KRAV MAGA: What Makes It So Efficient for Self Defence?

Krav Maga is NOT a sport. Jujitsu, Judo, Boxing, MuayThai, Taekwondo, Wreslting are sports. 
Krav Maga is a fighting and self-defence system.
In the simplest of words, KRAV MAGA is applied MMA for practical combat and self defence. 

Open Hand Strikes are foundational in Krav Maga as fracturing wrists and knuckles is very common in street fights and among people who haven’t conditioned their fists for impact.

There are NO rules but SURVIVAL. 
Unlike combat sports like MMA, KRAV MAGA is a method of self-defense designed for real-life situations. There are no tournaments in Krav Maga – because it is based upon the idea of “finding solutions” when one’s security is threatened. There are no gloves, no padded mats, no timers and no referees in real life, and Krav Maga trains accordingly.

Imi Lictenfeld: Founder of Krav Maga

Krav Maga was developed by Israeli veteran Imi Lictenfield. Imi was a successful boxer, wrestler, and gymnast since his youth. He competed at national and international levels and was a champion and member of the Slovak National Wrestling Team. When faced by the advent of Nazis and their atrocities against the Jews, Imi formulated Krav Maga, a practical, quick to teach and easy to learn learn fighting system that blended various martial art forms of the period and retained only what’s best in a practical war/fight scenario to fight against the Nazi oppressors.

PRACTICAL, QUICK TO TEACH AND EASY TO LEARN, is the key of what Krav Maga is.

That was in the 1930’s and Krav Maga has been ever evolving since then. You do have systems like the Mcmap that’s used by the US marines and systems like Systema in Russia – but Krav Maga as it stands today, is much more instinctive and adapted for applications in real life civillian scenarios and not just in war. Also, the philosophy of use what works and evolve or discard what doesn’t has always kept Krav Maga fluid and adaptive to the modern world. Which is why even today it is the the technique of choice for defence and secret service forces across the world – including the SAS, the Mossad and the Israeli army.

If self defence was your concern, I’d advice a strong base of Krav Maga first – before moving on to learning any other martial art that would require years of training and mastery before you could practically apply what you learn in a fight. Eventually adding in a good grappling sport like BJJ and a good striking sport like muaythai (or mma itself that combines grappling and striking) is extremely efficient at improving and expanding your skill set. 

-Pushkraj Shirke


What makes Krav Maga efficient for self defence is that it directly focusses on what is most practical, instinctual and most likely to happen. It trains an individual directly to problem solve the most likely encounters – spiralling all the way up from from basic situational awareness and de-escalation all the way up to to engaging, subduing and escaping. 

Krav Maga’s basic principle in essence is Survival. And its basic technique is what can be termed as BURSTING – where you simultaneously defend, inflict as much damage as possible within as small a span of time as possible and GET OUT OF THE SITUATION.

It requires using every part of your body and great presence of mind within a split second – and that’s perfect because a true fight in the street or actual combat rarely lasts beyond the first 15 seconds – the first fifteen seconds have either finished the altercation or already decided the outcome. It includes open palm strikes, clawing, punching, kicking, pushing and pulling, biting and the use of readily available weapons or objects that can be used as weapons. Though by principle the rule in Krav Maga is to never let a fight get to the ground, it takes into account that things do not always go your way and therefore also prepares you for fighting on the ground and includes basic grapples and quick escape tactics from the ground.

Latvian soldier instructs U.S. paratroopers in Krav Maga (KMG)

While most sports do not include fighting multiple opponents at the same time, that is something that is integral to Krav Maga. One of the most effective and tiresome drills used in Krav Maga is that of escaping from a hostile mob – where you are surrounded by people trying to block you, hit you and even use weapons on you while you try to escape out of the mob. The use of bursting and continuously adaptive training makes true Krav Maga very demanding physically. Which is also why after a certain point you need to learn pure grappling and striking skills to get more efficient and therefore expend less energy against bigger and stronger opponents. The necessity of strength and explosive, channelled aggression is why regular strength training goes hand in hand with training for krav Maga.

pushkraj shirke project battlefit kravmaga

Pushkraj Shirke

Krav Maga Coach. BJJ and MMA Practitioner. Strength Coach.
K11 Trained Fitness and Nutrition Consultant. Director – Project Battlefit.


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