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Opinions of Krav Maga?


So I signed up for a Krav Maga class for tommorow night. I'm not really "trained" in any martial art. My experience boils down to basically a tough childhood where I was in different school every fawking year and had my fair share of fights.

My other experience was a few scraps as a Bouncer at a club, and I wasa graduate of the Alaska State Trooper academy which included 3 weeks of intensive fight training in hand to hand, ground techniques, knife/gun defense tactics. Anyway, is Krav Maga a decent system?


Like most systems, it is only as good as the instructor teaching it. I've met plenty of crap Krav instructors and very few decent ones, owing mostly to the organization's marketing system and rush to spread their name and cash in on the popularity driven by Krav's use in a few movies.

I hope that you luck out and get one of the good ones.



it's all about kicking balls and gouging eyes, in a nutshell.


Like Mike said, a lot will depend on the instructors, and you might have 3-4 different ones in your school. They will probably have different approaches to teach the same thing. The system as a whole I feel is very good and it builds on itself very nicely as you get to higher levels.

Level one focuses on basic boxing, punching and kicking techniques, and they will give you a great workout under some stress to build you up to punching with lots of intensity for a minute or two at a time. They will go over basic choke defenses and wrist locks type things as well. I learned a ton at my school and even though I don't hold the rank I am allowed to train in higher level classes where you can really see it come together.

It is a street defense style and they forgoe a lot of MMA/ring fighting techniques in favor of being prepared to defend the unseen knife, gun, stick and multiple attacker scenario situations.


Let me ask this. Are certain styles or techniques better for different body types or sizes?. I'm abigger guy, not huge but 6"2" and 255 lbs, I just dont see myself throwing head kicks and such LOL.


LessTraveled, don't count yourself out of any style or system that you may enjoy just because it may not "fit" your body type. I'm 5'10" 214lbs and throw plenty of head kicks. I've never chosen a martial art based on anything except "is it fun?"

Fact is whether I'm doing Arnis, Muay Thai, BJJ, 10thPJJ, Sambo, free style submission grappling, combatives, precision rifle, 3-gun or any other martial pursuit, I'm doing it because I enjoy it, and not because I'm looking to be Billy Bad-ass, or because I'm afraid of the world and need to "defend myself".

Don't worry about what is "best" just choose something, do it, and if you do not enjoy it do something else.



First, let me say that you have the coolest avatar ever. Ever.

Now, for KM, what I can tell you is that it really depends on the instructor, but the idea that KM is a totally a street style and therefore immune from all of the total bullshit that comes with MA's - i.e. politics and all that, is not true. They have put a patent on their system, and everything trickles down from the people at the top.

I was watching a class one time and the instructor was saying that they had to change the way they did a certain grappling move because the rules "came from New York" that the hold was to be changed. He kinda said, "I don't know why they're changing this, but that's how they want it done."

I lost a lot of respect for KM that day.

But, that's not every teacher, and the system is in my opinion pretty useful. It's one of the only systems that REALLY gets into crime avoidance, that really deals with multiple attackers (even if it does nothing aside from teach you that you're gonna get your ass kicked, so don't dare try it), and that deals with weapons, although in my opinion somewhat unrealistically (at least for knives.)

It's got its flaws like any other system does but overall it can be very good if your instructor is good.

Now the good thing about Krav is that it's highly unlikely that they're going to teach you bullshit like head kicks. They're pretty straightforward techniques that they teach, the standard punches/low kicks/grappling moves, etc. They're kind of like jack of all trades, master of none.... they'd get whipped in a boxing match, they'd lose to a BJJ player, but they know enough to get through a streetfight.

Just don't get suckered into the whole "Commando Krav maga" thing. This shit wasn't made for commandos, although their is a type that Israeli SF use - but that's not what you're learning. You're getting the watered down version.

Predominantly, look at it as streetwise MMA.

Interesting post on Krav Maga from Marc MacYoung.


[b]Military Application
In the mid 1980s I had a chance to work out with a former Israeli Commando. Putting it mildly, this guy made me squeak. He moved me into positions that not only I couldn't fight back from, but, if he'd zapped me, I would have shattered. Not break, shattered. This stuff was not to inflict pain, it was to injure and kill. And to do it A.S.A.P..

This was Krav Maga and it was effective.

Fast forward 20 years and all of a sudden this 'Israeli Commando Fighting System' hit the martial arts scene. Wowie! Kazowie! This is SOOOOO dangerous that your dick will grow three inches from just walking in the door. Okay, so that's an over-exaggeration. What isn't is the attitude of: It's got to be good, because the Israeli military teaches it to all of their service men and women. (Notice the subtle downgrading already happening? It went from commando to service men in nearly the same sentence.)

When I saw what these guys were doing I thought to myself "What the hell? That don't look nothing like what made me squeak."

What it looked like was the typical muay Thai/boxing blend with BJJ thrown in that I think of when someone says 'mixed martial arts.' Yet it's a deadly Israeli military fighting style dontcha know?

Well except the dude who twisted me around never threw a muay Thai kick at me. Come to think of it, he wasn't really hot to roll around on the ground with me either. His intent was to break me in half by pile-driving me INTO the ground; it wasn't to get dirty by rolling around on it while trying to dominate me.

"This is Krav?" I asked.

"Oh yeah it's what the Israeli commandos use. It's the deadlist." was the answer.

Nooooo. No, it wasn't. In fact, what I was seeing -- significantly -- lacked all those little tweaks, twists and pulls that I'd come to recognize as inherent in ANY system designed to inflict serious injury onto your opponent. Breaking someone isn't about how hard you hit, it's about setting up the conditions that when you do hit, he breaks. I don't care how hard you do it, the 'snap, crackle, pop' element was missing from what was presented as Krav.

But, but ... it's what they teach the Israeli Army!!!

Well, the entire military is NOT one giant Special Forces Unit so there's a flaw in your logic right there. As in, you just said two totally different things as if they are one in the same. (There's that downgrade.)"[/b]

Of course, he also goes on to say this, which is a huge step for him to admit that a system as a whole works pretty well....

Will Krav help you win a fight?

Most of the time, yes. But it depends on who you're fighting. Can and will it do it in short period of time? Again yes. But most of that is through patching and ingraining the willingness to engage fiercely (e.g. three months of 'rolling' can and will help you get over your fear of getting hurt and timidity). You WILL be more willing to fight.

While the watered down version of Krav Maga that is commonly taught to civilians is not combat system, it most definitely IS a fighting system. While that is fine and dandy, fighting is illegal. So too is assault and attempted murder. I cannot stress this element strongly enough. If you aren't being taught the legal standards of self-defense in your training, then you aren't getting self-defense training.

From this you might suspect that I'm 'down on Krav Maga.' No I'm not, I just have the same problem I have with any advertiser that offers a simplistic answer to the complex issue of violence and self-defense. This is especially true when the answer boils down to fighting being presented as something else. There's a whole lot more involved in self defense than just beating the snot out of someone -- especially if you want to stay out of county jail or prison.

Okay, but then:
Do the techniques work?

Well it depends on who is teaching them to you. Something I say so often I should just put it on a loop tape is:
It ISN'T the system. It's the physics it teaches YOU to produce that work.

With Krav I've also seen something I've seen too many times with martial arts. You have two people from different branches of the same system. One who couldn't fight his way out of a wet kleenex because what he is doing ISN'T generating the physics he needs. But over there is another, doing the same system, who would break you in half with the physics he is creating.

Technically speaking they are BOTH doing the same system. Practically speaking however, what you are looking at is the difference between the empty chasse of a car and the same car with an engine and a transmission. They both have the same shape and appearance, but one of them actually runs and can be driven.

This is over and above the different levels between elite military, regular military and civilian training. I'm talking about what is being taught AS Krav to civilians. Just because it's called Krav Maga DOESN'T mean it's a running vehicle. What makes it work is what's under the hood.


Also, reading your background here, I think you're going to be able to tell if it's worthwhile or not.

From being a bouncer I assume you understand the ways violence starts and the monkey dance idea, and from the statey training I'm figuring you've got a background with guns, weapon retention techniques, and the like.

I'd actually like to hear your opinion on it after a few classes.

From what I've seen, Krav can be good in a fight and I do like a lot of aspects of their training, but the weapons stuff they employ sometimes makes me shake my head.


Kick ass info Irish, I appreciate it!. I will take some classes and weigh in on my thougts. What I dont want to do is jump on the band wagon of whatever style I'm training in and start claiming that its the best and that I can kick your ass because of my style of training. I have enough "real world" experience to know that in a real fight shit does not go as planned and that it goes from your feet to the ground and maybe back up again and through tables, over a hood of a car, down the stairs etc etc before the fights over, you just never fucking know when its go time whats gonna happen. Its my belief to be versed a little in everything, that way when the un-planned happens(and it will) you dont freak out and loose your composure(if you have any to begin with in a knock down drag out).


I agree that most Krav Schools offer a watered down version and they break things up into levels etc. If you want to learn weapons retention etc those techniques are reserved for Security guards, LEO etc and are not taught in regular classes. Sometimes they will point out that if you carry or an officer that you would have a different position etc. After training Krav for over a year now I still feel it is a strong system but they could change things to make it work better similar to what was written in that article. They thing is they are there to make money and avoid lawsuits and the outcome for students sometimes is a false sense of security. I don't think any MA is immune to this situation if taught to the public.

Irish, I would be interested in hearing what you like and don't like about the weapons defenses especially the knife since for me this is the scariest type of attack.


Knives are fucking scary. At Trooper academy we used rubber knives with red lipstick smeared on the blades and tip and wear white T-shirts. Then after we attempted to fight off our adversary we had to inspect ourselves for damage.........most times it was fucking scary what any asshole with a 4" blade can do to even a bigger stronger guy. We were even taught that even if an attacker was 20 feet away and armed with a blade that we were withing the law to shoot a guy with a knife........even if he was 20 feet away and you deemed him capable of using the blade on you. We did a drill where the guy was 20 feet away and the instructor said "Go" and the guy rushed at you with the knife, we had to pull our paint guns and try and put a hit on them before they got to us. Trust me a 20 foot gap closes FAST when their rushing you with a knife.


That's the Tueller Drill. It is frightening. Ranzo, I'll address your question later on, short on time.


Yup, one of my instructors Rich Ryan basically tested out every conceivable situation regarding knife on gun conflict with live simmunitions at Gun Site in AZ (where he developed their original edged weapons and integrated force tactics program), and what he found was that the only time the knife wielding attacker didn't get to the gun wielding attacker with the ability to still do lethal damage was when

1) the gun wielding attacker had the firearm drawn and pointed at center mass to begin with

2) the gun wielding attacker was able to back up and reload the gun

3) the gun wielding attacker was highly trained

The truth is that if you are going unarmed against a blade/edged weapon you are going to get cut, quite possibly badly, and should pretty much plan on going to the hospital when it's over. The trick is not to die. Any system which teaches you otherwise is either

1) not being honest with you/have never actually "pressure" tested their techniques

2) is preparing you for the "best case scenario"

I'd also suggest to try out the classes and form your own opinion of what that particular school has to offer. Good luck.


Being honest and accepting the fact that you will be cut or injured is 1/2 the battle, the other half is deciding that YOU WILL SURVIVE the encounter. Wondering if you will get hurt or being afraid that you will die is a WASTE of mental energy and thats time you could have spent making the right decisions to handle your buisness and live.


The Tueller Drill is absolutely scary as fuck.

IMO one of the best, amd most often overooked aspects of knife defence is developing the situational awareness to recognize the pre-deployment cues or "tells" that are most often present before a blade comes into play. My instructor, a long time LEO has had (I believe) 5 seperate encounters with edged weapons while on duty. In each instance he was able to "foil the draw" before the blade was brought to bear.

Obviously it's important to develop the physical tools and I know that's what you're asking about. However, IMO, a good "reality based" school must spend significant time/energy developing situational awareness and combat mindset rather than just paying them lip service. These are the things that will carry the day when the shit hits the fan and technique goes out the window.

Regarding Krav, as has been said and said well, it's as good as the instructor/school and can be very good. However, there is a lot of garbage out there as well. Keep your bullshit detector firmly in the "ON" position.


Yup, and the Tueller drill is often massively mis-interpreted/mis-understood. The take home lessons should probably be initiative, draw speed, and mobility. Not the magic 20/21 foot rule I have heard it called (not by anyone here thankfully) or the notion that you have carte blanche to shoot anyone within 20 feet of you holding a knife. (I know that you did not say that LessTraveled, I have heard others articulate it like that though.)
It boggles the mind that a great many people think that they are going to be able to bring their gone into action decisively FROM the holster faster than someone can run a 7 yard dash. Christ, I fumble for my wallet in a check out line. The twenty feet should probably get doubled if the draw is from a retention holster or decent concealment as opposed to the outside the waistband stuff people take classes and shoot matches with.


Robert A


I am going to suggest a few things regarding the Tueller drill/knife vs gun/defense against the gun here.

Most everyone here has used scary to describe the knife attack/Tueller drill and knives in general. I think we are veering a bit to far.

Being hurt/injured/killed is not pleasant to contemplate. Facing someone who intends to do those things to us is certainly scary. It is doubly so if they are physically superior to us and weapons are tools designed to make their wielders superior to those that do not have them.

Knives are usually ambush weapons in Western culture. So the fact that knife defense means dealing with the idea that someone is going to attack you when you are not ready and be on top of you trying to put holes in your anatomy is awful.

The fact that people can rush you, and even though you have a firearm the fight can still happen at bad breath range freaks a great many people out. Usually they are the ones who spent much time on a square range, shooting static targets, at distance. I get where they are coming from, because when I was first learning to shoot handguns, as opposed to my current state where I am STILL learning to shoot them well, I was always worried about having to fight my ingrained reflexes. All the time spent in martial arts told me to keep moving/breathing/working angles, use my entire body, and to never take a hard focus on any one object. And yet, here I was trying to stand still, isolate my trigger finger, be a platform for the gun, and focus on my front sight while engaging targets 7 yards away.

It got even more difficult as the targets got closer. I am having to stand still on the firing line, keep a shooting stance, draw, and fire on a target 3 yards away when years and years of training are telling me to get moving at an angle and make the bad guy have to turn to face me. Maybe thanks to the availability of simunitions, most instructors are now teaching much more dynamic methods close up. This is great, and frankly a relief.

See, instead of having to be at odds with everything we have all learned empty hand/with contact weapons it is just "Same Rules as Last Year". If the target is out past a certain distance, for me this would be 10 yards because at this distance I need to use sights/shooting stances, then use firearms/marksmanship mechanics. Still move. Still use cover, but you are a gun platform. Of course at ten yards I don't really have a to fight going into a fighting stance or tucking my chin. Inside of this range you are in fight and happen to be using a gun. MOVE. Don't stand in front of him. Try to keep your muzzle on him and make hits while denying him the same. At contact range, it is a fight at contact range. Balance is key, keep yours and fuck his up. Multiple hits, you don't only throw a punch if you have a shot at the chin so do not only shoot if you have A-zone. None of this makes it any less dangerous, but I submit that most of the people here have at least done some work addressing the problem.

I am going to use Sentoguy's post because he lists some situations where the gun can prevail. I agree with his whole post but I am going to use his points from both sides, meaning in one we have the gun, in another we don't.

This is a big one. If you need a weapon you will probably need it right the fuck now. Get your firing grip. Get it out of your holster. This also implies you have oriented on the threat. If someone is a clear threat get yourself in a position to address the threat. With a gun that means actually pointing it at them. This isn't breaking the rules of safety, because we ARE willing to destroy the person trying to kill us.

Conversely: When facing a weapon, or anyone who may have a weapon, try to deny them the ability to access it or use it. Batman sort of covered this when he talked about his instructor. A bunch of the lag time in Tueller drill is grip, and draw. Use that lag time to your advantage if you can. Knives and guns can do a lot of damage in a short time, but if you keep 'em from being drawn they can't. Actually, if the person is too fixated on drawing you may be in a better position than you normally would. I wouldn't count on it, but maybe the bad guy is as dumb as I was a couple times in training and will leave himself open to anything and everything just to get to his weapon.
If you have initiative you have gone a long way to getting a shot at survival, even though against weapons you are behind the eight ball in terms of power.

Mobility, and angles. Use 'em or be used by 'em. Anything you can do to make them spend more time under the barrel before they can get to you is good. You can do this by simply backing up, or by cutting an angle. If the angle puts some kind of obstacle between you and Mack the Knife all the better. Make hits on the person. Even if they are not perfect, would you rather face a knife wielding attacker, or a knife wielding attacker who is bleeding out of several holes in their muscles and viscera.
Converse: If we are going to need to get on top of someone, anything we can do to keep them from moving is great. If we can turn them so their back is to a wall, or any avenues of retreat are hard to navigate we are good. Also, we want our path as clear as possible, so either a straight shot to the threat, or a path to safety.

Well this is the rub. If you are a ton better than the attacker, you are a ton better than the attacker. Weapons give mechanical advantage. Robby Leatham drawing from a competition holster could probably turn the 20 foot drill into a 10 foot drill, but he among the best in the world. If you are drawing a handgun you picked to be easy to carry, from a holster designed to keep it a secret you may need more distance/time. If your holster is designed to make a panicked draw impossible (for weapons retention) same deal. But the answer here is to get better. Some people treat firearms as being magic anti bad things totems. I find it telling that most people will ask "Should I take/learn boxing/martial arts/etc.", but the majority ask about "getting" a gun.

Converse: Just because they have a weapon does not mean they are well armed. If you have to fight, then fight.

Sentoguy also gave some sage advice on injury. Here is my two cents.

The only physiological way to immediately stop someone from being able to attack you is to disable/destroy their CNS. With a gun this means a shot or two to the brainstem or spinal chord. With a blade this means piercing injury to the same, or cutting the head off (really the same thing). This is very hard to do. You are shooting for a part of the brain smaller than a dollar bill and a chord as thick as your pinky.

Hypovolemic shock is the next most reliable method. It means that blood loss is sufficient to cause a bunch of pathology. We are interested in the confusion, weakness, and unconsciousness. It usually kicks in when a someone loses around 1/5 of their total blood/fluid volume. This takes time. The target is the circulatory system, so heart, pulmonary vessels, and major arteries. It is worth noting that even if the heart is completely destroyed someone can remain conscious for several seconds. Hunters can all tell stories of deer/pigs running a hundred yards before dropping dead even though their hearts had giant holes in them or their lungs were liquified. Peripheral arteries will take longer. This is not an "off switch". Truly, hitting someone in the head with a big pipe wrench would probably yield more immediate unconsciousness than shooting them in the chest.

Most people are incapacitated by gunshot/stab wounds because they decide to stop fighting. That is fine for us if we are doing the wounding. It does not serve our purposes if we are the wounded.

Most wounds will not accomplish either CNS or major circulatory damage. Generally, the biggest immediate danger (defining immediate as within the span of the current fight, NOT the time it takes to get medical aid) of gunshot or stab wounds is that they make you less able to defend against additional gunshot or stab wounds. If we are being attacked injure the other guy and fight until you are able to get to safety, or you cannot anymore. Assume any damage you take is survivable. You will most likely be clinically correct. However if you do the opposite and assume you are mortally wounded, you are likely to be correct as well.


Robert A


Well, here's two videos that show it better than I could put it. If you watch them and you want me to elaborate on my own concerns, I'll do that.

These two guys are probably the heaviest influences on my self-defense philosophies, and what they say on knives is something that I agree with.


1) a knife "duel" is fantasy.

2) The idea that a guy is going to stand there after striking with a knife and let you do ANY of those fakeass "disarms" is retarded.

3) The idea that you'll actually see the knife until it's in you or cut you is mostly wrong.

4) They never show or tell you that while you're watching the knife and defending the knife and trying to disarm the knife, HE IS HITTING YOU WITH THE OTHER HAND.

5) They don't tell you how many people in real life carry knives - the number is huge.

6) They don't tell you what to do against a box cutter, which if you're in the ghetto, in juvy, in jail, or around people that have generally been disarmed, is what you're going to find.


Hell I could come up with more, and when I do, I'll put them up. But mostly what they teach is garbage.

"Prepare to get cut in a knife fight." Hey, fuck you. Thanks genius. Unfortunately, they're not gonna tell you that some people (and I am one of them) have a SERIOUSLY hard time dealing with getting cut or stabbed (done both to myself on accident at work), and some people are going to be out of the game as soon as that happens.

They don't tell you blood makes shit slippery, or that sweat makes shit slippery, and that you're probably not going to be able to grab some assholes arm and kung fu his ass if you're bloody or wet, and that when his arm slips back in after you've grabbed him, it's probably going to cut the fuck out of your hand....

Hell...I could probably go all night with this. Anyway, here's the two videos.


KM is basically a scam. Look at how they "spar", sparring like that will get you hurt in a real fight. They use biting and nut shots, well any one can do that, you don't need to be thought that. As for weapon defense, guess what running is the only real defense against a weapon. This is not a movie, you try to take a knife from someone you are going to get cut, 100% you are going to get cut, and decent change of getting killed. Go learn to box or wrestle, both is even better.


While I agree that the vast majority of knife disarm/defence that is taught is impractical and in fact dangerous, I strongly believe that the "only defence is to run" school of thought is equally dangerous.

First off it presupposes that it will be possible/viable to escape an attack. As has been mentioned, the edged weapons are generally used from ambush, where the assailant has chosen the ground and quite likely positioned himself between you and escape. Violence usually takes place in an enclosed space (think ATM vestibule or phone booth) where direct escape is difficult at best. If you believe that you must escape to survive, you have adopted "prey" mentality and are defeated in your mind before the encounter even begins.

A member of our PD was recently subject to a spontaneous knife attack at close quarters. While exiting a business on an unrelated call she was suddenly attacked by a male who had been standing on the sidewalk. No interaction of any kind had preceeded the attack. He stabbed her in the neck (superficial) and continued to press the attack with every apparent intention of killing her. She launched an unarmed response, attacked the attack, took him to the ground and gained position of dominance. At this point a member of the public assisted with handcuffing as her hands were cut to ratshit. I obviously cannot know, but I believe that had she backpedalled to try to create distance to draw her gun or had she given him her back trying to run away, this encounter would have been much less likely to go her way.

Consider also situations where running, even if possible might be unacceptable. If I am out walking with my wife and 2 yr old daughter and we are attacked and I decide to leg it, well, I run faster than my wife and daughter so I guess I'd be OK but... You get it. As a PO, LessTraveled is expected to engage knife wielding subjects in the discharge of his duties. Running will not always be an option. I think he is wise to consider unarmed responses to edged weapons, but to consider them soberly and realistically (which it sounds like he has).

LessTraveled - Sorry about the hijack.