Krav Maga is one of the most popular martial arts. It’s being used in many different countries and it has different practices around the world. However, what they all have in common is that all those martial arts dojos teach the basic principles of Krav Maga and how to actually use it. What is more, Krav Maga is also quite popular in Hollywood and many actors and action movies feature some of the best Krav Maga techniques.
Krav Maga (meaning “contact combat” in Hebrew) is actually a military self-defence system that was developed for the Israel Defense Forces. It is a combination of techniques borrowed from boxing, kickboxing, Aikido, judo, karate and wrestling, but it also features realistic fight training.
In the 1930’s a Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld derived Krav Maga from boxing and wrestling and combined it with street-fighting. Then he brought it to Israel and since then it has been used to train their special forces.
However, today, if you want to try Krav Maga, you will only be able to try its variation that has been adapted for civilians, which is still a great art to learn and use. This martial art is well known for focusing on real-world situations and it is extremely efficient. So, let’s see how and why this martial art is so popular.
One of the most basic and most important principles of Krav Maga is to avoid physical confrontation and flee if possible. If you find yourself in a physical attack, you will want to incapacitate your opponent and leave. However, as soon as you’re attacked, in Krav Maga, you’re not the victim; rather you immediately become an attacker with quick and aggressive moves. All of your attacks are meant to aim for the most vulnerable parts of the opponent’s body, and there are almost no rules about what parts of your own body are you going to use while attacking (defending yourself).
Some of the ideas in Krav Maga include
- Defence and attack performed at the same time
- Development of physical aggression (different than anger or emotional aggression)
- Striking the opponent until they are incapacitated or you are not in danger anymore
- Using objects you find close to defend yourself
- Targeting vulnerable parts of the body, including eyes, throat, face, groin, ribs, knee, fingers, solar plexus etc.
- Relying on simple and repeatable strikes
- Being aware of your surroundings at all times; looking for escape routes, other attackers, nearby objects etc.
Even though Krav Maga might seem aggressive to some, it brings many benefits to one’s body. First and one of the most important physical benefits of Krav Maga is that you will learn how to defend yourself and even protect your close ones. The techniques are simple, logical and effective and you’ll learn them in no time.
Secondly, it will get your body in a great shape. Since trainings are challenging and the very martial arts requires endurance and strength, your body will get the hard core training it needs to get in shape really fast. This will leave you with a strong, nicely-shaped body that is ready for anything.
Lastly, you will learn a great deal of self-control; both physical and mental. Krav Maga develops all of your senses and it teaches you how to read movements of your attacker. With more training your moves become more instinctive and your techniques and tactics will naturally combine into all that. Additionally, since all of your moves are ordered by the brain, this martial art teaches your brain how to react depending on the situation. It will become easier for you to decide how much strength you need in certain situations and when it’s time to flee. This all builds great muscle memory and enhances your reactions.
Besides having your mind in peace because you know how to defend yourself, Krav Maga brings many other mental benefits to you. One of the biggest benefits is that you will gain plenty of self-confidence. Once you master even the most basic techniques and skills, you will be proud of yourself and more confident that you can do things you never had the power to do. Good training and instructions to master the skills will keep you motivated and with that your confidence will only rise.
Another great benefit is that Krav Maga is great for reducing stress. Through training you will learn how to deal with stress on a daily basis, but you’ll also get the chance to blow off some steam through challenging trainings.
Third mental benefit is the pure joy and excitement that you get during the trainings. You will be surrounded with people like you and who are there to learn and have fun learning just like you are. Not to mention how rolling on the ground with people can bring laughter and joy!
Lastly, you will gain situation awareness and you will always know what is happening in your surroundings. Krav Maga teaches you to always look around, to be mindful and to rely on peripheral vision as well.
All martial arts can bring something to the table, but with Krav Maga you have it all at one place. You don’t have to be fit and confident to engage into trainings, because this martial art will teach you all that.