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Telling the Difference: What Krav Maga is and what it isn’t

By Amy Horn

There are things that Krav Maga is, and things that Krav Maga is not. When talking with people about Krav Maga, they have a lot of impressions about it, and really self defense in general. I thought I would cover just a few things that I’ve observed about what it is and what it isn’t. Tell us what you think or if you can add your own to this list:

  • It’s a useful tool. I personally believe that it’s important for everyone to know how to defend themselves. Every day we hear on the news about shootings, assaults, and rape that are done to people at random. There is no order to it. It’s part of humanity. If you know how to defend yourself at least you are giving yourself a chance. It provides you with a way out when you’re in tough situations. That feeling of panic that comes over you when you feel like something is about to happen, it’s extremely scary. One thing that Krav Maga makes sure to drill into your head is that you need to avoid fighting as much as possible. However talking your way out is not always an option-that’s where self defense comes in.
  • It’s always changing & evolving. The unique thing about Krav Maga is that it is an art that is always being modified as people become more knowledgeable and are always looking for the more effective approach to a situation. Krav Maga Worldwide, for instance, just updated their curriculum, adding defenses to the various levels and updating what should be known at each level to make the fighter more effective as they grow and learn.
  • It’s not as widely known as it should be. I spoke to people at work about Krav Maga recently and I what I inferred what that most people had absolutely no idea what it was, which is unfortunate. Since it’s an art that encompasses such a variety of martial arts, it’s one of the more well-rounded options out there. Due to its simplicity and adaptability, anyone can do it. At its core are a set of skills that even under the greatest of stress, anyone can execute. The more people educate themselves about Krav Maga and self defense, the more widely known it will be.

What Krav Maga and self defense is not:

    • An excuse to pick a fight. Just because you know how to fight, doesn’t mean you should. I have people ask me all the time to attack them since “I know how to fight.” Now, I know it’s just out of their ignorance of what it is, but Krav Maga is defensive, not offensive. Like I said before-just because you know how to fight, doesn’t mean you should. Pride and a tough guy attitude has no place in Krav Maga and usually winds up getting you in serious trouble.
    • Just a one-time thing. This is probably the biggest one. People think that they can take a 2-3 hour course in self defense and suddenly they know what to do and how to protect themselves. That couldn’t be further from the truth in my opinion. Master instructors who have been teaching for 30 years are always learning new things and becoming educated on how to be more effective in teaching and practicing self defense. To be clear, I’m not opposed to taking one class on self defense-anything you learn can be beneficial. However if you really want to know how to protect yourself, it’s important to become a student and take as many lessons as possible. If you’re unsure whether you want to study self defense, I recommend signing up for a few courses offered at your local schools and see if it’s something you’re interested in. If it grabs your attention, run with it and learn as much as you can.
    • Something that only the very fit and active can learn. Some people tend to associate martial arts with men like Bruce Lee or Jean Claude Van Damme who are in peak physical condition and think that they would never be able to do anything like that. Well to be frank, you probably can’t. Those men have trained for years. But you can get into shape through the study of Krav Maga. Though it can seem intimidating, Krav Maga can be a great way to transition from sitting on your butt to getting into great shape. Once you begin to train you’ll find that you’re not only having fun, but you’re learning a skill set that is easy to learn and you’ll be getting fit at the same time!
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