The principles of Krav Maga

British Krav Maga Head Coach Paul Grey writes about the principles of Krav Maga

Principles of Krav Maga

Krav Maga has a unique set of principles and approach to training. The principles of Krav Maga evolved from decades of frontline exposure to warfare and real world violence. There are few if any self defence systems that have a history as extensive and as bloody as Krav Maga. Today we explore both the training and combat principles of Krav Maga.

Combat Principles

1. Stop the immediate threat

The first and most immediate concern is to stop an immediate attack and prevent/reduce injury. This may mean prioritising between 2 simultaneous threats such as being held by the throat and punched in the face.This is the most important principle of all.

2. Immediate, aggressive counterattacks

The Kravist should use fast, aggressive strikes to vulnerable areas as soon as possible. There should be the smallest amount of time between defending and attack possible. Countering quickly prevents further attacks and may stop the attacker immediately.

3. Disengage as quickly as possible

The ultimate objective of Krav Maga is survival – not defeat of an attacker. The Kravist will disengage from the assailant as quickly as possible. The majority of assaults have 2 or more attackers so it is vital the Kravist disengage quickly and escape the situation. Exceptions to this principle could be the need to protect a third party, to make an arrest, or to remove a weapon – for example a firearm.

4. Scan for the next threat

After disengaging, the Kravist must scan for further threats and dangers. An emphasis is placed on physically scanning around, as the movement of scanning helps overcome the effects of stress induced tunnel vision. Moving the head also helps the eyes identify movement in the peripheral vision.

Training Principles

1. Simplicity

Techniques should be as simple as possible. Simple techniques are faster to learn. Easier to master and better retained over time. Simple techniques are more reliable in high stress situations. Complexity should be saved for sport, dance and martial arts – not survival.

2. Use Natural Responses and Reactions

Where possible, Krav Maga uses natural reactions and reflexes. Krav Maga stresses an intuitive approach to combat. This is characterised by the use of gross motor movements where possible.

3. Utility

The same defence should be used for as many attacks as possible, If each attack requires a separate defence, the Kravist would be required to learn an unending number of techniques. Instead, Krav Maga teaches a small number of techniques that are highly adaptable and easily mastered.

4. There are no rules in survival

The Kravist will use any means available to protect themselves or a loved one. Improvised weapons, striking to the groin, gouging or biting are all acceptable. Criminals recognise no code of conduct – neither should the Kravist. The prime objective is survival.

Krav Maga has a quite extraordinary history, the consequences of which built the system of techniques and principles we now recognise as Krav Maga.   This process of ‘bloody evoloution’ resulted in a series of combat and training principles that defines now the system.