A Guide to the Best Self Defense System
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
- boxing fundamentals
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
- Elbow Strikes ( very devastating )
- Knee Strikes
- Front and Groin kicks
- Palm Strikes
- Hammer fist Strikes
- 360' Defense ( defense from kicks and punches )
- 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 and...you 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
- 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!!
- Krav Maga Official Training Cent
- Krav Maga Association of America, Inc. Israeli Self Defense
Krav Maga is the official self defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces, and has been taught to hundreds of law enforcement agencies and thousands of civilians in the United States.
- KRAV MAGA DETROIT - TRAINING PROGRAMS
My local Krav Maga School
- International Krav Maga Federation
IKMF-HQ site. Krav Maga is The highly effective, battle tested Israeli system of Defensive Tactics, Fighting Skills and Self-Defense.
- Krav Maga - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- KMX: youth x-training by Krav Maga
KMX: Self-Defense for Kids