View Full Version : Any feedback on Krav Maga?

April 26, 2000, 06:37 PM
I've been seeing a lot of PR for Krav Maga, supposedly an Israeli system of practical hand-to-hand combat. Any TLFers have any experience or feedback?

April 27, 2000, 03:17 PM
I don't have a lot of firsthand knowledge, but from seeing demonstrations and playing with a couple stylists, the KM systems seems pretty effective, with emphasis on knee and elbow strikes.

July 19, 2001, 03:28 AM
:) I've been taking Krav Maga for 2 1/2 years and it's the best thing that has ever happened to me. I started with little experiance in MA (Shotokan Karate). I came into class at 350 LBS and now I'm at 265 and dropping.

As for street effectivness. Last week we had an Oakland Police Officer (CA) use a gun take away technique from Krav Maga to save his life.

And about two month's ago we had a 4'11 125 Lbs female correction officer stop and subdue a 5'11 280 lbs inmate charging her with Krav Maga knee techniques.

As for feedback from most other Martial Artists who've taken Krav Maga. The most common are:

They've felt like they've been ripped off for the past x number of years taking (fill in the blank martial art).

They like it, because it is direct and straight to the point.

another comment I've heard, is that it improves thier performance in whatever art they've taken previously.

I know this is an old post, but I thought I should respond.

By the way check with www.kravmaga.com for a school near you.

Just thought I'd give you my 2 cents worth.

July 19, 2001, 04:53 PM
Welcome to TFL, and thanks for the input!

July 19, 2001, 08:55 PM
I have a low opinion of Krav Mega ( lit. "touching combat") and of most martial arts except boxing, Jet koun Do, Mai Thai and a few others. Krav Mega is good for beginers with simple moves that MAY be effective against a stupid (gets too close with a gun/dull knife etc.) or non-determined attacker.

Like all martial arts, the larger person...IF DETERMINED will previal, unless you use an apropriate wepon. For victemization/rape prevention it's O.K....just don't let any system give you false confidence, it should be part of the whole defense system.

July 20, 2001, 12:01 AM
Izzy, you have no clue about Krav Maga. I suggest you check out the schools located in the Virginia area to gather a factual opinion about it before posting. If really like JKD, Boxing, and Muay Thai, then you'd really like Krav Maga.

July 20, 2001, 01:24 AM
Krav Mega [sic] is good for beginers with simple moves

Simple moves are good for everyone. I try to make my training as simple as possible. Yeah, I know joint locks, grip-switching knife drills and long, complicated staff forms, but when it goes down? Break stuff. Quickly.

I'm not too familiar with Krav Maga, having only trained with some guys who are into it. But from what I understand, it is part of the distinguished tradition of military combative arts such as those developed and taught by Fairbairn and Applegate. No nonsense, in other words, and designed to get you up and running with some ability in a short time.

Military combatives are the original JKD. That isn't to say that being in the military makes you a good fighter; but time and research has shown simple, brutal techniques to be the ones that work when you have to go through somebody immediately. If you work these systems with dedication, they will serve you well.

July 20, 2001, 03:14 AM
;) Well, Mort you definantly have a clue of what Krav Maga is about. The system was desighned to bring people with no skill - up to fight very quickly. I'm also glad to see that you actually know the difference between complicated moves on the DOJO floor and what goes on in a streetfight. You've obviously have experiance in that area.

I'm just curious as to what arts your trained in.

I also thank you for your words of encouragement. I'm most definantly sure that your students have one hell of an Instructor.

July 20, 2001, 09:38 AM
I sympathize with what IZZY's probably trying to say... that guns are the ultimate equalizer and that we should toss out our guns in favor of martial arts for self-defense (often an anti response "I know Kung Fu, I don't need a gun... neither do you!"). But as gun owners we shouldn't do the same thing and throw out martial arts.

Martial arts have value as recreation, exercise, and mental/social well being. I don't want to get to philosophical on you, but America has always had the gun... so fighting has always been about Excellence of Aim rather than Excellence of Self. You can train and train, but for most of us, there's only so much reality we can simulate with firearms... martial arts- especially those with heavy sparring and rolling- let you get hit, grappled, and thrown and still keep going. This kind of mental preparedness carries over to the street and even to firearms. And they work! At least for me! I had a successful defense just a few weeks ago.

In any case, I'd hardly claim my fists are better than your guns... but I will say MAs have been good for me, period.

btw, I assume your misspelling is meant to make fun of the MAs, but you misspell even the ones on your exception list (aside from boxing- my MA!)... I don't get it.

July 20, 2001, 03:27 PM
if this krav mag whatever system is soooooooo effective then why doesn't someone come from out of the mystical shadows and prove it in the UFC octagon.

July 20, 2001, 05:07 PM
Not to stand up for Krav Maga specifically, but just against that line of reasoning. Combatives, like Krav Maga, are fundamentally designed for people with better things to do with their lives than roll on the mat or rumble in a cage all day. Designed for people that do OTHER things first and foremost... with hand to hand combat being just another tool in the box.

Aside from other factors that makes UFC unrealistic, one of the important ones is the training regime these athletes go through. The top contenders do nothing else but train in their arts all day long. They're professionals. In that respect, it could be argued that many of THEIR arts are ineffective... requiring hours upon hours of training and mastery to be of any use. UFC is a sport with a very specific type of comparision. Effectiveness can't simply be measured by a standard of whether you'd be able to take a flying armbar from a 210lbs pro-fighter.

If something allows a female to take down an aggressor a foot taller giving over 100lbs without dedicated pro-fighting-level training... I'd consider that something to be effective (that's why I consider GUNS effective!).

July 20, 2001, 09:53 PM
Good answer.

The stuff I train in IS more complicated, but I don't recommend it for someone who isn't willing to dedicate a large slice o' life to learning it.

July 20, 2001, 10:23 PM
FYI Eyeball, the Following UFC Guys train in Krav Maga:

Bas Ruten

Oleg Taktaroff


Tito Ortiz.

They train at the LA Krav Center.

Bas is a real nice guy, and he is a great instructor.

Nuff said.

P.S. Paladin, I don't discount firearms at all, I love my guns, but it's alway great to add more tools to the tool box.

" A man may know a million moves in martial arts, but one bullet can end them all"- Bruce Lee

July 23, 2001, 09:52 AM
Krav Mega...and just about any martial art would not stand a chance against a guy with a nice razor sharp 5 inch Finnish blade in the hands of some one who knows how to use it.

I do know something about Krav Mega...Your accusations made out of fustration for me trashing your prefered method of combat are meaningless.

As I told my "Krav Mega" Instructor when she aked ( in Hebrew) " So when do you use a "cold wepon", I answered " Anytime you dont have a "Hot one". Not the answer they wanted, but its the dang truth.

( "Cold wepon"= Kinfe, club, Rifle butt Etc. "Hot Wepon"= Handgun, rifle etc.)

Do I think Krav Mega is useless? No. Like I said for folk who don't have a clue how to be in a real fight...For folks starting out it' s a good point of departure. None of what it teaches is new.

BTW for those ( like me) who are really intrested in the origins of this stuff , and a chance to learn something new ( despite my misspellings- which are not ment to make fun of any body).... http://www.sundaytimesdirect.co.uk claims to have the recently declassifed OSS manual on fighting etc. on August 15 for 18 pounds... :)

July 24, 2001, 03:06 AM
Rise of Krav Maga is a part of a martial arts trend nowadays to proclaims combatives as "the next best thing" (remember Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Tae-Bo, what have you, in roughly chronological order?).

Combatives are excellent for bringing up raw recruits with minimal unarmed training quickly up to speed on basic unarmed self-defense methods that mostly work well. However, it is a part of the equation rather than a whole solution to unarmed self-defense.

For realistic self-defense training, there must first be an appreciation for the effects of weapons (firearms, blades, pipes, scissors, chairs, etc.). Systems such as Jeet Kune Do and Kali tend to excel there.

As for realistic UNARMED self-defense training, there should be, at minimum, three things that are achieved by such training:

1. Physical attribute improvements (Karl Gotch always said that "conditioning is the best catch" and Don Draeger pioneered the use of weight training for Judoka). Too many folks fall for "superior technique only can overcome strength difference" trap - there is some truth to it, but not enough to fall back on reliably in all situations.

2. Realistic techniques for ALL ranges of unarmed combat. No countering one punch with a duck and ten counter techniques or catching the punching arm by the wrist and wrist-lock throwing.

3. Dynamic training (free-sparring or Randori) to the extent possible (again in all ranges) while preserving the margin of safety for the trainees. This is very important as static, "I-hit-you-then-you-do-this" type ONLY training does not prepare the practitioner for dynamic, unexpected and "fast-and-furious" reality of actual physical encounters. Many Aikido dojos, for example, delude themselves in this regard (not to say that Aikido is useless - it has some marvelous techniques for weapon retention and builds attributes like crazy - but that's another story). Of course, one can NEVER be 100% realistic, but some realism through sparring is better than none. No, the UFC is not realistic, but it is heck of a lot more realistic than Tae Kwon Do foot-tag competitions or kickboxing matches, or for that matter, no sparring/dynamic training at all.

Does Krav Maga (or any combative) fulfill all three? No - one, maybe two, but not all three. But then again, what system really does? Few, if any. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (which I practice and love)also covers one or maybe two aspects at best. Naturally, some are better than others (I wouldn't for the life of me recommend Tae Kwon Do, for example, as a realistic unarmed self-defense system).

Lastly, it should be noted that with any system, there must be constant practice. It's been scientifically demonstrated that muscle memory takes a minimum of 1,000 repetitions to achieve properly. Practicing some combative type moves or some Jiu-Jitsu "tricks" a few hours isn't going to do anyone any good.

If one is serious about learning unarmed self-defense, it must really invove a lifestyle change. But then again, it's good for your health (generally) anyway - so why not do it?

Otherwise, don't expect to be a couch potato, go learn Krav Maga (or anything) for a few hours and be falsely confident about one's ability to handle onself in dicey situations. If time is an issue (that is if you are too busy to work out at all), spend the time to learn to operate better equalizers (firearms, for example) and hope to God that you never drop it, lose it, struggle for it or generally have it unavailable (as several cases have demonstrated in the pages of "American Rifleman").

BTW, I personally like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, NOT because I am deluded enough to think that it's THE SYSTEM and NOT because I want to flop to the ground to fend off attackers, but because 1) it's fun for me and 2) because it deals with one situation in which I cannot use my track-and-field skills to run away like a bat-out-hell to "evade" the situation - when I am FORCED to the ground (lose mobility) with no other weapon. My goal is not to get arm locks or foot locks. My goal is to use whatever method possible (including arm locks or foot locks or anything else) as a means to HELP ME reverse the situation, get up and take off in a hurry - which is the real end.


July 24, 2001, 04:17 AM
MadGrad, I take it you live in L.A. as well. Do you only study Krav Maga or do you have experience with other gyms here in L.A. ? I'd like to hear more first hand info about the school on Century Blvd. I've met one of the instructors at a Muay Thai tournament (ironically he introduced me to Bas) but haven't heard much about the school since.

July 25, 2001, 10:51 AM
Well said Skorzeny!

July 26, 2001, 12:21 AM
Very well put Skorzeny,and yes Krav Maga does fulfill all three of your requirements.

The only weakness Krav Maga does have is ground techniques. If we get on the ground with a Wrestler, Judoku, and BJJ person, were pretty much toast. If none of our strikes work. This why we train not to go to the ground unless we can't help it.

As for most of the combatives, the only ones I know of being taught in the U.S. before everybody jumped on the combatives band wagon:

Is American Combatives using the Fairburn Methods pionered for the OSS, with Mr. Karey teaching it.

and Krav Maga

Whose people have been going around the U.S. doing Law Enforcement Seminars and Teaching Krav Maga in the U.S. since 1981.

Any one of the three reasons you mentioned earlier is always included in the answer given on why we get people training with us in our School.

As Personal observance.

There seems to be a large and growing discontentment out there of people and martial artists alike, who actually want to learn how to fight and are sick of the Mc Dojo's with thier TV show series "Kung Fu" eastern philosopy mysticysim, point fighting best/ Kata/ Forms get a trophy training.

There is nothing wrong with that if thats what your into or thats what your seeking through Martial Arts, but if you want to learn how to fight it's a different ballgame all together. Most Mc Dojo's don't explain this difference to students. They usually find out the hard way, taking there first real hit in the street.

What I'm seeing in the Combatives field now is several different things coming out.

1. Lot's MA's who are sick of "no head contact" training modifying thier style to the street as best as they can.

2. The bottom Feeding Mc Dojo's sensing this discontentment and reinventing themselves as a way to make money while deceiving people. i.e. "Oh yeah we're teaching combatives" but you go in and none of these people are allowed spar, or are even conditioned to fight at all.

3. The true frauds and con men making up "Combative Systems" with no clue how to fight at all. i.e. SCARS and another guy named David Slavin (read about him in the Santa Clara Metro alternative {CA}news paper weekly story archives) [he's serving prison time now]

This is why I love Boxing,Judo ,Krav and Muay Thai so much. That's also why I reccomend trying these arts to any MA (Martial Artist)or other person whose intrested in knowing the difference between point fighting and fighting just below a street fight level.

Nuff said.

P.S. to A-Team

I don't live in LA, I was just visiting the La Krav Center and was lucky enough to have a class with Bas Rutten.

I think the instructor your thinking of is Vut Kammark. I probally F' d up the spelling. He's in charge of thier Muay Thai program.

July 27, 2001, 11:52 PM
IZZY, if you agree with what Skorenzy said then you aren't expressing yourself well here. So far you have sounded like you discount martial arts in general. Please clarify.

July 28, 2001, 12:07 AM


July 28, 2001, 03:18 AM

From what I've seen Krav Maga does NOT address all three.

Even by your own admission, Krav Maga lacks good techniques from the ground (that violates "techniques in all ranges of fight" and "free sparring, again in all ranges of fight" categories). "Training not to go to the ground" and knowing how to get out once you are unwillingly forced there are two VERY different things.

A lot of people with little interest or knowledge in ground techniques will denigrate the likes of Judo, Sambo and BJJ - often justifying their bias by stating something like "you should never go to the deck in a real fight, because the other guy's friend can bash your skull..." ad naseum (funny thing - I've been bashed in the skull from behind by another guy while I was trying to "box" with one guy while on my FEET - guess that vulnerability is NOT uniquely for grappling).

What's interesting about it is that these very people don't seem to recognize what unarmed self-defense system is all about. For me, such a thing is not for getting into fights or "winning" in a conventional sense. It's about escaping from a bad situation unscathed PARTICULARLY when one is presented with an UNEXPECTED situation. When you are violently assaulted and ALREADY knocked to the ground from behind (and you either did not have a weapon or dropped it), the last thing you need in your mind is "you should not go to the ground at any cost" mantra. What you need is at that poin tis "Relax! I'm okay here, because I'm not finished yet. Now, avoid strikes and how can I get up safely and run away?"

The reason for being up is to re-gain (or keep) mobility SO YOU CAN EVADE AND ESCAPE and, by GOD, NOT SO THAT YOU CAN STAY AND FIGHT (using whatever golden technique you think you have).

I should qualify above statement by adding the following. At the end, it's the man and not the "system." Why? Because no "martial art" or "combative system" is a monolith. In BJJ, for example, the sportive style BJJ taught by Rorion Gracie is a very different thing of BJJ than what Mario Sperry advocates for the street or the NHB cage. They are both called BJJ, they share many base techniques, but at the end, the mentality, focus and choice (or emphasis) of techniques are VERY different.

Likewise, I imagine "Krav Maga" runs a whole gamut of things from foot-slap type training to a serious combination of combatives and free-sparring training. Ultimately, it is not what the "advocates" of various systems say it is, rather it is how you practice at your place of instruction.

BTW, one guy who is really seems to be a pioneer in combining many of these elements is Roy Harris of Progressive Fighting Systems. Among other things, he is the first American black belt in BJJ. He is a JKD concepts and Kali instructor under Paul Vunak. He also teaches Savate. He was a LEO at one time. Though I do not have a personal knowledge of him, he seems to have a very intelligently set up phase program that progresses from shadow boxing and BJJ to stick/knife fighting and Kina Mutai (biting and gouging set up art).


July 28, 2001, 03:33 AM
One more thing. As much as I LIKE BJJ and Muay Thai, the one really overlooked hybrid system in the US is SAMBO.

The Soviets really did a good job of developing a great combination of 1) sportive Sambo (throwing and grappling with uniforms), 2) self-defense Sambo (combative style training) and 3) military Sambo (weapons, such as knives, rifles and especially SPADES plus others).

Sambo is a sort of AK-47 or Makarov of the martial arts. It borrowed heavily from foreign designs (Judo, wrestling, etc.), but distilled to local flavors, emphasizing simplicty, reliability and practicality. It is definitely not as "pretty" or "artsy" as Western and American systems (but then again, neither are AKs or Makarovs), but like the guns, they seem to work well ENOUGH.

I wish there were more Sambo schools in the US.

Lastly, there seems to be a great deal of emphasis on what varous LEO agencies adopt as a means to "prove" superiority. To me, this has about as much validation as the US military teaching basic BJJ to soldiers (Wwhhaatt??? What the hell for?) - which is to say very little.

In the first place, cops and soldiers cannot run away from a "scene." A civilian sure can and most definitely SHOULD. Even between cops and soldiers, levels of acceptable lethality are VASTLY different. Secondly, cops and soldiers (as demonstrated by BJJ being adopted for example) are just as subject to fanciful whims of marketing and hype as the rest of us are.


July 30, 2001, 02:44 AM
I agree, Skorzeny, Sambo is really great. It's an art born of guys who experimented endlessly and borrowed heavily. Some people think that Sambo is just ground stuff, but they have filled in all the ranges. I also picked up some "Furniture Sambo" from Brett Jacques, cool stuff. Throwing chairs with your feet, locking people out with tables, etc.

July 30, 2001, 04:49 AM

I don't know the man or his work, but I've heard that Dr. Jacques is the real thing.

Any bozo who thinks that SAMBO means nothing but throwing and grappling about in funny jackets should acquaint himself with an MVD Spetsnaz tooling about with his spade.

Go up and ask the man what he thinks he can do with "that little shovel" of his. Insult his mother (or wife). If that doesn't seem to awaken the man from his vodka-inspired stupor, ask him if "Spetsnaz" means "inclined toward other men" in Russian.

More likely than not, the tip of the shovel will be between your eyes shortly before you lose consciousness. Hey, but you'll know what Sambo is, eh?


July 31, 2001, 12:55 AM
Skorzeny and mort,
some excellent points.BUT...
Yes,sport Sambo and the basic self defence system versions are borrowed very heavily from other arts.THe best are taken (or were taken) from then and tried,tested and put together.
But,like mentioned,what some units in MVD Spetsnaz use is called Combat Sambo Spetsnaz or referred to as Rukopashni Boii.This is a truly native Russian art.This was taught to about mid-level Spetsnaz.Basic Spetsnaz were taught a Karate/TKD/other mixes alternative,but again,heavily modified to suit the needs of this unique group of Special forces.
Rukopashni Boi,or comabat Sambo Spetsnaz,is VERY lethal.One learned in this art and well.....the Krav maga practicioner or practicioner of most other conventional arts better run away.Spetsnaz are the best military force in the worl at H2H combat,there is just no question of this,their training regime requires them to practice this efficiently,ruthlessly and often.A Spetsnaz sparring session is brutal
For the man in the street?Effective?Of course.Do a little research and you will find out just how often Spetsnaz have to put H2H skills into practice,they are more than just soldiers on the field.
But one thing about Krav Maga.It is a very good,effective art for self defense.It will teach you very basic,brutal techniques and the training/sparring sessions in Krav maga are excellent,very realistic.

July 31, 2001, 01:59 PM
Acctually, Krav Maga has a VERY GOOD system of groundfighting to deal with groundwork, however it does not work to well playfighting on the ground. The system emphezices simple techniques of attacking and getting up as soon as possible, not locking and wrestling. It also includes biting, fingers to the eyes etc. These are things that will stop a groundfighter from "wanting" to make groundfighting.

This I am telling you from a background as KM instructor and Shootfighting instructor for many years. There is a big difference from sport combat and real combat.

KM is not suited for UFC because of this. It is in our nature to deal with an attack in any way possible. No rules. And in even the first UFC before all the rules, there where some important rules: No attacking eyes or groin, no biting, etc.. All things which are very important tools in fighting.

The KM system is with out any doubt one of the most complete system when it comes to dealing with all aspects of fighting. We include weapons training. If suddenly attacked on the street you might not have the time to draw the weapon (yes I am a firearms instructor and love my gun) at time you are attaced, but with a good base in KM or any other realistic system the unarmed defenses might give you the time to introduce the firearm into the fight. This is training usually done in a bit higher level training in KM, but it IS IN THE SYSTEM.

To say that KM only works against untrained and simple attackers is just showing a very limited knowledge of what KM is. It is true that in the basic levels there are techniques against basic attacks and threats. However these are still, luckily, the most common attacks on the streets around the world, and the student has to start somewhere.

In higher levels you are taught knifefighting which is very effective.

Rune Lind
KM Norway

July 31, 2001, 02:15 PM
My dissatisfaction with martial arts in general stems from a lack of effectiveness against multiple atackers/ more body wheight, lack of good defense against a knife, and a general cocky attidude people seem to get when they learn one of these arts.

I never leave the house with out a sharp knife or a gun or both.

Enjoy "Krav Mega"

July 31, 2001, 10:00 PM
Hey, Witzig

A large part of the Isreali Army is now made up of former Russian Soldiers including Spetznatz people.

Also all the Russians I have trained with no matter what they're MA or Sports Background is, are Brutal when they train. This is because in Russia they start young, and thier training is not watered down at all for fear of someone getting hurt like here in the U.S. They train for war. You should check out thier Judo guys to. They are awesome.

July 31, 2001, 10:03 PM
:D I'm glad you put it in terms that are easy to understand. You said what I was trying to say, but couldn't express myself well about KM ground techniques.

Thank you.

August 4, 2001, 12:58 PM
I have been training Krav Maga for couple of years and found some messages in this thread to be quite interesting. Most of the questions asked about Krav Maga got already answered here (and if some didn't, ask Rune Lind, he always seems to find good and accurate answers to questions concerning KM).

One of the things that got my attention was IZZY's post saying: 'Krav Mega...and just about any martial art would not stand a chance against a guy with a nice razor sharp 5 inch Finnish blade in the hands of some one who knows how to use it'

What I believe is that training ie. Krav Maga, gives you a great advantage in bare hands vs. knife -fight when compared to a person who hasn't had any training, so why not to do it? And as IZZY said 'in the hands of some one who knows how to use it', thats one of the reasons why we train to use those things in Krav Maga.

- Jussi, a finnish Krav Maga trainee, who sees finnish blades daily ;)