I am Glyn Powditch from SBG Bury, I am going to be putting together some videos and posts on different types of martial arts and just discussing them and their effectiveness. So, here we are going to talk about Krav Maga. Lots of people do searches for Krav Maga on Google, it seems to be a trendy and relatively rich recent martial art. The argument with Krav Maga is that it is used by Israeli special forces. Krav Maga practitioners will typically try and argue that other martial arts do not have the street elements to them, you quite often see things like weapon disarms, knives, guns etc. I have seen what I would call sort of ‘security type tactics’ around things like not getting bundled into cars etc, quite a lot of punching and kicking, and occasionally demonstrations of groundwork.
The long story short on Krav Maga is that there are much better options available to you, whatever your objectives are. If your objectives are self-defence or weapons disarms then there is a whole host of things we could talk about, but, if you are principally looking at self-defence, there are still better options. Most Mixed Martial Arts clubs, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu clubs that have focus on stand-up, Greco-Roman wrestling clubs, have some form of self-defence classes. Some of them do not but most of them do have some form of self-defence element and the instructors will have some experience in that of varying degrees. But the fundamental reason that Mixed martial Arts, Judo, Wrestling, Thai Boxing, Gracie Jiu Jitsu or principally all of those with sporting elements will still be better for self-defence overall than Krav Maga, is that there is not a competitive outlet for Krav Maga. It is this kind of idea of, “what we do is too deadly for the UFC or for Mixed Martial Arts competition” and that’s complete garbage. As Paul Sharper, former police officer and SBG instructor, talks about regularly, “well if you know, if they can’t beat you with rules how are they going to beat you without them. It is just ridiculous”, and so the fundamental problem with Krav Maga is, because there is not that sporting side to it, you won’t be competent against resisting opponents, you need that sporting outlet. If you go to a Judo club and you spar with a Judo black belt, they are going to resist you. The first time you ever have a good judo black belt put their hands on you they feel almost impossible to move, they are like rocks. They have a really strong base and have good grips and the higher levels you go, some of these guys can make you feel like you are stuck in a strait jacket, even in standing.
The attributes that you develop during grip fighting, in judo, in wrestling, those reactions against live, resisting opponents are effectively the same skills you are going to need if you are going to try and defend. You cannot run away from a knife, you need those same hand skills and you need those same reactions, because the odds have just got higher. The problem really with Krav Maga is there is just no resistance in it. The Jiu Jitsu within’ it is appalling, if you want to look more into this, and lots of other martial arts which fail this same test as well (by not having a sporting outlet), you can look at Matt Thornton and his concept of aliveness and what aliveness requires. But essentially, it is, on its most basic level, you need a live, resisting opponent in whatever you are practicing, including weapons. So, people get plastic knives and what you commonly find is that does not matter what your level is, if somebody has got a plastic knife, you are going to probably get stabbed, and the best option is still to run. When you increase this into things like guns and so on, which I have seen Krav Maga instructor show, it is getting sort of borderline ridiculous.
One other thing I would say as well is, we have had a lot of cases within SBG, certainly when I worked in Manchester at the HQ, where you would get Krav Maga students who were going to do their black belt, and they would message us and say: “oh we need to do sparring as part of our black belt, I want to now start. I need to find an outlet to do that, because under the assessment I’m going to have to spar”. However, they were not actually sparring in their classes. What does that really mean? Well, it means the minute you go to a Mixed Martial Arts club and you have never sparred, you are a rank beginner. It does not matter whether you wear a black belt, you are a rank beginner now. Not because you have not had the chance to qualify, it is because you have not done any live resisting sparring, and that is the fundamental issue. So, we would not allow somebody with whatever grade they were in Krav Maga, if they are going to do their instructorship, black belt, whatever, we could not allow them to spar because they had no experience of sparring. The idea of a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blue belt at a recognized Jiu Jitsu school sparring with strikes and anything goes, against a Krav Maga black belt. The blue belt’s just going to destroy them it is just not even a discussion.
So that is my take on Krav Maga, you have got better options, like if you can go to a Judo club, to a Wrestling club, a Mixed Martial Arts club, Jiu Jitsu, Thai Boxing or Boxing clubs. These are all far better options for self-defence on any level, it is just no argument.
I hope that this has been a useful read for you and that this has helped you make up your mind on the usefulness of Krav Maga, in comparison to other forms of self-defence.