The purpose of this article is to compare and contrast Krav Maga and MMA. Also to answer some questions I occasionally get asked:
Is my previous MMA training useful in Krav Maga?
Is is useful to combine Krav Maga with MMA traning?
Background to Mixed Martial Arts
MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) is a combat sport combining elements of other martial arts, for a 1 on 1 rules and weight based competition.
MMA is relatively new having gained popularity with the launch of the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Competition in the 1990s) which has grown to capture a massive worldwide audience. Similar type competitions had been around before this with K1 in Japan and Vale Tudo in Brazil.
What is particularly interesting about the fighting in the UFC is that at the start each competitor had completely different styles, but within the first decade all fighters started to cross-train and become generalists rather than specialists. However, the selection and application of the techniques naturally evolve if a competitor is seen to gain success.
Background to Krav Maga
Krav Maga is a self defence system combining elements of martial arts, for a street fight that may involve multiple and armed attackers or any size, to keep yourself safe within the laws of the country.
Krav Maga is also relatively new. It was developed and spread by ImIi Lechtenfeld who was an international boxer and wrestler.
Krav Maga also evolves and adapts. Partly this is a refinement of the core techniques in response to new threats (for example Krav Maga has incorporated MMA like groundfighting techniques in response to the prevalence of round fighting in the UFC). Moreover, with many 1000s of students worldwide, there has many real-life examples to validate the effectiveness of the Krav Maga system. But also to identify where refinements are required to give practitioners the best possible change to defend themselves without getting hurt.
Krav Maga & MMA Compared
The summary above shows there are similarities between MMA and Krav Maga as they have both absorbed and modified other martials arts for their purposes. They have both stripped away all the traditional elements and everything else deemed ineffective.
They have both ended up with a similar set of “combat techniques” for striking an opponent and defending against and opponent’s strikes. Someone who has MMA (or Thai Boxing) experience will find the stances, movement and strikes of Krav Maga the same and progress quickly in Krav Maga.
From this perspective MMA training can be complimentary to a Krav Maga practitioner as it offers intensive striking training, and the opportunity to build reflexes and determination in a competitive situation.
Krav Maga may not make an MMA fighter better at MMA but it does offers an MMA practitioner the opportunity to learn techniques and tactics to defend themselves in real situations that have no rules there may be multiple and armed opponents and an appropriate response must be within the law. It’s much easier on the body and is suitable for all people.
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