Key Differences Between Krav Maga and Martial Arts?

Krav Maga sounds like a martial art, however martial arts technically are the arts that originated in Asia for warriors and traditions are being preserved, or arts that evolved in the 20 century into civilian sports such as Judo.

Krav Maga is a relatively new creation originating amd being spread from Israel in the 1970s therefore has very dofferent origins and culture. So this article is designed to highlight the key differences.

There are many different families of martial arts and within each family there are different syles. Even within a style the particular school or instructor will have their own particular emphasis.

Therefore, it is necessary to generalise to an extent when writing this article. However, Krav Maga has originated from real street fights and specialises in “reality self defence” which is not in the DNA of the traditional martial arts, so is a clear differentiator in the development of the techniques, training objectives and the way training is conducted:

Krav Maga Techniques:

  • Designed to be simple and quick to perform and learn;
  • Designed as a system so that the building blocks (movements and principles) are replicated across different techniques pro iding consistency and efficiency in the learning process;
  • Target vulnerable points on the attacker so do not depend on strenght or size/ work for all people (the attacker (s) are likely to be bigger / stronger);
  • Defences and counter attacks are practiced to all directions (because an attack can come from any direction);
  • Include defences against all sorts of grabs and holds (wrist grabs, headlocks, bearhugs, full nelson..);
  • Deal with threats and attacks with weapons;
  • Deal with attackes where there are multiple attackers;
  • Defences provide solutions to problems both standing and on the ground, including protecting yourself if you are falling;
  • Practiced both in a gym/training hall and in real (simulated) situations, e.g., car, public transport, bar, home, park, etc.
  • Techiques to protect other people.

Traning Practices

  • Practice with partners and groups on drills to simulate actual multiple person scenarios,
  • No traditional or formal aspects to training;
  • Dynamic fast paced training.. no meditation, kata or other self practice;
  • Wear gym-like clothing (no gis /kimonos);
  • Men/women/teenagers can practice together (all ages apart from kids who have a tailored syllabus);
  • Limited use of 1-2-1 sparing (multiple attacker scenarios and other simulations are more realistic);
  • No sporting rules for actual fights (apart from the law of the land);

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