Krav Maga is essentially a unique martial arts discipline based on using instinctive and natural self defense techniques. For many years now it has been recognized as a means of self defense that is easy to learn in a relatively short period of time. Of course, becoming an advanced proficient requires years of unceasing study, but for most people’s purposes an introductory course is enough to learn the rudimentary techniques.
This unique system of self defense was developed throughout the 1930s and the 1940s by an individual named Imi Lichtenfeld. Lichtenfeld grew up in the tough neighborhoods of Bratislava where he was frequently called upon to defend himself against fascist groups. Eventually he immigrated to Israel. Once settled he continued to refine his self defense techniques. Krav Maga eventually became the self defense technique of choice of the Israeli Defense Forces. After some years the discipline spread to other continents and today many local and national police and defense forces use the techniques as part of their training.
People gravitate to the study of this discipline for a variety of reasons. The most casual students enroll in courses to improve their overall physical abilities. These fitness classes mainly train students for strength and conditioning purposes. Members of these classes will encounter many different tools throughout their training. Each session may have them using a heavy bag, Kettle balls, medicine balls and jump ropes. Most classes will require that students wear boxing or bag gloves for each session to protect their hands. People taking these fitness courses will undergo both cardiovascular and resistance training in a full body workout that is unlike the workouts found at any other gym. It really is a shock to the system and many students see results very quickly.
Krav Maga fitness classes typically do not involve sparring. This makes for a non-competitive and non-confrontational atmosphere where students are free to focus on their technique and personal goals. People who are interested in self defense or who would like to try fighting must enroll in classes where these skills are taught. Some students enroll in both fitness and fighting classes as these integrate well and the techniques learned in each course helpfully informs the other.
Students enrolled in self defense courses learn how to respond in the case that they are ever attacked. In such classes instructors teach students to adequately defend themselves while also launching an efficient offensive against their attacker, if necessary. The goal of such techniques is for the victim to escape with a minimum of harm. Consequently, many of the maneuvers taught will focus on inflicting harm on an opponent while also preventing injury to oneself. In this discipline there are no rules and no one is keeping score. Students must commit to the idea that it is likely they will injure their attacker should such an occurrence ever happen.
Using Krav Maga as a self defense technique is an excellent method of protection. Instructors teach students to use their maneuvers in small, cramped spaces and in large open rooms. They learn how to react if they are grabbed from behind and how to break the most commonly used grappling holds. Students are also familiarized with the concept of hand striking. This most typically involves punches, but may also involve throwing elbows. Low kicks are also a well accepted technique with which students must grow comfortable. The beauty of this technique is that so many of the moves are based on instinctive responses. It is relatively easy for even the novice student to recall their training even under the most stressful and unexpected circumstances.
Students who are more interested in the fighting aspects of the discipline can take different courses that allow more realistic combat. Many of the people who take such courses are already experienced boxers or have long studied other forms of martial arts. They are able to combine their previous knowledge with that which they gain through the study of Krav Maga to make themselves even more formidable opponents. These advanced students will be introduced to the concepts of ground fighting, throwing and take downs. Most people who study the discipline will never encounter these subjects, but for those who plan to be instructors or are professional fighters this can be valuable information. The use of such techniques is not recommended, however, for most practitioners.
Many people are drawn to this unique and fascinating means of self defense. Some people add it to their regular fitness routine while others are seeking advanced skills and knowledge. Starting out in a fitness class is a great way to get familiar with the discipline and decide whether or not to pursue it further. Self-defense classes will gradually build up to sparring so students can gain confidence and ability as their knowledge grows.