What is Krav Maga? An Introduction

Introduction to Krav Maga

300px Krav Maga logo What is Krav Maga? An Introduction

KRAV MAGA (contact combat) is a noncompetitive self defense system developed in Israel that involves striking techniques, wrestling and grappling. Krav Maga is prevalently known for its focus on real-world situations and extremely efficient, brutal counter-attacks. Krav Maga advocates a philosophy emphasizing threat neutralization, simultaneous defensive and offensive maneuvers, and aggression. Krav Maga is used by Israeli Defense Forces, and several closely related variations have been developed and adopted by law enforcement and intelligence organizations, Mossad and Shin Bet. Outside Israel, Krav Maga is allegedly used by various special police, military and intelligence forces, such as American CIA, FBI, US Marshals, USAF, DEA, Federal Air Marshals, various police departments (SWAT teams), French GIGN, Belgian Army, etc. There are several organizations teaching variations of Krav Maga internationally.

The name Krav Maga in Hebrew means “hand-to-hand combat”. Krav meaning “battle” and Maga meaning “contact”. Hence, Krav Maga is a generic name, somewhat like saying Martial Arts. A key principle of Krav Maga is finishing a fight as quickly as possible and therefore all attacks are aimed towards the most vulnerable parts of the body (e.g., face, neck, groin, knee, etc.). Because there are no sporting rules, individuals trained in Krav Maga are not limited to techniques that avoid severely injuring their opponents, but training and sparring drills provide maximum safety to the students by the use of protective equipment and the use of reasonable force. For example, kicks to the groin during sparring is commonplace, but groin protection must be worn and students should demonstrate due diligence with regards for their partners’ safety. Students learn to defend against all variety of attacks before engaging in full-contact sparring. Students are taught to respond to attacks in the quickest and most efficient way; a common lesson taught is ‘always use the nearest tool for the job’. This basically means use whichever limb is closest to your attacker at the time and whichever feels most natural. Men and women generally undergo the same drills. It has no sporting federation and there are no official uniforms such as a gi. Usual training attire consists of a t-shirt and loose fitting trousers. Krav Maga is also one of the few martial arts in which footwear is habitually worn due to it being ‘reality based training’. Most organizations recognize progress through training with rank badges, different levels, and belts.

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