Nearly every martial artist knows what Krav Maga is. If someone trains in any ‘fighting style’ then they’re usually aware of many other ‘fighting styles’ hence I’m aware of systems as diverse as Wayne Poulter’s Budo, Jeet Kun Do, Systema, Defendu, Gutterfighting, Pentak Silat, Kyokushinkai and Kali, to name but a few. I have studied them – without practising all of them – enough to understand key elements and differences.
Krav Maga has become very popular in recent years with people who are aware of martial arts and an increasing number of people are now training with the many clubs, schools, institutes, academies, federations and organisations that have come into being around the world. Many very good fighters with a background in ‘traditional’ martial arts have trained in Krav Maga and are now teaching it as a practical fighting system. Practical is the key word and can be defined as “likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances; feasible”.
So Krav Maga is practical. But practical for what? Sports fighting? MMA? Gaining belts and grades?
Krav Maga is self-defence. That is what Krav Maga was developed for – by Imi Lichtenfeld, through Eli Avikzar, to Boaz Aviram – Krav Maga is fast, effective, simple and easy-to-learn self-defence. To protect the self, others and property if and when the need arises.
Many people do not train in any martial art but have a clear desire to be able to defend themselves and they are the people who need to know what Krav Maga is: it is self-defence. Always was, always is, always should be, no matter how many belts, grades or levels we do or don’t have (as Royce Gracie famously said “A black belt only covers two inches of your ass. You’ve got to cover the rest.”).
Although civilian Krav Maga was created as a more ‘traditionally structured’ martial arts-type system by Imi, at its core it should still always be exactly what its founder intended it to be: the most effective and simple form of self-defence.
The Sunday Times apparently called Krav Maga “the most effective self defence and fitness training in the UK today” and whilst Krav Maga training should be fast, furious, fun and informal, it should always be what it was supposed to be: focused on self defence.