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.
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.