Should you learn Krava Maga or Martial Arts?
Krav Maga uses techniques from various martial arts, however Krav Maga is not technically a martial art itself.
Krav Maga utilizes techniques to stop an attacking in the most effective of realistic way. e.g. a fight in the street.
It consists of immediate counter attacks, strikes to vulnerable places in the body such as the eyes or groin, and also utilizing your surrounds by using object as weapons etc.
Krav Maga is probably one of the most realistic fighting techniques there is, due to the brutality of it and the fact that there are no rules.
Why Martial Arts?
If you really want to appreciate the art of a fighting technique or compete in a tournament with rules then maybe martial arts is for you. Take Karate for example, is it a Japanese martial art and does not have to be violent. Kyokushin is probably one of the most aggressive styles of Karate however there are still rules e.g .No punches to the head. Kicks to the head are allowed though.
People who are not interested in fighting tend to do Kata which is a sequence of movements depending on the grade you are.
Some people may argue that Karate is not effective in real life situations. An expert should be able to use Karate efficiently in a real life situation, however most people who take up Karate are not aiming to be thugs.
Judo is another popular one, which is based on throwing techniques as is highly competitive, especially in the Olympic games.
You have martial arts from China like Kung Fu. People debate on it’s real effectiveness however Kung-Fu experts may have no interest of it’s use in real life, there main objective is to perfect the techniques they have learned.
Some have labeled Krav Maga as violent and dirty. Basically it is a form of self defense design to be used to real situations. If you are in a life or death situation, you attackers needs to be put down in whatever way possible. Simply knocking somebody down may not give you enough time to escape. Krav Maga encourages you to cause damage such that the fallen attacker is not able to immediately stand up and give pursuit.
It may sound violent but may be the only way in some countries in the west.
Countries like Japan, although not 100% crime free, don’t have day to day street violence. The average Japanese citizen will not see the need to learn such violent fighting styles, especially when they have their own such as Karate, Judo, Aikido, Jujutsu, Kendo Shorinji-Kenpo etc.
Which one is best for me?
That depends what your purpose is.
If you live in a dangerous place and believe that real self defense is a must then maybe you should take up something like Krav Maga. It is very popular in the west even for women who tend to be more vulnerable to attackers. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are. A double eye gouge, head butt, knee to the groin and then elbow to the back of the head should finish off most attackers is a few seconds. Even biting is done sometimes.
If you simply want to be a practitioner and enjoy the art or competition sport then you should probably consider a Martial Art.
However in terms of power attacks, a martial art technique will probably generate more power, due to the fact that you are perfecting your technique for maximum power e.g. a Thai Boxer or Kick Boxers Kick.
Training for fitness
If training for fitness, I would recommend something that involves full impact training and bag work e.g. Boxing or Kickboxing. Krav Maga is effective but in terms of exercise, there will be a lot of standing around waiting for your training partner to attack. You may not even work out a sweat if you are simply focusing on techniques.
For Boxing on the other hand, or even Kick Boxing. Even 2 minutes on the bag can tire you out let alone 5-6 sets.
Krav Maga on the other hand can actually be hard to apply in training because your partner needs to be cooperative. In real life your attacker will not be so cooperative. In competitive martial arts you can put on protection and go hard, sometimes even up to 90% which can also prepare you mentally for situations outside the ring. People doing Krav Maga may not have experienced going full out.
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