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The combative system of Krav Maga
Martial arts and self defence have never been as popular. With high profile events such as The Ultimate Fighting Championships boosting the popularity of MMA and putting it firmly on the map when it comes to participation numbers and TV coverage.
Away from the bright lights, cameras and crowds of the MMA octagon, one of the most respected forms of hand-to hand combat is the little known, but much feared art of Krav Maga. So what is this most vicious and violent form of physical combat and who uses it?
Krav Maga is very different from most other forms of martial arts such as Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing, mostly due to its origins and basic principles – let’s face it, this isn’t a sport!
This form of what’s been called “combat contact” originated in the 1930s and was developed by Hungarian-Israeli martial artist Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler, as a means of defending himself against attacks from fascist groups. The basic principle is, believe it or not, to avoid confrontation. But should confrontation arise to end the dual is quickly as possible – in any way you can.
In this game there are no rules, no weight classes, no fouls; just the cold brutal reality of unrestrained street violence. The objective of Krav Maga is not to win trophies, but to get out of a tricky situation alive and intact. Because of this and due to the nature of its origins, techniques such as eye gouging, groin strikes, and knee breaks are all acceptable.
The fact that The Israeli Defence Force use this method of combat as one of their key weapons shows just how highly effective it can be. Let’s face it; if you are going to fend off multiple attackers, who could be armed, you need fighting skills you can rely on.
In Israel everyone must complete military service and because of that Krav Maga is a truly universal skill, with a one-size-fits-all approach. When it was created the techniques had to be effective for everyone regardless of size, shape or gender and those principles still apply today.
The individual is basically told to expect the unexpected. Krav Maga always trains a person to fight from a position of disadvantage. Assuming that your attacker is bigger and stronger than you the method doesn’t rely on strength, size or athletic ability; instead the individual relies on economy of movement, along with the element of surprise. Targeting of the weak points of the human body is key, meaning how big you are should never be an issue.
Unlike more traditional forms of martial arts, Krav Maga has adopted a more contemporary approach. Instead of students being taught how to defend themselves against ancient weaponry, such as samurai swords, this form of combat is geared more towards fighting off gun, knife or stick wielding attackers in any way possible.
Strange as it is, when discussing such a brutal form of self defence, practitioners are encouraged to use only an acceptable amount of force. This is in order to protect them from criminal charges and lawsuits. This might apply to the non-aggressor who finds them self under attack on the street, but whether the fear of litigation is in the mind of an individual who is on the wrong end of a bunch of armed attackers on the battlefield is debatable.
An excellent clip on how to defend a punch.
Defend a punch!
Author Bio: This article was written and researched by Matthew Crist on behalf of MMA Fightwear, who supply a wide range of MMA gloves and equipment.