Krav Maga is the best self defense

Krav Maga - Military close combat as effective self-defense

Key data & overview

Name meaning:Krav MagaKrav Maga comes from Hebrew and means "contact struggle". Krav (קרב) means "fight" and maga (מגע) means "contact"
Fighting Techniques:
(Unarmed) The Krav Maga uses kicks, punches, elbow and knee techniques, weapon defense, stress drills and situation training, the use of everyday objects is practiced, as well as training with a full contact protective suit.
Weapons used: Depending on the target group: everyday objects for private self-defense or military weapons for the military.

Krav Maga - general brief description

Krav Maga is an Israeli combat system that enables people to defend themselves regardless of age, gender or other physical differences. Simple techniques and principles are used here, which are easy to carry out even under high stress. The techniques use natural reflexes and intuitive movements. These are simply trained and repeated because they can be used quickly in a real emergency.

Krav Maga philosophy

Krav maga is a type of fighting that completely renounces traditions and focuses purely on training and fighting. Everything “superfluous” is dispensed with and effectiveness is in the foreground. Krav Maga trainees are encouraged to always use an obvious, simple and therefore effective solution. Posing or stylish movements, as we know it from the Eastern Kungfu films, are completely avoided. When it comes to defending your own life, no compromises should be made. Incorrect consideration can endanger your own health or the innocent in an emergency. However, if a combat situation can be avoided, then of course this is also the simplest and most effective solution.

Origin and history of the Krav Magas

Imrich Lichtenfeld (Hebrew: Imi Sde-Or) was born in Budapest in 1910 and grew up in Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia). He was a versatile martial artist who trained wrestling, boxing and jiu-jitsu and also participated successfully in wrestling and boxing competitions. In the middle of the 30 years he tried to protect the Jewish neighborhoods against anti-Semitic attacks with followers and through his combat experience. Imrich Lichtenfeld fled Slovakia in 19140 and served with British forces in North Africa and the Middle East. After two years he was allowed to enter Palestine in 1942. With the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, Imrich Lichtenfeld was appointed close combat instructor for physical training and Krav Maga in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).

Krav Maga military

Both men and women were drafted into military service in Israel. Imrich Lichtenfeld therefore developed a close combat system that is equally practicable for both sexes. From a military point of view, it was also necessary to be able to learn and deploy quickly. In the course of his active military service, he continuously developed his combat system. Combat techniques or threats with and without weapons were covered. But even after his military service, he continued to develop the close combat system and made it practicable as a self-defense system for civilians.

Krav Maga YouTube demonstration

Krav Maga training

The Krav Maga training is based on real combat situations. Because only those who train as realistically as possible can defend themselves in an emergency. With the help of role play, stress training or protective suits, you can practice and learn effectively. There is more about the individual training methods in the next chapter. Furthermore, violence prevention is trained so that violence can be recognized at an early stage and, if necessary, verbally de-escalated.

Situation training

Depending on the situation or location, self-defense can differ. Questions are clarified or even practiced correctly:

  • How do I behave in the tram / bus?
  • What should i do if i am attacked in the car?
  • What should I do if I am attacked in the forest?

The training also takes place outside of your own dojo or a training hall. Realistic scenario training is also part of it. Real situations are rehearsed and practiced.

Stress training

Dealing with and using stress is also part of the training. As the stress level rises, your own body is showered with adrenaline. People react differently to it. The practitioner learns to deal better with his own reaction. You have to get along with this intense experience yourself. What seems easy in training becomes three times as difficult under stress. Stress training simulates the physical reactions and learns to deal with them. Inhibitions and fears are also reduced.

Who is Krav Maga for?

The techniques and methods are trained and applied differently depending on the target group. The target groups are divided into the following three areas:

  1. Private individuals
  2. Security forces and police
  3. military

Krav Maga for private individuals

As already indicated, the main focus here is on the means of self-defense, violence prevention or de-escalation. Dealing with stress that arises from violent situations is also less common among private individuals and is trained accordingly. The use of everyday objects for self-defense (umbrella, cell phone, lighter, etc.) is also practiced. In the private sector, the fun and fitness factor naturally plays an additional role at Krav Maga. For example, in the USA Krav Maga is used as a "fitness system".

Krav Maga for security forces and police

For security forces such as personal security, bouncers or the police, seriousness is in the foreground. The focus here is on personal and self-protection, de-escalation, deployment tactics and appropriate removal or control techniques.

Krav Maga for military

As already described, the objective of the Krav Maga is in the military for military operations and the handling of threats both with and without weapons. Close combat training for soldiers is geared towards speed and effectiveness.

Krav Maga Techniques and Methods

Below are specific Krav Maga techniques and methods:

  • Verbal de-escalation
  • Role play
  • Movement theory
  • 360 degree defense
  • Internal defense
  • Fist techniques
  • Ball of the thumb techniques
  • Hammer blows
  • Elbow Techniques
  • Kicking techniques
  • Knee techniques
  • Defense against weapons, targeted disarmament of opponents
  • Stress drills
  • Situation training
  • Mugging training (training with a full contact protective suit)

Krav Maga books

If you want to learn more about Krav Maga, check out our Krav Maga book recommendations. Below are the top 5 Krav Maga best seller books:


Krav Maga is suitable as an effective self-defense method. This modern fighting style is based on current events and goes into modern hand-to-hand combat techniques. Combat / defense is paramount compared to traditional martial arts. The military origin is battle-tested and aims at an uncompromising, quick end to a fight. For times of war or military operations, the appropriate close combat defense and the use of firearms are discussed. The scenario training promises realistic practice methods.

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Our martial arts world editorial team consists of passionate martial artists. We have been dealing intensively with martial arts and self-defense for over 15 years.

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