In terms of being the least complicated, most direct and greatest method of self-defense going, I would not argue against Krav Maga. Simplicity was the very basis for its genesis, and, with a few weeks of intensive training, Krav’s first Israeli Army students, more than 50 years ago, found themselves acquiring life-saving skills very quickly and most efficiently, thus proving its original concepts and philosophy.
I am well into my second decade of studying and instructing this unique martial art, now having attained Israeli certified 3rd degree black belt status; thusly, I am quite skilled, but my very nature tells me there is always more, so much more!
I am a Taekwondo Master (4th degree black belt), and have multiple high-ranking black belts in several other Asian arts (including sword), as well as kick-boxing, Muay Thai, combat JiuJitsu and extensive knife-training. TKD 5th degree for me would have been the following: attend occasional classes, and teach a little, plus a new form…that’s it; in other words, just “time in the trenches”, improving upon my existing skills, which should, of course, always be a priority. I opted out. Do not get me wrong, because I loved training in that art, and improved my kicking techniques like no other; however, “real street-survival skills”? Hardly. In fact, I know a guy that was under serious Taekwondo Olympic consideration, yet was hurt pretty badly in New York City, when he lipped off to the wrong person. No skilled street fighter is going to let you launch a spinning back-kick, or jump-spinning hook kick…that’s strictly for the movies.
ALL of us watch YouTube, or we should, if for some strange reason one happens to be from another solar system. The wealth of information is incomprehensible at times, but the treasures to be collected are worth the effort. However, for everything positive there is a negative side, as well.
I would venture that most of us realize martial arts cannot be cultured from video. One needs “hands-on” training from a qualified instructor, but this is not the purpose of this blog. Neither is the obvious “there are numerous, unqualified teachers out there, whose methods are simply bad.”
In Hebrew, “Retzev” means continuous attack…in other words, fighting until you are safe. “Safe” is a relative concept; on one hand it can mean stun and then run; on another, disable your attacker, because flight is not an option; and, in many military operations it can mean kill.
As with most martial arts that become very popular, greed inevitably raises its ugly head and the pursuit of money and status, accompanied by cowardly social media degrading and accusations, especially via YouTube, Facebook, etc., start to take over. I’ve seen this many times and to be quite honest am disgusted by it all.
Whenever I am giving a Krav Maga seminar, or talking with a prospective new Academy student or private client, I stress that Krav education and practice will focus greatly on the importance of the realization that one has to re-train certain God-given reflexive responses to threats, as they are the very reactions that many times fail under an assault. Yes, it’s always eye-opening and somewhat confusing, as our intuitive “replies” to being attacked have been naturally imbedded, seemingly forever! However, when you learn a new technique, and see how obvious and successful this “re-training” becomes, it’s not a hard sell.
Alarm clock rudely awakens, each morning at 5am. Who am I kidding? I still have imbedded the years and years of “nightclub mentality” from my music career, which may never truly go away. Still, it’s my professional desire to teach my Krav Maga classes with as much energy and enthusiasm as the usual noon or early evening sessions ubiquitous with the several other schools in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia.
My hair is longer than most martial artists…makes my head gear even tighter. My right hand’s nails are a bit longer, as well (hybrid picking for all of you non-players), and need to be taped, along with my fingers, for Brazilian JiuJitsu training. Yet, I am a world-class rock and fusion guitarist, which has been my principal vocation for many years and continues to this day; and, I have had my novels and poetry released everywhere.
Krav Maga means “contact combat” in Hebrew. Because of its realistic fight training, that is completely unrelated to sport, it has become the world’s number one rated system of self-defense. Officially created by renown Israeli Imi Lichtenfeld, just after World War II, it is now used by their police, special forces, IDF, intelligence organizations and civilians; and, as well, America’s premier law enforcement, military and special ops units.
Krav Maga was designed and based upon the world’s best martial arts systems, including: Muay Thai, JiuJitsu, Taekwondo, Western Boxing, Russian Sambo, etc.; however, this is where any similarity ends. Because it is not a sport, many of our military’s lethal combat techniques have also been incorporated, proving that one can achieve competence based upon his or her simple desire to fight back, as anyone is vulnerable to certain types of strikes, chokes and disarms, no matter how menacing!