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A Guide to the Best Self Defense System

Updated on April 20, 2008

Krav Maga: The Most Effective Self Defense System

If you are thinking about taking up a self-defense class, just please indulge me for a couple minutes of your time. I am sure you are looking for the most effective martial arts and fitness systems but through my own personal experience and common sense, I found that the Israeli martial art " Krav Maga " would be the best choice for any man, woman or child.

Founded by Imi Lichtenfeld in the 1930s, " Krav Maga " became the training mainstay for the developing Israeli Defense Force before Israel even became an official state. The training was so realistic and brutal but it did its job and Israel eventually became a state in 1948. " Krav Maga " has expanded Worldwide with a number of official schools and seminars and is also becoming the official training of many police agencies and military outfits in the USA.

I personally have been taking " Krav Maga " for about a year. Now I've went through some pretty grueling physical training in my past mind you. I was a US Marine from 1989 to 1993 and I am a Desert Storm vet so you can imagine what I have been through. Just empathize :) Lets see....oh yeah! I was on the wrestling team in high school and took some boxing classes in my teen years so I started the extreme training early on. Of course I can't really explain the experience of Marine Corp boot camp.......its just one of those things that has to be experienced for yourself. It something else, I tell ya. After getting out of the military, I kept myself in decent shape but nothing really to extreme. A couple of years ago, I was reading some magazine and it mentioned " Krav Maga " and I became very interested because it sounded real. But i found out that the closest school was almost an hour away and I hate driving so I just put it off. Then about a year ago, I heard an ad on the radio about a gun defense seminar with one of the top instructors of " Krav Maga " named Sam Sade. I attended the seminar and loved it so much I signed up for a year with the new " Krav Maga " school only 3 miles away from me!! So starts my new extreme workout and boy was I about to get it!

When I joined the " Krav Maga " school had given me hand wraps to protect my hands. Some pants and a t-shirt also. I bought some 4 ounce training gloves because they are easier to put on then hand wraps and protect my hands better but everyone is different so if you were to take these classes, you might like the hand wraps just by themselves. And of course because I am a man.....a protective cup for the family jewels :) I also joined the " Fight Club " of my school which means I can take additional classes other then the " Krav Maga " classes. Additional classes as follows....

  • Intro fight
  • Advanced fight
  • grappling
  • boxing fundamentals
  • weapons
  • conditioning

Not every Krav Maga school offer these classes so please check with the local " Krav Maga " in your area to see what they have to offer. These classes are basically teaching the students MMA which stands for " Mixed Martial Arts ". Basic boxing, kicking and grappling skills are taught at 1st then as the student advances the workouts become more intense.

But I am getting off track here, sorry about that ;) This is supposed to be about " Krav Maga " right? Your basic level one ( beginner ) " Krav Maga " class usually starts with a stretch and a quick warm-up. Not always in that order and not always an easy warm-up. Sometimes I am sweating profusely in the 1st 10 minutes of a 60 minute class. Sometimes they have you shadow box with yourself in the huge mirrors that usually surround the gym. The class usually goes into basic fighting stances and correct posture. In the school I go to, there is between 10 and 30 people in a single class and depending how big the gym is ( I am sorry to say that my school's gym is pretty small ) you could be bumping into people. But sometimes, that plays into the instructors hands and they use that in the training. The class could go in different directions. Sometimes the instructors will have you pick a partner and practice your punches, kicks, elbow strikes, knee strikes and headbutts. All this is done with protective shields that are called " tombstones " because of their shape. They also have larger kicking shields for kicking of course and knee strikes. Even with this protection, you can feel the force of the blows because you have to remember that they are training you to go all out and the instructors want it as realistic as possible. So I could be training with a guy that outweighs me by 50 pounds and is 5 inches taller then me and have to take the full force of his blows. Of course you should always try to partner up with a person your size and sex. I can't see giving an all out front kick to a little petite woman ya know? :) In level one " Krav Maga " ( there are 3 levels but I will get into those later ) a student is taught these moves and techniques....

  • Correct fighting stance
  • Defensive fighting stance
  • Striking
  • Elbow Strikes ( very devastating )
  • Knee Strikes
  • Front and Groin kicks
  • Palm Strikes
  • Hammer fist Strikes
  • 360' Defense ( defense from kicks and punches )
  • Headbutts
  • Choke Defense
  • Headlock Defense
  • Physical Conditioning
  • Stretching Techniques

You have to remember that in the midst of all this combat training the instructors are conditioning your heart and body to prepare it for a possible situation that might involve you having to use some of the training you received. These possible scenarios include a bar or street fight you are in the middle of, an attempted mugging or random murder, a home invasion or you could just be in the wrong place at the wrong time get the picture. The " Krav Maga " instructors are basically preparing you for a life or death situation, hence the actual fight training and the additional cardio training. You would be surprised to find out just how long you can punch a " tombstone " pad. I personally get winded in under a minute so just imagine having to fight for your live or the live of one of your loved ones. It would help a whole bunch if you were in better shape then your attacker(s) and knew how to throw an effective punch, kick, elbow or knee strike. I highly recommend " Krav Maga " for women. I am sure you all know that a domestic attack or a rape happens every couple minutes in this country on a woman so please ladies......consider this self defense system to protect yourself. The Krav Maga Association has recently added a " KMX " class for kids from ages 5 - 12. Please check with your local " Krav Maga" school to see if they offer the " KMX " classes. I kinda wish they had this stuff around when I was a kid because I grew up in a rough area and it would have been nice to be able to defend myself a little better. But " KMX" is not about teaching kids to go out and start a brawl. Remember, " Krav Maga " is a martial art so it teaches the mind, body and soul. Martial arts discipline is also a very valuable tool for teaching kids good life skills, adults too!!!

The " Krav Maga " instructors get very creative in their training techniques. Its always something new and it keeps the classes exciting and fresh, never boring folks. They will have you run around the gym and slap each other in the knees or shoulder with an open hand to instill punch defenses. They will have you call out a number from 1-5 and while you are running around the gym, the instructor will call out one of those numbers and if your number is called you and the others with the same number will race to the middle of the room and attack kicking bags or prone bags. But the kicker is that there are only 4 bags. The slowest person has an extra incentive to go faster next time and spare him/herself another bout of humiliation. Do you get the picture yet? And the whole time this training is going on, the instructors are blasting music to add to the chaos. But of course, the instructors are always walking around and correcting any mistakes they see any student doing. Safety of the student is of prime importance for any " Krav Maga " school. But remember, it is true what they say, " no pain, no gain ". You get what you put into it so it is wise to give 100% at all classes. Will you injure yourself? It's a possibility, but hey.....that's life.

After about 6 months or so ( maybe sooner ) a student who thinks he or she is ready and the instructors agree with him or her, then that student is eligible to take the " Krav Maga " level 2 test ( yellow belt ). Once you pass this test that only takes half a day but is brutal nonetheless, you can partake in the " Krav Maga " level 2 classes where you learn more advanced fighting techniques and defenses and the conditioning is amped up. A level 2 student also learns more about weapon defense and group attack defensed, like if you were attacked by 2 or more people. There is now a " Krav Maga " level 3 class but to tell you the truth, I don't know much about it, sorry.

" Krav Maga " is just a straight and brutal self defense system. It teaches what you really need to know if you were actually in a life or death situation. No Hollywood bull-crap here, they teach you to hit hard and fast and use anything you think you can use as a weapon around you. Lets say you find yourself involved in a barroom brawl, of course you did everything possible to get out of that situation but to no avail. You grab a chair, a bottle or whatever and start making your way out. Anyway you can. Catch my drift? Then you run like you never run before. As a matter of fact, my instructors told me and the other students to get away or talk your way out of a possible violent situation if you can. Always try to be the peacemaker, the adult :)

Of course there's always the question of money. I know times are tough, but maybe you could give up those cigarettes? Cut back on the partying a bit eh? Adult " Krav Maga " class fees usually range anywhere from $90 - $100 a month for " Krav Maga " only. If you wanted the additional " Fight Club " and learn MMA, then that will probably be $30 extra a month, but its worth it. I am not sure how much the " KMX " kids classes cost, sorry again. Separate " Krav Maga " seminars are extra also. Usually, these seminars cost anywhere from $75 - $250. To advance to higher levels, you must also pay an additional one time fee. I think its about $60. For the MMA classes, you will need extra equipment for training, for example..

  • 16 ounce gloves
  • Protective headgear
  • mouth-guard
  • Shin pads for kicking

You can usually get all this equipment for just over $100 if you shop around. Remember to bring A lot of water to the classes if you do decide to join " Krav Maga ", you will need it.

Well, I hope this helps you in your decision to find the right self defense system for you. I am just giving you my honest opinion according to my personal experiences. Whatever you choose, you just made the right decision to help your self-confidence and walk with a swagger because you know you can take care of yourself and your loved ones, am I right? :)

I will also provide some helpful links and videos. Take care


Krav Maga at its finest

More Krav Maga!!


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Only wanna tell that this is very useful , Thanks for taking your time to write this. dcgaceccabgd

    • PassinItAlong profile image


      8 years ago

      There many different reasons to begin training in a martial art, from sport and competition, to health and fitness, to improving confidence, discipline and self control, but a very important one to concentrate on here is self defense, as noted above.

    • jeanie.stecher profile image


      8 years ago from Seattle

      Thanks for this hub cozmicat! I really find it useful as it gives me a general idea on what self defense class I should attend. I think krav maga is one martial technique which is practical and simple to use. Further, this technique would come in handy if you have a weapon with you like a stun gun or pepper spray. This way you will have a back up plan. Thanks a lot!

    • captainchris profile image


      8 years ago

      Very informative, thanks so much!

    • profile image

      Martial Artist 

      8 years ago

      I enjoy and have studied various types of martial arts. I must say, I've never heard of the "Krav Maga" training program, but it looks like it would be very effective. I see that it also involves grappling techniques and the use of weapons, which is also a plus when it comes to self-defense.

    • profile image

      Boaz Aviram 

      8 years ago

      December 29, 2009

      New York

      Good Mountain Tactical Training Center, LLC


      Top Israeli Hand-to-Hand Combat Expert Boaz Aviram Publishes Krav-Maga Bible

      Krav Maga – Use of the Human Body as a Weapon;

      Philosophy and Application of Hand to Hand Fighting Training System

      Over the course of the last 25 years, the Israeli self-defense martial

      art known as Krav-Maga (Contact Combat), has steadily grown into one

      of the most widely used and respected techniques for military

      personnel, law enforcement specialists and civilians alike. Although

      hundreds of Krav-Maga training centers currently exist worldwide, Boaz

      Aviram is one of the only Krav Maga experts who was there at the very

      beginning, and holds the secrets of these most effective self-defense

      and offensive techniques.

      Boaz Aviram served as the IDF Fighting Fitness Academy Krav Maga Chief

      Instructor, in direct lineage from Immi Sde-Or Lichtenfeld, the father

      and undisputed master of Krav Maga. In this long-awaited Krav-Maga

      “bible,” Aviram meticulously explains the origins of the techniques,

      their applications across a wide range of situations, comparisons to

      other similar martial arts, and detailed training programs accompanied

      by 1,000 photographs.

      Krav Maga – Use of the Human Body as a Weapon; Philosophy and

      Application of Hand to Hand Fighting Training System, is available as

      a 325-page perfect bound paperback or download, currently being

      offered exclusively by Lulu Marketplace. For any serious student of

      worldwide martial arts, Aviram’s book is an opportunity not to be


    • profile image


      8 years ago


      Interesting article.

      .... now comes the "BUT":

      - Krav Maga is NOT a martial art, but a self-defense system, there is no spiritual aspect to it

      - real Krav Maga does NOT have Belts or rankings, because it's NOt a martial art, it's not even competitive, it's simply a self defense system

      - Yes, Krav Maga is brutal and straight

      - Yes, KM is wonderful for women

      -KM should NOT be taught to children, since it involves lethal counterattacks at a very early level

      You see you're article is wonderful and written really good, but it doesn't say much about Krav Maga. Oh by the way, in Krav Maga - the way the Mossad teaches it (and these are the guys that invented the system) does not involve many kicks, rarely uses fist-strikes and counterattacks are finished within one breath.

    • selfdefenseclique profile image


      9 years ago from Lake Park, Florida


      Your hub has interesting and informative informations. I agree with these advices and your efforts.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I am always interested in learning more about self defense and products. Thanks for the interesting information.



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