I am sure we have all, at one point or another in our lives, thought about taking a self-defense class. In today’s society, it is a wonderful consideration and one I urge you to take seriously and act upon. Deciding what sort of self-defense class to take can be frustrating given all the different types of classes one can take. In this article my research is focusing primarily on Krav Maga and its likes and differences to Karate.
Krav Maga by definition is Israeli defense force’s official self-defense and close-quarter-combat system. It is based on utility, instinct, simplicity and adaptability. Krav Maga also relies on a person’s natural instincts and reflexes for self-defense. It was derived from street fighting skills developed by Imi Leitchenfeld as a means of defending the Jewish quarter against fascist groups in the 1930’s. In the 1940’s, following his immigration to Israel, he began to provide lessons on combat training to what is now known as the IDF, or Israeli Defense Forces. Krav Maga is known world wide for its focus on real world situations and extremely efficient, brutal counter-attacks. The Hebrew name Krav Maga literally means Hand-to-Hand combat. Krav Maga combines moves and techniques from other forms of martial arts such as, judo, jujutsu, karate, kobudo, boxing, wing chun, aikido, wrestling and a few others arts. For more in depth history on Krava Maga click here.
The main focus or goal of Krav Maga is to finish a fight as quickly as possible making all attacks aimed towards the most vulnerable parts of the attackers’ body. These body parts are the eyes, face, neck, knees, joints and groin areas. Unlike Karate and other defense classes, Krav Maga is not sport related so there are no rules that would teach or condition the student to avoid serious bodily harm in counter attack strikes.
I was speaking to an instructor recently, and he told me a story. He said he had heard of a karate student who had studied and competed for years. He was well known and an expert at what he was trained to do. One night he was attacked on his way home and he did what he was trained to; defend himself. He counter-attacked and had his attacker in a hold and was not applying severe bodily harm, but was preventing the attacker from causing him harm. The attacker tapped out so to speak and the boy let go. Unknown to the boy the attacker had a knife in his hand and in the instant that he let the man go, the attacker stabbed him in the stomach. So the question here is, why would he let go?
During all his years in competition, he had been trained and *conditioned* to respect his opponent and release when his opponent tapped out or gave in, so this in turn caused an automatic response from him to let go. That being said, I am not stating that Karate or any other defense is not a good defensive class to take; I am just sharing what I have learned about Krav Maga. To my knowledge, they are both defense techniques that focus towards blocking, precision striking and kicking maneuvers to defend against attackers.
My article is not about which is better, but is focusing on the differences between the two. As stated in Man-Made, Karate is a complete mind and body overhaul where Krav Maga isn’t even considered martial arts. This is because Krav Maga is solely designed to minimize pain to yourself and cause as much damage/pain as quickly as possible to your attacker. It teaches you to change your mind set from a defender to a ferocious attacker in a split second. There are not competitions in Krav Maga or belts to be earned. One of the first things you learn when training Krav Maga is “There are NO rules,” whereas in Karate there are a lot of rules.
What Karate and Krav Maga do have in common is that both systems prepare you mentally and physically to handle a tough situation should you encounter one. I believe that neither is necessarily better than the other, they are both superior defense techniques to have and if properly trained will help you out of a bad situation. Below are a few links to some Krav Maga defense moves for you to check out.
- Straight Punch/palm strike techniques
- Car Jacking defense move
- Woman’s defense if attacked from behind
- Womans defense if choked from in front
- Edge Weapon defense
Hopefully these videos and this article will spark an interest for you in teh art of Krav Maga or some sort of defense to keep you safer on the streets.
Keepin It Spicy,
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