head after you move your foot ready for the kick or at the same time, you slow down the arm. Gross Error in understanding sequential Execution!

Rolling as a tactical solution: There is no need to roll over for a stick- It is reserved for a chain! Can you do it for the fun of it? No! Someone swinging a stick can stop at any moment without hurting himself and hit you over the head. Not the same with a chain!

Defense vs. Club swing: If the opponent projects a heavy club swing from the shoulder down the defense should be protecting the lower torso instead of the head. Application of wrong technique in a technique based system… Training in a bad system gives you bad mental habits as well… As for counter attack it should be elbow and knee and not trying to kick from that distance for accuracy in targeting…

Attempt to defend against combination attacks with a rifle: The attacker is skipping a straight barrel stab and moving in for a rifle butt uppercut: Do not use a knife slash defense moving back with your torso and never attempt to move in for a takedown.

If the attacker did not pose, you would have gotten the butt of the rifle inyour face or the back of your head trying to move in for a takedown.

If you let the attacker carrying a rifle get that close without doing something as he was closing the gap for a straight barrel poke- you have no chance! Take downs are used when the attacker is shooting and done to his dead preferably. If he is in continuous striking mode he will come back and hit your head.

Long stick Poke Defense: Trying to apply a straight stab front kick followed by a side kick defense applying knife kicks as counter attack is not advisable.

A skilled stick attacker would be able to manipulate your balance if you grab the stick so grab it with both hands same as rifle threat from that angle… Gross misunderstanding of weapon defense and bad reputation to the name Krav Maga!

Jujitsu had done it over the years. People tried to apply release from shirt hold techniques to release form choke technique for example. Not understanding the reality and uniqueness in each scenario causes a bad technique based system to be developed.

Methods of Attack and Counter Attack:
Use of RETZEF: Do not train in continuous attack without the ability to use them one after the other to various real targets adapting to a moving target. If you do not, your demonstration will look like you are trying to pat your opponent on his butt form a close distance with your foot.

Do not execute series of kicks in the air where most of them are not aimed to a specific target. It looks like your training methods do not coincide with realistic application.

Switching kicks: If the switching kicks are basically walking instead of switching so if the attacker is alert, you are done if you missed the first one!

Methods of Blocking & Deflection of Strikes and Kicks:
Defense vs. front punch attacker on the front or side: The attacker does not have good punching skills if he moves his body first, lands and then extends his hand! Inefficient opponents train defenders to be inefficient as well! Now the defense is followed with a mark of a punch far away from the attacker’s face.

Do not block low kicks with your instep. It is impossible if the attacker can lunge with a good kick, or could be too painfully distracting for you to move in with a counter attack. Why defy Immi’s principle to block with your bottom of the foot or inner forearms and elbows and attack soft parts of your opponents - hard vs. Soft is the key.

However in this case it could be also a matter of efficiency if you try to circle around a linear kick using your instep. You can only succeed if your training partner is trained in executing inefficient attack. But what if you fight a stranger that never attended your school?

Demonstrating a Cavalier: Violent tilting of the opponent’s fist up and down without consideration of opponent’s honed jujitsu skills, is a poor demonstration. Puling and keeping the hands at the center of gravity is much safer response to any possible threat and gives you control of your opponent that he would not be able to reach your vital points during the contact.

Defense vs. left right lookalike boxing combination: If you do not counter attack the first strike you could get an elbow. If you attempt to counter the second strike with a kick you could get hit with another hand strike. Hands are faster than Legs in that distance!

Defense vs. Headlock without takedown by rolling forward and a hip throw is only good if the attacker is trying to get a free piggy ride.

Watch the complete Israel Defense Forces Original Krav Maga 21 Hour Curriculum:

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