Krav Maga is a self-defense system that was started in the 1930s as a technique for fighting fascists. It was developed and formalized for the Israel Defense Forces and is taught today as part of IDF training. This unique and always-evolving martial art takes the best of a collection of practices from wrestling, Aikido, judo, boxing, and karate, and focuses on real-world situations and extreme efficiency.
Krav Maga is all about minimizing harm and violence through avoidance, but when aggression is required the skills are at the ready. Civilians who practice Krav Maga for fitness gain a sense of confidence and safety from the techniques, along with fit bodies that are ready for anything.
Here are a few things you should know if you’re thinking of giving it a try:
More than anything else, Krav Maga emphasizes survival; it’s the ultimate tool for getting through violent episodes as safely as possible. You’ll be taught how to avoid dangerous situations, how to diffuse violence before it starts, and how to stay aware of surroundings to find escape routes and objects that can be used as weapons. You will also learn what to do if violence is inescapable.
Krav Maga advocates maximum force and strength if attacking is necessary, harnessing instinctive physical aggression to neutralize threats. In a fight situation, Krav Maga practitioners go for the most effective moves against the most vulnerable body parts (eyes, neck, groin, etc.) and continue attacking until the opponent is fully incapacitated. You may never get in a fight in your life, but you can still benefit from the confidence that comes with knowing you could survive it.
2Size doesn’t matter
Krav Maga is not about your weight or size, and no one will judge you based on your looks. Success in Krav Maga is determined by quickness, clear thinking, and mastery of techniques. Anyone can learn, and as with most skills, practice makes perfect.
There’s no doubt Krav Maga is having a moment, and taking off like mad. In uncertain times, people embrace the added sense of safety and confidence they get from the training. And it’s a great way to burn off anger and frustration. Plenty of celebrities are on board — Daniel Craig, Angelina Jolie, Ashton Kutcher, the list goes on and on. Hollywood is also reaching out to Krav Maga studios to help train actors and actresses in techniques to help create more realistic fighting scenes.
The Krav Maga community is committed to encouraging one another; no one is there to impress or show off. The emphasis on safety and avoiding violence when possible brings a sense of purpose to the practice, and sharing the experience with classmates creates a group dynamic that’s more fun than solo workouts. Once you become a part of a Krav Maga tribe you will find yourself a part of a family.
5How to start kicking ass
If you’re convinced and ready to get started, find a Krav Maga studio near you.
If you’re intrigued, but maybe not ready for a full martial art commitment? You’ll probably find elements of Krav Maga showing up in some of your other fitness classes. Just as Boxing, Tai Chi, capoeira, and other martial arts have become incorporated into mainstream workouts, Krav Maga moves are also hitting the gym. Look for Krav Maga techniques integrated into regimens like CrossFit, and get ready to add some self-defense moves to your workouts.
Stay safe out there!