You are here: Home » - H2H FIGHTING » H2H FIGHTING: Krav Maga – Martial Arts Best Kept Secret

H2H FIGHTING: Krav Maga – Martial Arts Best Kept Secret

Two female Israeli soldiers training in Krav Maga
(keep your mind out of the gutter!)

It is an understatement that mixed martial arts has dominated the conversation where martial arts are concerned over the past five years.

Schools have been popping up everywhere emphasizing instruction in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Thai Boxing, and Boxing, the most notable arts making up most the arsenal used by mixed martial arts practitioners and fighters.

But UFC, Strikeforce, and Bellator contracts are few and far between.  For most people, the primary aim of martial arts training remains the ability to defend one’s self.

MMA training sometimes misses the mark when we get down to where the rubber meets the road martial arts wise:  neutralizing a threatening situation effectively, then getting the hell out of Dodge!

Enter Krav Maga.

Krav Maga was created by Imi Lichtenfeld, a Jewish man living in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. With increasing anti-Semitism in the mid to late 1930s, brought about by Nazi occupation, he developed Krav Maga to protect the Jewish community in Bratislava.

He left in the early 1940s and continued to develop this practical form of self defense.

Upon the establishment of the Israel state in 1948, Lichtenfeld taught his brand of hand-to-hand combat to Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

As Krav Maga became more prominent among the defense communities of different countries, many organizations, such as the Mossad, FBI, and U.S. Special Forces undertook the learning of this brand of self defense.

Krav Maga is about one thing:  REALITY.  In Krav Maga, there are no rules where your personal security is concerned.  It is brutal, vicious, and aggressive.  But so is the sonofabitch attempting to assault you.  The basic tenets of Krav Maga include:

1. Neutralization of an opponent by any means and by any number of means that are necessary.

2. Counterattacking, if not pre-emptively attacking, as quickly as a threat is ascertained.

3. Targeting the most vulnerable points in the body such as the eyes, throat, and groin, to exact as much punishment to ensure your safety and escape from the situation.

Krav Maga training is often centered around simulated defense situations utilizing very practical and simplified movements to create the most direct assault on the attacker.

Training is not simply limited to hand-to-hand combat. Techniques are taught in various ways to neutralize weapons (gun, knife, etc.) attacks.

This type of self defense is something that should be explored by every DVM reader.  But as much as a contractor may face numerous personal defense situations, housewives should heed the lessons of Krav Maga.

The empowerment and confidence that accompanies this type of knowledge would benefit everyone from the most battle tested military operator to the average Joe or Josephine just trying to get through the day.

Remember the words of Clarence (played by Christian Slater) in the great movie “True Romance”, “It is better to have a gun and not need it, than to need a gun and not have it.”


~Paul Zelinka
Chief Martial Arts Industry Correspondent

Paul Zelinka, is the owner of Titan Fitness & Martial Arts, a MMA, boxing, and fitness business located in State College, PA. Paul has been involved in the martial arts business since 1993.


  1. Good article. I studied Krav full-time for a year and loved it. My agency picked it up, too. It was interesting to see that my department wouldn’t teach the sheer brutality that I learned from my Krav class. They got squeamish when dealing with preemptive attacks.

    Keep up the good work DVM!

  2. I study this as well. I try to bounce between this and Kali/Modern Arnis/Escrima. The one thing that I can say is that I have never considered this a Martial Art, but more a combative. I enjoy it I think it is practical, pragmatic and can be brutal. (well should be)

    However you really have to watch the schools that you attend. I have dropped in at a few throughout my travels to get a good workout in and some, are just well, kind of wussy. The students were just going through the moves without any type of real world resistance. And the instructor actually told me to lighten up on them. I couldn’t believe it and went into a diatribe about how in real life their attackers aren’t simply going to go with what the practitioner wants to do. And he responded with most of these guys are just family guys looking to get away from the family for an hour or two. I walked right out of the class.

    So you really need to get a working knowledge of the class before you commit to it and see exactly how “real world” it is. Find out if these classes actually teach something worth while and have a reality based way of going about it. Some people will end up with busted noses, black eyes, etc but the pay off in the real world will be great.

    Also if you get the opportunity take some seminars in Israel. It is a whole new level when you do that and will greatly expand you knowledge of it. And Israel is a fun place to visit.

    Great Article Paul, thanks.

  3. As stated Krav is not really a Martial Art but a system of self defense.
    Like shown in the Simpsons, no groin, no Krav.
    If ever given the chance to take a seminar with Darren Levine (1st American to get a black belt under Imi Lichtenfeld), don’t pass it up.

  4. Fuckin A!

    But remember the key factor is think! Try and control the adrenaline and pick your target…and deliver the blow with controlled madness. I’m a big advocate of working out a few “firm” moves in the gym for delivery to an unsuspecting foe. Practice them often and build up muscle memory.

  5. Like others here, I’ve done it myself and loved it. Realism is the word that comes to mind. Low lighting, and confined spaces were all factors brought to the training. Just a shame that in the UK they charge £25 for two hours!

  6. Fuckin A!But remember the key factor is think! Try and control the adrenaline and pick your target…and deliver the blow with controlled madness. I’m a big advocate of working out a few “firm” moves in the gym for delivery to an unsuspecting foe. Practice them often and build up muscle memory.  (Quote This Comment)

    Me, too, on working out a few firm moves and then get ugly with them. I played in a bunch of martial arts but really like Krav because it is a combative. That and what Eugene said about the “schools” is true in my experience, too. Some guy told me a couple weeks ago that he was studying Krav Maga. I immediately said I had no idea what that was. So, Mr Impressive shows me some kind of aikido/motion picture thing where I’m supposed to fly across the room. My point being he might be really enjoying his classes, but he’s not learning the ability to defend himself (unless ninja attack him or something).

    Paul: one thing I’d like a comment or suggestion on is with me – invariably, I am walking around with either a knee fucked up or one wrist taped or something broken. I think (ok, I hope) I can still turn it on if needed and get myself out of a bad situation, but don’t know. Do you think just use Krav concepts and ignore the broken things while getting all over the attacker? Are there some concepts/techniques for busted up old guys like me? Yes, my cane is pretty handy…
    Thanks & thanks for a great article.

    • If I might add something. If it comes down to exacerbating your injuries and potentially losing your life I think that is an easy answer. I would say the easiest thing would be to have a gun. When I was initially recovering from a couple surgeries I still carried while I was in a wheelchair. And ended up breaking a guys hand that for some reason thought I was an invalid.

      If that is not possible then use the cane, I had a good stout cane from I believe a company called Canemasters. It had a really sharp tip which would have worked great for hooking someone under or over their collar bone, even puncturing through skin if you sand it sharp enough. And then learn how to use it. I wanted to prepare before my surgeries so I went and picked up a few books on cane defense. And found a local Hap Ki Do dojang, where the instructor was experienced in cane defense. And learn some simple moves and ideal targets with the cane or with the cane as an assist. Something you can practice and use with limited range of motion if that is what you have.

      Other than that I would just remember the obvious targets, eyes, ears, groin, shins, etc.

  7. Ok, will try this a second time as my first post didn’t seem to work…

    Very interesting article. I’ve actually been looking for a school. Was wondering what suggestions you’d have for somebody with no experience what-so-ever in terms of evaluating a school.

    I had been looking at a local MMA gym because of the diversity of disciplines, but the one I liked is out of my budget right now, hence I’m still sitting on the couch.

    After reading this article I did a quick search of Krav in my area (North of Philly) and found this one that is local and on the cusp of affordability at $100/month as a full time student.

    But it comes back to the question of how can I tell if this is a realistic combative school vs a glorified after school recess program.

    Any thoughts?

  8. Krav Maga changed my life, literally…well almost. My agency sent me to a Krav Maga instructor course, two weeks of sheer hell. One of the instructors introduced me to Kettlebell training, which intro’d me to Crossfit, which intro’d me to The Zone Diet. At age 39, I’m in better shape then when I got out of the Marine Corps at age 22.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *